Thursday 2 January 2020

Not Airfix as we know it Jim...

 The above picture shows the hoard sorted out into types and periods. The below photo shows some figures that I was intrigued about. The bottom row are soft plastic with an Airfix fellow of 1960 and 1973 for size comparison. They remind me of Herald 54mms and I think they might be cheap smaller pirate copies.The top row are hard plastic. I wondered if they might be made by Triang ?


  1. Hugh Walter at Small scale World might be able to help identify the rogue infantry

  2. Hi Alan, They mostly look like Hong Kong copies of the Herald kahaki infantry but the wireless operator and grenade thrower in the top line are copies of Crescent 54mm modern infantry.

    You were asking about deterioration of plastic figures earlier, I've interviewed many of the maufacturers from the 1950's and 60's (including people who worked for Airfix) and the one comment that seemed to be common from all of them was the difficulty of obtaining supplies of raw plastic in the early days, often buying in from various different chemical suppliers. I have been told about French chalk being added to the mix to aid paint adhesion but they were also constantly experimenting with ways to add material that would bulk out the polythene component (to make it go further or reduce cost), sometimes also resorting to buying in reprocessed plastics which had already been used (thus degrading it's quality).

    They could also be affected by external problems, plastics being a petroleum by-product they were affected by the supply and price of oil, experiencing particular difficulty during the oil crisis of the mid 1970's. Given that most of these ranges of figures in 54mm and 20mm were produced over an extended period of 20 years or so you can see how one batch of production might have been made with an inferior grade of plastic, which would degrade 40 years down the line, while the next production run of the same figures would be fine.

    Best wishes for 2020 and hope to see you again at Woking in March.

  3. Thanks for your interesting reply and best wishes. Woking won’t be long in coming around, it should be another great day.

  4. Oddly there were some of these Crescent / Herald copies in the 1960s Airfix gift from Tony Adams that he remembers nothing about them.

    1. I’d forgotten that. I wonder how prevalent they were in the uk. I have no memory of seeing them at the time either. I wonder where they were on sale? Newsagents l recall carried Airfix not other similar figures. Crackers, Woolworths or seaside arcades?

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