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"The Airfix difference" Topic

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Thortrains15 Apr 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

Those of us of a certain age remember first seeing Airfix figures in "HO / OO" size. That was around '61 or '62. This article focuses on the impact of their 1/32 sets that first emerged around 1970. Great stuff for skirmish games!

An illustrated article on Airfix 54mm figures


Enjoy and please share!

forrester15 Apr 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

We played a lot of games with those figures and Donald Featherstone's skirmish rules. 54MM seemed the obvious scale for that type of game.

JimSelzer15 Apr 2018 12:38 p.m. PST

I blame Airfix availability at K mart as my gateway drug leading to Miniature Gaming

BrockLanders Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 2:08 p.m. PST

We spent many a summer day in the backyard lining up the Airfix figures and then fighting it out with dirt clods. Before we figured out we needed rules and dice 😄

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

It was Marx. Apart from sets for Christmas, you could buy bags or 100 54mm Marx figures at Kresges. That, ZULU, and lots of old Westerns and WWII movies on TV.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 4:19 p.m. PST

I remember seeing my first Airfix figures in a 5&10 near where I grew up. I was hooked. As it happened, I also had a neighborhood hobby shop that sold Roco Minitanks, so resistance was hopeless. I was maybe 12 years old, and had already had many Marx figures.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 4:55 p.m. PST

My dad bought me Airfix sets of figs when he came back from business trips when I was a lad – got me into gaming and painting

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 5:03 p.m. PST

BrockLanders … you take me back. My brother and I lived on a property and we'd dig meters of trenches, build mud bunkers, line the parapets with sticks, even made mud forts and castles and then blitz the hell out of each side with dirt clods. We had size limits and took turns of lobbing them from set distances for an agreed number of rounds and then counted up the casualties. Does that count for rules? Lost a lot of them in the ground when it rained – we were lazy and sometimes didn't clean up properly especially when Mum called us in for dinner.

genew4915 Apr 2018 7:01 p.m. PST

In 1960 my brother and I camouflaged several 1/48 aircraft (probably Monogram, don't worry had plenty of Airfix along the way.),beneath some bushes in our yard. Never did find those planes. If anyone stops by 276 West Elm St. in Brockton, Massachusetts and finds them, please let me know.

attilathepun4715 Apr 2018 8:30 p.m. PST

I was into my early teens by the time Airfix started showing up in the U.S., but I previously had many savage battles with Marx, Ideal, Tim Mee, and MPC figures, plus a few Britains. Back then, there were quite a few spring-loaded artillery pieces capable of firing plastic or wood projectiles (few safety regulations back then).

A couple of times I went way beyond the boudaries. Once a friend and I decided to finish off some damaged plastic display models with a BB gun in the back yard. He sent one Aurora Me-109 sailing into the air, and I took a snap shot which unbelievably hit it in mid-air, blowing the canopy and pilot's head off. By the way, I remember that in those days an Aurora aircraft model cost a whopping price of one U.S. dollar. On another occasion, I decided to blast a damaged model of the seaplane tender Pine Island with a .22 rifle loaded with a round of fine bird shot. It created some pretty realistic looking battle damage! I should probably mention that my home was in the countryside, not in town, so these carryings on were not quite so looney as they might have been otherwise.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

I found Airfix HO scale at a hobby shop when I went buy a model airplane to build. I don't remember which sets I bought first -- probably the slightly too-small British infantry and the German infantry.

Later, I bought a set of German mountain troops. A few sets of skis were missing, so I wrote directly to Airfix. I got a nice letter back apologizing for the packing error, and enclosing both HO and 1/32 skis. That was how I found out that Airfix made 1/32 figures!

I found the 1/32 figures at a larger hobby shop. I adapted SPI's Sniper and Patrol to both 1/32 and HO Airfix and played big games on my dormitory room floor. I had (and still have, in boxes in a storage unit) British paratroops, German mountain troops, Afrika Korps, 8th Army, 7th Cavalry (1876), SAS (1970s), Bundeswehr (1970s), and maybe a few others.

I also have some Britains WW2 troops, mostly British and German, as well a Britains Royal Army gun, which I think is a 6-pounder. They've all seen action with the 1/32 Airfix WW2 troops, and helped extend the range of poses.

Ragbones16 Apr 2018 6:23 a.m. PST

Wow, Robert Piepenbrink stirred some wonderful, distant memories. There was a Kresges and a Murphy's at the old Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie. I loved those stores. And 2 Guys. What great toy sections. Marx playsets, Airfix playsets, bags of Marx and other toy plastic soldiers, boxes of Airfix figures, tanks, knights, etc. My old Deluxe Reading Battlewagon provided offshore fire support for my Airfix 1:72 invasions of Europe. I still have my original Airfix 1:72 Coastal defense playset. My grandmother worked at a local toy store, Toy Barn. Talk about toy heaven. That place was filled with Marx playsets, GI Joes, Maj. Matt Mason, Marx's Capt. Maddox, Geronimo and everything else made by Marx, Mattel and Hasbro.

Thortrains18 Apr 2018 12:40 p.m. PST

Back when I was first introduced to Airfix, you could only get them in hobby shops. AHM imported them and the ROCO MiniTanks into the US. Airfix soldiers sold for 50 cents a box; most ROCO tanks were 25 cents. A dollar got you soldiers and two tanks.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2018 10:39 p.m. PST

I had not been allowed toy Soldiers or guns (it was the sixties and my parents believed in the peacenik stuff), I was attacked by a dog and while laid up for a few days my dad bought me Waterloo French Infantry, British Hussars and French Artillery.

It was all over then, by buddy and I set up huge battles inside the house and outside, until we discovered the C.S. Grant rules "The Wargame". Then we had to make our own 6x8 folding table toper in green paint.

GGouveia23 Apr 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

Ahhh my first toy soldiers in the blue boxes.

Jeffers24 Apr 2018 8:12 a.m. PST

Best wargames I played were in the back garden with 1/32 figures, a mix of Airfix, Britains and Timpo. Never been matched by anything in the tabletop or in metal. I'm seriously considering doing something similar with imaginations and Little Wars rules but not sure if my dodgy knees are up to it!

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