Oh, I absolutely agree. Toy soldiers (to me, YMMV) are approximately 54mm tall, generally metal and glossy. Minimal assembly required–and perhaps more simplistic paint styles. There are also some plastics I’d clump in here, too, such as BMC and Armies in Plastic. I think H.G. Wells, R.L. Stevenson, old school school gaming with a certain amount of naivety and innocence. I also think of toy soldiers as being more likely to be collected for their own sake.
Model soldiers can be any scale, but generally have more parts, more assembly required and tend to be more realistic. Their ultimate use is either in the activity of assembly itself, or in smaller scales for gaming. These are flexible parameters, though. For example, I have a book by Curt Johnson entitle ‘Battles of the American Revolution’ illustrated with photographs of Peter Gilder’s Hinchcliffe figures. Toy soldiers! I recall a book about ancient Rome illustrated with pictures of 20mm (?) Romans vs. Macedonians. Toy soldiers!
Thankfully, I enjoy modeling and gaming so I appreciate both aesthetics for what they are.
Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/