I am hoping to include here links to the most useful sites that I have found or know about on the net. As I have limited time for browsing there aren't as many yet as you might expect. The point of links is to discover more information, so I will try and categorise the links below as I come across them.
I am proud to have been a member of the British Model Soldier Society for the past forty-two years. Although the chief thrust of the society is modelling, the history of toy and model soldiers is inextricably mixed, and the skills of collecting toy soldiers and creating models enhance each other. We are, I hope you will find, a very friendly lot, and someone among the hundreds of members will have the answer to that tricky detail you need. The website is a great hub, with many useful links. http://www.btinternet.com/~model.soldiers/
MKLModels is probably the top source for new toy soldiers in the UK. Lynn Kenwood attends nearly all the shows, ran the Britains Collector's Club for a number of years, and has his headquarters at the fabulous Guards Toy Soldier Centre at the Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace. www.mklmodels.co.uk
Bill Hocker has spent twenty years making the toys that Britains would have made a hundred years ago if they had been able to spare the time from being a commercial organisation. His ingenuity is fabulous. I have particularly enjoyed his highland games, his bandstand and his models of the Britains family with their working caster employee, doing 300 castings per hour (yes, the figure actually demonstrates the technique with movable arms!). Bill's figures look great with original Britains, especially after they have got a little dusty. www.wmhocker.com
The fourth item in my youthful collection was a cardboard fort. Ten years later, I lost it, so when I went to my friend Allen Hickling's toy fort website for the first time recently, I was able to re-unite myself in spirit with this much loved item. When I retire, I am going to build myself the world's largest toy fort, but until then I will be re-visiting the thousands of pages of Allen's amazing website. www.toyforts.com
John Tunstill has been a friend of mine for well over thirty years, and is one of the best known personalities in the toy soldier hobby. He encouraged me greatly during the period when I was an apprentice in the collecting business. After running a toy soldier business that included manufacturing, antique toy soldiers, wargaming, auctioneering and publishing from his famous shop Soldiers Soldiers near the Imperial War Museum in London, England, he has finally settled down in an idyllic setting in Umbria, Italy, where he has a toy soldier museum - and how many of those are there world-wide? www.soldierssoldiers.com
Collecting by historical period - re-create all of military history in toy soldiers
Collecting by manufacturer - can you find everything made by particular makers?
Plastic Warrior Magazine celebrates the plastic toy soldiers which started to be manufactured when I was nine years old and which have been the dominant style of toy soldier for children ever since. No detail is too small to be included in this magazine, run by collectors for collectors with a refreshingly low advertising content other than from the collectors themselves. www.plasticwarrior.com