04 May 2022

Airfix 20mm Japanese to Italian Infantry Conversions

Repeating here some photos from an old post that was wiped out when the site was hacked a few years ago.

The Airfix 20mm WW2 Italian Infantry set was first released by Airfix in the 1980s and there are some beautifully sculpted figures in the set, but with a limited number of poses.





These figures are on the small side and if you mix them in the same unit with other sets of Italian 1:72 scale figures from Esci or Waterloo 1815 they look too small.

You can add more poses to their ranks by using 1:76 scale figures from the Airfix WW2 Japanese Infantry set.



The idea of using Airfix Japanese figures as Italians is an old one. The very first time I read about using them as stand-in Italians was in an old article by Gerald Scarborough when as a kid, long before there were any other 20mm scale Italian Infantry figures available in plastic.


Spare Airfix Italian Infantry figures were used to donate some heads, and some others were given field-caps / bustinas made from epoxy.



The rifles on the Airfix Japanese figures are too thin and are not very well sculpted so they need replacing with weapons taken from other figures.

In the picture above the converted figures were getting a dry-run test using some blu-tac (actually yellow in this case).

Finally after finishing the conversions the figures were all painted and based.




The group also needed some heavy weapon support, so a crude and oversized “representation” of a Breda M37 was made using a Waterloo 1815 Japanese figure with an HMG.

At this point I had no more helmeted Italian heads left, so this Italian sports a head off an old Airfix Russian. I’m pretty sure that veteran plastic enthusiasts will all recognize which set the loader came from too….


The whole new family.



22 January 2022

Allied "Funnies"

As a follow up to the "Ersatz" Opel Blitz pictures published on the blog last month,  my miniature allied arsenal also has some "funnies" that were pressed into service many moons ago.

Sherman Jumbo

A repainted Matchbox Battle Kings die-cast toy that a mate of mine Iván gave me when we first met and started gaming together on a regular basis some 20 years ago. 

The Matchbox tracks were missing and were replaced with tracks off a Hasegawa 1/72nd scale M4A3E8 Sherman. 

The tank commander is an Airfix British Paratrooper.

Even though it's oversized and clunky, it's seen some action as a Sherman Jumbo in a couple of games over the years. 

When you compare it with a lovely detailed kit, like the Trumpeter Sherman below, it's toylike appearance is even more evident. Anyhow, even if it raises a few eyebrows when I next get it on the gaming table again I don't mind too much.


Roco M40 155mm / Sherman suspension hybrid

About the same time back in the early 2000's, my tiny, but growing US forces were in urgent need of some mobile artillery. Getting your hands an Esci M12 was difficult, but I had a Roco Minitanks 1/87 155mm M40, but without the HVSS suspension. 

A broken 1/76 scale Sherman came to the rescue and donated its suspension and tracks to the allied cause, giving birth to this strange hybrid.

It's small next to a Matchbox M40 kit, but on the other hand, it's only a little smaller in size to a real Esci M12 - which I now have thankfully through Ebay, (and also now some excellent Altaya M12 diecasts).


Sherman Dozer

The British Shermans below were all made back in the early 2000's.

We were going to game a scenario that needed a Sherman dozer. A few days before the game I managed to get a hot-wheels bulldozer from a toyshop, fixed the blade onto the front of one of the Shermans and hey-presto ! Not very pretty but you can see what its function is.  


I did recently get a real dozer blade for my US forces. The blade came courtesy of a kit from UM Models.  Not sure if my version is comical or just sad in comparison.


Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed the pictures. Will be back with some new stuff later in the month.

Cheers, John