Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Back to my Roots: 1/72 Scale Figures

I was either 10 or 11 years old when I started buying my first 1/72 scale Airfix figures.  I would make the 15 minute walk to the Woolworth store (yep, carbon dating myself) and plop down that hard earned money to purchase primarily World War I and World War II miniatures.  In high school my brother Shawn (Semper Fi!) acquired a copy of the Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Gaming and we were hooked.  From then on out it was the Airfix Napoleonic figures that we purchased; I was the British and he was the French.  I was about 15 when I started painting my miniatures and was sad when I saw the paint flack off.  Now that I am older and wiser (Hah!) I am going to properly prepare my soft plastic miniatures for painting.

I've decided I am going to do the Anglo-Zulu war in 1/72 scale and I have been absolutely floored by the variety of manufacturers and figures that are available now.  The majority of the figures I am going to use are from HaT miniatures based here in the good ole USA.  Up first:  British Mounted Infantry.


The box of HaT miniatures comes with 9 mounted and 9 dismounted figures.  I am going to be mounting them individually for The Men Who Would be Kings so this is perfect.  


The box comes with 3 sprues with 3 mounted figures, 3 dismounted figures and 4 horses each.  Oh be still my beating heart - there are horse holders.  As these are mounted infantry and they dismount to fight I'm going to model the unit with 3 mounted figures, 3 horse holders and 6 figures firing.


A better look at the horses and the bonus puggarees glue to the helmets if you want to use them for the Sudan or later wars.
 

The back of the box to show better the contents of what comes with it.  The price was great: $8.95 plus about $4.00 for shipping from eBay.  In 28 mm using the excellent Empress Miniatures Range this would have cost me $70 plus shipping.

With soft plastic miniatures it is essential that you wash them in warm water with liquid dish washing soap.  The figures have a light coating of a material that makes them easier to remove from the casting process - it also makes it easier to remove your paint!  I used a brush to scrub them and then I let them dry in the old dish rack.


Next I primed them black and mounted them on wood bases for the painting.  I discovered to use more white glue than I do with metal figures.  I also gave up on modeling glue to glue the figures on the horses.  The modeling glue does not melt the plastic well to get the bound so I just used super glue which worked excellently.


I prefer using black primer so black it is.  Black gives me a more weathered look for the units when I apply the paint.


Figures mounted on wooden bases for painting.  Right before I started painting I remembered that in smaller scales to make the colors a little brighter in order for them not to fade into the distance at gaming distance.  I also decided I was going to pant these men quickly; no three layer painting and shading. The majority of the paints I use are Vallejo with some GW.


Since these would be the first 1/72 figures I have painted in over 40 years, I decided to forge ahead with a test figure.  From the pictures you can see I was okay with the results as some of the in progress figures are in the background.  I can't wait to get the whole unit finished.




9 comments:

  1. Yeah...I loved Airfix soldiers when I was a kid. I had a two great big tubs of them...one full of 'big' (1:36) soldiers which I played with in the garden and one full of 'little' (1:72) soldiers which were for indoors. My favourite toys until I saw Star Wars in 78 and I started buying Star Wars figs!

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    1. I am really impressed with the scope, quality and variety of 1/72 scale figures that are available now.

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  2. Interesting post. I keep dithering about going ahead with a number of 1/72 projects, buying some figures and then deciding to do the period in metal. One thing to be aware of is the limited time a lot of sets seem to be available. Nice painting on these chaps so far.

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    1. Thanks for the advice! I'm going to go ahead and get the boxes I need now.

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  3. interested to see how this plays out.

    Woolworths in the USA . . . that had me stumped.

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    1. Woolworth's was an old retail company in the USA.

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  5. I got my first Airfix boxes in a King's Department Store that was open for a couple of years in West Peabody, MA. They were Washington's Army and 1776 British Grenadiers. Then I lost track of a source when that store didn't make it. I next bought British, French, & Prussian Napoleonic infantry, cavalry, & artillery at the old Excalibur Hobbies in Arlington, MA.

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    1. I had the same Revolutionary Airfix sets too plus the Napoleonics. I'll never forget my poor Prussian Landwehr Airfix troops always being crushed by my brother's Imperial guard.

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