East African Rifles by Reka

The first toy soldiers in the history of the KAR are askari of the East African Rifles, made from hollowcast lead by a toy maker called Reka in London between 1910 and 1932.

The brand name ‘Reka’ came from the last four letters of the founder’s surname C.W. Baker spelt backwards.

These figures are in the 1/32 (54mm) scale which is the most common for old toy soldiers and modern models.

The East African Rifles were originally the private militia of the Imperial British East Africa Company, which was formed in 1888 to develop trade between Britain and the East Africa Protectorate (now Kenya).  They became a regular army regiment when the Company transferred its land to the British Government in 1895 and were amalgamated into the King’s African Rifles when the regiment was formed in 1902.

East African Rifles by toy maker Reka

Reka toy soldiers are rare by comparison with many other makers.  I only know these figures because of the reference to them in the old but still excellent book by Andrew Rose called “The collector’s all-colour guide to Toy Soldiers”.

I am grateful to Norman Joplin, the editor of Old Toy Soldier magazine for this photograph.