Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Introducing the ANZAC Infantry
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps fought in many theaters during the War, starting in the Greek mainland, then the defense of Crete, and moving on to North Africa from where they helped expell the Axis forces after their victory at El Alamein. From there they fought multiple campaigns in the Pacific, much of it around New Guinea. The New Zealanders also fought in Italy, and took part in the bloody battles around Monte Cassino. In terms of ANZAC figures, there aren't that many manufacturers that have tackled these them. The only ones that I am aware of are Airfix and Lone Star. Take a closer look below.
Airfix Australian Infantry - Part 1
As usual, a well sculpted set with dynamic poses from Airfix. These guys are wearing the tropical uniform so they would most likely be limited to the Pacific theater. Even though they are supposed to be Australians, I was hoping that they might pass for New Zealanders although I recently learned that might be a bit of a stretch, particularly if you are from either nation ;-) Seriously, according to Peter Darman's Uniforms of World War II, the Kiwi hat was smaller, the crown was pointed, and indented on four sides. Plus the brim was never officially folded up. It also had a cap badge worn in front and a puggaree with the regimental colors was worn around the base of the hat. On formal occasions, Australians wore their slouch with the brim folded up and fastened with a metal badge.
Airfix Australian Infantry - Part 2
I really like the crouching Bren gunner, as well as the grenade throwing guy in the middle. The marching guy is nicely done, but if you've read some of my other posts you might know that I have a bias for action poses.
Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Part 1
The sculpting on these figures is a bit coarse, but it's nice that they provide a bit more variety and poses. Luckily they are also wearing a tropical uniform. I am sure that once they are painted they will blend in acceptably with the Airfix guys. This set includes an officer with a cap, which looks a bit more official than the Airfix commander.
Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Part 2
This other set contains a bazooka guy, which is a welcome heavy weapon addition, as well as a radio man, which is also not present in the Airfix set. These Lone Star guys are sold in a blister pack which is branded as both Lone Star and Timpo, so if you look for them you might find them under either brand, however my understanding is that they were originally released by Lone Star.
Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part 1
I got lucky and found some original figures in a large batch that I bought. I only got 5 of the poses, but I think they give a good idea of how the set used to look. Several of the guys still retain their original paint. It looks like the commander got a bit of a 'touch up'. Also, note how they were issued in tan uniforms. Compared to the green, new production figures, I think I like the originals better, even with some of the paint missing.
Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part 2
Here is one more pose in the original color scheme. Again, much better than the recasts.
Lone Star ANZAC Infantry - Originals - Part 3
Two more down. Unfortunately, with the weapon tips broken off.
Trojan ANZAC Infantry - Part 1
These guys are hard to come by. A nice figure which adds variety to the ANZAC troops of which there are not that many options. I think I will have to touch up the paint, but once that's taken care of, he will be a fine looking trooper.
Trojan ANZAC Infantry - Part 2
Another lucky find. I seem to be getting them a drop at a time. I just wished it had been an action pose, instead of a wounded guy, but well, it is still good to gradually assemble the set, and this guy is in better condition than his mate.
In terms of ANZAC troops dressed up for North Africa, I think that British 8th Army troops would fit better than these guys. And for Italy, I would probably use regular British Infantry. However if you want to be unambiguous about the origin of these troops, then going with these guys with their distinctive ANZAC head gear will let everyone know without a doubt who they are!
Click here to see a description of the Gurkhas, who fought next to the New Zealanders at Monte Cassino.