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World War I Composition Troops

Though cast metal figures dominated the field from the 1920s until the 1940s, they were not the only type figure.  Composition figures were a major component of the toy soldier market.  Made by companies such as Trico, Elastolin and Lineol, they were composed of a mix of sawdust, resins and oils.  In fact, the formula was usually not much different than that of linoleum.  (Hence the company name: "Lineol")  The usual process was to have a wire framework put inside the mold, followed by the composition formula.

The composition soldiers on this page are of the type common between the World Wars.  Note that the composition makers also produced cowboys and Indians, farm animals, knights, space men and other historical figures.

A figure by Elastolin, made for export.  The soldier is supposed to be U.S., The machine-gun is a German type, by the way.

The view of the ammo can /loading.  You can also see that instead of a leggings, the figure wears high boots.  The illusion of leggings is made by painting only the foot.

A frontal view.  The gun's frame looks like it has undergone a rudimentary camouflage coloring.  

The web gear, pack and canteen are actually a German type.  Why?  With composition figures, heads can be swapped out during manufacture.  Our US soldier is made by swapping a head with the US / British helmet onto a German figure.  This practice was common - a cheap way to make foreign and enemy figures.

These three soldiers were made by Trico, a Japanese company.  They stand 4 inches / 1-00 mm tall!  Here is an officer with sword and two marching riflemen

The underside of the base is hard to read, thus I cannot tell who the maker of this figure might be.  He stands between 60 and 75mm tall, with rifle.

Elastolin German figure, made for export.  The export models were marked "Germany" or "Made in Germany" on the underside.

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