Naval figures are very few in this hobby, as are air figures, but these must be pretty much the only water-borne air figures. The RAF Marine Craft Service was part of the RAF Air Sea Rescue Service, which from 1941 sought to rescue downed air crew in UK home waters and also overseas - wherever the RAF served over water. They operated the Type Two 63 ft HSL, known as the 'whaleback', which is the subject of this kit, which includes these three poses.
The first figure, of which there are two copies in the box, is operating the machine guns with which the launch was armed. Since the usual threat was from aircraft, this figure is leaning backwards slightly to point the gun upwards, as can be seen in the catalogue images below. The next pose is clearly ready to throw a life belt to someone in the water, and the third is holding binoculars, which could be to find the downed air crew, to watch for enemy action and so on. This launch had a crew of nine, but of course several would be within the cabin for much of the time, and providing four figures for this craft is a pretty good effort when so many would have no figures at all.
The kit was made in the late 1970s, and the figures are really nicely done with almost no flash on our examples. Although the poses are not particularly dynamic the sculpting is excellent with great proportions and fair detail. The faces are a bit expression-less, which helps to make these seem a bit dull, and the life jackets they all wear seem to lack a handful of straps and other details at the back, but they are still good figures and have potential for other naval uses for World War II. Although they don’t have bases they stand at 25mm in height so the first and third men in particular would look great on many a 1/72 scale model of a vessel of the Royal Navy.
Below are examples of how the completed kit was illustrated in Airfix catalogues. Clearly in this case it is the same image just presented in different ways.