About Me

My photo
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. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Introduction / Explanation

This will always be a 'work in progress' as photographs are added or upgraded and missing bits are slotted in. Aiming to be no more than a guide to the figural production of Airfix Products.

Wherever possible it will quash urban myths or commonly held beliefs which are incorrect, most of which have grown-up during the 'Internet Years'.

As many search terms as possible will be used in order that anyone visiting whether familiar with Airfix or a new collector/casual browser will be able to find what they want, either singly or in groups of similar size, period or subject matter using the 'Click-on Index' to the right. Likewise the title-blocks will be as comprehensive as possible so they can be discerned in the 'Blog Archive' feature on the left of the page.

As this is designed to be a sort of second page for the Small Scale World blog, there was going to be no 'comments' feature, but I've enabled it, still, anyone with an issue concerning the factual accuracy of any entry can eMail me with supporting evidence and will be fully acknowledged for any resulting change or update.

I will also not use the Pink/Khaki thing here as I have on the general Blog, I want it to be cleaner and more streamlined, so people can find what they're looking for with ease, although I will date additions if I think it's relevant.

Eventually, every post/page will have the figure set complete, a one-of-each-pose numbered line-up for ready reckoning, a set on the runners ('sprues') - if applicable - box types/artwork, inserts, copies/piracies, comparisons with other versions and other makes, moulding variations, conversions, painted figures both my own (when I get round to them!) and tatty old OBE's (Other Bugger's Efforts) from way back when, close-ups of the vignettes and anything else pertaining to each set I (or you - contributions welcome) feel is relevant, interesting, funny or weird!

1977; [Cold War] Modern British Infantry, 51472-9 / 51572-8 / 9 51572 / 51572 / A02718 - 1:32 Scale (54mm)

Announced in the autumn of 1975 (1976 catalogue) I think, they wouldn't actually see the light of day until 1977, the modern Brit's, along with the Modern Germans and the Medieval Soldiers were among our favourite sets, even if they arrived toward the end of our 'playing' days.

Obviously with a too-long wait for the modern Russians and US troops, the scenario tended to involve the NATO Germans 'going bad' and having to be sorted out by the British set, a bit jingoistic maybe, but; kids huh?!

1977; 1977 Modern British Infantry; 1:32 Scale; 1:3nd Modern British Infantry; 51472-9; 51472-9 Modern British Infantry; 51572; 51572 Modern British Infantry; 51572-8; 51572-8 Modern British Infantry; 54mm; 54mm Modern British Infantry; 9 51572; 9 51572 Modern British Infantry; A02718; A02718 Modern British Infantry; Airfix; Airfix 1977; Airfix 1:32 Scale; Airfix 51472-9; Airfix 51572; Airfix 51572-8; Airfix 54m; Airfix 9 51572; Airfix A02718; Airfix Cold War; Airfix Modern British Infantry; Cold War; Cold War British Infantry; Modern British Infantry; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com;
Limited to only seven poses, they were otherwise  a quite good representation of the British squaddie of the day, and only a few years later (1984) I would myself be garbed in a similar fashion! Consequently I know the weaknesses in the set only too well, and they aren't vast.

We'll look at the webbing/PLCE further down, but suffice to say the gunner is holding the bi-pod legs which he wouldn't because they just come-unclipped and spring-open, if you're going to hold them you hold them more firmly as a 'handle' away from the barrel, also they haven't been sculpted substantially enough, but it's a minor quibble.

More serious is the anti-tank gunner, who should be holding something several times the size! The Karl Gustav 84mm was a huge beast with idiot-legs on a big spring while it's replacement - the MAW80 (Medium Antitank Weapon) was A) equally huge and B) still years away when these were issued, so, like Cherilea's swoppets, the weapon depicted here is a fantasy 'Euroweapon' of the artists imagination, based on a conglomeration of any number of other weapons.

Puttee's would be phased-out quite soon after the issue of this set also; instantly dating it!

1977; 1977 Modern British Infantry; 1:32 Scale; 1:3nd Modern British Infantry; 51472-9; 51472-9 Modern British Infantry; 51572; 51572 Modern British Infantry; 51572-8; 51572-8 Modern British Infantry; 54mm; 54mm Modern British Infantry; 9 51572; 9 51572 Modern British Infantry; A02718; A02718 Modern British Infantry; Airfix; Airfix 1977; Airfix 1:32 Scale; Airfix 51472-9; Airfix 51572; Airfix 51572-8; Airfix 54m; Airfix 9 51572; Airfix A02718; Airfix Cold War; Airfix Modern British Infantry; Cold War; Cold War British Infantry; Modern British Infantry; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com;
The real problem with the set is the belt-order, there are three basic types of belt-order, which - in order of lightness - are;

  •  Range-day
  • CEFO (Combat Equipment, Fighting Order) 
  • CEMO (Combat Equipment, Movement (or 'moving' or 'marching') Order)

Range order would be the two front pouches, a water bottle and - depending upon the whim of the officer or NCO-commanding - the respirator case. Dropping the respirator case was rare (as we had to be ready for WWIII to break out in six minutes - even on a quiet day!), but did occasionally happen.

'Cefo' consisted of all pouches, but no packs or digging tools, while 'Cemo' was the whole bloody enchilada, the full donkey-load, large pack or 'Burgan' and digging tool with probably 50-rounds for the GPMG, maybe a couple of mortar bombs or a grenade or two and (if your luck was in) a spare battery for the radio!

These guys, without exception, have no water bottle pouch (always present) and no respirator case; almost always present? Now I think I'm repeating myself here, as the same criticism is true of the Deetail/Super Deetail figures from Britains, who we've seen on the home-Blog several times . . . and the explanation may have been the same there; the limitations of sculpting?

To wit; that there is no room in the relatively inflexible world of moulded (set) polymers for the respirator case at least, the water bottle should be there, and there is room?

1977; 1977 Modern British Infantry; 1:32 Scale; 1:3nd Modern British Infantry; 51472-9; 51472-9 Modern British Infantry; 51572; 51572 Modern British Infantry; 51572-8; 51572-8 Modern British Infantry; 54mm; 54mm Modern British Infantry; 9 51572; 9 51572 Modern British Infantry; A02718; A02718 Modern British Infantry; Airfix; Airfix 1977; Airfix 1:32 Scale; Airfix 51472-9; Airfix 51572; Airfix 51572-8; Airfix 54m; Airfix 9 51572; Airfix A02718; Airfix Cold War; Airfix Modern British Infantry; Cold War; Cold War British Infantry; Modern British Infantry; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com;
Having just mentioned them; the first of what will be few comparisons, I'm not going to run them next to all that 1950's 'Khaki Infantry' output, they are two far removed from what the Airfix set represents, but maybe we'll look at the late HK additions to Herald's set?

Here you can see the Deetail figures suffer from the same lack of both water bottle pouch and respirator case, but do have the kidney-pouches closer together which is more accurate than the gap seen on Airfix's figures. He's a slightly better pose to, leaning into the recoil.

1977; 1977 Modern British Infantry; 1:32 Scale; 1:3nd Modern British Infantry; 51472-9; 51472-9 Modern British Infantry; 51572; 51572 Modern British Infantry; 51572-8; 51572-8 Modern British Infantry; 54mm; 54mm Modern British Infantry; 9 51572; 9 51572 Modern British Infantry; A02718; A02718 Modern British Infantry; Airfix; Airfix 1977; Airfix 1:32 Scale; Airfix 51472-9; Airfix 51572; Airfix 51572-8; Airfix 54m; Airfix 9 51572; Airfix A02718; Airfix Cold War; Airfix Modern British Infantry; Cold War; Cold War British Infantry; Modern British Infantry; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com;
The gunner; as one myself, it's obviously my favourite pose of the seven, but the belt of link round the shoulders is a bit Audey Murphy, good in movies and likely to be seen in the ranks of the late 'Mad' Mike Hoare's mercenaries or their Katangese opponents, but frowned upon in the British Army.

A short belt (15-20 rounds) would be carried in the gun, ready for immediate action / return of fire, the rest of at least 200 rounds would be in the front pouches, with the No.2 having another minimum of 200 on his person (along with his four magazines of 20 for the SLR), the rest of the section being loaded with a minimum of 50-round (quarter) belts each.

The reasons for not carrying belts around like this are myriad, but the obvious ones are;

  • Rounds get dirty/damaged and jam the mechanism when used
  • Links get semi-parted/stuck/damaged and jam the mechanism when used
  • Links break fully and rounds are lost
  • Belt gets hooked up on equipment and can't be used quickly
  • Belt gets hooked up on equipment which then can't be used quickly
  • Percussion cap is accidentally detonated leading to injury or death of gunner or comrade/s
  • Can be seen by snipers from miles away
  • Are bloody uncomfortable after the first twenty yards
  • The rounds and the carrying-strap (missing on the above sculpt but utterly necessary when carrying 26lb's of steel around) can't - practically - occupy the same space

Looks great on a Mexican bandit, but it's a no-no in real life, doesn't stop people draping the stuff all over themselves, whenever they get the chance though, usually around camp/bivouac when 'bombing-up'!

1977; 1977 Modern British Infantry; 1:32 Scale; 1:3nd Modern British Infantry; 51472-9; 51472-9 Modern British Infantry; 51572; 51572 Modern British Infantry; 51572-8; 51572-8 Modern British Infantry; 54mm; 54mm Modern British Infantry; 9 51572; 9 51572 Modern British Infantry; A02718; A02718 Modern British Infantry; Airfix; Airfix 1977; Airfix 1:32 Scale; Airfix 51472-9; Airfix 51572; Airfix 51572-8; Airfix 54m; Airfix 9 51572; Airfix A02718; Airfix Cold War; Airfix Modern British Infantry; Cold War; Cold War British Infantry; Modern British Infantry; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com;
I think these are relatively current Chinese production rather than the Turkish Pilsen (who did pirate some of those later sets - thanks for reminding me Chris Smith), and their quality is too poor for the neighbouring Greece's Solpa, so China looks likely, but I stand to be corrected.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

1983; [Cold War/Modern] S.A.S. (Special Air Service), 51578 / 9 51578 / A02720 - 1:32 Scale (54mm)

One of the last figure issues to come out of Airfix, following the old pattern of seven figure sculpts and issued only in 14-figure boxes, you got two-each of most and you have to wonder why you didn't just get pairs of all seven, but actually the officer is 50% rarer and the kneeling firer is 33.3r% more common than the other five!

1983; 1984; 1:32 Scale; 1:72 Scale; 25mm; 51578; 54mm SAS; 9 01761; 9 51578; A02720; Cold War; Elite Forces; Modern; Plastic Toy Soldiers; S.A.S.; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Special Air Service; Special Forces; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers;
And they are unnumbered so we don't know if you were getting most of two tool-shots, or a single runner-worth's of fourteen products? I suspect the latter; it makes sense.

Presumably they were aimed at a market or perceived market resulting from the May 1980 Iranian Embassy siege-break in London, coupled with a bit of Falklands/South Georgia mythology.

The small scale ones would be advertised the next year but never be issued - see section at end of page.

1983; 1984; 1:32 Scale; 1:72 Scale; 25mm; 51578; 54mm SAS; 9 01761; 9 51578; A02720; Cold War; Elite Forces; Modern; Plastic Toy Soldiers; S.A.S.; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Special Air Service; Special Forces; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers;
I shot these back in 2008 to shove on evilBay at a 99p-start and I think most went for a couple of quid-each, with the 'officer' maybe going to four-pounds-something? But it meant I had a set in Piacasa with a less than common - for the Blog - background (I know some of my backgrounds are a bit tired now!), it's all a bit sandbaggy!

They are not as rare as the used to appear to be, and often turn-up in mixed lots, while a re-issue in the last few years saw them in an awful troll-shit, purple-blue polymer which made them look like some demented Middle-Eastern SWAT team . . . which may well have been the corporate-thinking behind the choice of that colour!

1983; 1984; 1:32 Scale; 1:72 Scale; 25mm; 51578; 54mm SAS; 9 01761; 9 51578; A02720; Cold War; Elite Forces; Modern; Plastic Toy Soldiers; S.A.S.; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Special Air Service; Special Forces; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers;
The figures are wearing what appear to be the (and would still have been in trials) Boot, Combat, High [ankle] or BCH, which weren't fully adopted until August 1984, carrying a passable Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun (non-standard outside Hereford at the time, the anti-terrorist police still relied on Stirling SMG's or the odd M16), and they all have a rappelling/tying-people-to-chairs rope looped round their body.

A stun-grenade (big bang, few fragments) and a pistol (my father carried a Berretta . . . well, actually he left it under his pillow for my brother and I to find!) in its holster complete the weaponry and they are wearing black-fatigues with a tight hood (pull-cord) over a respirator with side-mounted (left) filter which may be the standard for the time or the replacement S10 which as part of the Combat-80 upgrade also (like BCH, SA80, Kevlar Helmets . . . et al!) filtered into service from the mid-1980's. It may be a non-standard piece, of course, certainly the nose-protrusion is too long for either of the referred service items.

They have thin leather gloves, and a four-magazine pouch for the HK's and a larger pack which seems to be the respirator case - in the infantry worn on the left hip, where it constantly got in the way, especially when vehicles were involved, these guys have their ammo-pouch there and have moved the respirator case round to the small of the back where it's out of the way.

I suspect the jacket (or a 'waistcoat' portion of it) had some padding/protection from fragments but it would have required flexibility not then available with the full 'flack-jackets' which remained bulky and solid into the late 80's.

1983; 1984; 1:32 Scale; 1:72 Scale; 25mm; 51578; 54mm SAS; 9 01761; 9 51578; A02720; Cold War; Elite Forces; Modern; Plastic Toy Soldiers; S.A.S.; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Special Air Service; Special Forces; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers;
The irony is that the embassy siege was probably the only time a unit of the SAS were deployed dressed as that, or these chaps, while the guys operating in Northern Ireland would have worn a mix of standard and aftermarket combats or smocks all made from the four-colour, regulation DPM (disruptive-pattern-material) of the time.

●○●●○●    ●○●●○●     ●○●●○●     ●○●●○●     ●○●●○●

1984; [Cold War/Modern]
S.A.S. (Special Air Service)
9 01761 - 1:72 Scale (25mm)
 
Because it didn't exist except as a marketing idea in a catalogue issued the autumn before the period to which it pertains, there is no point in a separate entry for the HO/OO (or by then '1:72' SAS set, so it might as well go here for those who persist in looking for such stuff!

Advertised in the 1984 catalogue, it never happened.

Had it; it would have been like the Cold War US or Russian sets and the WWII Italians, i.e.; a rather boring selection of multiples of six of the seven 1:32nd scale figures in sixes, sevens or eights, scaled down, with - probably - two officers, and while Airfix had by then adopted (or were about to) the 1:72 scale for packaging, they would almost certainly have been issued in a size closer to 1:76th scale.

But it never happened and that's that.