Yes! I Bought Three Packets of Those Figures, Too. I Wonder Where They Are Now?

by Rob Morgan

George Arnold and I were exchanging remarks about Airfix wargames figures, the 1/72nd or HO/OO scale, not the big ones, and I remembered that I still had a pack of Confederate infantry and another of their Union opponents . . . somewhere!

I had a pack of the ACW artillery too but used the guns for WWI Russian howitzers and the limber for a general’s carriage. The gun crews, lovely poses, must be somewhere too.

Like all wargamers, yes, you too, I have a long history of planning in wargames. Of intent that is.

Fleets and flotillas (the occasional army or brigade or squad), campaigns and battles, skirmishes and ambushes. For every one that happened, there’s another which might have – wars which I had every intention of fighting, or fleets of building, or units of painting, but didn’t get around to.

Time, other pressing ideas and sometimes availability of figures. The infantry on both sides was issued by the company, then after a year or two the cavalry came, but no one got around to producing the artillery.

Sound familiar?

While I was looking for the American Civil War boxes, I found a pack of Airfix astronauts.

Now, I do remember buying them!

I had every intention of creating a James Bond Moonraker scenario, but never quite got around to adapting the rules from a lovely set intended for a fantasy (ugh!) game in a very early issue of White Dwarf.

For that matter, I didn’t get around to painting the figures either and most, I admit it, are still on the sprue.

Ten good standing astronauts and six sitting with two on a platform. I remember now! It was the weapons I had a problem with- let’s face it, Star Trek phasers will never be a serious replacement for a gun.

Now, that’s done it, I’m thinking about Space again.

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3 Responses to Yes! I Bought Three Packets of Those Figures, Too. I Wonder Where They Are Now?

  1. George Arnold says:

    I’m sure this brings back memories for many of us. As I told Rob, I bought tons of Airfix back in the day. I think they cost 98 cents US a box back then, easily affordable even on a limited budget! I fielded whole armies of ACW, Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham sets, along with Romans and Britons. A handful still continue to do duty in my ancients and ACW collections. The rest were displaced by 20mm metals over the years. I don’t recall the Astronaut set, never owned them, but my WWI French (with the bicyclist) sadly disappeared long ago.

  2. Rich Barbuto says:

    In my youth, I was on a very tight budget; odd jobs were hard to come by. So, Airfix figures were the bulk of my wargaming armies. I started with the American Civil War figures; the centennial was a recent event and books and articles were everywhere to inform the historian in me. However, I found a source for inexpensive plastic HO scale armored vehicles and my interests turned to WWII. Airfix just kept up a steady output of figures. I started with France in 1945, moved to North Africa, and ended up with marines assaulting Japanese-held islands. When I went off to college, I switched interest to the Napoleonic Wars, but I needed more than highlanders and cuirassiers. It was then that I expanded into metals – almost entirely Scruby and Kriegspieler. In military service I found three other guys who painted well and loved to game Napoleonics. Airfix caught up with several other Napoleonic sets. It was a great time for gaming. My hat is off to Airfix for providing the many, many sets of affordable figures at a time when I was just getting started. I still have hundreds of painted Airfix figures serving in my wargame armies today. Good memories!

  3. JAird says:

    Many (many!) years ago I wrote an Article for Miniature Wargames for a Science Fiction skirmish game on the moon using the Astronauts inspired by films like Moon Zero Two!

    Naturally the figure with the camera actually had a primitive ray gun…. and it all got even more complicated when the Selenites showed up…..

    (Miniature Wargames Issue 218 from 2001 – how appropriate!!).

    I haven’t used the figures for years, I’ll have to dig them out again.

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