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"Airfix 1/72nd scale French Line Infantry" Topic

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4,450 hits since 23 Oct 2016
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 9:02 a.m. PST

I recall you were meant to wash them in detergent to get that oil off…..then it was meant to be a watered down PVA glue wash to get the paint to stick.

That was for posh kids though.

Detergent? You had it easy…we dreamt of just a bar of soap. Shower? Summat that happened when the sky darkened. Kids these days………don't know they're born.

We had it rough…..

Hussar6225 Jun 2017 10:00 a.m. PST

Rough indeed. But these plastic soldiers have heart! 40+ years ago my brother and I started buying these after watching Waterloo (on our old black and with 13" tv with a coat hanger for an antenna). Despite the great new figures that have come along since, many an Airfix Frenchman or Brit will still march on to the field of battle.

Marc at work25 Jun 2017 10:47 a.m. PST

I have never really understood the whole washing them first routine. The moulds are protected in storage by a light coating of machine oil. But that would very rapidly burn off in use. Polythene is naturally slippy, so I would imagine most of what we took to be oiliness is just the plastic itself. If you cut an Airfix figure in half the cut surfaces are just as slippy.

Primer. Oh my, what a can of worms. My experience:

On Airfix nowadays Vallejo acrylic polyurethane white primer. It sticks, bends and will not flake

But it falls off some modern HaT figures. Go figure.

So sometimes I have to use a plastic spray but really they are designed for rigid plastic like garden furniture. So they work well on the more modern plastics. But tend to flake off Airfix

I avoid standard white sprays these days sometimes they work, other times they don't. But I read other people have great success with cheap sprays. So perhaps try a few

Gesso is ok I use liquified artist grade. Very flexible, but a bit thick, and if the plastic is "slippery" it can bead. But in winter when I can't spray it has its uses

PVA well, I use (sometimes, if the plastic feels slippy and prone to peeling) Liquitex acrylic matte medium. It comes In a big bottle, and is posh thin PVA. I use this especially on muskets and ankles prime flake areas.

Then, when finished, I use the Army Painter dip (the French I did above have dark tone i.e. Black based). But to reduce its black effect, I give them a coat of Johnson Klear first. This is. Because acrylic paints appears to dry grainy, and the dip can make everything take on the black tone. So the klear makes the surface smooth, which lets the dip flow better (and I say dip, I actually brush it on)

After that a quick blast of Army Painter or Warlord matte spray.

I suffer very little flaking but the basing helps as well as they get touched less.

If any do suffer, I occasionally repair with a coat of the Liquitex first, then paint and another coat of liquitex as a varnish. For these sort of spot repairs the Warlord water based dips/washes give me the Dip effect without having to clean up with white spirit

I know people moan about flaking, but I get very little in use. I occasionally lose some at the painting stage if I haven't prepped them properly so a quick coat of liquitex and off I go again. For the odd bit of flaking I would never change from using plastics they are just right for me size, proportions, price and availability.

If you want to know anything else do please just ask here or at marc dot flack at sayervincent dot co dot uk. Always happy to chat wargaming and plastics


Oh, and nice Saxons I am tempted to use my older Italeri and Esci for my "allied" units

Lambert Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 12:09 p.m. PST

Many thanks Marc for the detailed answer. I guessed it mightn't be straightforward! But great to be able to benefit from your experience.

Rod MacArthur25 Jun 2017 12:37 p.m. PST

I have never bothered to wash or prime my 1:72 plastic figures in any way. I just paint them with Humbrol paints (mainly matt). Many of them are 40 or 50 years old, without much damage. Occasionally have to touch up muskets or swords but not a significant amount. I suppose that I have so many that any one unit does not see a lot of action.


Tiberius26 Jun 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

Acknowledging all the help I have received on different forums.

Thank you


Marc at work26 Jun 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

My pleasure, as I imagine it is for most of us on TMP. We share a love for this silly little hobby of ours.

One day, if we ever get over to Oz to see family…


4th Cuirassier27 Jun 2017 6:51 a.m. PST

These are really terrific work. Does anyone have any British or Prussians to show off? They were nice too and were actually pretty accurate uniform-wise.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

Prussians you only got Landwehr types though. Very late arrivals on the scene (bit like the real thing on the big day…?)

British were in parade rig eg no shako covers, but they were amongst the best of the range. I thought RHA took the prize, with British Hussars a close second

Rod MacArthur27 Jun 2017 9:57 a.m. PST

4th Cuirassier wrote:

These are really terrific work. Does anyone have any British or Prussians to show off? They were nice too and were actually pretty accurate uniform-wise.

As mentioned before I have lots of Airfix British on my website:


All of my 40 odd British Line battalions are Airfix, as are my 4 battalions of Foot Guards and 6 battalions of KGL Line. My 3 (reduced strength) battalions of 95th Rifles, 6 x British Light Infantry Battalions, 2 x KGL Light Battalions and 9 x Hanoverian battalions are also Airfix British, most with shakos welded into conical (stovepipe) ones. In fact the only non-Airfix British battalion is my 5th/60th Rifles which are Revell.

I do have some Airfix Prussian Landwehr, still in their boxes as I never got around to painting them, and have been sidetracked recently into my Jacobite Rebellion set up. I might get back to these Prussians one day.


Marc at work27 Jun 2017 10:15 p.m. PST

I have some Prussians painted so I will try and get some decent photos. But they lacked the childhood nostalgia for me I'm afraid. Probably because they not only arrived late, but were always hard to find in toy shops. The Airfix distribution model was pretty rubbish, so what shops had what stock was a lottery.

Another thing is that they were quiet small. The HaT mounted colonels I have in the units tower over the figures.

But in their favour, they were well sculpted and had a good selection of command figures. Not enough marching poses for the wargamer of today though.

So I am eagerly awaiting the HaT crowdfunding landwehr. I think I have ordered enough to make another two regiments (6 battalions) of 32 each. Should loo impressive on the table.

But agree with Liam – the RHA were always the pick of the bunch


Pauls Bods28 Jun 2017 9:31 a.m. PST

Does anyone have any British or Prussians to show off?

The brits. 100% airfix wth just over half made from conversions within the set.

The conversions here
The same set with heads from the Hussars set as 2nd battalion of the 2nd Nassau Usingen – Grenadiers

and the Highlanders using bits from the British infantry

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2017 9:40 a.m. PST

Now I never did think of Hussar heads on the British…to make Nassau. Brilliant.

I swapped French shakos onto British for Brunswick/French in overalls/Netherlands (I had to add a little peak at the back)but never thought of that one……

Your conversions are just amazing at adding a lot of variety.

I do not recall that my Highlanders had the socks diced like this, nor the headband. Incredible painting here. Mind you…mine had the King's Colour on the right (But we'll forgive that….and I lie. My Gordons only had the regt colour anyway).

Seriously though. Nice touch…your Guards at top are right in having it "the wrong way around" arranging their colours. The national flag does go on the left for them.

Pauls Bods28 Jun 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

Thanks Liam.
I realised the mistake with the Standards too late, ie, after they were based. I never knew that guards had them the "wrong way around"
Way back..some 40 years now, I came up with bavarians as well. The humbrol gloss !!!


Marc at work28 Jun 2017 2:00 p.m. PST

Paul did some amazing work with those, not just the paintwork but the detail too of the conversions

If I was honest, his French are not up to the Brits standard so I hope one day he will do a newer set to that standard


4th Cuirassier29 Jun 2017 3:46 a.m. PST

The Airfix RHA are indeed still pretty good, the French artillery in contrast being absolutely terrible.

Marc at work29 Jun 2017 9:34 a.m. PST

Harsh :-)

The guns are rubbish, of course, and I refuse to call the other bit a limber. But the crew are ok ish…

They paint up reasonably, and the uniform is almost correct.

So I have used them, with spare guns from the Italeri set (which has two guns, one limber and one crew). HaT make a serviceable limber set, Zvezda is better, of course.

But the crew are, as I said, ok. And better for the late war than the marvellous Zvezda crew

number4 Inactive Member13 Sep 2017 3:20 p.m. PST

Airfix: the only army where the Guards are shorter than their comrades in the Line :D

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