COLLECTING BRITAINS HERALD KNIGHTS

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Some of Britains early Herald figures were first produced by Zang products who owned the Herald name. And they were at the time one of the best examples of the newly emerging plastic toy soldiers. The Herald range were then part purchased by Britains in 1955, allowing their designer Roy Selwyn-Smith to work under the Britains name,and the whole Herald range would gain the greater advertising and marketing resources from its new associate owner.

The Britains Herald Knights were made in Hong Kong and consisited of six foot figures and four mounted figures each with at least two colour schemes. The figures themselves were produced in PVC from 1968 to 1979, however the halberds were made from polyethylene and quite often broke easily and the paper decals from the shields were easily lost. Two different horses were made for this set having several colours of blankets and saddles. The plug on the saddle which held the mounted figure in place was another victim of play and many surviving riders are often glued to their steeds. As such a complete set with all intact weapons and paper decals should be a worthy addition to any toy soldier collection



 












The foot knights

Halberd visor shut
Standing shooting bow
Kneeling shooting bow
Advancing sword
Halberd visor open
Shield and mace

 

The mounted knights

With sword
With axe
With lance no plume on helmet
With lance plume on helmet



 





Britains ancient siege engines

Britains ancient siege engines consisting of a catapult (4675) and ballista (4676) were sculpted by Ron Cameron and released in 1967. Initially produced individually but sold alongside the Britains Swoppet and Herald knights, until these ranges were withdrawn around 1972 and 1976 respectively. They continued to be sold along side the new Deetail range of knights and turks / saracens which were introduced in 1973 more.

Both the models along with their 2 man crews were made in Hong Kong, the first incarnation saw the machines with a realistic wood grain texture. The catapult crew were numbered on the underside of the bases 1 red tunic firing, and 2 blue tunic carrying rock.
The ballista crew were numbered 3 blue tunic firing and 4 red tunic holding bolt.


 





 


However in 1973 the machines were produced in darker plastic and it has been noted that the catapult figures were re numbered as 2 red tunic firing, and 1 blue tunic carrying rock. It has also been noted that both sets were deleted in 1976, this may have been the case for individual sets (4675) and (4676), however I have seen the ballista advertised in Britains 1977, 1978 and 1979 catalogues as an inclusion into the Britains Deetail knights and turks battle set (7766).
Both the sets were re-introduced in 1986 along with the knights of the sword range, but the machines now sported a more smooth finish and issued in sets with silver or black (storm knights), the turks / Saracens having been removed from production in 1983. The ballista crew were in production until 1987, the catapult crew were removed somewhere around or after 1988. Some later crew members have been seen with black armour and in yellow tunics.
Please note although some bases are marked made in England it is believed that all were made in Hong Kong.

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