Airfix 1/32 Scale troops were also very popular among us lads in the 70’s. I had sets of the Afrika Corps, Desert Rats, WWII German infantry…
…Russian Infantry, lots of the Commandos and also fought jungle battles between the plucky Aussies and the inscrutable Japanese in the long grass in my garden. Happy days.
Got to love the guy with the Panga/Machete, a brilliant sculpt from when Airfix were at their height.
All of these figures were available (with extra poses) in the 1/72 scale. I’ve started collecting all these sets again now with the intention of having every 1/72 and 1/32 scale set once more. Only the WWII sets seem to be still in production which is a great shame. You’d have thought with Waterloo this year (2015 so last year now) that as well as producing a commemorative 1/72 scale Waterloo set the 1/32 scale figures could have been re-issued?
So what inspired all this fighting with toy men? Well the war was still very much part of our consciousness in the 70’s and there would be at least one war movie on Tv every day it seemed. The Great Escape, Bridge over the River Kwai, The Dambusters, The Longest Day appeared every Xmas if not Easter too and add to that the older stuff like Reach for the Sky, In which we serve and Ice cold in Alex, for example then we were positively steeped in it. It didn’t stop there. Every lad I knew had a collection of Commando books
We all knew that the Japs could only say Banzai and Aiiiieeeeeee!, the Germans said any combination of Achtung, Gott in Himmell, Vorwarts, Donner und blitzen, Raus, Los and for you ze war ist over. My Commandos would launch daring raids behind enemy lines sneaking up on Fritz and Hans wondering when the war would be over, slip them the dagger, blow up the heavy guns or fuel dump and then disappear back into their canoes. All good Cockleshell heroes stuff.
So we had the movies and the Commando dime novel style books but every lad I knew also collected Warlord and Victor comics religiously.
These mags sold in the millions in the pre-internet 24hr kids TV days but I wonder if they would get past the censor in these politically correct days now? The Victor ran until 1992 but I think I stopped getting it when Look and Learn appealed to me more when I was about 12.
Not only did L&L teach you about how stuff worked, facts and general knowledge (which still helps me get by even today) it had a great cartoon series called ‘The Trigan Empire’
Based on a planet a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (ahem) the story concerned the adventures of Trigo and his family advised by the great architect and scientist Peric. Set in a Graeco-Roman-Byzantine like world it featured great story lines that ran as a series across several issues of the weekly magazine (to make sure you didn’t miss an issue) and the artwork was fantastic. For Xmas or a birthday I was given this book which (for once in this tale) I still have as a treasured possession.
I’ve said this before but I wonder what all the comics and Commando books and soldiers would be worth now If they hadn’t been thrown out?