Wild West


This bucking bronco is one of my all time favorite figures, it's a one peice casting by LONE STAR. Although it doesn't carry the makers name the sculpting and quality of plastic scream Lone Star. But what realy gives it away are two little circular indents at the top of the horse's legs, these were made by ejector pins which pushed the figure out of the mould when it was opened. Lone Star were the only British manufacturer at the time to employ this method, which added to the complexity and cost of making the mould, the others would remove the figure from the mould by hand - a much slower process. So how did Lone Star come to be using ejector pins in their moulds when nobody else was? Well the company was originally called DIE CAST MACHINE TOOLS (DCMT) and they took their expertise in ejecting hot metal castings from moulds over to their plastic production. I once met a sculptor who had done some work for Lone Star, he told me that their design priority was to ensure the figures would pop out of the moulds easily and that was why they have such a chunky-square cut look to them.





This one-peice casting of a cowboy being dragged by his horse was made by ATLANTIC of Italy and featured in their short lived Western Bank Robbery. This set also featured a rather gruesome hanged man swinging from a gallows tree! Atlantic figures were originally sold unpainted, this one has had the base enhanced and has been expertly painted by modeller Vince Mattocks





A red Indian hunting party returns home. These are all plastic figures made by French companies, the first is carrying a dear across his shoulders, he is unpainted and was given away free by CAFE LEGAL as a premium with tins of coffee. The brave blowing the horn was originally made in hollow-cast lead and then plastic by BEFFOID. The central pair carrying a dear strung on a pole are by CLAIRET and the final one carrying a wolf across his back is by JIM.





The first of these three desperadoes is a Mexican firing his pistol while sitting on the ground, I don't know who made him but I bought him in a Paris fleamarket so assume him to be French made. The second, firing in the air is a Mexican by CYRNOS. The third is an early English figure kneeling (manufacturer unknown) fanning his pistol. From the design he was clearly originally made in hollowcast lead and although there is much documentation and many experts on such figures, to date he has defied identification.






This mounted indian chief is generally considered to be an early figure by LONE STAR. That may be but I am yet to be convinced as there are no signs of those tell-tale ejector pin marks.

What is interesting is the way that the master figure was cobbled together, the horse was originally made in hollow-cast lead, the torso is from the HERALD indian kneeling firing a bow and heaven knows where the legs came from but they certainly didn't start life astride a horse!

There is a piece of toy soldier folklore that BRITAINS got the idea for their SWOPPET range when one of the workers in the toolroom cut up a couple of HERALD figures, put one body on another set of legs and made a joke about sending them around to LONE STAR. According to the story the latter were supposedly notorious for copying other companies designs at the time, so possibly this and example of just such a practice. I should add that there are many versions of this story which vary depending on who is telling it.






The indian brave lassooing a wild horse was originally designed as a composition figure and later released in plastic by MAROLIN of Germany. The lassoo is made of string and the figure of the brave is in 70mm scale.









This fierce looking war party includes one brave beating a drum while another dances with a scalp in his hand, French made but maker unknown.







This French made Indian chief was originally produced in hollow-cast lead and had a moveable right arm, this plastic version was also cast with a separate arm which was then heat soldered to the body. The maker is JSF and it is cast in soft plastic which is fairly unusual for French figures.









An unusual pose for a bucking bronco, this pair are made of hard plastic by an unknown French manufacturer.









Some sculptors really do some research! I'm assured by an anthropologist I know that these figures represent genuine native American costumes, anybody out there able to confirm it?

The one on the right has had some damage to his headgear, made in Poland by (you guessed it) unknown.


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