Warning: More Vintage Airfix Nostalgia

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.

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A generous Jiffy bag full of Version 1 early 1960s Airfix figures roughly sorted.

This is not my only vintage hoard or kind gift from older colleagues and acquaintances. 2017 was a lucky year for vintage Airfix:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/another-vintage-airfix-hoard/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/

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).

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An attractive book to dip into and lose several hours looking at old packaging …

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.

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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!

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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.)

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Useful painting guides when you had lost the box packaging –  1982 Airfix catalogue
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A few of the Vintage Airfix original sets and boxes that I have collected over the years: I have more blue box era sets and some of the lovely 1:32 boxes, stashed away, not on display to prevent box fading.

There, a quick bit of weekend Airfix nostalgia, decades in the making!

The gateway to plastic happiness is still available by post erratically stocked in part (and currently in OO scale only) at
https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures.html

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN (and Airfix Kid of Plastic) 7 September 2019.
 

 

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Adamstown or Angria? Vintage Airfix ACW Repaired

The kind gift by Tony Adams of a bag of Airfix OO/HO figures from the 1960s has pushed aside a few other units of the painting table (poor old Peter Laings).

To make space for more units of the Miniature Wood Screw Army, Tony sent me a mixed bag of bashed and sometimes damaged 1960s Airfix plastic https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/a-1960s-airfix-owl-pellet/

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Penny based, before repainting and flocking 

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?

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Flying the old Confederate flag, the Adamstown Volunteers.
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A ragged firing line … in many senses of the word.

I had in mind a scratch unit that could be Confederates but with a different sunrise flag could pass as Angrian units in my ImagiNations refighting of the Bronte ImagiNations of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

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Angria Arise! The Rising Sun banner transforms these Confederates into 1830s and 1840s Bronte ImagiNations  scruffy  Angrian infantry.
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Tony Adams’ original paint colours of yellow and red-brown hats is mirrored in the colours of the Angrian National Flag, according to the Brontes.

A mixture of penny bases and square mounting card was used. I started mounting them on pennies as part of an email chat with Tony about Flocking and Basing then remembered looking at the Battle of Pine Ridge ACW Skirmish that all my other vintage Airfix were on card: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/airfix-acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-river-crossing/

I had run out of pennies anyway.

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The mixture of penny and square bases is not too noticeable. Neither is the Southern ragtag mix of red, yellow, blue, grey shades of hats and uniform.
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Smart ‘Blue and White’ ImagiNations 19th Century troops. Airfix ACW Union infantry, rifles repaired. First version French Foreign Legion Officer.  The nucleus of a new Regiment.
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A range of 1960s First version Airfix,  based and basic painted – work in progress.  1 and 2 Afrika Korps, US Marines 3, hat amendment to Eighth Army  officer 4, Infantry Combat  Group officer, German Infantry officer or mini Hitler, RAF Kit crew.

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.

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The spare Foreign Legion and Japanese in the box and that I have stashed away could well become more Zouaves or Militia,
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/

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.

I have more vintage Airfix ACW from a previous tin gift and ‘blue box’ charity shop finds to paint and add. Packaging I remember as an Airfix child.
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/another-vintage-airfix-hoard/

Not sure which side or nation these hoard figures  will eventually represent.

The duel flag system works well. For the cost of one figure, you get a whole new unit or regiment.

More vintage Airfix nostalgia posts on the way in a bashed old 1982 Airfix catalogue that I kept.

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 28 August 2019.

A 1960s Airfix Owl Pellet …

IMG_1144IMG_1145IMG_1146IMG_1158Chatting 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.

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An Airfix timeline 1960 to about 1966 along with RAF kit figures c. 1969

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.

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Left version 1 Germans and strange egg box fortifications in Terry Wise,  Introduction to Battle Gaming (1969/72) and right, Donald Featherstone 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.

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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.

These larger or version 2 figures are the ones still available from Airfix over 40 to 50 years later on their sporadic reissue as Vintage Classics. https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/figures.html

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?

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Jean-Christophe Carbonel,  Airfix’s Small Soldiers (2010)

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.

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http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ManufacturerList.aspx?id=3

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.

One of the attractive features of someone else’s playbox are the mysteriously painted or coloured figures from past battles with their now cryptic base markings and uniform colours. I like these OBE figures on Hugh Walter’s Small Scale World, for example the Afrika Korps http://airfixfigs.blogspot.com/2010/06/1962-wwii-afrika-korps-1st-type-s11-hooo.html

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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.

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From the new arrivals HK Copies or Airfix originals? Some have almost miners hats or bowler hats.

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.

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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.

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Version 1 through larger Airfix 1:72 figures through Crescent copies to a modern Pound Store 32mm figure.

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.

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Flashy 25mm Hong Kong copies of Crescent 54mm Eighth Army c. 1960 plastics

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).

http://www.heraldtoysandmodels.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=128&products_id=2732

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Archive sold section  screenshot from Barney Brown’s Herald Toys  shop

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.

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Those four delightful words of childhood pocket money  joy – ‘Made 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.

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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.

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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

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The first figures repaired and put on penny bases. Have run out of spare pennies for now …

July 4th Part 2 – Vintage Airfix ACW Battle of Pine Ridge Revisited

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Loved this ACW vintage Airfix game from July 2017.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-vintage-airfix-full-game-write-up/

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

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Some good looking clever Airfix paint conversions by Paul’s Bods. TMP Page forum

July 4th Blog Post Part 1 – https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/marx-boy-scouts-of-america-54mm-figure/
Blog Posted by Mark Man of TIN on the 4th of July 2019

 

 

Stealth’s Take on Close Little Wars

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Following up my post about Jen B’s version of Featherstone’s Close Wars Rules, fellow games blogger Stealth contacted me to say that he had been playing around with his own variant of Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars rules.

These were first published in Don’s appendix to War Games (1962) and Stealth had been looking at my variants Close Little Wars.

Here is Stealth’s variant are in detail for you to peruse: https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/05/stealths-close-little-wars-variant-rules.html

and his classic first wargames minis are first version 1960s tiny Airfix figure conversions, always a charming joy to see

https://stealthswargaming.blogspot.com/2019/06/i-emerge-from-painting-cave-to-give-you.html

Stealth’s rules have a slight D & D influence or feel (see his other blogs) in that carrying or capturing crates forms part of the victory conditions, scoring and scenarios. Interesting idea for ambushing a supply column etc.

I hope you find something of rules variants interest here. I enjoy seeing how people adapt and tinker, go back to basics and then elaborate a bit more.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 June 2019.

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 3 – Vintage 1980s Polish Toy Soldier Airfix clones on Etsy

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 3 – Looking up “Toy Soldiers” on the Etsy website is an easy way to lose several hours of an evening (and hopefully not lose or spend too much money).

The Etsy prices are generally not cheap (it is a retro, vintage, crafty, antique sellers platform site) but you do see some fascinating metal and plastic Toy Soldier figures from all over the world including Eastern Europe and America.

Perfect for online “window shopping”.

Shipping sometimes obviously adds prohibitively to costs from outside the U.K.

Disclaimer: Man of TIN cannot be held responsible for the loss of your time or hard earned cash from mentioning toy soldiers and Etsy. Searching for ‘toy soldiers’ on Etsy also occasionally brings up ‘adult’ material / figures.

I have bought from Etsy several times from UK and overseas sellers with no problems.

One set that caught my eye but I didn’t buy (no longer available – ships from Bulgaria http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RETROne?ref=si_shop ) are these interestingly blue uniformed versions of the Airfix 1:32 British paratroopers with very thick bases – Eastern European clones or copies?

I took a screen shot of these for my toy soldier scrapbook, so that now when they are sold and gone from Etsy, I still have the memory. All good reference and research.

Are these Airfix copies from Eastern Europe or an interesting paint job?
I’m thinking James Bond super villain defence of secret base forces …
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Close up shot of Polish made  Airfix paratrooper clones from Etsy supplier  RetrOne 2018
Interesting Imagi-Nations colour scheme for these Airfix British paras?
I hope whoever bought them enjoys them.
I hope that all who see them on this blog or browsing on Etsy enjoy the looking!
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Advent Calendar Day 3, Monday 3rd December 2019. 

Airfix WW2 Kits and WW1 Figures limited reissues 2018

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Screenshot, not an active link.

Look them up at http://www.Airfix.com shop section Vintage Classics 

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop.html

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Limited edition May 2018 Announcement and currently on Pre-order:

The 1:76 / 20mm Airfix WW1 figures and WW1 British Tank are back, along with a selection of classic WW2 tanks, lorries and guns. There are also a few classic ship models.

A limited few 1:76 OO/HO WW2 figures are already on sale.

All good classic figures and kits for WW2, WW1 games and Conversions for  Wargames.

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Screenshot of classic kits and figures

Grab them while you can.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 14 May 2018.