About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 56-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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1967; World War One American Infantry, S29 / 1729 / 01729 - 01729-7 / A01729 / 7004 - HO/OO

One of the less common sets of Airfix by dint of their being, not that popular, not that useful and from what was - if not unpopular - a poorly supported period, historically, except in Aircraft kits where there were dozens and dozens.

HaT re-issue

German West African Regiment?

The full set.

People have a several criticisms of this set; firstly that they are wearing the wrong hat, yet they certainly still wore it out of combat, plenty of photographs of them arriving in Europe and disembarking in ‘Smoky-Bear’, Montana, ‘Boy-scout’ or ‘Jellystone’ hats, some say that they were worn in early actions and third; they were 1960’s TOYS!

The second complaint from the rivet counters is that they are wearing (with the exception of the standing firing pose) no equipment, yet by 1918 most soldiers were binning ‘Marching Order’ in favour of ‘Fighting Order’ or ‘Belt Order’ for combat, so the fact that they haven’t got large or small packs should be no hindrance to their attacking the enemy. Also; they were 1960’s TOYS!

The third complaint oft’murmured is that the ‘lend-lease’ French machine-gun is on the wrong sort of mount, well, I’ve used a very similar (but) single-pole mount with the GPMG for AA work [a ridiculous business which consists of the gunner bracing his foot against the base-plate and firmly holding the pole with his left hand (instead of the stock - as he normally would) while the number two does a little tippy-toe dance next to him (as the gunner tries to follow the aircraft around), feeding and taking the weight off (to prevent stoppages ) a 200-round belt], so my feeling is that this is probably taken from a picture, and represents the sort of expedient, field or war modification still found to this day on every battlefield. In this case being designed to bring the gun to a level where it could be operated over a trench without getting covered in mud? If not – the explanation is even simpler; they were 1960’s TOYS!

It’s one of the things I really don’t get about War-gamers, modellers and collectors (of a certain kind), the hypocrisy that allows them to field an army of immaculate Napoleonics - at Waterloo - where everybody was in damp greatcoats, seal-skins or blankets, with helmets, busbies and shakos covered and peaks removed, while muttering something about the other guy’s wagons having the wrong wheels? I’ve heard Judges at model shows marking down a WWII German camouflage, when the nature of the German system means that so long as you have a reasonably accurate base coat - anything goes.

In the days before this’ere Interwebular Wibbly Wobbly Way, one relied upon paper ephemera to research toy (that’s TOY) soldiers, and with Airfix being one of the market leaders, there is a lot of both original material and more recent works to call on, Plastic Warrior found the originals Brian Knight used to produce his box-art and you’ll have to track down issue 2 of One Inch Warrior magazine to read about it in full.

Now - of course - you can just put everything on an external hard drive and hope the sun doesn’t go too spastic at the height of its cycle and wipe everything while you’re asleep! Over time I will scan all the old paper files, catalogues and other stuff into these e-files, and get rid of the dozens of crates and boxes of ephemera lying around!

Despite the more spiteful winging of a few, these are everybody’s favourites from this set (along with the 'Danet' wiring-party in the WWI British Infantry?), the two guys leaping (a little too-gaily?) over the mud of Flanders are often miss-moulded, or - with the older figures - brittle now, however the ammunition box always survives, and can be used with the firing vignette.

This also shows the two versions of this mould, with either a thick or thin ammunition box, I’ve seen it said that the sitting figure is sat on another of these, but actually he’s on a beer or milk-crate sized box about 4 times the volume of this one, and he’s another of my favourites from this set, he looks ‘all in’

Top left; I put this on the HäT forum via imageshack some time ago with a call for help in identifying the officer copy and while there was some input, there was no useful information forthcoming, I myself thought he might be from a board game; the base was very board-gamey! Then at the Plastic Warrior show in Richmond - May last - a second turned up, clearly attached to a bubble-liquid dispenser! Any ideas on a trade mark? Anyone know if there are Bubble-bottle collectors out there? How many poses were copied?

Bottom left is a few paint-ups by persons unknown that have come in over the years, if you recognize your work let me know for a full credit, It’s fascinating to see what other people did with theirs, I particularly like the gloss-finished one at the back, he looks like a very small Dime-store figure!

Top right; some colour variations, the pale ones to the left are aged, rather than manufactured and as well as being a yellowish in daylight; are quite brittle.

The running figure is very unusual, he is basically in the RHA-ACW artillery/Cowboy or Indian brown, darkened-down with ‘Airfix’ green and with a few paler green streaks in him (enlarge the image and look at the bottom-left corner of the base, or the left shin), and seems to be a injector-head 'purge' figure, I’ve had figures with horse-hairs running through them before now (a paintbrush being used to flick dust off the mould-block drops a bristle which sticks to the mould-release agent or lubricant), but never a bi-coloured figure so I don’t know how he came to market, a Friday-afternoon job I suspect!

Bottom right shows a common figure to turn up in mixed lots of these; I found three while sorting a few sets of Americans the other night, Also it’s a common pose ‘type’ with Airfix; the WWI Brit’s and Germans got them, several of the Cameron designed sets (of which the Aussie is one) had them and the Imperial Guard had a slightly stiffer-standing one.

The US Infantry were almost certainly among the sets designed by Stadden, who produced some fine WW1 figures in metal, and again this is one of his favourite poses.

Montaplex used copies of the Americans for ‘New Zealanders’ of WWII! But not for long, they ended up using copies of the Australian infantry seen above. BüM Slot use the Aussies as well.

You either got one and a half sprues of Americans, attached to pieces of wall/rubble or the Aussies with a copy of the Dulcop take-off of the Blue Box/Ri-Toys piracy of Dinky’s Daimler armoured-car.

If you got the WWI copies, you also got three baby kangaroos (or wallabies for the sake of argument!), because as ‘eny fule no’ the Turk’s had a real problem with Kangaroos at Gallipoli! Good old Montaplex; you can’t mark them down for not trying!…note also; the MG No.2 has been turned into a based officer

I'll get a comparison shot of the Stadden Metal's up here in a day or two, and that'll be this entry done for a while - unless some more bubble-tops turn up!

A common mould shrinkage fault with later issues of this set was the base deforming as it was still too-hot when the moulding was ejected from the mould, very hot water and a cold surface like a marble cutting-board is always worth a try, but you need to hold both figures upright as you press the heated base down on the cold surface.



Tony said...

Well, I can say that this was and still is one of my favourite Airfix boxes...As a modeller and wargamer I use them in my ww1 game wich is made of all the Airfix boxes of ww1....If we´re looking for historical acuracy, by the time U.S. troops came to France the Germans were not wearing that spike helmet, therefore, that it´s an historical error and the Airfix ww1 set it´s all wrong except for the British and the germans that really wore that uniforms and equipment in the beginning of the war....Still, I´m using them as they are and I usually call it the Airfix great war.
Forgive me modellers and wargamers around the world for that one and for not being acurate but, the box art and the figures are very speciall to me........By the way, I love this Airfix blog.

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Tony

It's going slower than I hoped {real life!} but it will all be here one day! Thanks for stopping by...H

Anonymous said...

Great read, thank you for putting it together! Now where is that “remote control rifle“?

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks for passing Anon . . . happy you found something!