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Airfix

Set 01706

Civilians

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1961
Contents 47 figures
Poses 24 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Cream
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

This set of civilians was clearly made primarily to decorate model railway layouts, and depicts civilian dress at the time, i.e. the early sixties. It is also very much a British set, with the policeman being the most obvious example. As such it is perfectly good, but there is much about these figures that make them look wrong today. For a start, the British police offer a different look today, and the postman is also far removed from how modern Royal Mail carriers appear. Clearly fashions change, and perhaps the most notable feature that would be a rare sight today is that many of the people are wearing hats. Most are also wearing overcoats, so apparently the designs were done with a cold day in mind. However there are no figures of people with short light jackets on, nor of people with short sleeves or T-shirts or hoodies or any of the other modern garments. None of this is wrong - it just limits the use of these figures today, even for railway layouts.

The poses are mostly very sedate, with standing and sitting being the norm. This is fine for figures on a station platform, but for those in the street and other locations more walking figures would have been better. The only running pose is not at all natural-looking. The policeman is clearly directing traffic, which means he can't really be put anywhere else except at a road junction, and in any case police do not spend their time controlling traffic these days!

As one of the first Airfix sets the technical quality of the figures is not good. There is little definition on the faces, and no trace of fingers on the hands. Where folds in the clothing have been included they are shallow and unconvincing, and detail generally is poor. Of course it could be argued that they are still quite fit for their purpose, but if they were to be made today then a better job of sculpting would be expected.

There is often scope for civilian figures in dioramas, and sometimes even wargames, whether it is crowds watching a Roman parade or people demonstrating in 21st century Baghdad. However those in this set are of little value as they are mostly far too relaxed and very firmly set in later mid 20th century Europe in appearance. However there may be some scope for their use in conversions - particularly the women, of whom there are still few models about.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 4
Mould 3

Further Reading
Books
"Everyday Fashions of the 20th Century" - Shire - Avril Lansdell - 9780747804284

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