Half a century ago, the world was quite different from nowadays. Childhood was really no exception to this fact, and young boys did love to play with cowboys, Indians and war-related figures, whose main representatives were still the old toy soldiers that so many children of earlier generations had cherished so fondly. It was a world with no computers, few television, and possibly far more fantasy and imagination.
In the early sixties at the Andrea family home, toy soldiers seemed to monopolize the games of the Andrea brothers. There were some good brands in Spain at that time manufacturing high quality rubber-cast figures. The Andrea passion for miniatures was evident early on, as the brothers spent countless hours playing imaginative children's games with the figures.
This fondness for the charming figures didn't fade as time went by. On the contrary, it continued to grow year after year until the late sixties, when the Andrea brothers began to paint the old 1:72 figures from Airfix with Humbrol enamels.
Diorama realizado por los hermanos AndreaIn the seventies, an assortment of plastic figures in kit form (such as Airfix's Collector Series, Historex, or the Tamiya 1:35 soldiers) were the delight of the now teenage Andrea brothers. By this time, Fernando and Carlos Andrea were already producing the first in a series of impressive conversions. Both were students, and they spent a good share of their leisure on modelling. These were long and absorbing evenings -and sometimes whole days- planning and working together as they slowly developed the personal view of model soldier-making, deeply rooted in their early childhood, that was the basis for what later became the Andrea style in figure design.
In the seventies, an assortment of plastic kits (such as Airfix's Collector Series, Historex, or the Tamiya 1:35 soldiers) were the delight of the now teenage Andrea brothers. By this time, Fernando and Carlos Andrea were already producing the first in a series of impressive conversions. Both were students, and they spent a good share of their leisure on modelling. These were long and absorbing evenings -and sometimes whole days- planning and working together as they slowly developed a personal approach to model soldier-making, deeply rooted in their early childhood, that was the basis for what later became the Andrea style in figure design.
Also in the seventies, the two brothers reached a turning point when they met Rafael Barreira, who was then managing Barreira Militaria (the only modelling shop in Madrid dedicated exclusively to model soldiers, mostly imported from Britain back at the time). Barreira showed interest in the brothers' work and bought some pieces from them for re-sale at the shop. This was the first 'commercial operation' for the boys who ,encouraged by Barreiras's support, increased their figure production.
In addition, they discovered metal cast figures and spent most of their holiday time painting figures on commission or designing conversions and dioramas. Then came the long years at university, military service, their first jobs... Inevitably, the brotherÂ´s modelling activity decreased, although it never stopped completely.
At the beginning of the eighties, Fernando Andrea was sailing around the world as an officer in the Spanish Merchant Marine and Carlos, who had studied architecture and economics at the University in Madrid , was an executive working for a large English company. They were now making good livings, but something wasn't right. Their modelling activities had been reduced by now to practically nothing, even though both of them still dreamed of figures. They met rarely, but when they did, conversation always shifted to the same topic: 'the next figure we're going to design as soon as we can'. But the anxiously longed-for moment never arrived and it seemed as if the good old days were gone forever.
In the winter of 1983, a crucial decision was made. With the support of Carlos's girlfriend (now his wife, Concha), the brothers gave up their respective professions and founded Andrea Miniatures in order to dedicate themselves full-time to their lifelong passion, the art of miniature figures. The young company's assets were easy to compute: no money at all, no machinery, no models to be sold, no know-how on how to cast and produce figures, no premises, but tons of hopes and dreams. Although some good friends kindly offered to lend badly-needed money to cover start-up expenses, the brothers refused, since there was no reasonable guarantee for prompt repayment.
The brothers' old room at the family home, where many of the early pieces had been created, happened to be the first Andrea workshop, office and... bedroom. A long struggle then began, with feverish, 16-hour-a-day modelling sessions, no weekends, no holidays. Still, these were joyful times, marked by the appearance of several models that were painstakingly planned, researched and carried out. Some of them may seem a bit on the rough side by today's standards, but any move to drop them from the catalogue is systematically rejected on the basis that all were produced with identical dedication and effort, thus well deserving the honor of appearing in the catalogue.