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Troy Smith

Airfix Classic 1/76th figures, still polythene?

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Heading says it all,   the reissued Airfix 1/76th figures,  in the "Airfix Vintage Classic" range, are they still moulded in polythene, or did they switch to some kind of styrene, like they did with the 1/32nd figures?

 

Some of the 1.32nd figures are really well sculpted, and in styren you can clean them up properly and paint sticks!

 

Note, I did try thinned Mr Surfacer on an old polythene 32nd figure and it stuck pretty well.

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Memory from reading 1970’s Airfix magazines suggests painting the polythene figures with thinned PVA glue as a base for enamel paints.

 

Trevor

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I believe that they are still polythene, because if the stiffer polystyrene was used then they wouldn't come out of the moulds.

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Soft plastic figures don't need the PVA undercoat if you use acrylic paints.

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That's a surprise, as the problem was paint rubbing off when handled, and that's a usual comment about acrylic paint in general.

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If the intention is to use these figures for wargaming they, like any other figures ( white metal or polystyrene) should be varnished to ensure durability.

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I've found that enamels flaked off soft plastic parts if they were flexed. I've not had a problem with acrylics on wargame figures.

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On 07/01/2019 at 19:19, Max Headroom said:

Memory from reading 1970’s Airfix magazines suggests painting the polythene figures with thinned PVA glue as a base for enamel paints.

 

Trevor

I remember that,  and tried it with some Italian figures but a test with some thinned with IPA Mr Surfacer gave good results. 

On 07/01/2019 at 19:53, Graham Boak said:

I believe that they are still polythene, because if the stiffer polystyrene was used then they wouldn't come out of the moulds.

OK, but as I said, the 1/32nd figures last done were in a kind of styrene,  a flexible slightly rubbery type, but it would melt with glue and could be scraped, unlike polythene. 

Hence wondering  what the new issues were moulded in.  The local toyshop that stock about 10 Airfix kits actually had these in stock, but sealed boxes, and I'm not in the market for the 76th figures,  I have a load of the sets from the late 70's, on the boxes but painted.

I got a few of the 32nd sets when I realised they were in styrene as I had most of them (or I should say still have) and they are very well sculpted, and was pleased to have a go at some of them again.  

 

6 hours ago, Niall said:

I've found that enamels flaked off soft plastic parts if they were flexed. I've not had a problem with acrylics on wargame figures.

Are the war game figures the same material as the Airifx polythene, and what type of acrylics?

 

cheers

T

 

 

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To clarify my previous post, I meant soft plastic figures from Airfix, Revell etc used for wargaming.

 

On paint types, I've used a non branded paint set from a model shop and Tamiya paints but friends have used Humbrol, Revell and Vallejo for similar figures.

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Some of the Airfix RAF Personnel are available in hard plastic in the RAF Refuelling Set.  This would indicate that at least some could be done in hard plastic.  That said, I'm sure that it has occurred to Airfix to produce the air force personnel sets in hard plastic as they would likely sell very well for dioramas etc as they could then be modified to different poses by the modeller (and painted with confidence too).  

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13 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

OK, but as I said, the 1/32nd figures last done were in a kind of styrene,  a flexible slightly rubbery type, but it would melt with glue and could be scraped, unlike polythene. 

Hence wondering  what the new issues were moulded in.  The local toyshop that stock about 10 Airfix kits actually had these in stock, but sealed boxes, and I'm not in the market for the 76th figures,  I have a load of the sets from the late 70's, on the boxes but painted.

I got a few of the 32nd sets when I realised they were in styrene as I had most of them (or I should say still have) and they are very well sculpted, and was pleased to have a go at some of them again.  

 

 

The 1/32 figures were moulded in K-resin. It's not possible to mould the 1/76 figures in this (from what I understand). I have been painting lots of small figures of various brands and plastics over the last year. There is no one fix suits all. Some need priming, some don't. I use Vallejo Polyurethane Surface Primers (sometimes) and Humbrol and Vallejo acrylics. I have not suffered the awful flaking that used to happen with enamels.

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1 hour ago, Vicarage Vee said:

Some of the Airfix RAF Personnel are available in hard plastic in the RAF Refuelling Set. 

In answer to my own point.... It seems that the Refuelling Set predates the Personnel set, so the 'hard' moulds were presumably co-opted for the 'soft' ones.  

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The reason Airfix figure sets are in soft not hard plastic is not technical but leagal.

 

Under UK law in the 1960's figure sets were defined as toys, so had to be made in soft plastic.

 

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This doesn’t help with the original question, but the 1970s Airfix Waterloo Wargame had the same figures as the Napoleonics moulded in hard red and blue polystyrene, because I remember gluing them all to the large buff bases which covered the area of a unit on the map...

best,

M.

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On 1/9/2019 at 4:29 PM, Niall said:

The reason Airfix figure sets are in soft not hard plastic is not technical but leagal.

 

Under UK law in the 1960's figure sets were defined as toys, so had to be made in soft plastic.

 

What had happened if they where made in hard plastic? Was it about tax as other figures where made of hard plastic?

/André

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3 hours ago, Andre B said:

What had happened if they where made in hard plastic? Was it about tax as other figures where made of hard plastic?

/André

 

Not sure I buy the VAT argument.  In the UK all items have VAT but there is a list of items where the VAT rate is 0%.  Note the subtle difference, it is not ‘no VAT’ but ‘0% VAT’ - this so VAT can easily be introduced in the future if required simply by changing the rate.

 

But I don’t think toys have every been zero-rated.  Things like books and children’s clothes are but I don’t think toys ever have been.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Its not about tax but child safety as Airfix sold them as "Toy Soldiers".

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1 hour ago, Niall said:

Its not about tax but child safety as Airfix sold them as "Toy Soldiers".

I think any parent who’s ever stepped or knelt on a small Lego brick will appreciate the fact that some of those pointy poses were moulded in something softer and more flexy than polystyrene...

best,

M.

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On ‎31‎/‎03‎/‎2019 at 15:04, nheather said:

 

Not sure I buy the VAT argument.  In the UK all items have VAT but there is a list of items where the VAT rate is 0%.  Note the subtle difference, it is not ‘no VAT’ but ‘0% VAT’ - this so VAT can easily be introduced in the future if required simply by changing the rate.

 

But I don’t think toys have every been zero-rated.  Things like books and children’s clothes are but I don’t think toys ever have been.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Agreed.

 

VAT wasn't introduced until 1973, by which time most of the Airfix HO figures had been released. If memory serves 'toys' including kits where initially rated at the lower end of VAT, 5% if memory serves but they were never zero rated.

 

I don't buy the safety aspect either as Britains possibly the largest manufacture of toy soldiers and figures during the same period were manufactured from hard styrene and into the '70s still had metal bases.

 

Tommo.

 

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I was told it was because of toy safety regulations by an Airfix rep in a model shop in the early 70's.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Niall said:

I was told it was because of toy safety regulations by an Airfix rep in a model shop in the early 70's.

By which time most of the Airfix HO range had already been released. Britains were still making their figures/toy soldiers in white metal well into the '60s (when Airfix were making theirs in polythene) and continued to make them in hard styrene afterwards through the '70s.

 

Tommo

Edited by The Tomohawk Kid

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1 hour ago, Niall said:

I was told it was because of toy safety regulations by an Airfix rep in a model shop in the early 70's.

Was it to stop them being used as caltrops against unwary parents.  Though why would you use plastic soldiers for that purpose when you have access to the far superior Lego.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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5 hours ago, The Tomohawk Kid said:

By which time most of the Airfix HO range had already been released. Britains were still making their figures/toy soldiers in white metal well into the '60s (when Airfix were making theirs in polythene) and continued to make them in hard styrene afterwards through the '70s.

 

Tommo

Britains' plastic figures in the 1970s were made in PVC, not polystyrene. They weren't as soft as the Airfix polythene, but did have some bendiness.

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Posted (edited)

Just like the world of Plastic kits have moved on since the 1960 and 70 with many more manufactures, it is the same with 1/76/72 Figures.  Yes for may years Airfix was the only game in town, other than some US releases often seen in the back of DC and other comics.

 

Now there are multi dozens of companies out there doing Figures many aimed at modellers in Hard plastic.  The site below list almost 60 companies world wide, producing from every period of conflict.

 

There is a very interesting website called Plasticsoldierreview, looking at every box of soldiers issued from every country, with lots of pictures of the troops and boxes, and each reviewed.

 

Some of the old Airfix get quite good reviews, but most are now Horrible compared to new releases.

 

Enjoy this site and it will bring back many happy memories.

 

http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED

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