Robin Hood - Miniaturesandhistory

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Robin Hood as toy soldier
It is actually an impossible task to give an overview of all Robin Hood figures that have appeared. Robin Hood is made as a toy figure, model figure, flat figure and nowadays also in many different forms as a 28mm wargame figure. In this article we mainly limit ourselves to the somewhat more 'classic' plastic figures that were actually intended as a toy figure.
The heyday of the plastic toy figure runs from around the end of the fifties of the last century to the end of the seventies / early eighties. Especially in the 1950s, Robin Hood is extremely popular among boys. It is therefore inevitable that the toy industry will respond to this. Nearly all major toy brands come with Robin Hood figures in these years.

From the 50's to the 70's
One of the first companies to appear on the market with a complete series of Robin Hood miniatures is Benbros. In 1953 this English company comes with several metal figures. In the toy world, Robin Hood rarely stands alone. Almost always a Little John is made, a brother Tuck, Marian and of course the Sheriff of Nottingham. The latter sometimes provided with his soldiers though there was enough choice in that respect given the large numbers of knight figures that were already made in those years.
Soon several, mainly English companies followed. They especially wanted to respond to the great popularity of the TV series and films with Robin Hood . A firm like Cherilea with a rather extensive serie, complete with the Sheriff's soldiers. Britains Heralds with a series of some figures. Actually it seems that Timpo Toys was one of the rare brands that never released a plastic Robin Hood.

Free miniatures
In the packs of Kellog cornflakes you could, if you were lucky, find a free Robin Hood figure or one of the other characters. They were made by Crescent. These were unpainted figures without a brand name. They were so popular that Crescent quickly released their own figures. This time painted and marked with brand name and name of the figure.
From the US, the 54 and 60 mm figures of the Marx company were very populair. From both scales quite extensive Robin Hood series were released.
Many readers of this website are undoubtedly familiar with the Airfix sets of Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham. With a scale of 1/72 maybe not real toy figures but they were very popular.
All these figures can still to be found. Undamaged figures are rare and are sometimes expesive. But most of them can be fund on shows and Ebay and do mostly a few euros at most.

Later figures
from the 80's the popularity of the plastic toys 'soldiers' declined rapidly. However, Britain released  a whole series of Robin within their 'deetail' figures. Plastic figures on metal feet. In the 90s they were still on the market as several mini dioramas with a few accessories per set.
Perhaps due to the success of a few films, the brands Papo and Bullyland also released (larger) plastic figures during this period. These are really toys to play with and Papo also has Little John and Marian a and Robin even in several variations. These figures are often still for sale in toy stores.

Present times
There are still a lot of Robin Hood figures, but these are the characters from the Disney cartoons and that is really something else. We can however point out the very beautiful figures of King & Country that started a few years ago with a series Robin Hood. Officially called 'toy-soldiers' (of metal) but with a price of about 60 euros for a single foot figure not intended to play with. Only the British brand Replicants and the American Lod recently released a plastic 54mm Robin Hood series that we can share among the 'classic' plastic toy figures.

Cherilea

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Marx toys

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Papo

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Britains Herald

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Britains Deetail Sets

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LOD

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Replicants

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King & Country

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Airfix

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Crescent

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Benbros

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Fiction or reality?
Has anyone ever walked in the woods of Nottingham with a bunch of men who stole from the rich and gave to the poor? That is very doubtful.
The first stories about someone with a name that resembled that of Robin Hood come from ballads of the 14th century. They seem to have an even older origin and refer to an Anglo-Saxon nobleman who fought against the Norman invaders of England in the 12th century. He would have stood up for the original population. Perhaps this explains that around the name Robin Hood something had lingered about a benefactor who fought against powerful lords. It was the Normans who were in charge since 1100, with rather negative consequences for the Anglo-Saxon population.
By the way, Sherwood Forest, from which according to the stories Robin Hood worked, was in the early Middle Ages a refuge for outlaws. These were not the types that gave to the poor, but mainly robbers who were hiding in the woods. The name Robin Hood  was stood the Middle for someone with criminal activities.
Especially in the 19th century the story about Robin Hood as noble robber comes to life. With the appearance of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, Robin starts a whole new life. In many books he plays the leading role or an important supporting role. Actually always as a hero who steals from the rich and gives to the poor or otherwise as a rebel who fight for the rights of the oppressed.
Robin also becomes popular in the film. Already in 1908 a first film appears with Robin Hood and his merry men. Since then Robin plays the leading role in more than 50 films and TV-series.

Everyone wants to play the noble Robin Hood, almost every cartoon character is sometimes depicted as Robin Hood. The idea of ​​stealing from the rich and give to the poor is therefore a theme that occurs in one way or another in most cultures. So, it seems that Robin Hood never will disappear.  
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