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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.

6 comments:

  1. Great blog, I used some of your photos on my blog. I told people to check your blog out and linked you. If thats not ok let me know and I-ll take them off

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  2. Hi the ANZAC soldiers pictured here were originally made by Lone Star in England during the 1960's. They were made in sand coloured plastic as 8th Army in North Africa and (much rarer) in darker green to represent 14th Army in Burma, there was a very nice range of vehicles and guns to go with them. In recent years (ie. the 2000's) they have been reissued in the bright green plastic you have here by Toyway, a UK company that bought the trade name Timpo and aquired various moulds from Timpo and Lone Star and sold them under the Timpo brand (hope this makes sense!). They also reissued the Lone Star WW2 British sailors which are very nice but a little oversupplied with bren guns.

    Lone Star made an extensive set of Afrika Korps to fight the ANZACs and navy figures but sadly these were never reissued by Toyway.

    Best wishes, Brian Carrick

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  3. Thanks for straightening out the manufacturing 'genealogy'. Now I am going to have to look for the other two Lone Star sets!

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  4. The most irritating thing about these figures is that they wear US gaiters, which is correct for Australian troops, but incorrect for any other Commonwealth troops in Burma or North Africa. Africa is one of my favourite theatres to wargame so I have a lot of these Australians mixed with Airfix 8th Army for the defence of Tobruk.

    The British Army used slouch hats for the various volunteer rifle groups in the Boer War of 1901 due to shortages of pith helmets, and they returned for the later Burma, Malaya and Borneo campaigns of WW2 as general wear for all Commonwealth troops, so they would be OK for New Zealanders. The New Zealand style of hat was worn in the early war period, but like most regimental headress wasn't seen in combat towards the end.

    During the widespread Japanese victories and the fall of Singapore, British troops wore khaki drill like their counterparts in North Africa, as this was the only hot weather uniform the British Army used. However after the failure of the Japanese to reach India, the US island-hopping and the shifting of momentum to the Allied side, British troops were issued green khaki drill and slouch hats like these figures, although they would also have British gaiters. On the whole, these Australians would be OK for any Commonwealth troops of the British 14th Army in the Pacific.

    The Nigel Havers film 'Farewell to the King', which is an excellent war flick, has a few good examples of British commandos wearing them in Borneo.

    Major Bogswallop

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  5. Hey Major, thanks a lot for the rich commentary. This is great info to have!

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