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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.

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?

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