Favourite pose has to be Rommel, in the replacement set the officer looks more like some earnest Captain or Major of artillery following the fall of shot with his binoculars while waiting to clear the next salvo with a swift drop of the arm, but this chap is taking a far more measured view of proceedings, and earlier issues (before the face detail on the mould went a bit 'soft) actually look like Rommel.
This clearly left the figure impossible to stand on deep-pile carpets, so a much larger base was created (middle figures in that bottom row), which was also nearly always flashy - although the blue chap in the earlier, darker plastic is OK - so it was probably a quirk of the mould that pressure at that point was high enough to cause a constant problem?
This leaves the seven figures in the green and brown paint-job. We know the two 2nd type SMG-equipped figures were used on the early sprue just before it was phased-out, so there's no real surprise there, but this is one of those anomalies where if they are not on the sprue - they mean little or nothing. When I put them on the other blog it was to ask for advise on what to do with them; in the end nostalgia got the better of me and I stuck all 7 in a little bag for perpetuity!
However - looking for an image to push this post live just now (21st April 2013) I noticed that there is - in this random and small selection of figures - a full illustration of why the figures were placed on the runner/'sprue'. The four advancing poses on the top row (all to the left of the 'Rommel' figure) were issued at a rate of three per pack and it was two of these that were replaced by the 2nd type figures.
Looking at the figure to the far left of the four, and the one next to him, we see that in the early days they were - while not 'detailed' by today's standards - at least as detailed as the rest of the set, however if we look at the two figures nearest the Staff Officer have lost all moulding on the chest and have pretty shiny faces...clearly the mould suffered some catastrophic damage, a mend was actioned - with a welding rod (?) - and after some had been issued it was decided to top the set up with some of the figures from the otherwise unfinished replacement set.
Gives us some idea of how popular the sets were and how fast the stock sold, that they would bring forward some new figures to keep an old mould going until t could be replaced with a set that must have been close to ready?
Trying to place colours is an inexact science, and the vast range of shades means that to the naked-eye my bag of spares seems to have dozens of shades, however; I've found that both scanning light and flash light simplify the choice by cutting through dirt, age or surface deposits to find the major batch shades, so picking figures for these colour comparison shots is not easy, but this is a fair sample.
The two figures on the left look to be from the typically later sets, by which time Airfix were probably using pre-coloured granules from a big supplier who could guarantee some sort of consistency. The next two look like the earlier darker sets, where Haldane Place would have been adding the colour as a greasy concoction of additives including lubricants, colour, stabilisers, plasticisers...fillers, 'extenders'...you get the picture. The last figure is probably a late production, 'Friday' shot to fill an order in a hurry!
But; that's based on the typical range, in actual fact the guy on the left is an early one with as clean a moulding as the 3rd (darkest), the 2nd figure is probably the next oldest, with the other two late, glossy, flashy (round the mould's split-line) figures. The rule is not hard and fast, colouring the granules on site could produce light or dark figures, commercially obtained pre-coloured granules could vary and the moulding process could effect the final shade. However as I said; the early sets 'tend' to dark, the late sets tend to lighter shades and the last figure is an uncommon variant.
I'm rather amazed though, that the paint has held-up so well. looking at them, the bases are that awful sandy textured duck-egg green from Airfix, as is the sand of the rifle-slings and the boot-black. I guess they've survived years of scudding around in bags because they spent their first couple in a drawer? You know; paint curing over time like concrete!??
Anyway, they have kept a clean look for thirty-odd years, with just a bit of flaking off the weapon-tips. It probably also helped that they were old, matted, played-with figures when I painted them?
What? Have you? Why? Paint over them, you weirdo!
The next two rows are a mystery to me. Luftwaffe ground troops, Falschrimjager? He's painted over the bare legs, but not the arms...Spanish in Russia? Blue division...geddit? The red-hats are from the same source and follow the headgear colouring rule of his other units (most found elsewhere on this Blog)
The lower four rows are pretty par for the course, the orange guy is probably from a movie'esque Bond villian's 'private army' while the two figures either side of him might be Spode's wrong-shorts! best effort there is probably the shoveller...leather belts and a bit of a tan! The fifth row makes an effort at the pea-green which shames mine.
There's no competition, the Matchbox are vastly superior, but the side-by-side comparison makes you ask if the 'Rommel' figure may not have been sculpted by the guy who did the rest of the Airfix set (Nibblet).
In this sample he does look similar in sculpting style, but some of the OBE's with early figures have him looking more detailed, less wax-carved, and you wonder if the guy who would produce the Russians and Japanese was already waiting in the wings and got to do the officer?
Pocket-pleats, goggles, buttons...all detailing not attempted on the other figures in the set; compare his hands to any of the other figures, even the surrendering guy, and, he's a taller figure; I've always thought he might have been sculpted by someone else.
This is a comparison shot between the Airfix and Atlantic sets, there's realy no comparison, the newer set's figures are bigger, the bases are deeper...the technology had mved-on and left the old set looking small and tired!
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