My brother and I recently went digging into a box of very old toys. There were many discoveries, but what stood out to me were these pre-painted plastic minis with green metal bases. They were medieval knights and soldiers and included some horses. After a quick Google search, I found out what they were. Britains Deetail Knights and Turks line of figures.
Britains Deetail (originally W. Britain) was a company that made pre-painted plastic figures during the 70s and made lead toy soldiers decades before until lead was found unsafe. We didn’t grow up in the 70s but have many toys from the period, but it appears these may have been sold during the 80s as well. The company changed manufacturing to China in the 90s, but the figures underwent changes to make them more pose-able which lost a lot of detail in the molds. We don’t have those, just the high-detail old ones.
In 1997, Britains Deetail was bought by an American company, and the brand has changed hands some since then. To this day, W. Britain still exists and still produces collectible figures. And the original lines of toys can easily be found on eBay, often for reasonable prices.
What really struck me about these figures was the amount of detail. These are still a step above typical modern plastic toys you find in stores. They’re much more comparable to hobby miniatures like Warhammer from Games Workshop. Knowing today how much I’ve gotten into gaming, I regret not having played any growing up, but I simply never knew about them. I’m sure I would have loved playing classic Warhammer or Chainmail, or even early D&D. These are a bit on the large side for miniatures games (roughly 50mm). But if you want to grab some old-school, affordable, high-detail minis, look around for some of Britain Deetails old lines. Lots of it out there.