Britains Deetail

Britains Deetail toy soldiers were a popular product for retail stores in England in the 1970s and 1980s. Manufactured in England by W. Britain, they were plastic figures on Zamak metal bases; an idea to keep the soldiers from falling down. In the early 1990s production moved to China.

Britains still manufacture some models with different painting to the originals.[1] Figures from other moulds are now manufactured in Argentina by DSG Plastic Toy Soldiers.[2]

Contents

Development

In 1971 Britains began phasing out its plastic Herald Miniatures that had been produced in Hong Kong since 1966 with Hong Kong Herald ceasing operation in 1976. The new Deetail figures were moulded in PVC plastic rather than polythene that enabled separate arms could be glued on giving poses previously unavailable.[3] The rectangular metal base that enabled the figures to stand better than other plastic figures paid homage to Britains' metal figures as well as being thought by consumers to be of "better value" due to the weight of the figures.[4]

The first figures chosen for Deetail were World War II American and German soldiers. Sculptor Rod Cameron rented uniforms from Berman's and Nathan's theatrical costumes with Cameron giving model Les Harden his air rifle to pose with.[5]

In 1976 Britains developed Super Deetail, an overmoulding process where different coloured plastics came together in one figure. The first of these were a set of modern paratroopers in red berets, though the first set of figures that included walking with a rifle and holding a light machine gun were redesigned into different poses.

Now

Britains toy soldiers are still manufactured, but in different poses, colours, and qualities. Most Britains copies made today have plastic bases, and therefore weigh much less than the older ones.

Britains Deetail figures now range in price from about £2.50-£5.00 for figures, to about £12.50-£25.00 for vehicles. The ones that are more rare, such as the Afrika Korps Kubelwagen, usually bring even more than that.

Types

Knights

  • Knights of the Sword
  • Turks
  • Robin Hood

WWII

  • US GI's (6 Infantry, Willys Jeep w/ 2 man crew, Assault craft w/ 2 man crew)

Series Manufactured 1971-1980

  • US GI's (6 Infantry, Recoilless Rifle w/ 2 man crew, Motorcycle w/ dispatch rider, PAK howizter)

Series Manufactured 1980-1989

  • German Wehrmacht (12 Infantry, Mortar w/ 2 man crew, Motorcycle w/ dispatch rider, Motorcycle w/ sidecar, Kettenkrad w/ 2 men, Kubelwagen w/ 2 men, PAK 40)

German Wehrmacht infantry

The German infantry were produced in 2 series all with the Wehrmacht insignia stickers on their helmets.

1st Series Manufactured 1971-1989


Six figures which initially had yellow/brown bases, 1974 onwards saw them fixed to the more familiar green base. The poses are kneeling with MG34, charging with fixed bayonet, standing throwing grenade, standing firing rifle, advancing firing MP40, carrying an MG34 machine gun and ammo box.


2nd Series Manufactured 1977-1989

German Wehrmacht Infantry Set #2

Another six new figures were added in 1977 making the total number of poses 12. The poses are officer, radio operator, kneeling firing rifle, marching with rifle at slope (copyright 1977), flamethrower, carrying mg34 across body. Both series remained in production until 1989. Some collections contain an additional 2 figures being those from the mortar team on single bases, these are used with the Pak field gun.

Pak gun crew Mortar crew Pak anti tank gun
Add caption here
Add caption here

German Afrika Korps

  • German Afrika Korps (6 Infantry, Kubelwagen w/ 2 men, Motorcycle w/ dispatch rider)
  • British ETO (6 Infantry, Mortar w/ 2 man crew, Motorcycle w/ dispatch rider, Daimler Scout car w/ 2 man crew, 17 lb AT gun, 25 lb AT gun, Assault boat w/ 2 man crew)

Series Manufactured 1973-1989

  • British Desert Rats 8th Army (6 Infantry, Vickers machine gun w/ 2 man crew, Daimler Scout car w/ 2 man crew)
  • Japanese Army (6 Infantry, Recoilless Rifle w/ 2 man crew)

Series Manufactured 1973-1976

[6] [7]

Civil War

  • Federal Army (6 Infantry, 6 Cavalry, Gatling gun w/ 2 man crew)

Series Manufactured 1972-1980

  • Confederate Army (6 Infantry, 6 Cavalry, Gatling gun w/ 2 man crew)

Series Manufactured 1972-1980

[8] [9]

Cowboys & Indians

  • Cowboys mounted and dismounted
  • Indians mounted and dismounted
  • Mexicans
  • 7th Cavalry mounted and dismounted
  • Indian canoe
  • Cowboy raft

Modern Troops

  • Scots Guards
  • Sentry Box
  • Task Force (US WWII and British WWII in different coloured uniforms)
  • British Marines - Paratroopers (red berets), Commandos (green berets), SAS (grey berets)

Space

  • Stargard Commandos
  • Cyborg Assault Squad
  • Aliens
  • Mutants

Other

  • Farm figures
  • Doctors and Nurses
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • French Foreign Legion
  • Arabs
  • Karate

Notes

Reference

  • Pullen, David Britains Toy Model Catalogues 1970 to 1979 Veloce (July 15, 2010)

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