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Airfix

Set 01702

Guards Colour Party

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1960
Contents 40 figures, 2 sentry boxes
Poses 4 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Red, Cream, White
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

Obviously this is a rather unusual subject for this website as there are hardly any sets of figures on parade in full dress. To no-one's great surprise this set has been out of production for a very long time, and neither Airfix nor anyone else has seen fit to reissue it.

This would certainly have been a cheap set to sculpt as there are only four poses plus the sentry boxes, but since it depicts British Foot Guards on parade in full dress the four poses pretty much deliver all you could want. As with all the early Airfix sets, the quality is poor by today's standards, and this was one of those sets that were never retooled. So even though the uniforms are quite simple, detail is not good, with the faces being largely featureless surfaces with a nose in the middle and the hands being no more than blobs. The rifle carried by the soldiers is no more than a length of plastic which you have to imagine as a firearm.

The guardsman marching with rifle at the slope forces the figure to be moulded side-on, which means loss of all detail on the front and back of the figure. The officer or RSM is better because he faces the mould, but the colour bearer has a lot of extra plastic where it shouldn't be, and suffers the same loss of detail as the guardsmen. Finally, all figures have mould marks at various points. This seems to be a feature of older figures that you never see today, but it means more careful carving to rescue the intended detail.

The uniform is simple enough, and dates back to the 1850s, with only very minor changes since then. So the uniform is accurate for the date of manufacture, 1960, and indeed it is still accurate today. What has changed of course is the rifle, but for the time the rifle at least bears a slight resemblance to the real thing. The size of the bearskin looks good, so there are no real accuracy problems here. The design of the sentry box must have been equally easy to research as these were standing in the streets of London at the time, and indeed boxes of this design are still to be seen there today, so we are happy to assume the design was also in use in 1960.

OK, so people are not going to be queuing up to buy this set even if it was in the shops today, and only collectors are likely to give it any attention. Still, many older hobbyists will fondly remember their childhood when these figures provided hours of harmless amusement as they attempted to form them in neat rows and blocks on living room carpets.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 5
Mould 6

Further Reading
Books
"The Coldstream Guards" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.49) - Charles Grant - 9780850450576
"The Grenadier Guards" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.73) - David Fraser - 9780850452846
"Uniforms of the Foot Guards: From 1661 to the Present Day" - Pompadour Gallery - W Carman - 9780951934210
Magazines
"Regiment (The Grenadier Guards)" - No.4

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