As my Airfix Tomahawk and 'Tilly' utility vehicle models near completion my attention turns to the diorama I plan to make for them. My idea was to create a pretty simple - and small - airfield scene with the 26 (recce) Squadron Tomahawk being serviced by ground crew...Which begged the question, where do I get the 1/72 RAF ground crew figures from?
Annoyingly the Airfix 'Tilly' vehicle doesn't come with any crew - not even a driver. So I had to start from scratch - luckily Airfix makes it's own 1/72 'WWII RAF Personnel' figure set (which explains why their vehicles don't come with a crew - they want you to buy this set).
Left: One of the optional figure sets I looked at was some lovely figure models by the Czech Master company. But at £8.50 for just 3 figures this was a bit too expensive for me. The photo shown is, however, two of their excellent WAAFs, which would make terrific subjects for a diorama.
To be honest I would have preferred to have used the Revell set, aside from being he right price and the right number and variety of figures it was also made in hard plastic. The Airfix set is the same soft plastic they use for their other 1/72 military figure sets. Catch 22 - but in the end it was ground crew I was after and the Airfix set had a greater variety (if you need pilots, however, do try the Revell set).
|The Airfix 'WWII RAF Personnel' set has great variety of ground crew in a number of poses.|
|Despite it's issues the Airfix set does contain some very nicely posed figures. The detail and|
sculpting is very lifelike - if somewhat stiff - and so it's worth persevering with.
Now, the reason I prefer to avoid soft plastic figures is because they can be a nightmare to 'clean up'. Even the better quality ones - and the Airfix figures counts among these - suffer from a varying degree of flash and moulding seams. Trimming off this extraneous plastic is a bit of a pain as you cannot simply sand soft plastic parts smooth.
Soft plastic tends to 'fray' if sanded or filed, so any superflous plastic left over from the moulding process has to be very carefully shaved off with your sharpest craft-knife blade. But even then seam-lines can be left behind so the problem becomes one of how to get rid of these pesky blemishes.
I have decided to experiment with heat. Either by using a heated needle or by using liquid poly cement I hope to carefully melt the soft plastic and so smooth out and seams and plastic remnants.
Next: I pick my crew and experiment with different ways to get rid of soft plastic flash.
- Plastic Soldier Review: Airfix, Set 0174 - R.A.F. Personnel
- Plastic Soldier Review: Revell, Set 02401 - Pilots and Ground Crew: Royal Air Force