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"Big WWII figs: Harder plastic v. soft" Topic

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Stalkey and Co10 Oct 2019 2:59 p.m. PST

I have been following this really fun blog and it has me sorely tempted to do some 54mm or 1/32 WWII. I've noticed that my kid's WWII toy soldiers have some variety in plastic; some are quite soft and hard to work with, some are harder and much easier to work with [altho none are as hard as, say, Tamiya model plastic].

Anyone have info on which of the many offerings are hard? So far the true modeling stuff, e.g. Tamiya, and the Matchbox seem to be like that. Obviously, Tamiya is a lot harder!

How about accessories like bunkers, sandbags, etc?


Bismarck10 Oct 2019 5:32 p.m. PST


Check out Hobby Bunker and BMC toys websites. The BMC range are fairly stiff plastic, as are TSSD(toy soldiers of San Diego) and Austin Miniatures. I have a fair amount of those figs for WWII Pacific. The BMC vehicles are to scale( they are big) and all the above are well sculpted. These are a harder plastic than the Marx playsets we all loved as kids. Now be aware that these are not the hard plastic like Tamiya or the old Airfix multipose 1/35 figures.

Even those are now going through a re-release. Bunkers and Sandbags are no issue and available at Hobby Bunker and BMC as well.

hope this helps.


Stalkey and Co10 Oct 2019 6:43 p.m. PST

Thanks Sam – the TSSD closed down and are now being sold by micshauns closet: link

Very nice looking figs – one question tho: Are the arms and weapons interchangable? It looks like some of them are and some aren't?


Bismarck11 Oct 2019 9:05 a.m. PST


Only certain ones are interchangeable and that is only the weapons. My Japanese have one figure that can either carry a rifle or flag. Not sure about the other ranges. I did know TSSD was sold and hopefully the new owners will continue their ranges. BMC and the Austin figs are single molds, with the exception of the WWII USMC Bazooka figure from BMC.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 9:48 a.m. PST

The Airfix 1/32 are in a sandable very hard plastic called K-Resin. The downside is that weapon tips can snap off.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Check out the 54mm Hard Plastic WWII figures from Expeditionary Force.

Stalkey and Co14 Oct 2019 1:49 p.m. PST

Thanks 4th Cuir.

That sounds OK to me – I don't seem to be able to find anyone who is stocking the 1/32, altho there was a re-issue of them recently, it seems…

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 4:03 p.m. PST

Hi Stalkey

Depends where you are. They can still be had.

uglyfatbloke23 Oct 2019 3:26 a.m. PST

A lot of the old Airfix soft plastics are good and easily available. There were a couple of articles in WI many years ago about John Stander's Arnhem and Normandy collection – well worth tracking them down for inspiration – and lots of pics of his Goodwood set-up on the Wargames Holiday Centre website.. We bought a fair bit of John's collection and we've had a lot of fun with them; we recently took some of it to the SKELP show as Forfar, Scotland.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 9:12 a.m. PST

Stalkey and Co, what type of gaming are you looking for: historically accurate, detailed; or not so accurate, and fun; for adults, or to lure your younger children into an Army Men type of game, played with rules, and CRT's?

I've been gaming with 54mm plastic Army Men figures since 1998. I started it to share with my three sons. Today, 21 years later, I introduced it to my nephew, who is 30-something… He is hooked! I wrote up my rules back in 1998, still playing them today. Not historical, in any sense of the word.

We mash scales together, as full 1/32 scale vehicles are too expensive, and too big. We ignore the details, and just have fun with it.

Our last game was on a 12-foot by 30-foot table. It involved the Green forces doing a beach landing, with the Tan forces defending a town, up on an overlooking hill. The game lasted two days, Saturday and Sunday. It was a grueling game, with massive losses on both sides, but the Green finally won, with a tactical victory, agreed upon by both sides. It was fantastic.

Our next game will be a full-on city battle, same table size, with loads of multi-story buildings, a river, a park, and blind roadways, everywhere. In the previous game, Tanks were devastating to Infantry, but in the City game, Tanks will be easy targets, with narrow streets everywhere, and virtually no open terrain outside of the park area, no long-range HE shots. It will be messy… And more fun than a Human Being ought to be allowed!

There is something really fun about gaming with 1/32 Army Men figures. But in our games, we do not go for historical accuracy, it is just about having a fun, fast, and messy game. My rules move fast, figures are eliminated quickly, and combat is deadly. There is no "Sitzkrieg", in our games… It's all Blitz, Baby! Cheers!

Thresher0125 Oct 2019 10:16 a.m. PST

Sounds like fun, Sgt Slag.

Any chance of you being willing to share your rules?

Would love to run some fast and furious village and city fights too, in a slightly smaller scale, say 28mm.

You can reach me via e-mail, at r kent jr AT hotmail (d0t) c o m (eliminating the spaces in the provided address, and using a period, where appropriate.

Would love to see some photos of your games, and/or battle accounts too, if you have any of those to share too. 1/32ns – 1/35th scale would certainly be very attractive to look at on the tabletop.

Where does one get the 1/32nd "easily available" troops these days?

I fondly remember seeing, and collecting some back in the day, but alas they seem to have disappeared over the ages.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 10:29 a.m. PST

A few years back my dad discovered my old Airfix 1/32 in the loft: about 50 Russian, Japanese and Eighth Army blokes. I found a website that told me how many were missing they came in sets of 28 or 29 and I replaced the missing ones off eBay. My maximum buying price was £0.15 GBP per figure including shipping.

Of course I got suckered into buying far more than I needed and ended up selling off over 300 of them. I do now have full sets, not all yet painted, plus I added Afrika Korps and Australians. When Airfix reissued these in boxes of 14 I added German paratroopers, infantry, mountain troops, and the British commandoes.

They are all still easily available on the 'bay. This is the UK site right now for example

- loads of them. 750 ads, 14 to 200 figures per listing, there must be 75,000 of them on there right now.

My vehicle stash of reissued Airfix came from CTS. I also have the Airfix 17-pounder for which I paid £5.00 GBP at Tankfest. Then there are the New Ray / 21st Century stuff which is pretty good and can be had for sensible money now and then.

Thresher0101 Nov 2019 11:01 a.m. PST

Can you get the paint to stick to them, and is it robust enough to star for game play?

That always seemed to be an issue in the past. Perhaps with the new plastic primer that is less of an issue now.

Asteroid X01 Nov 2019 6:53 p.m. PST

Wash them well in soapy water. The softer the plastic, the harder it will be to have the paint stick.

Primer helps paint adhere, but it depends upon the plastic (Polyethylene will resist any primers) – some claim plastic spray can (rattle can) primers that claim to be for plastic work okay.

Put a varnish or a white glue solution over them after (this helps keep the paint on as it provides a complete coating).

A flexible paint helps prevent flaking. (ie use Mr. Hobby (formerly Gunze Sangyo) as opposed to Humbrol enamels))

Flexible paint still needs varnish/top coat.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2019 7:29 p.m. PST


I self-published, and self-marketed, a set of introductory rules, aimed at kids to adults, back in 1998. I sold them until around 2006. I took my camera art copies to OfficeMax, I ran off copes, collated them, stapled them with a deep-throat stapler, mailed them, taught them in Community Education classes, and I even hawked them, and demo'ed them, at conventions.

I've been considering re-publishing them on, offering POD, and PDF versions. I've begun playtesting them again, with modifications to improve them. There won't be any limitations, to contents, this time around, due to page limits. I can include everything I feel is important, in one complete book/PDF, without worrying about whether I have too many pages for the format's limited capacity.

My rules are basic, and fast playing -- by design. I know my target audience. I also know that I've had grown men, completely new to mini's gaming, take up my rules, and fall in love with them, preferring them to more "serious" rules sets, which they tried. I may never make much money on them, but I need to try, again. This time around, I don't have to print them, package them, or mail them. I gotta give it another commercial go. Cheers!

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