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The head of the family that owns Playmobil, Horst Brandstätter, has been known to drift into Euro-populism when explaining the decision to invest in new German production lines during the past five years.
What of Europe's cultural identity? Examination of Playmobil figures reveals interesting things. Europeans are squeamish about warfare and armies. American shelves groan under tanks and muscle-bound action heroes; European parents are less keen. Playmobil tanks and warplanes “could certainly make big money,” says Mrs Schauer, since children write in demanding such things. But Playmobil will not make them. Europe's history, especially Germany's, rules it out. The firm also avoids links with violent licensed brands, such as Spiderman, saying it prefers older stories that leave children's imagination free to roam.