Last Author: Norbert Schrepf
Personality FiguresPortrait figures are one of the most fascinating facets of collecting composite toy soldiers. A look at the numerous portrait figures produced by Hausser and Lineol during their heyday.
Adolf Hitler in civilian clothes by Hausser
Belgian King by Lineol
Benito Mussolini with procelain head and movable arm by Hausser
Rudolf Hess with movable arm by Hausser
Herrmann Göring with porcelain head by Hausser
Paul von Hindenburg in civilian clothes by Hausser
HausserHausser/Elastolin produced its first personality figure, Kaiser Wilhelm II, during World War I. After the Germans defeated the Russians at Tannenberg in East Prussia in 1914, a figure of the commanding field marshal Paul von Hindenburg was produced too. The size of these figures was about 12 cm in height. However in these days boys liked to replay the battles, about which they heard stories from their fathers. Therefor, soldiers in fighting positions were much more popular and common than personality figures. At the end of World War I the emperor abdicated and went into exile to the Netherlands while von Hindenburg retired. As a result personality figures did not play a major role in the production lines of Hausser or Lineol for quite some time.
The 1932 Hausser catalogue offers for the first time a figure of the leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler. This figure shows Hitler in typical party uniform with a brown shirt. An interesting detail is the fact that the right arm could be moved, so the figure could also raise its arm into the well known Nazi salute. This seems to be the start of a whole series of personality figures made by Hausser and Lineol. By 1934, the Hausser catalogue offered no less than eight figures of Nazi leaders with Hitler, Goebbels, Göring and Hess among them. Also the figure of Ernst Röhm the Leader of the SA was offered. However there was a problem when Röhm was killed on Hitler’s order at the same time the figure was produced. Röhm was accused of trying to overthrow the Führer. Now Hausser was stuck with a stock of figures which could not be easily sold. Hausser responded by offering the figures as a generic SA leader - even though it actually depicted Röhm. Another interesting figure is a model of Hitler sitting in a vehicle. Hausser, however, did not produce an appropriate car for this figure. This figure too had a movable arm and represented Hitler in Nazi uniform.
LineolLineol produced figures of Hitler, Göring and von Hindenburg in 1934. That catalogue also offered a figure titled as the Head of the SA. However it is not known if this figure really does represent Röhm like the Hausser model does. It seems that the demand for personality figures was quite high, as the 1935 Lineol catalogue offered twelve different models representing VIPs of the Third Reich. Two interesting figures are the models of General Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg. Elastolin produced figures of this General at the same time. He was the head of the German army and Minister of Defence in 1938 when he was forced to retire by Hitler. Therefore Hausser and Lineol offered this figure in their later catalogues as the figure of a generic General - the same trick employed with the Röhm figure.
The composition toy soldier makers produced more than just German personalities. The 1936 Lineol catalogues unveiled two different figures of the Italian leader Mussolini. One figure shows Mussolini standing at attention, while the other one represents him riding on horseback. Hausser and Lineol produced a wide variety of non-German personality figures in the ensuing years. Examples include two English kings George VI and Edward VIII. Also produced were Belgian and Danish kings as well as the emperor of Abyssinia, Haile Selassi I. The model of the Abyssinian emperor was accompanied by a figure of a servant carrying an umbrella to protect him from the heat of the sun.
Porcelain HeadsThe personality figures must have been quite popular, because around 1937 Hausser introduced a new technique for its models. From that time onward, Hausser manufactured the heads of these figures separately and made them out of porcelain. This had the advantage that the faces could be produced much more realistically, because porcelain heads do not shrink and change form during the manufacturing process, which was a problem with composition. Consequently, these figures are the most wanted by collectors of composition figures.
Total Production PeriodeHausser and Lineol produced about 100 different personality figures until the end of World War II. Most of the German personality figures were amongst the war criminals in the aftermath, so these figures were no longer produced. However in the late 1960s Hausser tried to produce a new set of personality figures made of plastic. The only two figures of this series represent German Chancellors, Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard. Because the line was not expanded, it seems that this model series was not as successful as the prewar series.
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