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In English

NEW! Drabanten Store has now opened, See "Drabantens butik" if you want to order our 28 mm karoliner.

Welcome to Drabanten in English! We are the Swedish Society of Miniature Figures Collectors and Uniform Historians founded in 1949. Our speciality is tin figures, but we also paint plastic figures in different sizes. 

We meet on a regular basis, once a month, to share ideas about painting figures, building dioramas and to play wargames with our miniature figures. Now we are playing the battle of Waterloo in 1:72 with a computer program that keep track of troop movements, morale, fire duels and charges.

We also meet to visit museums, participate in fairs, and get together to visit places of historical interest as well as travelling abroad.

Membership is open to everyone who shares our interest and is 200 SEK for seniors for a year (2013) and 100 SEK for juniors (up to 18). Welcome with your inquiries and we will try to answer them as soon as we can.

Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Charles XII karoliner attacking the Russian army-made by Jan Arnerdal

Charles XII karoliner attacking the Russian army made by Jan Arnerdal.

Below is a short history of Prince August, a Swedish company now based in Ireland, They have recently released 4 new moulds with Russian Cavalry for the Great Northern War 1700-1721 as well as new karoliner infantry.

A SHORT HISTORY OF PRINCE AUGUST

Prince August was founded in Sweden in 1958 by Jan Edman, the father of the present owner Lars Edman. At first the company’s main activity was manufacturing and distribution of model railway accessories. It was this that led to the trade name of “Prins August”. The first trade mark was a picture of a famous steam engine named after a real prince called August. In the 1970’s this trademark was changed to the present one of a mounted cavalryman being more appropriate for the model soldiers.

The first moulds were made from plaster of Paris, a material giving very fine definition but were very fragile. They were also limiting with respects to the designs and only moulds for half round figures could be produced. It was not until 1965 when the rubber moulds were introduced that fully round figures could be contemplated.

Up to 1978 the designer of the figures was Holger Eriksson, a Swede with world reputation for his models of horses. His last soldier for Prince August was designed when he was 79 years old. The present designer, Chris Tubb, joined the company in 1978.

The company was relatively small and supplied only the Swedish home market up to 1971. That year the moulds were launched on the German market and things started to develop fast from thereon. Very soon Prince August was sold in several countries and sales expanded fast. In 1976 the mould production moved to Ireland and today the whole operation is run from Ireland.

From our base in Ireland we supply distributors and retailers throughout the world, our biggest markets being France and Sweden.

The factory is situated in the South of Ireland in the little village of Kilnamartyra. It is really a beautiful spot and there is a view for miles from the factory premises. It is the right environment for such creative work as designing and manufacturing miniature figures. The single storey building comprises of two sections each 550sq metres. One of the sections contains the manufacturing and the other is a cold storage for raw materials. There are 10 people working in the factory spearheaded by Lars Edman.

A few milestones

Modern Soldiers

The first range of products were a range of modern Swedish soldiers in 40mm scale. As the moulds were made of plaster of parish the figures could only be half-round as otherwise the figures would not release from the mould.  This type of design came from Germany where they were an evolution of the totally flat figure from engraved moulds in slate.

Karoliners

This was followed by a range of karoliners in early 1960. Again semi-flats because the moulds were still stiff.  These figures turned out to be the most popular range in Prince August and there was 48 models produced all by Holger Eriksson.

In the middle of the 1960’s the company started to produce moulds of rubber. This allowed us to introduce a range of fully rounded cowboys and Indians in 40mm scale. However only the foot figures were fully round. The cavalry was still semi-flat. This was because of the price of metal. The fully round cavalry was too heavy and the company took the decision that it was better to economise on metal rather than having a fully rounded figure. The range became a huge hit in Sweden and the company promoted the range all over Sweden by doing live demonstration in stores and public venues. It became a big product in Stockholms most prestigious department store called NK.  Another leap forward came when the buyer in NK moved job to the department store chain called Åhlens. Naturally he took on the Prince August brand in all the stores all over Sweden.  So all of a sudden tin casting was distributed all over Sweden. And sales expanded fast and we were selling 20-30k of starter kits every year.

Operating on a small budget a lot of creativity was used. One of them was handing out flyers outside schools attracting kids by the hundreds to the local demonstrations. It caused some objections from the headmasters as the kids left the flyers on the ground.   

Another promotion was to have company vehicles painted in bright colours and sign written with slogans like ‘when did you last give your child a toy?’

In 1971 the product was shown to a German supplier called Heki who decided to give the product a try. After a slow start they discovered that the karoliners could be converted to Fredrick the great soldiers. Prince August took off in Germany and desperately we were expanding production and extended the nursing home with a manufacturing hall.  The range was expanded but Holger Eriksson was getting older and found it difficult to come up with new figures.  Also the quality of the figures was going downhill. Holgers last figure for us was model number 49 which wasn’t great and was later remodelled by Chris Tubb. He designed the extension of this range by a number of 7-years war soldiers number 50 to 72. Sales declined in Germany and we tried to reactivate interest by launching a range of 54mm Prussian figures.

In the early eighties we started to produce fully round 25mm figures by demand from the UK and US market. The first range was a Battle of Waterloo range followed by a fantasy Dungeon and Dragons range.

In the middle of the 80ties our distribution in Sweden wanted to spice up sales and we decided to release the karoliner range and C. Tubb designed a complete new range which is still on sale. This range was a big success and the products took of again. The fantasy range also took off in the eighties as Swedish kids discovered fantasy role playing.

In 1988 Prince August launched Mithril Miniatures based on JR Tolkiens books the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. These were ready cast and had a very high level of detail and lifelike animation.  As the collectors grew older the demand for  quality figures increased. Unfortunately with our moulds we can not control the quality of the figure as it is up to the casting skill of each consumer. Hence we had to move into ready cast figures to satisfy the discerning collector.

Mithril was an instant success and 22 years later we have done over 500 different models. Today there is a hard-core collectors club called the Fellowship which is the mainstay of Mithrils business. The members of the club submit suggestions for new figures and then a winner is voted by the members. This happens once a month and then C. Tubb designs the figure and 3 months later it becomes available to the members.

In the nineties we had very good demand from the adult hobbyist and to satisfy them we introduced a number of adult products like chess sets and 54mm figures.  Another feature of the nineties was the large amount of money available from people who had made easy money on the stock market. Hence more and more people started to ask for painted figures and we started with hand painted chess sets.  It was a product which took off and in year 2000 we had 45 outworkers painting chess figures.

In 1968 the son of Lars Edman joined the company. It was suppose to be a temporary job as Lars was waiting to do his military service. 42 years later he is still running the company. The founder is this year nearly 90 years of age and living in Lidingö. He has not been involved in running Prince August since 1981.

The Movements

The company started off in rented accommodation in Bromma 1958. It then moved to Stuvsta where it operated from the basement of a large domestic house where the Edman family also lived. In 1969 it acquired an old nursing home in Vagnhärad appr 65km from Stockholm.  In 1976 the manufacturing moved to Ireland but the head office was still in Sweden. Due to illness in the family Jan Edman decided to retire in1981. Lars then took over all the responsibility for the Prince August toy soldier brand.

The Future

The Karoliner range is being expanded. There are 4 new moulds being introduced in January. The research for these figures has been provided by Didrik Ehrenborg and some Drabanten members.  It is very important for Prince August to have this support as military history is very complicated and quite often judgements call has to be made.  Information can vary with source and it is important to pick the opinion which is prevailing. The new range will also include some opposition.  Further figures will follow.

In a traditional hobby it important that the taste of children changes hugely influence by the media like films and tv. Prince August is currently experimenting with a range of craft products like fairies and teddy bear fridge magnets. It is important to feed the hobby with new members which enjoy the casting and painting of miniatures.

Our main raw material is tin, bismuth and lead. All of them are under severe upwards price pressure. Unfortunately this is a reality and we are actively looking at alternatives. There are modified alloys on the market with low melting points which could be suitable.  Unfortunately the inventors of the alloys do not sell them but instead sells them as finished product.  Another alternative would be plastic injection moulding material. It is not the same feel and excitement as metal casting but the cost of the figures would be 10% of metal ones.

Prince August

Kilnamartyra

Macroom

Co. Cork

Ireland

Tel. +353 26 40222, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.princeaugust.ie

 

Karoliner and Russian cossacks

Prince August Karoliner receiving a Cossack attack during the Great Northern War 1700-1721. Diorama and picture by Jan Arnerdal.

Be inspired by our video - The battle of Fredericksburg - a game that we have been playing with 15 mm Minifigs figures using Fire & Fury rules! Diorama made by Ola Kjellberg and (minifigs) figures painted by Ola Kjellberg.

http://animoto.com/play/OUYOo1ZVAgok7k5j1xLgPw?utm_content=challenger

 

 

 
 
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