Airfix Model Soldiers

Sunday , 11, March 2018 4 Comments

Some years back, my mom had to get new insulation for the attic. She found some items of mine including some toys. One prized batch were the Marx dinosaurs. Another batch were boxes of Airfix army men. I grew up with Marx toys, their main factory was right here in Erie, PA. Among their toys were dinosaur sets, Vikings, medieval knights etc. I don’t remember the Viking figurines but do remember some big cave man that were six inches high.


Airfix made these little figurines made of plastic that came in rectangular boxes with blue edges. WWII predominated though I had the U.S. Cavalry, French Foreign Legion, and some Napoleonic sets. They were generally found in Five & Dime stores though Sears also carried them in the toy section back in the early 70s. I was about 10 or 11 when I got the Roman set that included a chariot!!! The problem is I had no one for the Romans to fight (other than dinosaurs). A year later, I saw the Ancient Britons box at Sears and got it immediately. That included two chariots! Back then, I took the side of the Romans not realizing the Welsh portion of my ancestry were fighting those Romans. From a Robert E. Howard fan perspective, these toys are great. You can recreate the battle from “Kings of the Night” right down to the chariot riding Britons. I have done some searching on the internet on the old Airfix box sets to see how many were made. There was a Robin Hood set and a Sheriff of Nottingham set. A generic middle ages soldiers was made but no Vikings, Normans, Saxons, or even ancient Greeks and Persians. There were castles or forts for some of the sets which I don’t remember seeing.







A search on E-bay found the old Marx viking molds ended up in Mexico and the toy Vikings are available. It got me thinking Paradox/Cabinet should make a deal with some toy maker and produce bags or boxes of toy soldiers based on the Hyborian Age. They could do Aquilonians, Stygians, Shemite Asshuri, Black Isle Corsairs, Nordheimer, Hyrkanian cavalry. They could even have a Battle of the Shamla Pass kit. Think of all the fun the little kiddies could have with Cimmerians and Picts plundering the cities of the Hyborian Age just like in the essay “The Hyborian Age.” A bag of Hyborian “army men” could create a Howard fan a few years later.

  • Tom Barber says:

    Morgan –

    Ive lost your email address.


  • D.M. Ritzlin says:

    That’s some amazing artwork on the covers of the Romans and Britons boxes.

    Also, Romans fighting dinosaurs could be cool.

  • Jon Jackson says:

    My dad used to run HO model trains back in the day. For some reason his generation loved trains in a way I couldn’t understand when I was a kid. Looking back, I think it has something to do with the “Two words: Sput-nik. Once the astronauts went up, children only wanted to play with space toys,” quote from Toy Story 2.

    Not that it hadn’t been going on long before the Space Race (as has been documented well in this blog), but Sputnik represented a real watershed moment for our collective mythology. When we left the concept of rugged individualism for that of collectivism. The cowboy was the myth of the rugged individualist. Globalism is really just another signpost in this journey.

    All that to say that maybe making a deal with a toy company isn’t the answer because they will just ship the work somewhere else. Maybe the real answer is to make them ourselves. Why not start a small company making these kinds of models? 3D printing and the Maker Movement movement are components of an individualist movement I don’t think we’ve seen in a generation.

    Sure it’s a small thing, but all change starts with small things.

    I swear, this comment did not start out as some inane rant.

  • Red 32 says:

    A few words from a grizzled old gamer. Airfix sets were a gateway to historical miniatures gaming. The line eventually added some good War of Independence figures, which could be painted to be any 18th century army. The French and British Napoleonic figures could be adapted to be almost any Napoleonic force, and for the Texans among us, could become Mexicans to fight remodeled Civil War confederates at the Alamo.

    I turned Airfix French Cuirassiers into AWI Dragoons, Austrian Napoleonic Dragoons and Cuirassiers, and in one notable job, a set of French Imperial Lancers of the Guard.

    The price advantage over lead figures at the time was enormous. Later on, other companies got into it, such as Revell and HaT; some of their products are still out there, just google it. Also, check the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society. You might want to join in.

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