Casting history and a new project

Every so often I’ll read through the Little Wars book by H.G. Wells. An area library had a copy of it that I checked out frequently as a kid, along with The Art of the Toy Soldier which had beautiful photos of Britains and other antique figures.

That fostered an urge to do a proper Little Wars game – lots of metal figures and the Britains 4.7 naval guns that fire wood or metal projectiles. While the old Britains figures can be had online, it seems irresponsible to bash around pieces of history. And new Britains-style figures are outrageously expensive.

So I’ll be giving more thought how to make this happen. In the meantime, I found an interesting video of production at the Britains factory.

There’s a few shots of workers actually casting figures. You can see them pour metal from the mold – that was William Britain’s hollow casting method. Rather than a heavy and expensive solid figure, you got a skin of metal that captures all the exterior detail. Workers would pour in the metal and pour out the liquid core before it could harden solid.

That left holes in the final casting which you can find on Britains figures – there are two in the back legs of a mounted officer that I have.

From my limited research on the topic, you need metal molds for the hollow casting method.

What I want to find are some antique Britains molds. There must be some floating around, right?