TIMPO ACTION PACKS
At about the same time Matchbox were heading off Airfix at the pass, Timpo, or rather Model Toys UK, were making it a pincer move with their Action Packs. These figures weren't as realistic as Airfix and Matchbox but they covered what might be described as an extended range to those sets. Rather than Matchbox's repetition of the Airfix sets (with the exception of the British Infantry which Airfix still hadn't released) these sets had different sets, including Napoleonic Cavalry which was simple but effective at the time.
I don't have any details for these sets relating to release dates or even dates on the boxes. So basically I have presented the images below in order of box serial numbers. The serial numbers started as an "AP" series before changing to a "4000" series. There are different versions of these boxes with regards the details on the front. Originally the contents would be stated at the bottom left as being "20 pieces in scale, In a large variety of action poses". This was then adjusted to include the word "unpainted". These details were altered to suit the Cavalry and Footballers sets. The small silhouette figure on the front originally came with no explanation that it depicted the actual size of the contents but later had a sticker placed below it and presumably later yet actual print below it stating "Actual Size".
There were also New Zealand issues of these boxes. I only ever found two of these so have no idea exactly which were offered on the New Zealand market. These boxes can be found with the NZ manufacturers details at the bottom right on the back of the box. These were made in New Zealand "by arrangement with Berwick Timpo Ltd, London".
BRITISH INFANTRY AP1 NEW ZEALAND ISSUE
FRENCH INFANTRY AP2
PRUSSIAN INFANTRY AP3
EIGHTH ARMY AP4 NEW ZEALAND ISSUE
UNION SOLDIERS AP5
CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AP6
FOREIGN LEGION AP8
KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR AP10
KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR 4010
HIGHLAND REGIMENTS 4000
PLAINS INDIANS 4011
BRITISH CAVALRY 4100
FRENCH CAVALRY 4101
PRUSSIAN CAVALRY 4102
These figures are a more "war comic" style with the exagerated facial features and not so much accuracy in the mouldings as found in the Airfix and, indeed, Matchbox sets. Still, these figures were a nice accompaniment to the others, especially in view of the additional subjects covered. Notice that four of the non-mounted sets have only four poses. That was a little disappointing really. However, the rest of the sets made up for that deficit! In particular, the mounted sets were excellent. The British and Prussian Cavalry sets pictured here show that there would have been variation in the accessories - the colour of the horses, saddles and lances. The second British Cavalry photo shows a lance replaced by a cocktail stick! The light blue Waterloo British and dark green 8th Army sets are the New Zealand issues. Note that the standard Waterloo British set is not a complete set of poses.
UPDATED INFORMATION - 23rd July 2011
I was given some valuable information in December 2008 by Les White regarding these figures. Apparently the Arabs and Confederates pictured above are re-issue figures. The original Arabs would have been white whilst the Confederates are the correct colour but have a lot of "flash" suggesting they are not original mouldings. Les also gave me a timeline for the sets too, although he has suggested that issue dates are a bit more difficult to confirm for them.
All the foot sets are shown in the 1969 Catalogue apart from the Highlanders and Indians which turn up with the mounted sets and the Footballers in 1974. The serial numbering was changed from "AP" to 4000 in 1973. In the 1975 Catalogue all sets are present except the Prussian Infantry and in 1976 no sets are listed. 1977 saw a move from the packaging I have illustrated to a tall thin pack, almost like a sweetie packet, containing only five random figures and with no mounted sets available. Also, the Prussian Infantry made a return in 1977.
There are a lot more variables to these sets which I won't go into here as the Timpo figures are included in this site because, like the Matchbox sets, they are in keeping with the main subject of the site, i.e. Airfix boxed sets of toy soldiers. Many thanks to Les for the information though - it is much appreciated.
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