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Article: September 2022

September 2022

September 2022

Welcome to our September 2022 Newsletter

Piggyback girls TA71

In less than two weeks we will be arriving in Chicago ready for our first toy soldier show since taking over Imperial Productions! We've been really busy getting products ready for display and sale. We are so excited to show them to you and meet some of our wonderful collectors in person.

We have just been advised of our room and table allocations:

Tables 60 and 61

Room 4111 (we will be doing in-room trading prior to the Show)

We will be away from the workshop for nearly a month, so if you place any orders from mid-September until mid-October please expect a slightly longer lead time of 6-8 weeks instead of our current average turnaround of four weeks. Chicago Toy Soldier Show

Father Christmas Header

We are very proud to present a new Town & Around release: Father Christmas.

You might be a bit surprised that we haven't produced a Father Christmas figure to date! We think he's worth the wait - just look at the superb detail on that sculpt. We suspect David might have been planning the tiny details for years!

Our beautiful Father Christmas is a classic Victorian styled Santa - he is wearing a long robe and cap, and is laden down with a decorated Christmas tree, a satchel and a sack full of goodies. Can you spot all twelve of the Christmas gifts he is bringing to lucky girls and boys: skittles, two balls, a train, two dolls, a wrapped gift, an elephant pull-along, a horse, a horn, a jack-in-the-box, and of course the ultimate gift: a tiny little Imperial Productions toy soldier.

We think this is the most intricate and detailed sculpt in our entire Imperial Productions range, and each tiny individual piece (there are eleven separate pieces that are cast separately then assembled into this figure) has been precisely crafted by hand. The figure is a showcase of David's total mastery of his medium and his absolute joy and care in his work.

The Father Christmas figure comes boxed in a special red star Imperial Productions paper. We will have it available in Chicago so that collectors can admire it up close.

We also have several other new releases in the pipeline - collectors can continue to look forward to the results of David's imagination coming to life in his hands.

We will also be releasing three new items at the show: anImperial calendar, an Imperial catalogue, and also a brand new military set in a brand new range which we hope to expand over the next few years. As a clue, we expect this new set will be of particular interest to US collectors … any guesses what it might be?

TA73 Father Christmas

In recent times there has been a growing awareness in New Zealand of the risks of lead poisoning, in particular from soil and serveware. A lot of older houses in New Zealand were painted with lead paint which may have been sanded off or flaked off over time, contaminating the soil. As a country we are also well behind other countries in regulating the use of lead in serveware, and some recent testing has shown alarming levels of lead in some cups and plates designed for use by children.

Since taking over Imperial all of our production figures have been cast in lead-free pewter. This is an alloy that is 95% tin. In terms of the process the original figurines ("masters") are still cast by David using a metal that has around 30% lead. We use the masters to make our moulds. Masters and production figures are easy to tell apart as the lead-based masters are about one third heavier than the lead-free production figures, and are a darker colour. We have procedures in place to make sure the masters and production figures do not come into contact with each other - we keep the masters in a separate cabinet in a different area of our workshop and keep our casting and mould-making activities separated.

Likewise there is no contamination potential in our casting process. We only use virgin pewter ingots (rather than recycled metal) sourced from a New Zealand refinery that has guaranteed no traces of lead in its product - in fact we switched earlier this year from a supplier who was not able to make this assurance. We do not use our furnace or moulds to cast any other kind of metal, and we do not use our filing and gluing tools on any other metal. Just to be sure, we carry out regular lead testing using kits available to consumers. In short, we have taken all of the steps we can to ensure that our product is safely lead-free!

What's the difference for the collector? If you have Imperial sets made before 2021, they will be made of a lead-based white metal. Imperial packaging doesn't have a date of manufacture but the lead figures are heavier, and smaller parts will bend more easily - and can easily be bent back into shape. If you are taking these out of their boxes or moving them for display, please wash your hands thoroughly after touching them and please keep them well away from children - despite being commonly described as "toy soldiers" they are not toys. In fact it would be illegal in a number of countries - including New Zealand - to market them as toys, which must meet product safety specifications. There is no need to take any such precautions with our lead-free pewter figures.

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July 2022

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March 2023

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