About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Introduction / Explanation

This will always be a 'work in progress' as photographs are added or upgraded and missing bits are slotted in. Aiming to be no more than a guide to the figural production of Airfix Products.

Wherever possible it will quash urban myths or commonly held beliefs which are incorrect, most of which have grown-up during the 'Internet Years'.

As many search terms as possible will be used in order that anyone visiting whether familiar with Airfix or a new collector/casual browser will be able to find what they want, either singly or in groups of similar size, period or subject matter using the 'Click-on Index' to the right. Likewise the title-blocks will be as comprehensive as possible so they can be discerned in the 'Blog Archive' feature on the left of the page.

As this is designed to be a sort of second page for the Small Scale World blog, there was going to be no 'comments' feature, but I've enabled it, still, anyone with an issue concerning the factual accuracy of any entry can eMail me with supporting evidence and will be fully acknowledged for any resulting change or update.

I will also not use the Pink/Khaki thing here as I have on the general Blog, I want it to be cleaner and more streamlined, so people can find what they're looking for with ease, although I will date additions if I think it's relevant.

Eventually, every post/page will have the figure set complete, a one-of-each-pose numbered line-up for ready reckoning, a set on the runners ('sprues') - if applicable - box types/artwork, inserts, copies/piracies, comparisons with other versions and other makes, moulding variations, conversions, painted figures both my own (when I get round to them!) and tatty old OBE's (Other Bugger's Efforts) from way back when, close-ups of the vignettes and anything else pertaining to each set I (or you - contributions welcome) feel is relevant, interesting, funny or weird!

1940's (Sometime?); [WWII], 500 / 500M / 501 / 502 Motorcycles And Riders

Tipping a nod to Plastic Warrior magazine and their Airfix special for the codes and to the Editor - Paul Morehead - for the original ID, wherein lies a tale we'll get to in a minute, but first a look at the machines and their riders.

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
A heavily painted machine, and the first I found, although not the first I'd seen, pretty standard 54mm/1:32nd scale compatible machine. Not knowing much about motorbikes I can only obseve that it's not a 'V-twin' although what that makes it instead is up for grabs, and the knee-pads on the tank look a bit like some BSA ones?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Comparison with an unpainted machine, the pink one I will wax-lyrical on in a minute, but for now you can see how it's quite a detailed machine for its age compared with the machines posted on the Home Blog today (5th November 2018) where Pyro, Teixedo, Reisler and later Atlantic were producing machines with hinted-at engine detail, or imaginary engines!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
The commonest form you will find these in is a 'primary' coloured, colour-fast, soft 'unbreakable' or 'beach-toy' polyethylene, usually with contrasting wheels and often without a rider, but we see from that reference in the PW 'Special' that they were sold four ways;

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types). Unpainted only . . all unbreakable and removable riders.
500M - Motorbike Only.
501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types)

All trade, per gross.

What any retailer would want a gross (144) of motorcycles riders [without bikes] for is anyone's guess!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Another, with one of the riders, this is the helmeted chap, the other has a peaked 'service-cap', of a rather squishy US style, but I'm not aware of this being a US mould-share or copy and the machine is very British in lines.

The listing given in PW's special is from an un-dated 1940's catalogue and it's not clear which rider is 501 and which is 502, but I favour this as the '2, due to seniority, the other figure having sergeants stripes!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
So, to the sorry tale . . .

 . . . I first became aware of these about a decade ago, when working for JB, he got a bunch of them in a mixed-lot from somewhere, and we didn't know who they were by, but liked the look of them, and it happened that Mr. Morehead had come round for a 'working brunch' and identified them as Airfix, heavily painted by a loon, with a spoon! [I made-up the last bit!]

Anyway, JB asked me if I could clean them, and I said "Yeah, sure, I'll take them home and do it tonight". I can tell you it took three dips in Nitromores (this back in the day when Nitromores would take the paint off a car-body in 30 seconds and was worth using - now it's some 'elf-n-safety' affected, watered down, oven-polish with no power to speak of!), and a hour or so with a tooth-pick to get the thick khaki 'mud' off them.

Then, about four/five years later, I found this at Dave McKenna's Birmingham show! I've since seen others and although the catalogue in PW states "unpainted", and while most examples are unpainted, it looks like either Airfix or a retailer painted them at some point, with this thick gloss paint, and that we'd stripped 'factory-paint' off a whole batch! Hey-ho!

As the paint matches some examples of the early mounted (Horse Guard in service dress) and early 54mm figures (Airborne, Japanese and Paratrooper), I think it probably was/is Airfix?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Three parts of the bike and both riders, as [unpainted] riders are usually a different colour to wheels/motorcycle, the fact that the painted one is the same colour as the bike he came with is another sign that they were probably factory-/out-painted and then matched to machines with the under-polymer colours unknown.

There is a variation of the helmeted figure, with his goggles on his helmet, not his face, with the same pocketed tunic as the Sergeant and without the Sam-Brown/cross-belt, whether this was dropped early or added after the PW-referenced catalogue is unknown.

Equally it may be that someone forgot to include it in the catalogue listing, OR that the 'two types' are cap or helmet and that there was 'artistic' variance within a multiple-cavity mould/tool?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
My sample to-date (Nov.'18), whatever the truth of the paint/no paint, I'm not stripping my one; just in case! But the one I really like is the pink one . . .

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
. . . and I can't tell you how much I love this toy - it looks like a fossil, dug from the pink sandstones of the Gobi desert, painstakingly, with a hat-pin and a soft-brush.

By some series of quirks, from the similarly-coloured plastic for the wheels and bike, some factory or home painting at various times, some cleaning and/or weathering/play-wear over time, it has developed a patina of 'antiqued' age you couldn't re-produce in a laboratory with the greatest minds in the universe working on the problem.

This is one of the ten to try and save from a fire! If it wasn't identical to the others in every way, you'd think it was from another company and thirty-year's earlier!

Under the patina, the bike is a pale pinky-flesh and the wheels a mauve-purple. The engine seems to have been gold at some point and the patina is probably a sign of the vehicle having been a darker-red with an unstable additive/colourant?

10th Dec. 2018 - Strangely (not! They're always following me!) a machine turned-up in Vichy over the weekend - a month after posting this - with traces of all-over gold paint!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Best of British!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Signs of the front number-plate being painted on the faded one, and a short-shot / miss-mould on the front number-plate of the red one, I also noticed the mud-guard bar on the blue one has gawn-missin'. . . I'll trim it off to make it less obvious at a glance!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
A few more riders, all the same pose, they came together, so probably date from the same factory-gate batch, a later (?) stable pigment ethylene run, matching two of my machines, the red and silver exactly, the black a new colour.

The original image I used in a mixed motorbike post on the 'Home Blog' when I was hedging my bets with a 'probably/possibly' I think! Other colours seen in relation to these include a bright apple/grass green and a subdued yellow.

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
So - I got them out and took the shot a few days later, but I'm not going to announce it on the home Blog, as I've posted a couple of links there (to here) in the last few weeks and I'm sure some people get sick of links to something they've only just read!

Therefore if you're reading this in December 2018 you're getting a 'sneak preview' of something I won't return to until something more substantial turns-up! Not that there's' anything new in it, just a nice picture!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1971; [Civil / Sportsmen] Footballers Sports Series, 1835 / 51470 / 51470-3, 1:32 (54mm)

Along with the hard polystyrene plastic 'kit' figures 'Track Officials and Spectators' meant for the slot-racing system; these were the only modern civilian set issued in 1:32 scale, equating to 54mm.


Title / Titles
Footballers Sports Series


Catalogue number/s
Cat No. 1835 - Code No. 51470-3 (Type One box)
Code No. 51470-3 (Type Two box)
Item-No. 51470-3 (French box)

One Airfix website has credited the set with the following codes - 9-51570 for 1980-84, 14 figure 'small boxes' and 51570 for the 1986 equivalent; to this author's knowledge, neither set was issued and no second referee was tooled-up, as would have been necessary.

Catalogue entries
9th Edition
10th Edition
11th Edition
12th Edition
13th Edition
14th Edition
15th Edition

Meaning it was advertised (in all versions) from between 1971 and 1978 inclusively, whatever the retail availability and/or actual issue/batch date/s. The first version box seems no rarer than the second, so when the '73 artwork boxes actually got released is another question.

They say
"This new set of model figures will enable the enthusiast to stage his own football match. There are 29 pieces in the set - 24 players, in various poses, 2 trainers, 2 linesmen and a referee. In addition there are 2 footballs. We leave the choice of team colours to you as all the figures are unpainted." 9th edition catalogue, issued autumn 1971 for 1972

Box Types/Date of issue (with notes)

1 - Type One (no date, large box-end logo, herb green graphics, equates to brown box 'round logo' era, possibly available for Christmas 1971 but probably not issued until 1972)

2 - Type Two (possibly issued in 1973, but it looks as if they weren't got to market until 1974, small box-end logo, grass green graphics, equates to target box era, new 'Letrasett' style block-font)

3 - 'Le Redoubt' (French Language, 1974 issue, box; ©1973) The French version of the type two box, carried by the mail-order company La Redoute has a translation of the information panel, but drops the World Cup 1966 winners line and adds the winners of the 1974 Munich World Cup (Germany) after the Brazil/Mexico line, creating a new paragraph and letting us know the French issue was produced after the World Cup had been held, in late 1974, despite carrying a 1973 copyright, not found on the English box.

There are other differences in layout of that box rear and while the word footballers is on the front (and the four sides - leading to changes in the positioning of the figures on the long sides), on the back panel is has been changed to Footballeurs with a 'u', also the La Redoute logotype is to be found round all four sides of the box under the 'Footballers'.

Number of figures/accessories per box
The early box describes the set as containing 29 scale pieces, there are in fact 29 figures and two ball as one additional 'spruelette' moulding for a 30 or 31-count depending on whether they are found mint or loose.

Figure poses - by identifying number/letter codes
Figures are not marked.

Other notes
*The two figures above – reaching high & reaching low – are actually the same goalkeeper pose, placed in different attitudes vis-à-vis the base, prior to the final stages of the cavity positioning/cutting/mould-making process.

One of the two balls, if anything about this set is 'rare' (and it's neither of the box types if evilbeevilBay is anything to go by!) it is the footballs, which are tiny and easily lost, I've never checked but I think they may actually be under-scale?

Comparison between an Airfix figure and two of his clones; the Champions of Soccer board-game playing piece from Mike Orchard Enterprises, published in 1984 and a Hong Kong marked rack toy/cake decoration.

Vis-à-vis the HK one; the same source seems to have been responsible for the copies of the Airfix 1:32nd scale Napoleonic Infantry, being issued in the same colours and wearing the same, quite neat, base-mark.

Another of the Mike Orchard figures, it's easy to mistake the six Champions of Soccer players for Airfix if found in this colour, but he is both slightly smaller and a paler, wishy-washy creamy-white, rather than the full 'double-cream' of the Airfix originals.




The above are just four scans from the earlier box. There are more comparisons to come, more of the HK figures and better images of the 2nd version box - if I didn't sell them all in 2011, time will tell?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1973 [WWII] British Infantry (2nd Version), 01703-5 / 9 01703 - HO/OO

So these were the new version, much anticipated, they were a bit of a disappointment when they finally arrived, and most of the criticism of the set found elsewhere over the years is well founded. But - there's always a 'but' - it doesn't add up to much really, as the set still delivers a decent bunch of figures, well sculpted and ten times better than the Combat Group set they replace while paying homage - through a stretcher team!

It's about how much the problems bug you, or how much you are willing to let the problems bug you! They are thinnish, they are under-equipped, and too 'clean', their uniforms are too tight...but...they paint-up OK, sculpting detail is fine and they are a vast improvement on the Britains-clone blobs.

A nice painting guide from the 1980 catalogue, the image taken from the back of the long boxes of that era. In point of fact the battle-dress was a tad darker.

The slightly larger ammunition box illustrated is an accurate representation of the ammo-box for the Bren gun, but its carrying handle was actually on one end, so it would hang with the long dimension in the vertical. An academic point as the actual figure sculpt clearly carries the thinner box configured for the belted ammunition of the Vickers MG! The figure from the older set of Combat Group however, could very well be carrying a Bren gun ammo-box!

Atlantic's figures, I think the Airfix set pre-dates them by a year or two, but they were close, however while some of the Atlantic poses are quite nice, the set as a whole owes more to the dancing loons of Cherilea and its UN troops then to any others! They were also a deal taller, but a lot of that was down to the deep, heavy bases. I had more to say about this set on the main blog a while ago.

The 1975 Airfix catalogue (image provided by Kostas again!) was a cross-over catalogue, with the older 'blue box' imagery in the main (Ancient, Medieval, Waterloo, Wild West, WWI etc...Civilians!), but with the WWII sets illustrated as joint-set photographs in the new 'white-box' or 'corner-graphics' artwork.

The OBE's in this sample are not much it has to be said, but I had a major paint-stripping session a year or two before I'd even heard of blogging, or handled a computer for that matter, so these are what's been painted in what's come-in in mixed-lots since about 2004/5?

I can never imagine what makes someone start painting their figures all-over jade green or gloss balck, but then I remember I had some silver Marines when I was a kid, which I must have painted myself in a mad moment, so it was clearly just part of being a kid...thinking about it as I was writing that (I'll get rid of the resultant typos before you see them), it struck me that actually it probably goes something like this...

You think - on the spur of the moment - "I'm grown-up enough to paint these (at age 6-8 or so) without supervision...and no-one is watching"...you get the paint out, you find a flat-ended craft brush in your school pencil-case (or the jam jar on the window-sill by the kitchen-sink), you open the thinners, then you dip the brush in the paint...it comes out dripping! You panic, realise you haven't the faintest idea how to paint a floor or a barn door, let alone 20mm figures...You stab a clumsey hand at the bayonet you intended the silver for or the boot that the gloss black was destined to coat, a large quatity of paint then uses the laws of water tention to flow down the rifle, slide effortlessly over, under and around your fingers and on down the figure...Your limited life experiance then kicks in, instantly you realise 4 things: 1) you have not got a painting cloth; 2) that blob of paint is going to drip off the figure (onto your trousers or the carpet) if you don't do something; 3) the rest of the paint on the brush is now flowing down the handle toward the other hand and 4) you need to do something about 1-3, now! So...you spread the rest of the paint on the first figure; it's still pooling....you do a few more and hey...it'll help your story that 'that's what you wanted to do', you run to the loo and grab some loo paper, you clean the brush and the fingers (at this point some story's will get worse with incompatible thinners or the introduction of water or washing-up liquid...nightmare), you put the figures somewhere to dry - hoping they won't be found before you can hide them...upturned box at the back of a drawer near a radiator was a good one...and ergo...oddly-painted figures in you nascent collection!

The experience only encourages you to try the matt green with a proper brush a few weeks later or the next time you're alone in the house!

These are in the bag marked: 'broken, converted and painted', and I didn't really know what to do with them - I'm wont to throw anything away - when it struck me the one at the back would look good crawling out of the water... a river, the sea or a flooded shell-hole. He's lost his feet as the knife de-basing him has turned-out as it cuts through the plastic, a problem cutting thicker sections of polyethylene.

There's never been the colour variation with this set you find with some of the others, partly due to it's late arrival in the list, partly down to luck. there is a darker run (slightly washed-out by the flash in this shot) and in certain lights you can find a 'greener' issue (more yellow in the mix?).

Complete set ready to roll, the poses are for the most part OK, but like their twin replacement-set; the German Infantry, they suffer from a couple of dumb poses (middle left) and I always found the officer to be a bit weak.

Basically you get more than enough for all the men in a late-war Infantry platoon, with or without a dedicated MG section, but without a mortar team. The two signallers can be a signaller and runner, or signaller and attached FOO, air liaison or similar, or you can leave one in the box!

For those who prefer to work from a one of each line-up. You can see all the criticisms clearly here...parade or range webbing, tall, thin and gangly with tight clothing, a couple of silly poses, but painted and based with a few other makes they pass muster for war gaming, and the detail is lovely, however inaccurate it might be in places.

Some sets of toy soldiers have identical stretcher carriers, this has them stepping-off from opposite feet which is a nice touch and a sign of the effort that went into the production of the set, even if it was ultimately a bit disappointing!

Comparison with the recent effort (type 4!) and they (the sculptors) still haven't really got it right (they will have their own page at some point), like their earlier brthren, paint will hide a lot of sins, but they can hardly serve together, one lot all lumpy, over-fed and cammed-up, the others hungry-lean, in parade-order with skin-tight tailoured uniforms!

The closest Airfix (or the owners of the 'brand') have ever got to decent WWII British Infantry was the ex-Esci/A-Toys/Italieri type 3 which had already been issued by...err...Esci, A-Toys and Italieri! The Bren guns are particularly poor in this set, but the PIAT is rather nice...if a little thin, and the comparison above suggests an easy conversion of the older prone figure to a PIAT-man?

The kneeling firer's from both sets make the same mistake as the type 1 (and the Britains Herald granddaddy of them all), in adopting a pose no man firing a rifle from the kneeling position ever adopted, ever, in the whole history of warfare, drill, and press pictures for dill manuals, indeed - I don't believe the human body can adopt that position without a hip or thigh being surgically dissociated first!...I just tried, you can; but it's bloody uncomfortable!

Marx (here Marksmen from Ri-Toys (Rado Industries) giants are not much of a threat despite being called 'HO' by the original maker, however the officer and the chap on the left of the line-up with the Tommy-gun, could be hidden in a platoon of Airfix after a matching paint job, they've both been to the same tailor as the Airfix chaps! [see the 8th army for comparisons of the rest of this Marx range, they are all wearing shorts]

How it should be done, Matchbox lead the way with a set of business-like poses and some nice AFV crew. However, the bases are a real pain with this set, small and slightly rounded they were table-top only, the carpet defeats them before the Germans have been set-up - if it's Matchbox Germans as well...it's an apocalypse! But they failed the colour rule as well...brown? For European theatre? NO!

Nitto get the colour rule, but totally muck-up the simple 'ish procedure of copying the figures with a copying machine! [pantograph] It doesn't help that they are trying to convert them to American M1-helmeted troops at the same time - the heads are so poor I think they came from Airfix 1st type Marines who (with a couple of Para's - also from Airfix sculpts) make up the rest of the group - now a Fujimi catalogue item.

Thanks to Konrad Lesiek I now know these (upper row, brown) were issued as kiosk novelties by Andrzej Kawecki, and are from Set 3 British Infantry, the only set of piracies of these figures I know of, and they're not bad, a slight loss of detail, but every pose has been reproduced, even the two different stretcher-bearers, all made - apparently - from recycled material; in this case a soft PVC vinyl rubber.

Indeed - I'd go further and say that by attaching the front feet to the bases, they have actually managed to improve the two dumbest (advancing, running) poses, and somehow they've got the captain/platoon commander to look more businesslike (or less foppish) just by copying him!

Links

Airfix Tribute Forum
Paul's Bods
Plastic Soldier Review (PSR)

1979 [WWII] US Marines (2nd Version), 1716 / 01716 / 01716-1 / 9 01716 / A01716 - HO/OO

Another of the replacement sets for an older version holding the -16 code in the list. They were a late change and well received when they were finally released, still available (unlike the equally waited for, and equally well received when they arrived Commandos, whose mould-history are a small book by themselves!), these have not aged that well, with some of the 'new' production (that'll read weird in 20-years time!) from Pegasus and Imex looking better, but they are still (2015) a really useful set.

Based around the 54mm/1:32nd scale set which had been available for years, new poses were added and the new set paid homage to the old one with a rubber dingy to pootle-about in, at the water's edge.

Artwork on the long boxes (and the later catalogues - here the 1980 issue) was actually a figure from the earlier set, wading, doing KP's or surrendering has never been fully decided, but a sharp knife and re-basing renders him more useful than a surrendering-guy!

1985 and the Airfix 'brand' owner's get the image reversed! Sums-up this sad period in the Airfix saga, as the Irish end of an American multinational flogs the golden-egg layer to the French...I'm condensing a lot into a little, but it too, sums-up the period nicely!

Comparison with the Atlantic set, Atlantic clearly based theirs on the Airfix set, but before the Airfix set had been issued, so must have been using the 54mm set, with the result that only a few are obvious, they too - adding poses of their own.

The blue figures tended to be in French Infantry boxes, but are sometimes found in the Marine Corps packaging and the set has probably been issued in more colours than I've found, and this photo' is only  sample of the ones I have!

Full set on the runners, like the earlier second type German Infantry, the six re-used poses from the 1:32nd scale range are slightly heavier and even a tad bigger than the 'all-new' poses, compare the kneeling firer and bazooka-man.

The replacement rubber dingy trying to show a slight plastic-colour variation with a drabber green to the left and a yellowish version to the right. This boat is a single-piece which was a vast improvement on the earlier one, but tended to shrinkage marks or slight distortion after leaving the mould-tool.

Comparing the similar poses from Airfix both sets (older - the underneath of both line-ups), size-wise there's very little in it, but the new poses have much better detailing or definition, you can tell what rifle they're holding (M1 Garands and M1 carbines), webbing, clothing &etc. all better sculpts.

The major difference is in the lack of a second paddler for the dingy, but there was a overall lower pose-count as well.

Fujimi were another team who'd watched the Airfix rushes and liked what they saw so much they lifted their 54mm set wholesale, but they added some of Britains 'Deetail' figures to their set, of which the new Airfix set had equivalents, and above is a side-by-side of the closest matches. Fujimi set on the main Blog.

It floats! The older one - as we saw on their post - tended to fill with water through the join-line, without a join-line this one displaces enough water to float in the proper floaty manner!

The Esci hard plastic 'kit' set also lifted the 1:32nd scale set, again adding a couple more, the mine-detector has more in common with the late Marx/MPC 54mm figures. They cut both prone figures at the waist and swapped legs/bodies to make 'new' poses, further converting the crawling torso to an ammo-feeding No.2 on the MG. They also give it the correct tri-pod, rather than the rather fictional forward-sited bi-pod of the elderly Airfix sculpt. There was a bi-pod tried with the .30-cal, but it was set back where the barrel meets the working-class housing. It doesn't look like a BAR, but I guess that's what it must be taken for?

The two guys running and firing a grease-gun have been similarly swapped, while the bazooka-man is converted to a flame-thrower operator.

The biggest omission Airfix indulged in - with this set - was to not use either of the 54mm sculpts of the officer, leaving this set without an obvious one? Hong Kong though, had copied him a dozen or more times in the preceding two decades or so (in small scale), and with Esci and Fujimi copies kicking around as well, there's no actual shortage of them out there!

The chap walking forward has all the look of one of Hollywood's 'Ell Tees' though, so he could fill the boots of a pistol waving papa!

The entry for the 2018 catalogue, a pathetic list of six common sets all from WWII and no Japanese or Russians!

 Vietnam 1967
♫ ♪ ♪ ♫♫. . . " One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call
And call Alice, when she was just small
When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know
When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head
" . . . ♪ ♫ 


Vietnam 1972
♫ ♪ ♪ ♫  . . . "I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colours any more - I want them to turn black " . . . ♫ ♪ ♪ ♫

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