Schweinsteiger, 31, has “handed over the matter to his lawyers,” a Manchester United spokeswoman told The Daily Beast.
“We are sorry but we will not comment the issue in detail,” Bastian's Munich-based football agent, Avantgarde Football, said in an email. “The only thing we can tell you is, that we will take legal actions against the producer of the dolls.”
The dolls, according to one German legal expert, constitute not just a violation of Schweinsteiger’s ‘personality rights,’ but also a defamation of his character and insult.
Schweinsteiger signed to Manchester United in a reported $22 million, three-year deal in July.
On its website, DID says it is a manufacturer of “12 inch (1:6 scale) collectable action figurines.” The company was established in 2003, is based in Hong Kong, and has factories in South China.
Its website lists a number of World War Two-related dolls—inspired by German, American, and British soldiers—as well as “modern military” figures, like “Weimy,” who is supposed to be a member of the U.S. Navy’s ‘Special Boat Team’, and animals.
There are figures inspired by the Blues and Royals and Life Guard regiments of the British Army, and Doberman Pinschers.
There is also a 12” Napoleonic Action Figure series, 12” Japanese Samurai Action Figure series, 12” Fashion Figure series, 12” Movie Figure series, 12” X-Games / Sports Figure series and 1: 6 scale accessories series (including a 1:6 Scale Army Vehicle), 1:6 Scale Weapon Accessories, 1:6 Scale Leather Shoes and Uniform Accessories, even a ‘1:6 Ultimate Realistic’ series, which includes horses.
“The detailed and realistic figures are universally recognized as setting the new benchmark in high-quality collectable figures,” DID boasts.
There are over 60 pictures featuring the ‘Bastian’ dolls, which sell for around $120 each.
The handsome Teutonic soldier is variously pictured in outdoor clothing, and a more formal uniform, lugging around his water flagon, his food provisions (including amazing vegetable detail), and rucksack, with accessories like a sheathed knife hanging from it.
Patrick Chan, a DiD representative in Hong kong, told Bild: “We offer no figures based on the football. The resemblance is purely coincidental. The figure is based on a typical German. We believe most Germans look like this. Bastian is a common name in Germany.”
However, Bastian the doll does look remarkably like Bastian the footballer.
There are numerous pictures of the doll’s smiling face in profile, straight-on, or at a slight angle. He has bucked teeth. He seems to be a happy fighter, and has a sporty white anorak, to partner with his more staid parade-ground uniform.
Needless to say, all this murderous dashing about under Hitler’s instruction means Bastian has an amazing waist (obvious because of his belted jackets), even if one of his favorite accessories are two loaves of bread.
Bastian the doll holds these carbs close, and you can even purchase them separately. Bastian has both gloves and mittens, helmets and balaclavas—the latter he teams together.
DID’s other dolls include a similarly well-dressed Stalin, who has both long overcoat, and shorter, fitted jacket and trousers. He has his hand help up in salute, as well as with pipe. In every picture, his moustache is luxuriant.
Stalin appears alongside Winston Churchill, both men pictured giving each other serious side-eye, as well as shaking hands.
A totally separate category features that great patriotic symbol, the British bulldog.
On its website, DiD, which stands for Dragon In Dream, says enthusiastically of its war-celebrating “mission”: ‘Leading the way!’ is our slogan as DID is always leading the collectible action figure industry.
“We will keep trying our great best to produce unique and dynamite figures for the hobby world, and of course, we will offer our fans a reasonable price in getting those collector-oriented figures as always. So, Expand your army! Expand your collection! DID promise to bring the best products for your buck!”
DID says it works with “other famous international toy companies, like Hasbro in UK and Bandai in Japan. The high quality products that DID produced have won highly appreciation from many magazines continuously. And some of our collectable products are even being displayed in museums.”
The company did not return a Daily Beast request for comment.
The copy was updated to include a comment from Schweinsteiger's football agent.