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action figure - Captain Peg-Leg

Captain Peg-Leg

  • Object:

    action figure

  • Place of origin:

    Hong Kong (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1974 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lesney Products & Co Ltd (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    PVC, painted; printed card and paper.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

‘Fighting Furies’ were produced by Lesney under their Matchbox brand during the mid-1970s. Originally pirate toys, they later included American Wild West accessories and characters. The toys are very much in the tradition of the adventure stories that were popular with young people since the 19th century, although ‘Fighting Furies’ are particularly reminiscent of 1930s and 1950s ‘swashbuckler’ films.

The pirates, Captain Peg-Leg and Hook, bear many standard characteristics associated with fictional pirates: prostheses, cutlasses, tattoos and romantic outfits. Their characters were originally supposed to have been rivals who later joined forces, embarking on a range of themed exploits described by the Adventure, Disguise and Action Pack accessory sets which were available for them.

Physical description

Boxed action figure. The doll has a hard PVC body and a soft PVC head, with painted facial features. It represents a dark-skinned main with black hair and moustache, dressed in blue breeches, a voluminous white shirt, and a brown waistcoat. Around the figure's waist is a pink sash. The left leg wears a black PVC knee-high boot, whereas the right leg represents a turned wooden leg. A small cap at the ferrule can be detached, revealing a rolled-up treasure map. With the figure is a grey plastic cutlass accessory. A button on the figure's proper left side activates a swinging action for the right arm.

The box is of colour printed card, it shows a scene of a ship's deck at sea beneath a dramatically-clouded sky. In the background are two fighting pirates, and another rigged sailing ship, which is on fire. Inside the box is a printed paper booklet, telling the background story of the Fighting Furies.

Place of Origin

Hong Kong (manufactured)


1974 (manufactured)


Lesney Products & Co Ltd (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

PVC, painted; printed card and paper.


Height: 22 cm figure

Object history note

Purchased in 2016 [2017/168].

Historical context note

Romantic, exciting and frightening stories about pirates and buccaneers have been told for centuries, with pirates alternately filling the role of dashing heroes, ambiguous anti-heroes and outright villains. The general twentieth century depiction of pirates and their activities was primarily descended from two fictional characters: the cunning, likeable and morally suspect Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1882); and the highly-strung and flamboyant Captain James Hook from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (1904). Silver’s appearance and personality was based on accounts of historic pirates from the historic ‘Golden Age’, formidable, charismatic and driven; Hook was a more comedic confection, concerned more with looking the part of a pirate than with committing actual piracies. From these we were given the caricatures of buried treasure on remote islands, prosthetic limbs and talking parrots, among other things. Pirates remained consistently popular throughout the century, peaking particularly in the 1930s and 1950s.

Lesney Products & Co Ltd are best known for their range of die-cast toy vehicles marketed under the ‘Matchbox’ trade name. It was founded in 1947 as an industrial die-casting company by Leslie Smith (1918-2005) and Rodney Smith (1917-2013), the company’s name was derived from their given names. Lesney’s first toy car was made from 1948, and their first toys produced under the ‘Matchbox’ brand were available from 1953. As well as toy cars, action figures, slot cars and scale model soldiers were also produced by Lesney as ‘Matchbox’ toys.

Descriptive line

Boxed action figure, 'Fighting Furies' (Cap'n Peg Leg), Matchbox/Lesney Products Ltd., 1974


Paper; PVC


Painting; Printing

Subjects depicted



Dolls & Toys; Plastic

Production Type

Mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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