Another of the sets to get a 70's make-over. I was always rather disappointed by this set, although I liked the officer and the guy mooching about with an MG34 over his shoulder, festooned with ammunition belts, overall the set lacked something.
As with the British Infantry redesign, they were a bit clean and - like both the aforementioned set and the 2nd Type 8th Army - there were a couple of silly poses, also; like the US Marines there was an obvious visual difference between the ex-54mm figures and the wholly new sculpts. Something the Desert Rats and DAK don't suffer from.
I can't tell you for sure, but I know I never saw any in the late 1970's (when the Para's and Mountain Troops where being issued in both shades), nor when I picked-up collecting again after a few years in the Army, but by 1990/1 (as the grey window-boxes were being phased-out in favour of the 'new' white boxes) I did buy a set, so they are probably one of General Mills' or Heller's many abortions! Although, a pale grey is reasonable compared to some of the colours they visited on some of the sets between them, so I'm just having a dig!
It's (that first set of mine in the paler shade) also stiffer plastic than the standard Airfix, so an MPC thing looks reasonable. I have since found softer pale greys as well, so they may well have had a bash when the Fallschirmjaeger and Alpenjäger got theirs, or be from more resent years. The originals came in the 'standard' Airfix dark (mid?) grey of the earlier set of the WWI Germans, Luftwaffe etc...
Again (like the Atlantic set) there is a clear influence from the Airfix 1:32nd scale figure-sculpts, with additional figures to make-up a typical '50-figure' box of 15-odd poses. As with most of these comparisons, it's the equivalent poses that have lined-up, so no Matchbox mortar team here, as Airfix thought their blokes didn't need any support!
The standing figures are not too bad, being (like the US Infantry) taken from Airfix and the Deetail range from Britains, bit the prone figures - of which there are five, seem to have been sculpted by the same ham-fisted troll who designed for Nitto! Probably a clue to the similar artwork and eventual takeover of the one by the other, in there...
A couple of the poses were also used in the 88mm Flak kit, but the 105mm got separate sculpts.
The kneeling guy is as tall (were he to stand up) as a lot of kneeling figures from a lot of manufacturers, the poses are generally weaker, but there's nothing here to say for definite that they weren't from the same sculptor as the others. There's nothing to say they weren't created at the same time as the chosen 8. Indeed, the fact that Airfix went with 8 poses, when most of the 54mm sets - at that time - typically had 7 might lead one to conclude that the decision-makers had a number to choose from? I'm not saying that, I don't know, but with the later poses being the weaker poses, it's a distinct possibility that the masters all date from the same time.
The lower shot is a comparison between those larger figures with their 'puddle' bases and the smaller ones with their distinctive ogee-cornered oblong bases. The only victim of major change is the No.2 on 'the gun', he loses his rifle and about four rounds of the end of the ammunition belt; I'm guessing here: due to problems with moulding what were the extremities of his sculpt?
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