Como novedad, J. Gutierrez Solana COMPTE, tomando como base los conocidos soldados de plomo antiguos de semibulto de SANQUEZ, los ha transformado para hacer una serie de la División de voluntarios españoles (250 Infenterie-Division) durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial
The firm of Greenwood & Ball is known to all collectors of model soldiers.
Figures made at its tiny workshop at Horsehay adorn dioramas in museums all over the world,
and are to be found on training tables in many of the principal military academies of the west.
The founder of the firm was John Ambler Greenwood, a salesman, born in Yorkshire,
whose territory included Shropshire. About 1936 he happened to be staying overnight at the shop in
Spring Village, Horsehay, where he played chess with Kathleen Ball, the shop keeper’s daughter.
After a game or two, Mr Greenwood thought he would improve on the figures, and “dress” them up a bit.
He fashioned a number of chess figures, such as knights in full armour, using “toy” soldiers and plastic wood,
coupled with a bit of filing and carving.
The interest grew from a hobby to a business. He gave up his job, and he and Miss Ball
teamed up to make model soldiers employing two girls to help.
Greenwood & Ball did many dioramas including one depicting the battle of Crecy for West
Point military academy in America, and several for the King Charles Tower on the walls of Chester depicting
the Civil War. During the Second World War, Greenwood & Ball supplied figures for military training tables,
on which operations such as the Dieppe raid were rehearsed. In 1947 they made the figures for the Battle for
Freedom Exhibition in London, which portrayed British history in a series of scenes, from the signing of the
Magna Carta in 1215 to the crossing of the Rhine in 1945. He also invented a game of indoor cricket.
It was followed by a substantial contribution to a United States exhibition of the pageant of
Jewish history, depicting outstanding events in that people’s history from ancient times to the establishment of
the state of Israel.
Production of the models was first begun in 1936 at the home Miss Ball, which was the small
village shop in Spring Village, Horsehay. Later, production switched to a workshop which occupies a building
often referred to as the old laboratory, and was at one time the Horsehay Home Guard guardroom. The workshop
consisted of two rooms above the old weighbridge opposite the engine shed at Horsehay Works. Mr. Greenwood was
a Captain in the Home Guard during the war, and so would be familiar with this building, and because of its
use at that period; it looks as if they must have occupied it after the Second World War.
Miss Kathleen Ball married Mr John A. Nathaniel, a quantity surveyor, in Edinburgh in 1951
and she later set up home there. The business remained at Horsehay until about 1956 when they moved to
workshop in Broseley Wood. Here they employed only one painter while Mr Greenwood continued making the models,
moulds and castings and Kathleen did the assembly and soldering. Greenwood & Ball’s clientele included American
collectors, including film legend Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, who had over 6,000 figures. There is a story that
Fairbanks visited the firm, although we haven’t come up with first hand proof that he did.
John Greenwood moved to West Ayton near Scarborough in April 1959 and continued making the
models and fishing in the Derwent near his home, a pastime which gives him time to think of new ideas for his
business. He passed away in 1971 at the age of 78 years.
In September 1985, Mrs Kathleen Nathaniel, nee Ball, donated to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum
about 250 models, of which the Director Mr. Stuart B Smith, described as the most valuable collection of objects
which the Museum has yet been given.
Original workers at Spring Village, Horsehay, about 1949-50. Left to right:- Mr. Greenwood (seated),
Eleanor Clay (standing behind), Brenda Yarnald, Mrs. Ball (Kathleen's mother), Kathleen Ball, Cynthia
Booth (standing) and seated, an American gentleman called Herbert Jackson with Mr. Greenwood's Red Setter dog called Flare.
En esta temporada, ya estoy trabajando con el proyecto de soldados semibulto.
Estoy haciendo el Ejercito y la Armada desde 1488 en posición de desfile.
Ya tengo hecho a un teniente de Infantería de Marina en uniforme de verano de media gala de 1986
Seguiré con un soldado de la Santa Hermandad de 1488 y con diversos soldados de los Batallones de Marina de 1717