Classic vintage Airfix figures like these Russian WW2 infantry have lots of potential for paint conversion.
I painted these original 1960s Airfix figures, a gift from Tony Adams of the Miniature Woodscrew Army, as generic 20th Century rifle troops that could as needed be used as WW2 Russians if needed.
A mix of greys and greens from the matt ‘khaki grunge’ end of my Revell Acrylic Aquacolor paints should prove suitable camouflage.
This generic colouring of Modern troops can be seen here in this seventies Ladybird Leader book on Soldiers
Reading the Unwomanly Face of War about Soviet women on the Eastern Front has discouraged me from gaming the enormity of The Eastern Front.
Instead these soldiers belong to My Tintinesque ImagiNations on the Eastern Eurasian border. The Kingdom of IgoYugoslavia split over a disagreement about turntaking into smaller republics including the Republic of Igoslavia with its silver and red banner.
Here they are pictured alongside some of their Tank support, which some readers might remember as the ready to play polythene Airfix T34 (price 35p Model Sports, 1970s)
Igoslavia staff officer looking much like an American Civilian War artillery officer.
Blog post created using the clunky new block editor on WordPress, not a pleasant experience, for the Mark Man of TIN 28 September 2091.
Have a look at this attractively improvised game and games table (I’m sure Little Wars / Floor Games author HG Wells would approve) with Featherstone rules, scrambled together by the Death Zap! blogger The Wargaming Pastor:
The Duke of Wellington dismissively observed to William Siborne, “You can as well write the history of a ball as of a battle.” Here is an old overlooked battle or skirmish report.
This scratch game is an oldie from 2016, stuck in the drafts folder, that didn’t as far as I remember get published on this blog at the time. It uses my first version of a portable wooden hex game board using Heroscape tiles.
Close Little Wars game 8 involves Natives v Redcoats.
Figures – The Natives are vintage Airfix Indians versus Redcoats who are vintage Airfix Guards Colour Party.
Weapons – The Natives (Airfix Indians) are equipped with distance weapons mainly bows, spears and a few rifles. 18 Redcoat Infantry, NCO and the Bugler have Rifles, the Officer and Standard Bearer have pistols and swords / cutlasses.
Range reminders – Rifles and native bows fire 4 hexes, pistol and spears 2 hexes.
Movement reminders – Natives move 3 hex squares, Redcoat troops in groups of 3 or less move 3 hex squares, Redcoat troops in groups of 4 or more move 2 hexes. There are no roads on this terrain. Uphill movements take half a move (1 hex height equals half a move). Heights above two hexes stacked are unclimbable unless a different route of 1 hex steps are available.
Size of Force – Usually we have about 25 figures on each side but throw a d6 for each side to remove that number of figures from each side, giving slight disadvantage of only 21 Redcoat Guardsmen (Redcoats rolled 4 on their d6) to 24 natives.
Only 4 figures can occupy a hex square. 1 figure = 1 man.
Scenario Aims – The Aim of the Redcoats is firstly to recover the old crossing fort, capture the crossing and possibly the native campsite. Capturing the Native Chief and his Squaw is also a secondary aim.
The Aim of the Natives is firstly to defend the crossing and defeat the Redcoats. Secondary aim is for their Chief and Squaw to escape intact, inflicting as many Redcoat casualties as needed.
Arranging the Terrain – The Hex Scape board was arranged before the game with suitable high ground and restricted height areas. The Natives are encamped around their tent near the Old Crossing Fort.
Staggered start – By setting out d6 alternatives, it is possible to delay for a move how many figures are in place on the first move. Roll 2d6 to see how many of the group are involved on the board on the first move and 2d6 how many move onto the board on the second move.
Alternatively roll a d6. Roll 1-3 – all on board first move, roll 4-6 half the group (natives or redcoats) on board first move.
By allocating numbers to the grid squares A to F and 1 to 8, it was possible to slightly randomise where different groups first moved onto the board.
Future note: Blank hex map page to help with quick mapping / recording.
A second point to speed up precious game play time is to prewrite and set up scenarios, entry points well ahead of the game.
As it worked out all Redcoats / guards enter from one point on the river edge, whilst all the Natives are encamped around their tent hex with their Chief and Squaw (who is a non-combatant). The Chief has a suitable weapon for Melee as required.
At turn start – Red Dice used for the Redcoats, White dice for the Natives.
Escape / End Scenario – a log canoe is hidden in the undergrowth at A/B2 on the riverbank which will allow the Native Chief and Squaw to escape. A minimum of two figures are needed to operate canoe to escape to the SW, as there is no access past the low plank bridge crossing or to the North because of rapids, rocks, weir etc.
Unbeknown to the natives, Redcoats will not knowingly fire on women or children but may capture them, hold them in the fort etc. They also wish to rebuild the old crossing fort.
Bridge Crossing Rule applies – bridge crossing dice throw (roll 1 – fall in and drown). River is deemed impassable or unfordable. Redcoats have no engineers, pontoons or river crossing equipment.
First Turn of Game 8
Turn 1 begins with Natives moving first, having won highest dice throw..
Are the Natives aware of the Redcoats? Do the Natives have scouts or lookouts posted? Roll d6 to find out.
Roll 1-3, yes natives aware of enemy forces, scouts or returning hunting parties have bought word.
Roll 4-6, scouts need to be posted. Natives unaware of Redcoats.
Result of d6 dice throw is that No, the Natives are not aware of Redcoat activity.
Redcoat move – Redcoat group splits up and heads fast for the bridge.
Turn 1 Summary – End of Turn 1, no firing as no one in range. No casualties so far.
Turn 2 of Game 8
Natives win highest throw so they move first.
Are Natives aware of Redcoat troops yet? Roll d6 as above, Yes! Native sentries or scouts glimpse Redcoat movement and pass word to hunting party.
Natives move – they spread out and disperse to river edge, covering the crossing and edge of the camp. Four native bowmen cross the bridge to the Redcoat side (losing no men over the bridge on their river crossing dice throw), whilst a mixed Native group of riflemen and bowmen remain on the Native end of the bridge. The Chief moves up into a good viewing position in the old Crossing Fort. Squaw packs up and prepares to break camp.
Redcoats move second – they have seen the advance party of four native bowmen come into sight over the bridge and along the river edge. Movement is quite restricted and bottle necked at this stage with only a maximum of four figures per hex square.
Natives fire first in Turn 2 – Their advanced party over the bridge fire arrows at the nearest Redcoat troops but fail to score any fatal hits (2 dice score hits on Redcoats but they are saved by successful casualty savings throw). The Native spearmen on furthest bank are more successful, killing 1 Redcoat infantry man. First Redcoat casualty of Game 8!
Redcoats fire second – The Redcoat group who have taken the first casualty return fire and score a successful fatal hit on one of the Native spearmen over the river. First Native Casualty of Game 8!
The Redcoats closest to the Bridge fire at the advanced party of Native Bowmen with no success.
Turn 2 Summary – End of Turn 2, Game 8 – one Redcoat Infantryman, one Native spearman.
Turn 3, Game 8 –
Natives win throw to move first. The advanced party of Native bowmen over the bridge engage the nearest Redcoats in melee. Two of the native bowmen are killed in the melee (after failing casualty savings throws) and the Natives lose the melee morale dice throw and retreat one hex backwards in good order, rather than rout.
Whoops! I realised afterwards that I had not given the Natives a +1 impetus throw.
Elsewhere the Natives move into a clearer firing line along the river edge within range of the Redcoats.
Redcoats move second , the final Redcoat figures moving onto the board / off the start line but still a bottleneck in places where rocks are too high to climb or pass over. Moving back into Melee, one Redcoat is killed by natives and the remaining 3 Redcoats in this group retreat one hex backwards in good order.
Natives fire first but achieve no successful hits. Redcoats fire second and kill one of the Native Bowmen near the Bridge. A further native is killed by Redcoat fire on the riverbank.
Turn 3 Summary During Turn 3, four Natives and a Redcoat infantryman are killed.
Turn 4, Game 8
Turn 4 sees the Redcoats move first, 3 Redcoats by the bridge move into further melee with the last surviving native of the advanced guard of Native Bowmen over the bridge on their side – who fights them all off and kills one Redcoat casualty! Melee morale throw a draw, so no retreat on either side.
When Natives move second, I wanted to see if this Lone Indian would retreat over the bridge. A 6 dice throw of 1 to 3 means retreat to the safety of the Native side of the river, 4-6 means the Lone Indian will remain on the Redcoat side of the River. A six is thrown and the Lone Indian remains on the Redcoat side, unfortunately blocking the fire path of the other Indians.
In the Firing phase, Redcoats fire first with no hits. Natives elsewhere along the riverbank fire second and kill three Redcoat infantry.
Turn 4 Summary – During Turn 4, things have gone badly for the Redcoats with 4 casualties. Overall 6 Redcoats have been lost in the first four moves at a cost of 5 natives.
Both groups have now lost a fifth to a quarter of their starting numbers. There is no retreat position, it will be a fight to the finish and / or an escape for the Native Chief and Squaw.
Turn 5 of Game 8
Redcoats roll highest dice, so move first. Four Redcoats move into Melee against the brave Lone Indian by the Bridge who kills one Redcoat but is finally killed fighting off the other 3. His base is inscribed for bravery in perpetuity!
When the natives move second, groups of warriors reinforce the riverbank and their side of the bridge. Some remain behind with the Chief and Squaw as a rearguard.
When should the Chief and Squaw make a move to evacuate themselves from the Old Crossing Fort ruins and head for the canoe? Playing solo, throw a dice to decide of course.
A d6 throw of 1-3 means an immediate retreat or evacuation by Native Chief and Squaw towards the canoe and possible safety down river
A d6 throw of 4-6 means stay put for this move.
In this move, they throw and have to stay put.
Turn 5 Summary – In the firing phase there are no losses so Turn 5 ends with One Redcoat lost and of course the brave Lone Native / Indian.
Turn 6 of Game 8
Redcoats throw highest so move first. Playing solo, I needed to decide whether the four Redcoats nearest the bridge would cross the bridge and attack the Natives or remain and fire at whoever was in sight or range.
Again a d6 throw was set up, 1-3 ordered across by Officer via the bugler, 4-6 remain on their side of the river.
The dice throw saw them ordered to cross the river and the river / bridge crossing throw saw one of them fall in (on a dice roll of 1) but saved by the others (on account of a successful casualty saving throw).
The Redcoats moved immediately into Melee with the nearest Natives who lose two of their men and the melee morale throw, retreating in rout one hex move backwards.
The Redcoat colour party moves down from the heights. Redcoat reinforcements move forward to cover the bridge crossing.
Natives move second – again the Chief throws his evacuation dice but rolls to remain put. He orders reinforcements of 2 Native spearmen to reinforce the routed bowmen retreating from the bridge.
Redcoats fire first, members of the Colour Party also joining in using abandoned rifles now that they have moved closer into range. 1 Native is killed. Natives fire second, no hits.
Turn 6 Summary At the end of turn 6, the Redcoats are successfully across the river but are quite low in number. 3 Natives have been killed during the turn, 2 at the bridgehead, one on the riverbank.
Turn 7 of Game 8
Whoops! Turn 7 never happened – miscounted in the fog of war. No casualties.
Turn 8 of Game 8
A photograph was taken of this turn when 4 Redcoats crossed the bridge.
Redcoats move first into melee at bridgehead; 1 Native killed and 1 Redcoat. Natives lose melee morale throw and retreat 1 move in good order. Extra Redcoats ordered over bridge to reinforce bridgehead party. The colour party stays put on Redcoat side of river.
Natives move second, again into melee of 3 Natives versus 4 Redcoats, resulating in the loss of 1 Native and their retreat 1 hex in good order after melee morale throw. The Chief rolls d6 re evacuation but stays put.
Firing phase, Redcoats fire first but inflict no casulaties. The Natives fire second and on a long shot from the Native warrior guarding the Native Chief, kill one Redcoat (who rolls d6 but loses casualty saving throw).
Turn 8 Summary – Turn 8 of Game 8 – 2 Redcoats lost, 2 Natives lost.
Turn 9 of Game 8 –
Redcoats move first, 4 of them into melee with Natives. 2 Natives killed. Another Redcoat on the Riverbank moves to the Bridgehead.
Natives move second, again into melee. Chief rolls re evacuation and again stays put.
Four Natives into melee at Bridgehead with four Redcoats; 1 Redcoat and a Native killed. Redcoats lose melee morale throw and retreat 1 hex back onto bridge in good order.
Redcoats fire first, inflicting a casualty on a Native rifleman on the riverbank below the bridgehead. Natives return fire but inflict no casualties.
Turn 9 Summary – Turn 9 of Game 8 – 4 Natives killed, 1 Redcoat killed. The battle still centres on the bottleneck of the bridge crossing, the river being unfordable and uncrossable elsewhere.
Turn 10 of Game 8 –
Three Redcoats at the Bridgehead move first again into Melee with the further loss of a Native casualty, yet the three Redcoats gain lose the Melee Morale Throw. They retreat back to the bridge in rout (no further firing from these 2 Redcoats).
The Natives move second and the two remaining Native Bowmen at the bridge move into melee against the rear of the three routed retreating Redcoats (adding 1+ impetus to their dice scores). One Redcoat is lost, again the Redcoats retreat in rout a one hex move taking them over / onto the bridge.
The Chief orders two further Natives from the Canoe river bank party to reinforce the bridge and two Native Bowmen from the riverbank to protect him by moving to the front of the old Crossing Fort.
The Chief passes on his orders in his native language and by arm movements so that his commands are not understood by the Redcoats , who have no translator with them. likewise, the Natives do not understand the Redcoats shouted orders or bugle calls.
The Redcoats fire first but score no successful hits, their field of fire being interfered with by the two routed Redcoats retreating across the bridge, who are themselves unable to fire being in rout and retreat.
When the Natives fire second, there are no casualties.
Turn 10 Summary – Turn 10 of Game 8 – one Redcot lost, 1 Native, both in Bridgehead melee.
By this stage of the game, the Redcoats have lost 11 men, almost 50% of their 21 men at the start of the game. No officers, colours or NCOs have yet been lost. The Natives have lost 16 Native warriors out of 24 (not including the non-combatant Squaw), being two-thirds of their available men. The Native Squaw, Chief and canoe are still safe on their side of the river and they still control the river crossing.
Turn 11 of Game 8
The Natives move first and the Chief again rolls an evacuation d6 dice but stays put.
Whether the Natives risk a melee on the bridge itself (roll 1-3, d6 dice) or stay put on their side of the river (roll 4 – 6, d6 dice) is decided by a dice throw: they stay put and make no further movement during this turn.
Again with the bridge becoming a battle bottleneck, the Redcoats when they move second have to throw a d6 to decide movements. The problem is the 2 Redcoats in rout stuck on the bridge, they throw a d6 and remain in rout on the bridge unable to move further.
A bridge crossing throw is brought in, having crossed or crossing the river. One of the two Redcoats falls in and is lost in the river, failing his casualty savings throw.
This still leaves three Redcoats including the NCO unable to cross the bridge unless a another d6 dice decision rule is brought in.
Can the Redcoat NCO and his men cross the bridge past their routed Redcoat colleague?
Roll 1 – 3, yes they can. Roll 4 – 6 no they can’t, being blocked by the routed and unmoving Redcoat.
They throw a 4 so remain blocked on their side of the bridge. 2 more Redcoats move to the rocky ridge breside the bridge to improve their field of fire.
Both Redcoats and Natives fail to hit anything on their firing round.
Turn 11 Summary – Turn 11 of Game 8 – one retreating routed Redcoat lost in the river and drowned whilst crossing bridge.
Turn 12 of Game 8 –
Redcoats move first. Thankfully the Redcoat blocking the bridge finally passes his morale throe so can move and fire. The NCO can then cross the bridge with his two men, gather up the Redcoat on the bridge (no Redcoats lost in Bridge crossing throw) and move into Melee with the two native bowmen holding the Bridgehead.
One Redcoat is lost in the Melee (dice thrown to see if it was the NCO – not) but the Natives lose the Melee Morale throw and retreat 1 move in good order backwards. Seeing this, the Redcoat Officer orders his Bugler to recall the two Redcoats watching the three Native spearmen guarding the canoe end of the river.
When the Natives move second, the Native Chief throws a d6 evacuation dice and on the resulting 6 begins to move himself and Squaw towards the Canoe and escape.
A minimum of two Natives is required to operate the canoe.
As the Chief and Squaw move 4 hexes towards the canoe with one Native rifleman as cover, 2 Native bowmen moving to higher ground.
The Chief orders 4 of his Native warriors into Melee against the three Redcoats at the Bridgehead as further cover for his escape.
During this Melee of four Natives versus three Redcoats, 2 Native spearmen are lost. The Redcoats lose the Melee Morale Throw and retreat in rout or disorder 1 hex back onto the bridge. (Dice for River crossing throw on next move.)
The Chief’s retreat with Squaw and Native warrior bodyguard is still bodily covered or shielded by the presence of two Native bowmen at the bridgehead and two bowmen on the ridge.
The Redcoats are unable to fire as their view is blocked by the three retreating routed Redcoats on the bridge.
The Natives fire next and two of the Redcoats on the Bridge are wounded (passed their casualty savings throw). Most Natives at this Turn have no clear field of fire.
Turn 12 summary – Turn 12 of Game 8 – 2 Native spearmen are lost and 1 Redcoat.
Redcoats win dice throw and move first. Turn 13 opens with the Redcoat NCO Sergeant and 2 Redcoats retreating over the bridge but luckily they morale throw a 6, steadying their retreat. They are now able to fire, move and respond to orders. Thankfully all of them survive the bridge crossing dice throw (If they rolled a 1, they fall in and drown).
The Redcoat Sergeant rallies the group back into a melee to defend the bridge and the Sergeant defeats one native bowman in hand to hand combat. The natives lose the melee morale throw and retreat one move backwards but in good order rather then rout.
The Redcoat NCO reminds his party that they are ordered not to fire on the squaw and native chief but to capture them alive if possible.
The Redcoat officer orders another Redcoat guardsman over the bridge, leaving one Redcoat on the Redcoat side of the Bridge to cover the Colour party. The Redcoat guardsman moves into the lee or cover of the large rock near the bridge to get a better view of the final actions.
The Natives move second having thrown the lower dice at the start of this turn.
The Native Chief with Squaw retreats to the log canoe with their warrior guard rejoining the native spearmen. They have range to fire on the bridge from their position. It will take one clear move to launch the canoe.
The remaining three Native bowmen move into melee to deal with the 4 Redcoats including the NCO / Sergeant. During the melee one Native bowman is killed and they lose the morale throw, retreating in good order and providing further cover for the Native Chief and Squaw.
Firing phase of Turn 13
Redcoats fire first but no losses are inflicted or are unable to fire without hitting the Native Chief or Squaw.
The Natives fail to hit anything in their firing round.
Turn 13 Summary – Turn 13 of Game 8 – two Native bowmen have been lost.
Turn 14 of Game 8
Natives move first. The Native Chief, Squaw and two Native warriors push canoe into the water. Roll a d6 to see how many can fit into the Canoe – the dice roll of a six means up to 6 Natives can squeeze in.
The Native Chief orders his two remaining bowmen to stay put and cover his escape then to melt away and meet him off the board further upstream.
The two Native bowmen roll a d6 to see if they move into Melee (roll 1 -3) or stay put and block the Redcoat movements (roll 4-6). They roll 3 so move into Melee where one Redcoat is killed. The Natives lose Melee Morale Throw but retreat in good order back one hex, still covering the escape route / attempt of their Chief.
Redcoats move second, back into Melee with the two Native bowmen. there are no casualties. The Redcoats lose melee Morale Throw and retreat one hex backwards to bridgehead in rout or disorder, being unable to move or fire further this turn.
Native bowmen fire first being the only Natives in range of the Redcoats but fail to hit any Redcoats. Redcoats unable to return fire.
Summary of Turn 14 – Turn 14 of game 8 – 1 Redcoat killed.
Redcoats move first, a successful morale throw allowing the Redcoat NCO and two Redcoat riflemen to move back into Melee with 2 Native bowmen. One Redcoat and one Native are lost. Again the Redcoats lose the Melee Morale Throw and retreat again in disorder back towards the bridge.
Further Redcoat movements require a d6 decision dice throw
Should the Redcoat Officer and Colour party move into position to see what is going on? Roll 1-3 yes, 4-6 no, too risky. As a 4 was thrown, they rely still on the limited view of the lone sentry on the bridge.
Natives move second. The canoe moves off downstream and off the games board to safety, taking the Native Chief, Squaw, one Native spearman and a bowman.
What should the lone Native bowman do? A D6 decision dice to be thrown.
1-2 retreat to the canoe safely. 3-4 Retreats off board to safety
5 Stays put and blocks Redcoats. 6 – Melees into the Redcoats.
Bowman rolls a 3, so he retreats safely off the board down river to rendezvous with the escaped canoe party further downstream.
The Canoe is now out of the Redcoats firing range. All natives are now out of firing range.
Summary of Turn 15 – Turn 15 of Game 8 – 1 Redcoat and one Native lost in Melee.
The Native Chief, Squaw and three Native warriors have escaped the Game board, leaving the Redcoats in possession of the Bridge crossing fort and their old campsite.
Final Turn – Turn 16 0f Game 8
The 2 Redcoats on the bridge throw a morale throw dice of 4 so are able again to move towards and secure the ridge camp and old Crossing Fort. The Colour party successfully cross the bridge and join them. One Redcoat sentry is posted to watch the direction of the Native retreat.
The Colours are hoisted again on the old Crossing Fort and a second tent posted next to the abandoned Native tent. The bridge crossing is also watched from the Crossing Fort again. Bugle calls are ordered to contact any Redcoat reinforcements in earshot, the number of troops at present being too few to send any messenger to gain any reinforcements.
The surviving Redcoat group are small in number – what would happen if a further Native force returned? Interesting future scenario.
Is Game 8 a Native or Redcoat Victory?
I think this is a Draw.
The Redcoats reoccupied the Crossing Fort and Bridge, awaiting reinforcements to strengthen their position. The Colours are safe.
They failed to capture the Native Chief and his Squaw or wipe out the other three Natives (a bowman, spearman and rifleman) who escaped in the Canoe with some provisions.
Both groups live to fight another day!
At the end of Turn 16, there are six Redcoat survivors: Two Riflemen and their NCO Sergeant, an Officer, Colour Bearer and Bugler.
15 Redcoat casualties are lost on both sides of the river or in the river and need recovery and burial where possible by the surviving six Redcoats, as soon as the Crossing Fort is made as safe as possible.
In addition 21 Natives need mass burial by the Redcoats.
All these brave and surviving Native warriors and Redcoats have the number 8 written underneath their cardboard base, in addition to the brave Lone Indian (though departed to the happy hunting grounds has 8 and the Lone Indian inscribed.
Draft from 2016, finally blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 22 September 2019.
Having dissected the ‘owl pellet’ of Tony Adams’ 1960s Airfix gaming figures in my recent blog posts, I thought I would share with you some of the Airfix reference materials that I have used alongside online websites like Plastic Soldier Review to date these version 1 figures.
This is not my only vintage hoard or kind gift from older colleagues and acquaintances. 2017 was a lucky year for vintage Airfix:
Before I start chasing older packaging – one attractive and useful book that I mentioned in a previous post was Jean-Christophe Carbonel’s 2010 book Airfix’s Little Soldiers (translated from French, 2010).
This book alone has saved me a small fortune collecting early Airfix packaging and playsets that I don’t have the storage space or money for.
Arthur Ward, ex Tailgunner columnist of Airfix magazine, has produced several Airfix and kit company history books. These are a good rainy day, loose end sort of book to read with attractive figures pictures to inspire you!
Best of all, I have the odd scrappy Airfix catalogue from my youth like this 1982 one to remind me. Too many of my teenage years, high on paint and kit glue in small unventilated rooms, were spent happily looking at these pages.
These pages recall many happy hours planning how many boxes of figures I would need and how to convert them, then working out if I could afford them. These pages also remind me that being shown in a catalogue didn’t necessarily mean these figures were available in the shop. The usual Airfix feast or famine, boom and bust.
No wonder, almost forty years on from this catalogue, I still have to restrain myself from impulse buying and hoarding Airfix figures whenever I see certain boxes. There should be an AA, an Airfix Anonymous for men of a certain age for such occasions : “My name is Mark Man of TIN and I am a vintage Airfix addict. I am resisting the need for my next Air-Fix (although I did buy the new version WW2 British Infantry a few weeks ago and it felt good.)”
Still a uniform reference guide for me years later, this catalogue is what the different troops of history should look like. As the BBC say for balance, other figure manufacturers are available. (Admit it though, they’re just not the same.)
There, a quick bit of weekend Airfix nostalgia, decades in the making!
I was intrigued by some of the colour schemes and set about repairing some of the American Civil War figures first. Hats of reddy brown, yellow and blue as painted by Tony many years ago were kept, refreshed or patched where needed. On a ragtag Confederate Unit, who would notice a bit of patching?
So there we have some new life breathed into some old figures, along with a few repaired rifles. I bet they thought in their tiny increasingly fragile plastic heads that their fighting days were over forever.
although in my mind they might be needed as ‘Japanese’ as I have ideas for an updated Gondal or Gaaldine type Bronte ImagiNations Pacific based island which is invaded by Japanese style troops 100 years after the Bronte’s 1830s / 1840s ImagiNation settings. A chance to use my spare Airfix first version Eighth Army figures as defenders (they are wearing shorts – perfect for the tropics) or use the ACW figures above as the Island militia.
Chatting by email to Tony Adams of the Miniature Wood Screw Army blog, he mentioned passing on a few Airfix figures that he no longer needed. I little expected an A4 jiffybag to arrive a few days later full of unwanted 1960s version 1 Airfix figures.
I find it interesting to see the mix and the range of paint schemes when buying the odd job lot of figures or seeing the OBEs on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World.
This lovely gift was heavy on version 1 Afrika Korps but had an interesting early 1960s mix from the Guards Colour Party 1959/60 through to the First World War.
In Plastic archaeology terms this was a short stretch of time from Guards Colour Party (1960) to WW1 figures (1966), as the Version 1 figures were replaced from 1972. The version 1 Airfix figures are those used in Donald Featherstone’s WW2 game in his first book War Games 1962.
The beautiful paperback Airfix’s Little Soldiers (2010) by Jean-Christophe Carbonel has a useful Year by Year chronology of Airfix HO/OO figures. A book well worth getting for the pictures of the figures and their packaging alone.
Version 1 Airfix replaced by Version 2 Chronology
(based on Plastic Soldier Review and Small Scale World Airfix figure listings)
1960 Infantry Combat Group (British Infantry) replaced 1973
1961 WW2 German Infantry replaced 1974
1962 British 8th Army replaced 1974
1962 Afrika Korps replaced 1973
1962 French Foreign Legion replaced 1970-72?
1963 US Marines replaced 1979
The American Civil War figures were all produced in 1962 and the slender and versatile Russian and Japanese infantry in 1964 before the shift to slightly larger figures such as the WW1 figures which appeared in 1966. The Chunky British Paras appeared in 1965.
I wonder what was behind the change from the charming version 1 figures? Version 2 figures are often a scaled down (pantographed) small version of the equivelant 1:32 poses. Was it a change in technology or different sculptor?
Were the Version 1 figures deemed too crude or small by emerging metal figure and kit standards? Jean-Christophe Carbonel in Airfix’s Small Soldiers suggested that John Niblett sculpted lots of the Airfix HO/OO and 1:32 figures for Airfix until 1974 when Ron Cameron took over, Ron having also sculpted figures for Matchbox. Hopefully someone can tell me more.
By the time my pocket money was being spent on Airfix kits and figures in the early to mid 1970s, it was mostly the chunkier or more detailed Version 2 that was available. The same slender and smaller to chunkier and bigger figure shift can be seen in the Airfix platform and railway figures still available in hard plastic from Dapol. Was it a HO/OO scale issue trying to resolve the 1:72 / 1:76 thing?
Sadly figures of this age, condition and style are not accorded much value. Some of these charming Version 1 smaller figures that were my quiet childhood favourites are beginning to crumble now. Usually it’s just lost rifle ends but occasionally heads, arms and bases. These can be carefully repaired or replaced. I wish someone would recreate or recast the Version 1 figures in metal as vintage gaming figures.
Amongst the figures were some odd ones with slightly unusual hats that I take to be from their harder plastic and dark green colour to be Hong Kong copies.
There were some recognisable Airfix kit vehicle crews such as Bren crews (1964) and cut down Afrika Korps version 1 figures, amongst some unusual and very versatile hard plastic German seated troops. Manufacturer identified by Tony Adams (see comments) as Airfix kit crew for the half track towing the 88mm gun (1967). At around 60 seated infantry and 15 drivers, that’s a lot of half track kits ! A seated platoon may possibly be created.
It was interesting to see the change in size from Airfix version 1 to the larger Airfix Version 2 style, whilst also amongst Tony Adams’ figures were some larger pirate copies of other figures, seen here next to one of my Pound Store equivalent 32mm figures.
There were also some larger Hong Kong copies of Lilliput style Herald Britain’s 1958 1:72 or 54mm Herald 1953/54 Modern Infantry or Crescent 54mm Eighth Army figures.
I have a battered few of these Crescent 54mm Desert Rats, seen here in better condition set on Barney Brown’s Herald Miniatures website (archive pages).
Those familiar and classic Britains Herald plastic ‘British’ Modern infantry in 54mm (1953/4) were also briefly issued in 1957/8 as 1:72 figures, similar to the Britain’s Lilliput Range. These tiny figures weren’t issued for long, but long enough to be pirated in Hong Kong.
So the best of these figures will be repaired, painted up and penny based for Future Featherstone vintage nostalgia ‘War Games’ 1962.
With a bewildering variety of scale and figure choice today, harking back to the restricted pocket money choices of the Sixties child or adult gamer of my youth has some Featherstone War Games (1962) charms.
These figures have some unusual paint schemes, probably making the most of the figures in hand, along with cryptographic colour markings on the base that only Tony Adams would understand. Look at his Miniature Woodscrew Army and you will see similar hat, base and body markings for different branches of the armed forces still.
Thanks Tony, for sending these and the pleasant evening sorting through this Airfix Owl Pellet of the Sixties gamer into a Really Useful Box tray for future games inspiration.
Blog posted by Mark , Man of TIN, child of the 1970s nostalgic for version 1 Airfix, 2 August 2019.
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
The first figures repaired and put on penny bases. Have run out of spare pennies for now …
I don’t check my blog stats that often but I noticed in passing a little spike on June 26th Of over 300 hits on one old blog post from two years ago in a week of not posting much new. The referrer site was the TMP website http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=510247