A spike in sales of toy soldiers crafted in Greytown could be on the cards as momentum builds towards the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

Figurine makers Regal Enterprises have started to market a new line of World War I soldiers through the Waiouru Army Museum and part-owner Ian Farley - who runs the business with his brother Allan - said this week they will soon be on sale online and at other outlets used by the business.

The figurines will complement a "huge range" of toy soldiers already made from the 1914-18 conflict, said Mr Farley, but are different in that they are marching figures rather than fighting figures.

Mr Farley said the marching figures would tie in with the soldiers who marched over the Rimutaka Hill Road to Trentham Military Camp before embarking for overseas.

Advertisement

The business was also making New Zealand Mounted Rifles figurines, again non-fighting figurines.

Mr Farley said he thinks there will be increased interest in buying toy soldiers due to the 100th commemoration but the extent of interest was as yet unknown.

"If direct descendants of soldiers who fought in World War I bought just one toy soldier as a commemoration we would have to make thousands," he said.

The Farley brothers have been making toy soldiers for 22 years, exporting to many countries including the United States, Italy, France, Germany and Britain.

"We even make Turkish soldiers and export them to Turkey," Mr Farley said.

Dave Cowe of Imperial Productions, Greytown, said thought had been given to producing figurines commemorating the centenary.

"We already produce a set of New Zealanders at Gallipoli, in France and mounted New Zealand soldiers in Palestine."

Mr Cowe said Imperial Productions specialises in wars of the Napoleonic era and making figurines to suit.

Advertisement

He said they were "very international".