My grandmother kept a shoebox full of toy soldiers in the living room. Boys played with them when they visited. There was various army men in different shades of olive drab, a couple of Indians, some cowboys and a few other odd pieces. My cousin was a very small boy at the time. He loved to open the box of soldiers and line up all the marching men. That would amuse him for hours.
Of course, this was not limited to metal figures. Herald produced its sets of British Guardsmen. including the red-coated Coldstream Guards in Busbys and the Horse Guards in curaiss and shiny helmet. Britains made many sets of parade units in vinyl, including regular marchers and bands. Things went a different way with army men sold by the bag. A few men in marching poses might be included, but most of the figures were in action poses. A boy might need two or three bags to have enough marchers to fill a squad.
I remember when the Airfix HO / OO soldiers were first introduced to my neighborhood half a century ago. There were German infantry, an Allied Infantry Combat Group and a handful of others. Among them were Coldstream Guards in red and a Guards "Colour Party" in a pinkish color. We called them "parade men." Back then, they were less desirable than a case of Minesweepers and Dead Guys.