Hans Beck, the founder of Playmobil toys has died at 79.
Beck created a whole fantasy world of figures with moving arms and legs that bend at the hip, wear snap on clothes, and continue to capture the imagination of children all over the world.
More than 2.2bn figures have been produced and sold in over 70 countries. At 7.5cm tall, and promoted as "ideal for a child's grip", the figures are meant to represent real life average adult height of 175cm (5ft 7cm).
The original figures were a knight, a builder and a Native American. But the toy empire expanded hugely over the years and, alongside fairies, firefighters, nurses, jewel thieves, Egyptologists, prisoners, police tracking dogs and airport security staff are now part of the Playmobil firmament.
The trigger for the toy's creation was the global oil crisis of the early 1970s, when the price of plastics increased sixfold. Large toys which Brandstätter had produced up until then became prohibitively expensive and it was forced to rethink its product line.