A Family Enterprise
Toy Soldier Collector International|February - March 2021
George Phillips speaks to Abram Simon about the past, present and future of New Zealand-based Fleurbaix Toy Soldiers.
George Phillips

A fan of miniature warriors since before he could walk, Abram Simon inherited first his father Greg’s love for the hobby and then the toy soldier business he had carefully built over a period of four years. According to his parents, Abram was known to crawl the floors of the family home in Australia with a smile on his face and an old Britains toy soldier gripped tightly in his fist.

His father was the source of the much-loved metal playthings and a serious toy soldier hobbyist in his own right. “I apparently even tried to assist my father – though I was probably being more of a nuisance than a help – as he sought to paint the castings he bought from some of the leading manufacturers from the 1990s,” Abram recalled. As an older child, he began to engage in the carpet-top campaigns familiar to many of us and his love for the hobby grew steadily over the years. “Those early days in the hobby were full of fun and will always remain fond memories,” he said.

Family Business

Around 2008, Abram’s father – now retired from his role as a Church of England minister – came up with the idea of bringing together some of the toy soldier brands of yesteryear in a bid to reinvigorate the hobby. “He was truly passionate about allowing older generations to re-engage and fondly relive their childhood memories, while also introducing the hobby to newer generations. He wanted to encourage younger people to discover the joy of assembling, painting, and collecting toy soldiers and learning more about the many different historical periods they represent,” Abram recalled. Greg purchased the rights, masters, and molds for Rosedale, Sanderson, and VC Miniatures. More companies followed, including some of the most well-known British brands of the last fifty years. “My father chose the name Fleurbaix Toy Soldiers for the business to acknowledge the legacy of my dear Great-Great Uncle, Private Victor George Simon of the 32nd battalion of the Australian Infantry Force (AIF). Victor fell at what was originally called the battle of Fleurbaix in July 1916 which is now remembered as the Battle of Fromelles,” Abram said.

In his mid-teens at the time of the establishment of the business, Abram got involved in the business in various capacities, including casting, painting, and administration, balancing his efforts to support the business with the demands of the final years of high school.

Taking the Helm

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