Home Page  -   Contact  -   About  -   Links  -   FAQ  -   Blog






The History of Soldiers' Soldiers

Some known "TEECUS", TCUs ~ Tunstill's Cock-Ups!!!

Taken from an original leaflet produced in 1986
Some more history of Soldiers' Soldiers, and including a partial listing of "Teecus", now the most valuable and sought after figures from the entire range. Have you got any?

The first batch of figure No.159 were cast with cavalry cross belts and pouches instead of infantry sergeant's sashes. Ed Ruby in America is known to have a casting, given by John Tunstill on the 15.8.1981.
Figure No. 241 was designated " Seated bandsman in peaked cap", in the catalogue of August 1981. 241 figures had already been cast as an "Officer in Home Service Helmet and greatcoat, marching"..
The number 290 was used on figure 290 and also on figure196, both figures carried the number 290 for about 6 months.
Many of No 305, up to 1982, had no number, but the designation AR (Andrew Rose).
No.236, Royal Marine bandsman, made with infantry bayonet not bandsman's sword.
Some Sikhs, No. 279, cast with 280 on base.
No. 154 was misnumbered 152,.
No. 238 Footguard musician - several were made without pouch and half of the sword scabbard mssing.
Many Indian Army figures for NAM carried a wrong number.
Territorial band drummer figure marked 240 (should have been 263).
Home Service Helmet figure No. 262 was marked 239.
Footguard side drummer was made at the quick march instead of slow march. Hussar side drummer was made in boots and without a strap for his drum and apron.
Marching footguard - No. 18 was made with an officers bearskin.
All bass drummers, up to March 1980 were made with the base of the "Y" drum ties to the left when facing drummer, afterwards base of Y went to right, except Hussar base drummer 316.
No. 263 was first drummer to have base lengthened to prevent toppling - also had drum on wrong way round.
No. 150 had 153 on base.
No. 154 had 152 on base.
No. 83 originally made as GC ?? at attention in Home Service Helmet on square base, two pegs for arms. Then both arm and rifle at attention position and then at attention but rifle at shoulder.
This type of thing happened to a number of figures. Confused? So am I.

No. 214 - Seated bandsman in peaked cap was confused with Home Service Helmet officer in parade order marching in great coat which also bore the same number for a while.
No. 21 was misnumbered no. 23 and some painted and unpainted figures were distributed.
No. 266 sailor bandmaster in cap marching, misnumbered 271.
Footguard side drummer at slow march was numbered 238 instead of 239.
No. 323 Line infantry band drummer in improved Wolsley helmet was made at the slow march, instead of quick march.
Many of No. 18, Guardsman Parade Order Marching, were made without bayonet frog.
No 24 Rifleman Parade Order at Attention was made with rifle in attention position as well as held at the shoulder.
No. 76 was incorrectly numbered as 87.
No. 285 has drum hitched to waistbelt not hanging from his knee.
The Belgian Grenadier was given the wrong No.

Painters prices August 80 to August 81
15p - Basic
16p - Highland
1p - Arms


Painters prices August 80 to August 81
16p - Basic
17p - Highland
1p - Arms

Latter part of 1978 saw the introduction of several new bands, and Sailors in cap and straw hats, dismounted, Royal Scots Greys, Gurkhas, seated Rifle Brigade and County Regiments.

First bandsmen were introduced in summer of 1980.

Due to redevelopment the Shop was moved from No. 36 to Nos. 44/46 in August of 1980.

Reject figures were often poorly painted or painted in incorrect colours or shades, artistic licence!

1979 saw the introduction of Punjab band, tourist figures, parking warden (sailor officer no.68), policeman, Beefeater, and dismounted Life or Horse Guard. Dismounted Hussar, Dragoon and Lancer bands introduced, Dervish was made as a special for collector who had a huge square of British Infantry, at Omdurman, but only one plastic Arab as the enemy!!!

Variety of numbers between 145 and 200 filled in.

Retail prices in August 1982; unpainted figures 1.45; painted figures 2.15; box of 8, 18.50; box of 16, 37.50.

Painters received 16p for a basic figure. Castings cost 35p. Painters on a regular basis Herbie Howell, now suffering from thrombosis of the legs, and regularly producing 100 each week. David Gracie, painting in school holidays and producing about 25 each week when free. Mr Coomber and his son also did some painting and probably averaged 35 per week during this period.

Figures up to and including no. 335 were all in regular production. New box liners were introduced during July, these had a multipurpose cut out instead of three different slots for "at ease", "at attention", and "marching".

During August new liner labels were introduced which suggests that the original order of 1000 had all been used on boxed sets. The new order was for 2000 and the illustration on the liner showed the shop at 44/46 Kennington Road with a grop of Britain civilians outside. The previous liner had "Slaters" written above a shop front, thus misleading some costomers who asked for "Slaters" soldiers! These boxes, if found, really command a premium.

From September 1982 all Scots became Gordon Highlanders with white hackles and yellow facings. Sailors in anklets or gaiters had them whitened instead of brown, for the guard order figures.

A few of the original "standing at attention" box liners were discovered in September 1982 and these now had the new liner label stuck on, a rare combination.

From October 1982 Line Infantry regiments received white facings instead of dark blue, jacket front and rear of coat were also piped white.

Lancers were painted in red jackets and Dragoons also were in red. All figures in Foreign Service Helmet and Imperial Wolseley Helmet were available in red, khaki or white tunics. 173 and 174 were painted up in many different regimental styles.

In October of 1983 plans were put forward to establish a soldier factory in the midlands. The person who had been casting and mouldmaking since the start of Tunstilll's soldiers expressed keen interest in becoming works manager of the new enterprise.

Despite finding premises in Kettering and generally agreeing on the terms and conditions for the new works, the prospective manager was unable to proceed, and the idea was shelved.

Bernard Simpson, who had some eighteen months previously expressed an interest in becoming a model maker, was approached and then engaged as works manager for a paint shop situated in the basement of 44/46 Kennington Road, London SE1.

The castings continued to be supplied by M J Mode of Ruby Street, Leicester, though the proprietor Jim Johnstone was less and less able to meet deadlines and delivery schedules.

A Guards drummer boy figure has been described, but not seen, by a customer who states that he has a drummer boy with a mans head i.e. a moustache. Another rarity, find it if you can.

Special paintings of standard figures were undertaken, usually in small quantities, and some of these figures would have been sold through the shop. an Italian "nobleman", silk shirts, castle, estate, money, the lot commissioned various sets of figures, which he generally researched. The figures, although not in great quantities, hardly ever more than three or four sets at a time, were produced for several years as a very regular feature. They are listed with an "a", "b", "c" addition to the numbers in the regular catalogue. We went to Italy, he's dead, and we bought a monastry, with museum, ( you'll find out about the Nazi gold bars when you come to visit) and now his mint boxed collection has been sold back to us by his executors.

There must be many more TEEKUS out there waiting to be found, and their values, who knows?

I am prepared to offer you three late production boxes of figures for any early slim "Slaters" box, in good order complete with contents with square bases.

John Tunstill 2003 Calzolaro, Italy