Charles C Stadden
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Charles C. Stadden, one of the world’s most famous designers of military figures, was born in Leytonstone, East London in 1919 and lived in Rustington, Sussex. The son of a tailor, he served in the army in France, the Middle East and Italy during World War Two and continued to serve in the Territorials until the late 1960s.

After the war Stadden worked as a commercial artist, specialising in military subjects. His first figures were carved in wood, but around 1950 he teamed up with a friend, former Royal Marine C.B Hingle, and from a rented workshop in Whitechapel began producing 1 or 1.5 inch figures in white metal. These were sold with painted the brushwork being done by Hingle.

In 1951 the first 54mm figures were produced. Around 1953 the figures came to the attention of Roy Belmont-Maitland who was then running a clothing company. Belmont-Maitland is an intriguing figure. Despite the rather plummy English connotations of his double-barrelled surname he was in fact a Jewish émigré from either Eastern Europe or Germany. Belmont-Maitland had arrived in Britain in the 1930s and is said to have worked for the intelligence services during WWII. A notoriously heavy drinker, he had apparently foresworn ever driving a car after killing somebody in a motor accident.

Belmont-Maitland became so enamoured with Stadden’s models that he eventually abandoned his clothing business altogether and founded Norman Newton Ltd which became the main agent for Stadden’s work. The company’s shop, Tradition was initially located in Piccadilly, London moving first to New Bond Street and then Shepherd’s Market in Mayfair. It is now in Curzon Street.

In 1957 Hingle left the Whitechapel workshop to become a chartered accountant and was replaced by Alex Griffiths. Production continued at a staggeringly rapid rate with Stadden producing on average six new 54mm figures a month and similar numbers of smaller 30mm or 25mm figures. The speed of the process was possible because unlike most designers who built up their figures from a basic nude torso adding layers in clay or liquid solder, Stadden carved his directly from white metal.

By pioneering new techniques in mould making and production Stadden effectively kick-started the whole hobby of painting and collecting model soldiers. He went on to design for a number of other companies including Minimodels, Almark, Hinchliffe, Old Guard, Marx, Triang, Waddingtons, Meccano (He did figures to accompany the Dinky range of model AFVs), Subbuteo and, it is said, Airfix.

Stadden worked in many scales from 120mm downwards. His 1/72nd scale range (slightly larger than "true" 25mm) is small and covers a number of periods including medieval knights, Napoleonic, Crimean War and British Colonial.

The history of the figures was until recently something of a mystery to us. Charles Grant in Napoleonic Wargaming (1974) notes that that Stadden once produced a range of "one inch" figures which had by then been discontinued. In an article in Military Modelling the same author describes a Stadden Crimean War range in 25mm scale which was issued in the 1960s, never added to and then went out of production. John Garratt, meanwhile describes a similar range aimed at the wargamer and "including casualty figures" which was produced briefly between 1956 and 1957. He also describes one inch figures in the collection of US wargamer Charles Sweet that includes "British, Prussian, French, Dutch and Spanish which were withdrawn from the Stadden range after a short time and are much prized by collectors" and also "a group of Cromwellian pikemen which are even more rare".

  Stadden One Inch Napoleonic Figures  

Adding to the confusion was another one-inch range sold through Norman Newton of New Bond Street in the mid-1960s. These were the Stadden "Figurines" which included Napoleonic British, French, Russian, Prussian, Polish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and German States figures, horse and foot as well as some vignettes. The figures appear to have been sold painted.

However, according to Colonel Anders Lindstrom who now produces the Tradition ranges through his company in Sweden it was these early figures that became the basis for the Tradition 25mm range. "In the early 1970s Roy Belmont-Maitland got together all of the one-inch figures made by Charles Stadden over the previous dozen or so years and then he commissioned another designer, David Scheinmann [Belmont-Maitland’s nephew], to complete the range" Colonel Lindstrom told us.

Certainly this explains a number of things about the Tradition range, it’s slightly variable quality, for example (though good, Scheinmann’s figures are no match for those of Stadden) and the fact that some early North American Indians in our collections have the initials D.S stamped on the bases. While the Figurines range included figures not on the Tradition lists that may be explained by the fact that they were sold painted — with "conversions" effected simply by a change of colours. They may also have been individually animated.

The 1/72nd scale soldiers exude the unmistakable Stadden style. The figures are slim and anatomically well proportioned with fine detail. The British officers, gentlemen to a man, are particularly good. As Garratt notes: "These are little gems and likely to become valuable". In his Handbook for Model Soldier Collectors (1969) Don Featherstone adds to the fanfare describing the British infantry from the Crimean War range as "possibly the finest wargames figures in the world".


The original Stadden 1/72nds have an oblong base with "clipped" corners; the scale is marked on the underside along with Stadden’s signature and the code number. While this signature does not appear on the bases of Tradition infantry figures it does feature on those of some of the horses. Neither bears the 1/72nd scale marking, however.

Apparently unhappy with Tradition’s painting and animating standards Stadden stopped designing figures for the company in 1973. Shortly afterwards he set up his own firm in Twickenham, Charles C Stadden Studios which is still operating, run by his son Andrew. The full Tradition 25mm and 30mm range along with the 30mm figures of Edward Suren and Holger Eriksson is available from Tradition Scandinavia.

The site has been created by Richard Black and Harry Pearson