How far models faithfully reproduce a subject is a frequently discussed topic in the pages of FTS. Is a model accurate? It might seem a little heavy-handed to make this enquiry of cheap toys like the Skybusters range, but unless you examine the question, it’s difficult to form an opinion on their value. So, let’s dive in (pun intended) by assessing the Skybuster miniature of the German wartime bomber, the Ju 87 ‘Stuka’.
Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Accuracy”
The famous Matchbox brand was created by Lesney Products in the years after WW2. So the story goes, the idea was hatched when the daughter of one of the owners wanted a toy to take to school. The problem was that only toys small enough to fit into a matchbox were allowed!
Continue reading “Matchbox 1-75 – Introduction”
With Skybirds, we jump back to the 1930s, and what many consider to be the birth of aircraft kits. Yes, we are going vintage!
‘Skybirds’ was the name given to a range of aircraft kits produced by A.J.Holladay during 1932-46, with a hiatus from 1942-45 as materials were reserved for the war effort. The range was the brainchild of J.H.Stevens, a young designer and artist who designed them, drew the plans and illustrations, and wrote extensively on the subject of flight and aircraft. He has been credited with inventing, or at least establishing, the 1:72 scale which has been the mainstay of aircraft kits ever since (there will be more on this subject in a later story).
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The Importance of Accuracy
Some makers might get away with making plastic soldiers that are only vague approximations of their historical counterparts. After all, they would perform perfectly well as toys. ESCI, however, considered themselves to be producers of military miniatures, and accuracy was of prime importance. Many of their customers wanted the figures to look correct, and would have the knowledge to spot errors. So, how well did they perform in this respect?
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Checking Out the Competition
A Crowded Marketplace
As we have seen in Fighting Toy Stories, the Airfix Military Series of 1:32 plastic figures were both cheap and good quality. They sold well, and not un-naturally, other manufacturers were attracted to the market. How well did the Airfix figures stack up against the opposition?
Continue reading “Airfix Military Series – Comparison”
Over the years, military figures have been made in various types of plastic. The two forms most used are polystyrene and polythene. The former can be categorised as ‘hard’ because it is rigid and the latter ‘soft’, because it is flexible. ESCI has used both types, so let’s explore why by taking a look at a typical set that has been modelled in both materials – the Afrika Korps.
Continue reading “ESCI Figures – Plastics”
Supporting the Infantry
Most of the sets produced by Airfix were of troops fighting on the front line. As such they are usually armed with the most common weapons such as rifles, sub and light machine guns, and grenades. During World War 2, all armies supported these troops with a smaller number of men equipped with heavier weapons; heavier in the literal sense, and usually operated by a small crew, but capable of putting out a higher firepower.
Continue reading “Airfix Military Series – Heavy Weapons”