When I was young my Parents & Grandmother would buy me and my brother plastic toy soldiers. I also had some painted metal figures too. As a kid I had some Prince August toy soldier molds. I would melt the metal and then cast & paint them. I still have some of those figures.
The other day I met Andrew Stevenson on Facebook. I have seen his pro-painted figures on eBay for a few years now. He is also the owner of Replica Metal Soldiers & Models. His company sells painted and unpainted metal toy soldiers. Their figures reminded me of the the early Britain painted metal sets.
Warhorse Miniatures: Hi Andrew. For years I have seen your pro painted figures on eBay. I always admired your painting skills. Now I see you’re the owner of “Replica Metal Soldiers & Models.” Can you gives us some history of you and your company?
Andrew Stevenson: I’ve been collecting and painting Toy Soldiers, Wargame and Model soldiers since I was a kid. I still have a crate full of Airfix 1/72 Napoleonic’s which were my favorites when I was a child. My Gran dad and Dad collected and so I’ve had Toy Soldiers of one type or another in my life since I can first remember. I have always enjoyed painting figures and love painting plastics in Matt in all scales and I’ve undertaken some big private commissions over the past 4-5 years for collectors in 1/72 and 1/32.
My real personal passion, and my own collection is traditional glossy figures, and it was my Gran dad who really got me into these when he retired and started collecting again. To be able to commercially produce figures for fellow collectors has been a dream come true and I was very fortunate following a discussion with James Opie. I had visited him to see his collection, that the opportunity to acquire the Late Pat Campbell’s Replica Models came up. Pat was a true enthusiast who supplied some of the great names in the toy soldier world with castings and his own unique painted sets which were exquisitely painted in both Gloss and Matt.
I’m both privileged and honored to have the chance to build upon Pats work, and continue to supply collectors with figures, both as castings and painted figures. A once in a lifetime opportunity, and I thank James Opie and Margaret Campbell for helping make my toy soldier dream a reality. I hope that Replica Metal Soldiers and Models will continue the tradition of the gloss toy soldier well into the 21st Century. Exciting times for the glossy I hope!
Warhorse Miniatures: I read on your website that you have plans on expanding the ranges in the future. What ranges are you going to go into?
Andrew Stevenson: I’m focusing on re-releasing the original Replica range of Indian Army figures, originally a joint venture between Bill Cranston and Pat Campbell. There are 70 sets listed in the paperwork I have, so far sorted out the first 40 or so sets. I’m also going through the other moulds and discovering more recasts of hollow figures and adding the to the recast list.
There are also other figures in the range which fill in the gaps Britains never made, and this is something I’m looking to expand. My first releases are RN landing party with field gun, all in full equipment, and RN figures at the ready and kneeling at the ready, and Indian Army figures to complement the original Britains Indian army figure but in different poses. I have also a new Chelsea Pensioner figure. In the next phase I have Anglo Egyptian War Egyptians/Turks, and plenty of others on the work bench! My Ideas book just keeps growing!
Warhorse Miniatures: What is the average cost for your figures?
Andrew Stevenson: My figures start from £3.75p and £9 for a mounted figure as castings, with Painted figures in the toy soldier style starting from £8-9 for a foot. My spare arms and heads start from 35p. I want to provide a good quality reasonably priced product for collectors of all budgets, so will supply castings and painted items in any quantity. I always charge postage at cost, to ensure that that collectors get best value. Why waste money on over the top postage…. Buy another couple of figures!
Warhorse Miniatures: It looks like you’re a one man show. Do you have any help?
Andrew Stevenson: Yes, I’m a “One Man Show”! I design, sculpt, cast, clean, paint and dispatch. So, my figures really do get the personal touch! I do sometimes have support from friends at the show, and I have a lot of support from others in the hobby, including James Opie and Chris Bartlett and my good friend Craig Appleton at Redcoat Models who have all helped me get Replica up and running again.
Warhorse Miniatures: One other question that I have. Are you ready to take orders from the USA? Or is most of your business done locally in England?
Andrew Stevenson: I’ll take orders from wherever they want my troops! Post will all be at cost. I send tracked and signed only abroad.
Besides all the work that Andrew is doing with his new company he also does a lot of custom work. Both with painting and some customizing of the poses. He sells some of his pro-painted plastic figures on eBay. I will have all the links listed below at the end of this article. Send him a message if you are working on a project and need some help.
You can find Andrew at some of the shows in England.
John Tunstill and James Opie and Andrew Stevenson at the Replica Stand Birmingham Toy Soldier Fair 2018.
I am glad to see new companies continuing the classic style of traditional toy soldiers. Listed below are all the links that Andrew has.
That concludes the interview with Andrew Stevenson. I would like to thank Andrew for taking his time to answer the questions. Now here is some hobby news below.
“Please join us Sunday, November 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 for the 36th Annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show & Sale, where history comes alive. Sponsored by Vintage Castings, Inc., once again, the show will be held at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Center, 100 University Plaza Drive, Hackensack, NJ 07601. Plenty of free on-site parking and a convenient bus ride from Manhattan. Admission is $7 (free for children under twelve).
Our show has grown to become the largest and best attended toy soldier show on the East Coast with tons of soldiers, militaria, military miniatures, diecasts, G.I. Joe and action figures, dioramas and antique and collectible toys from ancient toy soldiers to Star-Wars and everything in between – including our 6th Hess Toy Truck Meet & Greet. Plan now to attend this once-a-year event and for the opportunity to connect with other collectors and share nostalgic memories. The Hess Meet & Greet is an event where you can bring your Hess Trucks for appraisals, or display your rarities, or just hang out and chat with other collectors. Participation in the Meet & Greet is free with paid admission to the show.
Now some sad news – many of you might not know that William Lango, toy soldier guru and organizer of our show, suddenly passed away this summer. He was a great man in all respects and a “regular” guy, originally from Queens, New York. A true patriot, he loved his country, was a member of the VFW and proudly served aboard Naval destroyer USS Mullinnix during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a member of Operating Engineer’s Local 68. Artist, historian, writer, editor and magazine publisher (Toy Soldier
Review Magazine), he was at the forefront of the re-emerging toy soldier hobby in the 1980’s. An avid toy soldier and toy train enthusiast, he founded Vintage Castings, making and specializing in American Dimestore-style figures (acquiring many of the original molds from the defunct Barclay factory). Through his work and mentorship, he brought
many different generations of toy soldier enthusiasts together and helped grow the hobby. For all his accomplishments, he was always fair and honest – lived a simple yet exemplary life – was humble and never tried to impress. The world and the hobby community doesn’t see people like this very often. Bill appreciated and valued all his friends in the toy soldier, toy train and Hess toy truck communities and we will all miss
him. In homage to his love and devotion to the hobby, our family is carrying on his legacy this year by running the show as a tribute to him. We hope you can join us on November 4th to salute Bill!
In friendship and appreciation for all your years of patronage,
The Lango Family”
I wanted to share an email from the Lango family with some information about the show and the passing of Bill.
The Tecumseh’s Woodland Indians set is available now from Expeditionary Force. They are listed as 54mm. I will see if I can pick this set when I go to the East Coast Toy Soldier show on November 4th.
Chintoys released two new sets. CHT012 Conquistadors Set 2 and CHT019 Aztec Warriors in 1/32 scale. They should be available now.