Airfix Australian soldiers were a popular kit first released in 1976. Australian and New Zealand troops served mainly in North Africa and the Mediterranean and played a significant role during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, most of the Australian troops were shifted back to South East Asia for various operations, including homeland defense.
As a result of the Australian army’s key part in the Second World War, many modeling manufacturers chose to include them as part of their toy soldier sets, including Airfix.Each box of Airfix Australian Infantry contained 48 figures that were 20mm high or 1/72 scale. This means that the model soldiers are slightly on the diminutive side.
Each soldier has a solid base upon which it is mounted, but the men are still very short, even compared to other sets from the period. However, despite the soldiers’ stature, they are exceptionally well sculpted and, as a result, they are still much sought after in the world of modeling and war-gaming enthusiasts.One of the key characteristics of the sets of Airfix Australian soldiers is the distinctive slouch, or ‘wide awake’ hat typically worn by all Australian soldiers during World War II.
Even though Australian soldiers serving in Europe and Africa wore uniforms that were almost identical to those of their British compatriots, the Airfix set of Australian soldiers are dressed for service in Asia and the South Pacific. Airfix has given the men long gaiters that would have been supplied by the US, as well as British webbing.
The set features many generic poses seen in other sets of World War II Airfix soldiers, but they are very well Mini Fidget Toys, and a few interesting men stand out from the crowd. One of the soldiers is depicted carrying a box on his shoulders, probably to represent the long marches many soldiers endured as part of daily service. Another soldier is depicted as a casualty sitting on the floor with his leg in a splint. One soldier is swinging his gun around like a club, but he is not holding it in the right position to achieve any real effect. The figure of the officer has a machete and a revolver, plus he is correctly dressed.
There is a prone man depicted as firing a Bren gun. Because he has been molded from the sides, the gun supports are very solid, although he has rather hunched shoulders to allow his hat to touch his back, thus avoiding excess plastic.Each of the figures in the Airfix set is very well crafted and extremely realistic. The soldiers are lifelike, and most of them can be posed in three or four different positions—the officer figure being the exception with only one pose. There is only a small amount of flash on the figures, and the detail on the figures is as good as many of the later sets produced by Airfix.
Once they have been painted, these Airfix Australian soldiers would make a valuable addition to any realistic diorama and war game reconstruction.