Green plastic army men are seen piled in a container after being manufactured by J.K. Manufacturing Co. in Kalkaska, Michigan U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Green plastic army men are seen piled in a container after being manufactured by J.K. Manufacturing Co. in Kalkaska, Michigan U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The Plastic Military-Industrial Complex

Plastic toy soldiers have been around since the late 1930s and soared in popularity during the 1950s plastics boom. Photographer Luke Sharrett visited J.K. Manufacturing Co. in Kalkaska, Mich., the only plant in the U.S., says its owner, Jody Keener, that manufactures the legendary Tim-Mee soldiers. Then Sharrett drove home to Shelbyville, Ky., where he got a little carried away.

A factory worker at an injection molding machine on the factory floor at J.K. Manufacturing Co. 

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Bags of plastic granules.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The granules before being melted down inside the injection molding machine.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

A factory worker checks a bin containing plastic granules on top of an injection molding machine.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Tooling used to manufacture plastic soldiers inside a plastic injection mold machine.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

J.K. Manufacturing also makes customized soldiers in colors other than green.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Green plastic toy soldiers move down a conveyor belt.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The average price is 15¢.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

A factory worker catches the green plastic toys as they move down a conveyor belt.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

They cool off in a cold-water bath.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

A factory worker holds a handful of toy soldiers.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Drying off a batch.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Inspecting a figure.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The Tim-Mee Toys logo.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The soldiers range in size from 2 inches to 6 inches.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

After the visit, Sharrett drove home to Shelbyville, Ky., with some of the plastic soldiers. "I got a little carried away. Shooting them was the most fun I've had in a while," he e-mailed a few days later.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Sharrett used a tilt-shift lens at home to achieve a shallow depth of field and blur the lines of fantasy and reality.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Search-and-rescue operation outside a gingerbread house.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

A sweet obstacle course.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

A jarring battle.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Wading through a sudsy sink.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Fighting a brush-fire.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg