Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Airfix's Little Soldiers

I was clearing up some of the detritus in my office when I came across a file box that I thought was empty, only to discover that it contained a book that I had totally forgotten about ... AIRFIX'S LITTLE SOLDIERS: HO/OO FROM 1959 TO 2009 by Jean-Christophe Carbonel.


The book was published in 2009 by Historie & Collections (ISBN 978 2 35250 089 6) and the first half tells the story of the Airfix HO/OO-scale figures and catalogues each of the sets that were issued.

The second half of the book examines
  • The forts, gift sets, and other wargames that were sold and that included Airfix figures.
  • The numerous re-issues of the figures that have taken place.
  • The compatible sets of figures issued by competitors.
Reading this book brought back a lot of memories, especially of my pink plastic Guards Band and Guards Colour Party (the first Airfix figures that I bought!) and the American Civil War Infantry and Artillery. I was also struck by how much I preferred the original figures in the German Infantry set to the later issues, and I only wish that they were still available ... although preferably in hard plastic.

14 comments:

  1. And how many more little 'wonders' will you have stashed away in your office Bob?

    According to my 'chums' I have a 15mm Tiger tank in my loft. As it it happens I have no need of a 15mm Tiger tank so I don't intend to go looking for it!!

    Jim

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  2. Jim Duncan,

    I hate to think what I am going to find!

    Better it is a 'lost 15mm-scale Tiger tank in your loft that a full-size one. Mind you, that would be a bit more difficult not to find.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Mosstrooper,

    How would wargaming in the UK have developed without these little fellows?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Hi,

    I've been re-discovering 1/72 plastic figures from my own childhood, and am putting them to use on my current wargaming. (who would've ever guessed where it was going to lead?)

    If you're interested in ww2-era plastics (of a modern sort) you should have a stare at plasticsoldiercompany.co.uk

    All the best,
    Craig

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  5. CWT (Craig),

    I wonder how many wargamers of a certain age are also 'rediscovering' the wargames (and plastic figures) of their youth.

    I have looked at the hard plastic PSC figures, and I must admit that they are very tempting.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Airfix plastics were also my game companions during my boyhood in the 60s in Spain. I remember being 6-7 years old to go shopping to the food market every Friday and stopping by a (now defunct) small model shop nearby with my father to buy a box of Airfix soldiers (I may be wrong but then these were whithe colour with a transparent cellophane through which you could see the content)

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  7. Anibal Invictus,

    The first boxes of Airfix figures that I bought came from the local branch of Woolworths.

    The earliest boxes of Airfix figures had a small see-through panel in the box so that you could see a selection of the figures inside.

    The book contains illustrations of all the packaging used from 1959 onwards.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. I remember getting some quite useable small plastic figs - probably HO/00 in cereal packets - corn flakes and sugar puffs I seem to recall. They seemed sim,ilar to airfix ones i had bought - but may just be my rose tinted juvenile memory!

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  9. Ken H,

    I remember getting plastic figures in various cereal packets when I was a child, but I thought that they were larger than OO/HO-scale. Mind you, everything looks bigger when you are young, doesn't it?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. I have a large soft spot for Airfix, like so many others. Looks like a marvelous book.

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  11. Ross Mac,

    The arrival of Airfix figures seems to have been the catalyst for a lot of wargamers (of a certain age) to start.

    The book is excellent, although the translation from French to English is a little odd in one or two places.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. I'm 15 years old and probably not welcome here, but I've already started wargamimg with my friends using (you guessed it!) the newer Airfix soldiers. Sadly, you can't buy them from the official website anymore as they were recently discontinued.

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    Replies
    1. Elliot Taylor,

      Age is no bar to enjoying wargaming or making comments on blogs. As long as people are pleasant and have something worthwhile to say, all are welcome.

      I was unaware that the official Airfix website no longer included their figures. In my opinion doing that makes little or no sense.

      All the best,

      Bob

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