Elastolin was unquestionably the largest toy line that O & M Hausser from Germany ever created. When the company was formed in 1904, it concentrated on creating toy soldiers and other figures. One of these toy lines was the Elastolin figurines, which the company created around 1912. There were a few different scales for these toy soldiers. Elastolin toys could be found at a 4 cm, 6.5 cm, 7 cm, and 10.5 cm scale. However, the most common, normal size, for these figures was the 7 cm, or 1/24th scale, size.
During the early decades, like the 1930s, Elastolin’s toy soldiers based on the military had multiple themes. There were the Heer series that featured authentic uniforms from World War II German soldiers. There were marching panzer troops, infanterie, and even parade troops. They also produced toys that represented the Kreigsmarine, German’s naval troops from 1935 until 1945. Otherwise, some toys represented Germany’s Luftwaffe and Paramilitary troops.
Aside from generic troops, O & M Hausser’s Elastolin toy line featured specific historical characters and people, which were referred to as personality figures. As the line existed during the start of World War II, there were figures of some of the leaders of the Axis countries, including Mussolini and Franco.
The production of these toys remained constant until 1943 when Germany’s laws restricted the production of toys. The company then quickly rebounded after the war ended in 1945. However, in the wake of the war, they found that most of the public did not want to buy toy soldiers. This led to them seeking out more cost-effective measures to produce the toys, like using plastics instead of composite materials. They also switched up the theme of their soldiers, starting with a Wild West theme.
By 1955, O & M Hausser began making Elastolin toys using hard polystyrene plastics instead of the original sawdust-based compositions. Even though they were now producing cheaper plastic toys, they continued to create composition toy soldiers until fully phasing them out in 1969. Thus, any toys bought after 1970 were certainly created with plastics.
After the success of the Wild West theme, O & M Hausser continued to create toys that represented historical characters and military units. This led to an exclusive contract with Karl May to produce toys based on historical characters from the publisher’s books. Elastolin also featured characters from other movies and media, like 20th Century Fox’s Prince Valiant.
Along with the new licensed figures, Elastolin featured many other historic troops. For instance, right after the war concluded, they changed gears to create toys resembling American troops. They continued to produce figurines of cowboys from the American West. However, some of their most successful toy soldiers were medieval-style troops.
By the 1980s, Elastolin was featuring multiple historic troops. There were warriors from the Hun, Roman, and Viking forces. There were also multiple medieval calvaries within their line-up. Other represented groups were Arabians, Turkish, and US, Revolutionary troops. Even the Royall Canadian Mounted Police appeared in the toy line.
Beyond the fighting forces, Elastolin featured a few civilians so that collectors could create an entire scene from history. These civilians featured groups like blacksmiths, which medieval troops relied on. Otherwise, there were figurines of generic women and children from historic periods, like America’s Wild West.
Despite Elastolin being big enough to become synonymous with an entire genre, O & M Hausser could not survive past the 1980s. As the industry changed over the decades, the company’s financial standing slipped. Thus, they closed their doors in 1983, ending the Elastolin toy line for good. Despite the failure of the company, the spirit of Ealstolin remained alive with the company Preiser using the molds to create similar toys.
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