When the word "copies" turns up on the Airfix collector's doorstep, it usually means horrible little off-scale, badly moulded garishly coloured figures, normally made in China or Hong Kong. I've seen a lot of these over the years and, OK, a small amount of them (mainly earlier examples from the early seventies) are fairly good copies, but most are just rubbish!
However, I came across the "Bachmann Mini-Army" copies purely by accident when I was using eBay to build up my collection. Some might recognise the Bachmann name from the Mini Plane series they did - which Airfix re-packaged and sold as Airfix Mini Planes! They are also a very big name on the model train set scene amongst other things. The only reason I found the figures was that the person who had listed them had noticed that they were obviously taken from the Airfix figures and added the name to the listing title. At first I thought they might be the usual low quality copies but the fact that they were professionally packed and painted made me look closer. It turned out that they were actually fairly well produced replicas and pretty much faithful to the original moulds. The painting was certainly as good as (if not better than) any Britains or other hand-painted figures of the time and definitely better than the old lead figures where a blob of "flesh-coloured" paint anywhere near the front of the head constituted a face!
So started another sideshow to my main collection along with Matchbox sets and Timpo Action Packs. Here you can see all of the individually packed figures and the six three-figure sets which were produced too, along with some original trade packaging (shipping cartons).
American Infantry Set 1 American Infantry Set 2 British Infantry Set 1 British Infantry Set 2
German Infantry Set 1 German Infantry Set 2 Japanese Infantry Set 1 Japanese Infantry Set 2
Correct and incorrect listings on the reverse of the boxes.
No.6002 Machine Gunner & No.6003 Crawling No.6004 Kneeling Firing, No.6005 Standing Firing & No.6006 Firing From Hip
Number 6003 was originally listed on the back of the packs as "Grenade Thrower".
No.6020 Officer, No.6021 Radio man & No.6022 Bren Gunner Standing. No.6023 Kneeling Firing, No.6024 Standing Firing & No.6025 Grenade Thrower
No.6040 Officer, No.6041 Machine Gunner & No.6042 Crawling No.6044 Standing Firing & No.6045 Firing From Hip
Number 6042 was originally listed on the back of the packs as "Grenade Thrower".
No.6060 Officer, No.6061 Charging Soldier & No.6062 Mortar Man No.6063 Machine Gunner, No.6064 Kneeling Firing & No.6065 Standing Firing
These are all trade or shipping packs for the Bachmann figures. The small box would hold twelve figures of the same type and the large one would have had twelve boxes inside, all of the same set.
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