Sunday, 4 March 2012

Airfix Huns invade Belgium

It's been a looong time since I've put paint to figures. My motivation has been a bit lacking so I thought I'd get back into the swing of things with something a bit different to the usaul 28mm fare that most of my fellow bloggers are deucedly good at.

I decided to take a standard box of Airfix figures, in this case the rather quaint and well loved WW1 German Infantry and see what my modest efforts could do to swish them up a bit. I'm a firm believer that a bit of effort with undercoating and dry brushing in white or grey before applying the final coats is a great way to bring out the detail in a figure. Some simple head swaps and throw in a couple of bits and bods from the spares box and you have the makings of some jolly nice figs.

Infantry on the March somewhere in Belgium.

In this shot you see that a bit of imagination can convert the flame-thrower figure into a drummer, the rather oddly posed bod with the obligatory flailing rifle into a standard bearer, and some spare heads from the lying down figs for head swaps to add some variety to the marching poses.
Sorry, Airfix cant take credit for the mounted officer. He is the Brit officer and horse from the excellent Waterloo Anglo-Sudanese colonial infantry set with a simple head swap.
And yes, in case your laughing out loud about the incongruity of it, some regiments did carry the colours unfurled in the opening stages of 1914 and there is a very poignant photo of a dead German drummer with his drum lying beside him taken just after the Battle of the Marne. Possibly some sneaky French photographer staged that pic to confuse future generations of modellers...I wasnt there?

Mounted Officer
 Anyone who knows the Airfix WW1 germans will have a soft spot for the, to my mind lovely officer figures. These wonderful chaps have appeared in numerous converetd forms as Russian Commissars, WW2 German officers, tank commanders....the list goes on.
This is my version with no embellishments...why mess with such nice figures.

Another group of figures I painted straight from the sprue, as it were, was the machine gun team. I'm told the machine gun is incorrect on lots of counts, mainly the tripod mount, I recall a photograph of, I think, Hungarian Infantry with tripod mounted Maxims so who knows...frankly who cares, I just like the little guys and their natty gun. I'm rather taken by the relaxed, casual poses of the crew. They look like they've just opened a picnic hamper and are about to break out the champers... I say Hans..would you mind passing me that chicken leg when you're done hosing down those pesky Frogs.

Picnicking machine gunners!

I always like my troops to be well led, but sadly there are no action-posed officers or buglers in the Airfix set so I had to be a bit creative here as well. The officer is the Union Artillery officer figure from the Revell Union Artillery set with a head swap and the bugler is the Italeri Zulu War Brit bugler with a leg and head swap. I love that Zulu war set...such a rich source of officer and conversion figures for so many late nineteenth century armies.

Bugler...sound the charge!

Finally a pic of the lads on manouvres.

Now that Ive got my eye in again Im currently adding to the 40 or so figures I've painted with additional figures from the HAT and Strelets range. My cunning plan is 4 battalions, (3 infantry, 1 Jager), comprising 4 x 10 man companies plus 1 x machine gun. 4 x Medium guns and limbers, 1 unit Hussars, 1 unit Uhlans.
Plus several support wagons and command stands etc. Then I can start on the Russians or the French.


  1. Excellent work there my friend!! Very fast too. They look great Gav and the conversions have come out very very well.

  2. Great looking figures. Those conversions are top notch

  3. Absolutely wonderful! I'm starting to realise that the success to converting is in the subtlety and imaginative use of what you have to hand. I would never have realised how igneous you had been, without reading the text, as the miniatures looked so natural!

  4. Those are great fond memories of battling with these against the airfix French.The officer in the long coat was also a favorite of my.As Michael said the conversions look very natural.
    Great work!!!

  5. !!!!WOW!!!! They are great. the conversions really are clever. The drummer and the bugler...great stuff!!!

  6. Nice work Gav. Always surprises me what people can do with 20mm soft plastic figures...

  7. Thanks guys, looks like we all share a soft spot for those much maligned Airfix warriors.
    I've just finished the basing on my 1st Battalion of early War Battalion will be HAT figures so lets see how they turn out.

  8. great stuff. I had forgotten about this set!

  9. Hi Gav! Sharing this Valliant-Sprue with Rodger just got you another follower :D
    The minis look brilliant! Very good job on those!