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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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1973 [WWII] German Infantry (2nd Version), 1705 / 01705 / 01705-1 / 9 01705 / A01705 - HO/OO

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.

1980 catalogue, again one of the little 'thumbnail' images from the back of the white 'corner art' boxes, carried over as artwork Long boxes. I've read endless column-inches on the web about this chap's weapon, but I believe the sculptor has admitted it was just a f**k-up. He's also owned-up to using an air-gun for the standing firing pose, which does look like our old BSA Original! Indeed the photographs were/are to be seen in the Plastic Warrior magazines coverage of the 54mm set somewhere.

1985 sees the catalogue artwork reproduced so darkly he looks like an SS-man, just off parade. Compare with the previous image and it's obviously a different print-reproduction process (the technical details of which are beyond me?), lithography versus what? And which is which! but anyway, in my opinion; this image looks like it's been cut from one of Ron Embleton's Trigan Empire stories! Especially as he's clearly been armed with a space-blaster!

Compared to the Atlantic set which clearly used the 1:32nd figures as influence, but not necessarily complete lifts. The blurb on the back of this set is not as fanciful as some of the sets Atlantic did, but it's one where you're left glad that you got the slightly odd looking figures in the box rather than the very odd ones in the line-drawings on the back of the box!

Colour variation - Eric Williamson in his seminal (and missed) website was a great one for telling you exactly when he thought a certain colour was used, by placing it next to the box art as you scrolled down the page. Sadly with this set he used the same grey/pale grey (?) one for every box type! This may mean that pale grey figures were common in the batches that went to North America, or that he was having a lazy-day when he did that page (as far as I know they were all hand-built in HTML).

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 Alpenj√§ger 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...

A comparison with the Matchbox set, not much in it really, both too clean, it's like they've almost finished mopping-up in France, 1940, and were about to have a victory parade when someone started firing at them!

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!

Nitto...well, what can you say? Vaguely based on an old/early Tamiya 1:35 scale 'kit' figure set (or actually the Bandai 1:48th kit? I'll correct this when I've dug them out!), they are pretty awful, certainly no threat to Airfix as a source for large numbers of figures (their kits were pricey imports as well!), the set is now hidden in the Fujimi inventory, as the whole runner is included in quite a few of the AFV kits.

Fujimi's own set (of 10 figures) is in storage, but I managed to cobble this together until a better image can replace it, although as this Blog is aiming for a scrap-book effect - I'll probably just add it further down!

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 'new' white 'corner artwork' box in the 1975 catalogue (image courtesy of Blog follower Kostas), where they sat alongside pages of the earlier 'blue box' artwork. As with the 2nd Type Afrika Korps: the blurb is referring back to the 1st Type, with mention of the anti-tank guns.

In the upper shot here we see the 8 poses taken from the existing 1:32nd scale range in the line above and the 7 'new' poses in the line underneath. There's not a lot in it, if you look hard you might say a few of the new poses are slighter than the originals, a tad shorter overall maybe, but really?

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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