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THE CHARLES BIGGS BRITAINS COLLECTION
Charles Biggs has enjoyed an association with Britains models for more than forty years and is one of the world's leading experts in the design and production of metal models.
In 1947, at the age of fifteen, Charles started his apprenticeship as a hand die-sinker and engraver for Wilmore & Sons, trade hollow-cast lead model and mould makers for companies such as Timpo Toys. Despite working long hours, he studied life drawing and sculpting two nights a week.
Charles continued at Wilmore & Sons until National Service intervened in 1954 and thence to Britains in 1956. The start of his long and illustrious career there coincided with Dennis Britain's crucial purchase of 55 of Herald Miniatures. It also reunited him with Roy Selwyn-Smith after their time together at Wilmore & Sons. Now a director of Britains, he supervised Charles when he began as a plastic die-sinker, working on such classic Herald models as the Robin Hood series, the American Civil War series, Cowboys, Indians, Trojans, Farm and Zoo models.
In 1957 Charles helped to formalise the first Britains design department; all design was previously on a piecemeal basis, with the duties shared among staff. The ingenious Swoppet range was the first direct result of the new department. Britains soon recognised Charles' talents and he was rewarded with the position of Chief Designer. The department was moved to the Head Office in Kings Cross and new product developments included the Stage Coach, Floral Miniature Garden, the Indian Tepee and the Cowboy Buildings.
Charles and his team began developing a new range of products and in 1971 the Deetail range of products were launched, backed by his very strong support for metal models. These plastic figures developed with metal bases proved to be a huge success, which convinced the board to allow development of further diecast models.
Further landmarks included the 1978 Massey-Ferguson MF760 Combine Harvester - UK Toy of the Year - and the Limited Edition sets of 1983. In the following year, Charles was made Director of Design by the new owners, Dobson Park plc, and further diecast releases were made.
In 1993 Charles founded 'The Charles Biggs Model Company' while continuing as Britains' design consultant during the hollow-cast centenary celebrations. Since then he has created thirty-one World War One models in the 'Premier' range and developed a range of diecast models exclusively for William Britain.