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Airfix

Set 1732

Commandos

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released Unknown
Contents 32 figures, 2 canoes
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Having already produced a successful set of Commandos, Airfix decided to completely redesign and retool the figures to bring them up to the standards of the day. The result was the type two set, which is discussed on this page. The type one set was quietly retired, like all the other type one sets. However for some reason the type two set subsequently stopped production, and the type one was brought back. It would seem likely that the mould for the type two set was badly damaged or lost, but whatever the reason, these figures are now quite rare.

As might be expected, the type two figures are much better than the type one. The detail is much better and the figures are much more realistic. The Commandos wore normal British battledress, and this has been correctly sculpted here. The only exception was the comforter cap which all these figures wear, and which became a trademark of the Commandos as they conducted their various raids. The webbing too is correct, with a minimum amount of kit to allow greater freedom of movement during action. However as with the first set this has been somewhat overdone in that none of the men have any kit apart from ammunition pouches (which are far better than the first set) and a water bottle. Still missing are ropes, knives and any of the various other items such commandos might carry, even on ‘light’ raiding sorties. The man with the Bren gun will quickly find he needs more ammunition, yet no one carries any.

The poses are closer to the generic poses seen in many World War II sets than the type one set. Now we have the standing firing figure, and one advancing with bayonet. Some of the good poses from the first type have been lost such as the man with the knife, but there is an improved man with a grapnel, who is holding it as if about to swing it. There is a crawling man with Sten submachine gun and knife, which is a good Commando pose, but Airfix have still insisted on a figure with an anti-tank weapon, which does not fit well with the fast and light raids that these men would be performing. Worse still the weapon looks like a greatly simplified bazooka, a weapon that was only introduced in 1942 and is unlikely to have come into the hands of the Commandos much before their days of raiding were over.

The weapons are well done, with rifles augmented by Thompson submachine guns and a Bren machine gun, both popular weapons. Both the canoe and ladders have been reproduced from the first set with little modification, though the figures for both are much better detailed and a considerable improvement. The canoe is a nice touch and again very evocative of the subject, although we would have expected both crew to be wearing inflatable life-belts.

As with some of the other retooled sets, those poses which were also used for the 1/32 scale set are a little thicker and of a slightly different style to the rest, but the difference is not that apparent. The quality is very good, though we felt that the poses were not as exciting or animated as those of the first type. Still this is nice set, and while the figures are not typical of Commando raiders they are still quite appealing, so it is a great pity that the mould for these figures seems to have been lost.



Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 8
Mould 7

Further Reading
Books
"Army Commandos 1940–45" - Osprey (Elite Series No.64) - Mike Chappell - 9781855325791
"Dieppe 1942" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.127) - Ken Ford - 9781841766249
"No.10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 1942-45" - Osprey (Elite Series No.142) - Nick van der Bijl - 9781841769998
"St Nazaire 1942" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.92) - Ken Ford - 9781841762319
"The Commandos" - Arms & Armour (Uniforms Illustrated No.20) - Derek Oakley - 9780853688440
"The Commandos" - Time-Life (World War II Series) - Russell Miller
"The Royal Marines 1939-93" - Osprey (Elite Series No.57) - Nick van der Bijl - 9781855323889
"The World War II Tommy" - Crowood - Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram - 9781861261908
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.11
"Military Illustrated" - No.10
"Military Illustrated" - No.26
"Military Illustrated" - No.30

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