Peter Laing’s “growing range of 15mm metal figures of World War Two infantry” endorsement in Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations

I was surprised, whilst painting Airfix Paratroops and re-reading Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (1977) to find a rare mention of Peter Laing’s “growing range of 15mm metal figures of World War Two infantry“.

This Peter Laing WW2 range never grew very big, not much bigger than that listed above.

This is a bit of a surprise as these mid 1970s figures must have been some of the first 15mm WW2 figures. 25 to 30 years later, 15mm WW2 Flames of War figure and vehicles were all the rage.

Snapshot from an earlier Peter Laing 15mm WW2 skirmish of mine (2016)

Part of this “growing range” was probably the dual-use steel helmeted infantry, guns, wagons and others items from Peter’s extensive British, French and German WW1 range.

I use these figures interchangeably for WW1/WW2, as with Peter Laing’s deliberate under-detailing, the figures are easily converted by paint or file to other periods.

Peter Laing 15mm WW1 / WW2 German Infantry (that I have got around to painting …)
I have posted previously about Peter Laing’s WW2 range and my occasional WW2 skirmish games at:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/peter-laing-ww2-figures

This 2016 blog post also mentions the excellent Tim’s Tanks blog posts about Peter Laing’s WW1 and WW2 range. This features some US Infantry converted to British Paras (see screenshot picture below)

I can testify that, as the Laing catalogue describes, these figures could give “at platoon level … a most satisfactory infantry action game” in a small space –

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/ww2-platoon-level-close-little-world-wars-rules/

Some further Peter Laing WW2 German Infantry figures to be used as Paratroops and British Infantry / Home Guard have been stuck on my painting table for months, ready for a ‘Sealion’ type skirmish. Airfix figures keep just jumping that queue and getting in the way!

My delayed painting tray: Sealion postponed? Laing WW1/ WW2 British riflemen at the back, two HMG crews to repaint khaki centre and German ‘Paras’ at front.

Who knows I might even have painted them all in time for the Peter Laing 50th anniversary 2022 next year.

Next autumn 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the first 15 mm figures and the first Laing ranges being advertised for the first time in October / November 1972 Military Modelling magazine (starting with his Marlburian range).

Some of my original samples of 15mm Peter Laing WW2 ranges, bought and half painted c. 1983 (British, left and Germans, right)

I wish I had bought more Laing WW2 figures at the time but with limited pocket money funds and a good selection of Airfix WW2 figures, vehicles and scenery at the time, I focused my Laing purchases on periods and figures not covered by Airfix that Laing did such as the ECW.

The same “Airfix or Laing?” debate continues in my gaming and collecting to this day.

Pictures of Peter Laing WW2 figures on Tim’s Tanks blogpost

This simple WW2 range for platoon level action is highly praised for its balance on the Tim’s Tanks blogspot, which gave me my glimpse of the Americans for the first time (albeit doubled up as British Paratroops) :

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Screenshot courtesy of Tims Tanks website WW2 Peter Laing blogpost

Any shortfalls in Tim’s Tanks  WW2 Peter Laing collection were patched, as with my own Peter Laing WW2 troops, from Peter’s WW1 range.

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Tim’s Tanks: “This range was ahead of its time and the figures surprisingly well thought through.”

“For each nationality (British, U.S. or German) there was a sidearm equipped officer figure, a SMG armed NCO, an infantryman advancing with rifle at high port, an LMG and No.2 and a Light Mortar and No.2.”

Lovely figures, perfect for the task”. (Tim’s Tanks Peter Laing WW2 themed blogpost)

*************

Sadly, Peter Laing figures are no longer commercially made, whilst the moulds appear to have vanished after Peter Laing retired and sold the moulds to the late John Mitchell.

Your best chance of finding any Peter Laing figures is on eBay where – warning – not all ‘Peter Laing figures’ are Peter Laing, often they are early Minifigs. The strange Laing horses are often a clue Some ranges of these second-hand figures now command good prices!

There is a small and friendly Peter Laing collectors group set up by Ian Dury on the MeWe platform, a good place to flag up any Laing’s figures on sale, get figure IDs etc.

https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures

Heroics and Ros, Airfix, Atlantic, Hinchliffe … and Peter Laing! A page from my 1977 copy of Donald Featherstone, Wargaming Airborne Operations (battered ex library copy from my childhood).

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 August 2021

6 thoughts on “Peter Laing’s “growing range of 15mm metal figures of World War Two infantry” endorsement in Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations”

  1. Really interesting to read of the forthcoming anniversary next year. The Wargames Club l went to got Peter Laing figures on discounted prices due I think to big club orders. They were popular and people had big armies. In my uni days l fielded PL Romans. I don’t know what happened to the figures along the passages of time.
    I do like your Platoon action rules which would work well with 54mm figures outdoors very well with adjusted move ranges. They would work well with Airfix too indoors. As a teenager I went to an exhibition in Edinburgh of Crimean War photos. Accompanying the exhibition was a big Crimean War battle fought with loads of PL figures. It looked great and fully eclipsed the photos for me. I stayed and watched and talked to the gamers . I even l think got to throw dice , move figures, maybe not. I was hooked and the rest is history. The PL figures looked terrific en masse.

    Like

  2. A good anniversary to commemorate. I’m hoping to get in a round of naval action this week for INWARD (International Naval Wargames Day) which commemorates the birthday of Fred T. Jane on August 6. While I definitely won’t try his full rules, I do have a simple Merrimac v. Monitor scenario that uses his “poking at pictures” method of firing, and ought to be toylike enough for work purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

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