This is my sixth and final post on the history of Peter Nathan Toy Soldiers. To most of you this is not history, but a snapshot of where the Company is today.
King and Country remains as the largest supplier of military miniatures. In more recent times, the Aussies in Vietnam have sparked great sales and with two pieces in this range, we placed opening orders of 100 pieces. This harks back to the days of the Australian Light Horse series. This has been supplemented by the, also popular, Americans and the Tet offensive. WW2, as always remains popular and we have been fortunate is the past few years to have purchased large collections of old King and Country WW2, some going back to BBG, BBA and WS01 codes. We have arrangements already in place, to purchase more old collections.
Andy Neilson deserves every success in his business, continuously visiting dealers and customers, supporting shows and preparing great coloured leaflets and brochures on the product ranges. We have been friends for 20 years and always look forward to his annual visits.
John Jenkins, with his very brave entry into numerous niche markets, has carved out a significant share of our business and is now number 2. The Jacobite Rebellion, Aztecs and Conquistadores, Ancient Rome and Greece with their numerous allies and enemies over many years of their empires, are being done in great detail. 1066, with the Saxons nearly complete and now the Normans has great legs. His WW1 Aircraft are superb, our only problem is that they sell out so quickly. For me, one of the piece- de- resistance was the Australian Spitfire, piloted by “Killer Caldwell”.
Thomas Gunn has also come onto the scene in the past few years and their first significant releases of Ancient Greek and Spartan wars, resulted in numerous customers making their own, or asking us to make for them, the Battle of Thermopylae diorama. This, together with Ancient Rome, have covered popular historical times. Both these ranges have sold exceedingly well for us.
They have introduced the Australians in New Guinea, which could have been one of our strongest sellers, but the irregularity of releases, together with limited production, has not allowed the series to develop its potential.
Recently, we have been selling product from our first Chinese owned company, Team Miniatures. After their initial “safe” releases of Napoleonics and Romans, now branching out to the more niche periods, such as Mongols and Mamelukes, Boxer Rebellion and Boer War.
As they did not have a dealer in Sydney, we were asked to carry the finely sculpted 12inch Australian WW1, 2 and modern range by Naked Army. This will develop and has already opened our eyes to the market for recent and current wars, which brings me to mention Leigh Neville, who although classified as a casual employee of the Company, is a significant team member. Leigh is one of Osprey military publication’s senior writer, having authored 17 books, including major “coffee table” tomes. Leigh’s specialty is modern warfare.
As always, we have in stock, many of the older makers, Britains, Trophy Miniatures, Steadfast, Ducal, Imperial of N.Z., H.M and Charles Biggs, which have come in from collections we have bought. There are more of these items in collections in the pipeline.
Now, the crystal ball. About 3 or 4 years ago, we commenced making dioramas for customer’s own homes. Then, we started to make small dioramas for sale in the shop and have always carried about 6 in stock. We have noted that many of our customers, who enjoy collecting toy soldiers, or military miniatures, do not display them effectively in their homes. With our availability of skilled diorama makers, we can assist, at relatively modest cost, in making your collection come to life.
Of course, today is dominated by the Corona virus, with our shop temporarily closed. It has been, to me, an incredible experience, the way that our customers have given us overwhelming support in continuing to purchase on-line and by forward orders. Sven and Leigh have completely redone our website, now including all the product made by King and Country and John Jenkins, that they have in stock, for forward orders. Many of these ranges, we didn’t have space for in the shop, but may be stocked again in the future.
I have enjoyed writing these posts and the 35 years I have been involved with toy soldiers, 25 years as Peter Nathan Toy Soldiers, with a large number of customers/friends having been with me on the journey. Being now 84, I have been blessed with a healthy body and mind and will look forward, when we re-open the shop, to greeting you all.