Parents looking to give their kids a head start in life are snubbing traditional action figures like ‘Action Man’ and ‘Barbie’ in favour of such as historical icons as Einstein and Van Gogh. Instead of conventional toys mums and dads are forking out for the new range so youngsters can learn and play at the same time. Dubbed “intellectual Action Man” or “Barbie with a brain”, the toys which sell for around 10 pounds a time are flying off the shelves. While ‘Action Man’ comes kitted out with guns, body armour and the trademark moving eyes, the Van Gogh figure has its own easel and paint brush. Dutch painter, Van Gogh, famously cut of his own ear – and the figure even comes with a spare head wrapped in bandage. The William Shakespeare figure is dressed in the Bard’s familiar 16th century clothing and comes with a book and quill. A Marie Antoinette doll has a removable wig and dress and, in tribute to the fact that she was beheaded, the figure’s head flies off at the push of a button.