Miniature soldiers were used in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by military strategists to plan battle tactics by using figures to show the locations of real soldiers. There is a substantial hobby devoted to collecting both old and new toy soldiers, with an abundance of small manufacturers, dealers, and toy soldier shows. There are even specialty magazines devoted to the hobby, such as Toy Soldier and Model Figure. What started out simply as gloss-coat enamel toys for young children to play with and enjoy, has shifted into very high quality painted figures which allows for greater detail and historical accuracy.
This is most evident when it comes to the history of Sikh toy soldiers. The contributions and legacy of the Sikhs serving as soldiers is one both of legend and valour. While we have many accounts written about them, and an equal number of pictures to match, a little known unique tribute of their service in various eras is through a wide range and array of toy soldiers.
One of the World’s most famous soldier and statesman, Sir Winston Churchill who started his military career in service with the 35th Sikhs, always had a great affinity and admiration for the Sikh military warrior. Churchill got his military start and orientation entirely due to his collection of toy soldiers, as he wrote in his childhood memoirs.
While the early manufactures took great liberty in their design interpretations of Sikh soldiers, to the present highly realistic and exceptionally detailed Sikh toy soldiers that have an acute attention to detail from turbans and pagri/turban badges to uniforms and everything in between.
Pardeep’s collection of toy soldiers shares the history of the Warrior Saints – stretching from the First Sikh Wars in the 1840’s to their bravery in the North West frontier, onto their valour in the Great Wars, from infantry to lancers, and buglers and drummers, from gunners to colour party, and Akalis and Maharajahs, the Sikh Toy soldiers stand, decorated, colourful and proud! Enjoy!