Metal Modeles

The company, founded in November 1989 by Bruno Leibovitz, is based in the south of France in Seillans, a typical medieval village in the Var region. The Métal Modèles team consists of three highly trained and dedicated artisans. Métal Modèles specializes in the creation and the fabrication of 54 mm historical figurine kits that are ready to be assembled and painted, featuring soldiers from the Napoleonic era. Our large selection of horsemen and infantrymen are representative of the regiments of the Grande Armée and illustrate various aspects of the First Empire’s soldiery.
We also showcase other important historical periods. These include the Great War (1914 to 1918) with a series of 54 mm combatants that were, for the most part, created by Didier Daniel and the Second Empire with a series of soldiers from that period that we have recently launched. Since 2004, Métal Modèles has expanded its palette of genres and styles and has launched a series of 80 mm sensual figurines by acquiring the legendary English brand Phoenix. To maintain the level of quality our brand is known for, all the pieces in this series have been restored, and new molds have been made for the entire series. Métal Modèles is also exploring new artistic territory and standards by proposing sculpted busts (created by Michel Saez), a fantasy series (imagined and created by Allan Carrasco), as well as various 75 mm and 90 mm pieces.

Bruno Leibovitz

Bruno Leibovitz’s debut in the world of historical miniatures and models was marked by a fortunate encounter with the highly renowned Parisian artisan Monsieur Jacques Bittard who ran and owned a lead soldiers shop under the arches of the Palais Royal square in Paris. With Monsieur Bittard Bruno Leibovitz, already a plastic figure modeler, was initiated to the art of lead soldier making (i.e. mold making, conception and soldering iron technique).

After his military service, Bruno Leibovitz embarked on a rich and varied artistic career: as a figurine painter, he created his first series of historical miniatures to be sold in distinguished Parisian shops.

Durant cette période qui mêle apprentissage et mise en pratique de l’expérience acquise, Bruno Leibovitz s’oriente peu à peu vers la création de pièces uniques en plomb.

Entirely made of metal (brass and copper bases coated in lead) and decorated with oil paint, these one-off pieces, most of which were sold by La Vieille France boutique on rue St. Honoré, Paris, were soon deemed to be desirable by international collectors. These collectors’ informed attention contributed to the figures’ world-wide reputation.

In the ’80s, a new approach to historical figurines developed. British manufacturers popularized figurines in kits and thus offered the lead soldier its entry into the world of the scale model. New shops opened, manufacturers became more and more numerous, and specialized magazines were launched.

During the 1985 Bruno Leibovitz presented Jacques Vuyet (owner of Le Cimier and propagator of the figurine kit concept) with the first prototypes of a thematic series based on the marshals and generals of the First Empire. It was an immediate success! The historical figurines, which represented Lasalle and Murat, were the first in a series which now consists of 20 figurines. The figurines in this series are still our best sellers.

The easy assembling experience alongside the unusual attention to detail provided by the figurines in kits contributed to the development of a hobby that provided ample opportunities for adult figurine modelers to express their love of precision. During the following years, Bruno Leibovitz’s time was shared between several activities, mainly the creation of prototypes and the making of one-off pieces.

When Bruno Leibovitz’s brother (Serge Leibovitz) created a company in 1987 that manufactured decorative tin airplane models in Seillans, the idea of sharing the casting equipment was born. It was with very little experience but a great deal of curiosity that Métal Modèles was started. In 1988, the first figurines were launched in partnership with Serge Leibovitz’s company. In 1991, Métal Modèles became a separate company.

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