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Toy Soldier Collections

6 Toy Soldiers

What to Collect?

You should collect whatever speaks to you and gets you interested. Your only limitations are the budget and shelf space. You might consider limiting your collection aspirations to cover a particular period, a manufacturer, or a theme.

Before you start, go to a few toy soldier shows and look around. You should get a good feel when you can compare the makers, prices, character of figures, quality, and style. "Personality" of a toy is very important because it shows how compatible it will be with the other items in your collection. Pay attention to the size, sculpting, painting, and build of the toy. You might be looking to create a collection of similar styles. Or on the contrary, your intention might be to group items that don't seem to have anything in common. Either way you will be able to get great ideas from toy soldier shows.


Before going to the show, confirm the date and time with two sources. It might be hard to believe, but magazine listings and even event fliers have had their information wrong before. To prepare, make a list of toys that you are interested in and look over toy soldier magazines to find out what dealers have them. Then call the dealers to confirm that they and their figures will be at the show. Get to the event early and bring a sturdy bag filled with paper towels and bubble wrap. Toy shows can get crazy, so be ready to protect your prized possessions. Take camera with you too - you might want to make some visual notes for the future or take pictures of some arrangements that you liked.

Investment Value

The best advice is this - if you want to make money, you should invest in the stock market. The collection of toys should be for pleasure only, without making material gains a priority.


Most collections are not very susceptible to theft, but fire is always a danger. You should take a picture of every new set you get and store them all together with paid invoices. Update your records periodically and determine if it makes sense to raise the amount insured. You might have to have a professional appraiser before insuring your treasures, but your efforts will help him and you to get the most accurate price and save time. You can even use collectibles software to record and store all the info.

Tax Deduction

If you have some part of your collection in the office, you can write off that expense. If you have any questions, check with your tax professional.

Storing Boxes

You should always keep the boxes your soldiers came in. Keep them out of sight, store them in storage boxes away from mice, but don't just throw them away. Some boxes might be of value later or at least give you a great way to transport your figures if needed.

Disappointment Avoidance

Some figurines might travel hundreds or thousands of miles intact and in perfect condition only to experience some kind of tragedy at your door step. To avoid it, always unpack your soldiers carefully, on the table with cloth material on it - the figure will be safeguarded if it slips. Don't tear any tapes, always use scissors to cut it and then gently remove the tape and tissue. If you are not very careful, you can get parts bent and arms broken very easily.

Best Figurines and Weapons

Most figurines are made of lead or stretchy plastic, so if any part is bent, it can be easily straightened out. This is not the case with tin. Don't do any harsh straightening to a cold figure - you can break it. You can warm your figure up by placing it next to a reading lamp for a few minutes; just don't forget it for long.

If an arm cast gets popped off during shipping, look at the other figurines or pictures and carefully put it back in place with a dab of super glue. Don't glue it if you have any doubts and return it to the dealer. When fixing small parts, like guns and swords, even the super glue might not do a good and fast job. You can try using a glue accelerator available in hobby shops for an even faster adhesion.

Toppling Figures

Small and fragile figures are in danger of falling due to smallest vibrations. Kids running, heavy adults walking or even a car outside can cause them to tilt and fall. You can preserve your figures by placing them on a carpet-lined shelve or use a BB-size Museum Gel. As the name suggests, this product is used to secure museum expositions and is removable without traces.

Mix it up

To add interest to your display, try mixing soldier figures with civilians. Make it a real life-like collection and it will resemble a real life. You can create a scene of town parade with a marching military band right through downtown. This will add color and dimension to your display.

Music and Action

If you have a nice parade going on, consider adding a time period music to make your display complete. This can be accomplished at a very low cost. You can use an inexpensive tape player with a loop-tape recording or make a CD. Once you have your player ready, hide it and plug it in when needed. Imagine having such a festive display with Christmas carols and impressing everybody that comes over!

Parting with Your Figures

If a time comes to reduce your collection, here are some options:

  • Place an ad in toy soldier magazines
  • Have a table at a show
  • Send your offer to some dealers that you can trust
  • Find an auction house that might be interested
  • Sell your collection online

Not for Children

Even if we call these figures toys, they are not designed for kids younger than 10. The figures are small and have even smaller sharp swords, spears, and rifles. If your child is not ready for them now, you can buy a set and store it for later gifting. The soldiers will invite kids not only to play, but also explore the history and what's behind simple figurines.
Kids love observing the figures during shows and auctions, so bring them along, but have some plastic toys to play with and remain sane during the craziness of the event.