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Friday, August 17, 2012

Atlantic - Toy Soldiers

Atlantic was an Italian company that produced figures during the 70s and 80s. They manufactured a wide range of WWII figures, mostly in 54mm, with a few sets released in 60mm. They covered all the usual sets, but then they also produced some sets that no other company has produced. Being Italian, they also provided us with a good number of sets representing Italian Army units, more than any other manufacturer. And then they also manufactured vehicles and artillery pieces. The level of sculpting of these figures is not so great. In fact, some of the poses are even awkward, but putting everything on the balance, the variety and richness of what they produced was a great contribution to the hobby, and now, it offers a great opportunity and challenge for those who like to have a complete collection.

Atlantic German Infantry - Part I
This set reminds me of the Airfix poses. The guys are a bit thinner, but many of them are in very similar positions. Note that the prone guy on the left is supposed to be operating a machine gun, but I bought these on eBay his machine gun was missing. Maybe that's why nobody outbid me! I've got a few other MGs as among my loose accessories, so eventually, when I paint them I will provide him with a weapon.

Atlantic German Infantry - Part II
The prone guy throwing a grenade is a good idea, but the figure is not well balanced, so you need to prop him up a bit from the front if you want to avoid having his feet stick up in the air. A little rock or tree stump will do the trick. In this picture I used his neighbor's foot.

Atlantic German BMW with Sidecar
This is a nice model from Atlantic. It comes in multiple pieces that easily snap together. The level of detail is quite nice, for a platstic set. If you compare it to the Marx motorcycle with sidecar, it is way nicer. The only thing I wich they had done better is to have the passenger hold/operate the machine gun to give it more of an action feeling.

Atlantic Mobile Anti-Aircraft Gun Flakvierling 38 - Part I
This is one of the more elaborate sets that I have seen from Atlantic. They had to inject quite a few pieces to make it all come together. The assembly is still pretty straight forward, but it makes you appreciate the design challenge to cast it. The quad gun has some movement up and down and it can also turn on its vertical axis.

Atlantic Mobile Anti-Aircraft Gun Flakvierling 38 - Part II 
From the back you can appreciate the crew a bit better. The two men on the side appear to be holding/loading the ammo clips and the one on the back is the main gunner, who seems to be adjusting the sight on top of the gun. The only odd thing are those 'handles' on the side of the chasis. I wonder if they were meant to be there or they are left over from the casting process.

Atlantic Artillery Tractor Sd Kfz 1 Klein
This is a nice complement to the AA gun, as they both fit perfectly and now you have a way to tow the gun into position. The tractor comes with a driver who can be removed so that you can close the hatch, which is necessary of you want to move the machine gun from one side to the other. As far as the name, I tried to dig up pictures of the real Sd Kfz 1, but it does not look anything like this tractor. I think the Sd Kfz 1 was in fact a staff car, so I don't know if Atlantic's name is accurate. Anyhow, both of them go well together and once I get around to painting them, I think they will display nicely. Better than their bright blue factory color, which is a bit intense on the eyes.

Atlantic US Infantry (Marines) - Part I
This is one of my favorite sets from Atlantic. The figures are posed with enough movement in them and they are well proportioned. The kneeling guy's bazooka is a separate piece, so unless you glue it, you have to put it in place every time you handle him. I bought these guys on eBay labeled as GIs, but I recently discovered that they are actually Marines. Even so, they pass just fine as GIs.

Atlantic US Infantry (Marines) - Part II
Here are another 6 figures. If you are counting that makes 11, which is 1 more than the usual in the typical Atlantic set. The highlight of this batch are the flag-raising guys. Again, the flag comes separately and it requires a few tries to assemble the three pieces right, but the effort is well worth it. A mini tribute to the Iwo Jima flag-raising marines. This is the obvious clue that they are in fact marines.

Atlantic US Artillery
This is a set that includes the gun and 3 figures. I don't know if it represents an actual artillery piece that existed in reality or not. It could be an anti-aircraft gun as there is something that looks like a sight for the operator to aim through, but the barrel does not offer much elevation. The gun comes in multiple parts and needs to be assembled together. Everything snaps into place but you need to be careful when putting the barrel into its mount. I pressed a little too hard and snapped the mount in two. In terms of the figures, the gunner who gets to sit at the gun could have been given a more realistic pose. He really looks like he is just sitting there doing nothing. All in all it's one of those sets from Atlantic that are appealing to have for sake of having a 'complete' collection, and not so much for its poses or realism.

 Atlantic British Infantry - Part I
I have very mixed feelings about these guys. Some of them are nice and some of them are really bad. The man helping his mate is a very good pose. Similar to a Marx 'Battleground' GI. But the other two miss the mark when it comes to realism. The one on the right seems to be picking an apple from a tree, when in reality he is supposed to be throwing a grenade. The one on the left seems to be waving at his friends... not a battlefield pose.

Atlantic British Infantry - Part II
Again, a mixed lot. The commander is good. The other two prone guys are so so. The one on the left seems to be doing push ups, and the other one comes with a detached Bren gun which you would actually expect him to be holding with both hands.

Atlantic British Infantry - Part III
These are the better poses in the set, which is why I decided to paint them.

Atlantic British Commandos - Part I
These guys are wearing their distinctive green beret. I find this set one of the best ones from Atlantic. The sculpting and the poses are well proportioned and dynamic. The weapons are diverse. They have even provided them witha bazooka man in a standing position, a bit unique for this type of weapon.

Atlantic British Commandos - Part II
A few more good poses. The only thing I find a bit funny is the mae west on some of these guys. I wonder if they really wore those going into action. BTW, it was recently brought to my attention that these guys were also released as Italian Naval Infantry by Atlantic. The set was called 'Battaglione San Marco'. In an interesting twist of fate, the San Marco unit fought against British Commandos at Tobruk on the night of September 13 1942. That would be an interesting scene to recreate with these figures.

Atlantic Afrika Korps - Part I
One of the nicer Atlantic sets. Other than the prone machine gun guy who seems to be looking at the ground instead of aiming his weapon, the rest are all very well done. One peculiarity about these figures is that they all come without any headgear and you can glue on them a steel helmet, a field cap, or one of those desert/tropical hats. I had to experiment with several glues until I found one that did the trick as they stubbornly refused to remain attached.

Atlantic Afrika Korps - Part II
Most of these guys are wearing short pants which is a good variation found only on a few of the figures from the other manufacturers. These guys were originally tan in color, but I already primed them as they are among the next figures on the to-paint list.

Atlantic Indian Brigade - Part I
These are really the only WWII Indian troops that I have come across. They are nicely done, however their uniform seems better suited for the jungles of Burma or the North African desert, than for the cold and damp mountainous terrain of Italy at the time of the Monte Cassino campaing which is what I originally wanted them for. But I guess they will have to do. Note that these figures have been manufactured in several different shades of brown. But don't worry, each set only includes figures in one color. The machine gun in this set is a nice touch that provides the unit with a good dose of fire power.

Atlantic Indian Brigade - Part II
The most interesting part about these figures is that three of them offer the possibility of inserting swords and large knives into their hands. Depending on what weapon you use and whether it points forward or backwards, the figure can be stabbing with a knife or striking a blow with his sword. You can also give them other types of accessories (if you have spare weapons from other manufacturers), for instance, the guy in the middle can also be carrying a bazooka across his back and holding the handle in his hand.

Atlantic Italian Artillery Support - Part I
 This is an Italian artillery crew. The only problem is that they do not have a gun. As is often the case with some of the other Atlantic sets, the figures are very straight and show little action. Not the most exciting figures, but they are rare enough that they deserve a place in the collection.

Atlantic Italian Artillery Support - Part II
Here are a few more guys which I found as part of a larger batch of Atlantic figures. It is hard to tell what exact set(s) they were released with. From what I have seen, some of these figures were released as part of multiple sets. For instance, the guys with the radio were released with the rocket launcher, but also with an artillery set. The other two guys are more easily associated with an artillery crew. And I even got a small ammo stack to go with them. 

Atlantic Italian Infantry
These are Italian assault infantry troops I had to admit that I had to think twice about buying them. Some of the poses are a bit unreal -like the guy on the left- and I am not all that excited about them. The best figure in the lot is probably the guy kneeling with the binoculars. Note also that the 10 figure set only has 6 unique poses.
Atlantic Italian Bersaglieri - Part I
These are 60 mm figures. A very nice set from Atlantic. Good, dynamic poses, and a good variety of weapons. I doubt they came painted out of the factory. In any case, they seem to be ready for a second coat.

Atlantic Italian Bersaglieri - Part II
A mortar man and a motorcycle. Definitely a very nice set. These guys seem a bit overdressed for the desert, so most likely I'll have to use them in European scenes. By the way, there is also a 54mm set of traditional Italian Infantry made by Atlantic which I am not showing here, but I hope to get at some point.

Atlantic Italian Paratroops - Part I
This is an interesting set from Atlantic. The poses show more action than their average set. I am not a big fan of the guy jumping over the tree stump, or the guy who is just standing straight, but overall it is a very decent set.

Atlantic Italian Paratroops - Part II
It's good that they gave them an anti-tank weapon. I don't know however about the guy dragging the parachute since they did not really take part in any actual combat missions. I guess you can use him for a ficticious operation or some training scene. When you buy these guys, be aware that they come in a couple different boxes. The blue box only has 6 figures. The yellow box contains all 10 poses.

Atlantic Japanese Infantry - Part I
As is often the case, Atlantic offers a mixed set of figures. Some of them, like the guy on the left, are in a bit of an awkward pose. The guy feeding the ammunition to the MG is also a bit stiff. Some of the other figures are better thought out and at least they are well proportioned.

Atlantic Japanese Infantry - Part II
Some of these guys are good to deploy them as part of a raiding party or a Banzai charge.

Atlantic Japanese Infantry - Part III
The guy with the branches is an interesting idea, but I think the execution fell short of its potential. If the guy is wearing cammouflage, then he probably does not want to be seen. So why is he standing upright?

Atlantic Soviet Infantry - Part I
Some of these figures are more interesting from the collector's standpoint and less so because of their sculpting. The Maxim machine gun is a pretty unique figure/weapon, and that by itself makes the set special. Here is a previous post on the Maxim Machine Gun.

Atlantic Soviet Infantry - Part II
The second guy from the right is a good example of what I mean when I say that their scuplting is sometimes a bit awkward. The rest of the figures are fairly decent and will blend well with figures from other manufacturers once they have some color on them.

Atlantic Italian Air Force - Part I
I usually stick to collecting 'ground' troops as I do not have planes or ships to go with air force guys or seamen, but these guys were nice enough and well enough priced that I could not resist. Note that aside from a couple of figures that explicitly look like they belong in an airfield, some of the other guys could be deployed in other roles. The figures are well sculpted and nicely detailed. In some of the figures you can seven see the eyelids and eyeballs! The one thing that does not make much sense to me is to have two officers that look almost the same.

 Atlantic Italian Air Force - Part II
These guys look more like ground troops so they will be easier to deploy in the scenes I tend to build. The sculpting style reminds me of the British Commandos set, less stiff and more action poses. The guy who is firing upwards is definitely very similar to one of the Commandos. Quite a nice set overall.

Atlantic Italian Sailors - Part I
I assume these guys are Italian because the box only labels them as Sailors, and with the Atlantic sets that usually implies that they are Italian, otherwise they state the nationality. I also wonder whether they are WWII or more recent. The weapons look a bit more modern to me.

Atlantic Italian Sailors - Part II
Note also how some of those helmets would be more appropriate in a modern vessel, such as an aircraft carrier perhaps. Then again the telescope seems a bit old tech on a modern ship that operates with radar. 

Atlantic Italian Sailors - Part III
These two guys are supposed to be used with a speed boat, but in place of that, I sat them on a matchbox raft from the commandos set. Not quite as fast as a motor boat, but good enough to show them seating.

Atlantic Italian Sailors - Part IV
This man is supposed to be operating an AA gun. I don't have the one he is supposed to be used with, but I have a similar one from another Atlantic set which is good enough to display him in a similar way as he was meant to be used.

Atlantic German Brown Shirts - Part I
This is a harder set to find. The complete set includes Hitler as well as a jeep with a driver. If you get enough of these guys you could put together a nice parade scene. I am contemplating combining them with the Marx marching men, perhaps painted all in black. The only problem is that these guys are marching with the right foot forward, as opposed to the Marx men who are one step ahead... This set could be a bit controversial in some places because of the standard bearers, particularly in Germany, where the Nazi symbols are outlawed.

Atlantic German Brown Shirts - Part II
Here is the rest of the set with the much harded to find Jeep and the Hitler figure. I must admit that this was one purchase that made me think twice. Not only because it was a bit pricey, but also because Hitler is definitely a character that I do not wish to glorify. In the end I made the purchse as he is certainly a key character in WWII, and also, with every other set I make an effort to find the missing figures so that I can show the complete set, so I decided I should treat this set the same way. 

Atlantic Italian Black Shirts - Part I
These guys represent Mussolini and his Fascist party, colloquially nicknamed the 'Black Shirts' after the uniforms they wore. This is also a hard set to find and unfortunately I only found some of the figures. However I think I got the most representative ones. At center we have Mussolini himself. To the right a standard bearer and to the left a man carrying a bundle of wooden sticks and an ax. This is called a Fasces and it comes from ancient times. The first to use it were apparently the Etruscans and later on the Romans. The ax symbolized the life and death power of the magistrates and the bundle, the strength which can be achieved through unity.  

Atlantic Italian Black Shirts - Part II
A couple more poses. The two bycicle riders are the same pose. On the back of one of the bikes I sat the figure who is supposed to be driving a motorcycle with a side car. He happpens to be saluting while driving. The motorcycle as well as one more guy who is riding in the side car are missing from my set. BTW, I find this to be one of the better sculpted Atlatic sets. No awkward poses like those you see in some of the other sets like the British Infantry...

Atlantic Italian Alpine Troops - Part I
This is another set that is a bit hard to come by. What makes it special is that it has quite a few unique items in it. For instance, on the left you can see that it has what looks like a snowmobile. I don't really know if these were around at the time of WWII, so perhaps these guys represent post WWII figures. As you can see, it also comes with a small howitzer, but there don't seem to be any figures to operate it. And then there is the skier. This is perhaps my favorite pose in the set.

Atlantic Italian Alpine Troops - Part II
Here is a view from behind of the same three items. As you can see, there is a second man sitting on the snowmobile firing on the move. The tricky thing though is that he does not like to stay on his seat and there is nothing to keep him there, so if you move the snowmobile, you constantly need to reposition him.

Atlantic Italian Alpine Troops - Part III
These are the rest of the figures. The man on the right is the only 'traditional' pose. The other two are again, quite specific to the Alpine genre. There is the man sitting on the sled, which is a bit too relaxed, if you ask me, and then there is the man leading the pack mule. So all in all a nice set, but I feel that you need to combine them with some other figures to have a real fighting unit. Even combining them with more Atlantic Alpine Troop sets would not be good enough, as you need to have a few more of the traditional poses.

 Atlantic Italian Heavy Weapons Team - Part I
I believe this set is actually representing post-WWII figures, but I think they can still pass for WWII guys. The three kneeling guys are the mortar crew. The prone guy is supposed to be manning a heavy machine gun, but it was missing from the set when I got it. As it's the case with all other Atlantic figures, they come unpainted. These were painted by their previous owner, who actually did quite a nice job. All in all a good set.

 Atlantic Italian Heavy Weapons Team - Part II
So I managed to find the machine gun that goes with the prone guy. And one more kneeling guy, which looks like he might be suporting the machine gunner, or at least that's how I plan to use him. In terms of the machine gun, I think they took the 'heavy weapons' thing quite seriously as this looks more like an anti-tank gun based on size.

Atlantic Frogmen - Part I
Another rather unique set by Atlantic. I am not sure what country they actually represent. Given the manufacturer there's a good chance that they are Italian. Since I don't have the manned torpedo which came with the set, I have placed all three of these frogmen on a raft getting ready to dive, however the two on the left are actually supposed to be riding on top of a torpedo. Hard to tell if these guys are wearing rebreathers or scuba gear. 

Atlantic Frogmen - Part II
The rest of the set are 4 divers with different tools and equipment used during their missions. What is quite interesting is that each of them is mounted on top of a base representing a variety of sea plants or corals. This allows them to 'float' as if they were really diving. A nice sculpting touch that allows the figures to be placed 'off the ground' when playing with them.

Atlantic Frogmen - Part III
So I managed to find the missing torpedo. And in doing so I also discovered that these figures were also made in this bright orange color. Not my favorite so it will be a great candidate to get painted. From pictures that I've seen, the torpedo seems to be a bit on the shorter side, compared to the real ones, but it is good enough to illustrate the point of how the divers 'rode' into their missions. Interstingly enough, this other set had the torpedo, but was missing the raft. I wonder if the sets came with either one or the other...

Atlantic Mao Chinese Revolution - Part I
This is another of those hard to find sets. And as you can see, I did not manage to get the complete set. Luckily, I did get the main figure, Mao, who stands in the middle of the picture. The rest of the set are a mix of fighters and common folk. The man on the right is missing his boat. 

Atlantic Mao Chinese Revolution - Part II
These are two of the fighting poses. There's also a man with a sub mg, another one aiming/firing his rifle, and another standing guard with the rifle at his shoulder.

Atlantic Mao Chinese Revolution - Part III
This is supposed to have a man pulling the rickshaw. And I suppose the woman riding is meant to represent the upper class oppressing the working class. There are a total of 11 poses. The other guy who is missing is some type of civilian or political officer. 

Click here to see more Indian Infantry


  1. Nice coverage on a neglected manufacturer (at least here in the States). I never had any of these Atlantic figures, though I had the Russians and Germans in a smaller scale (bigger than 1/72, I think it was labelled HO scale, which I thought was supposed to be 1/72!). The Maxim gun came with the set, along with German motorcycles with sidecars and German towed AA guns, quad 20s, I think).

  2. Wow! Speak of the devil! About an hour after I posted that last comment, while I was looking for something else entirely, I came across this eBay listing for the Atlantic German towed quad 20 and a kettenrad-type vehicle in 1/32 scale! Bid away my friend, I am concentrating my resources on Rev War this year!

  3. As a kid the only Atlantic set I had was the Indian Brigade in 1/72, but I had forgotten about Atlantic until I looked up the Indian Brigade in 1/32 many years later as a grown up and that's when I realized all the other sets that Atlantic had produced. Thanks for sharing that link for the vierling and the tractor. They do look nice! Unfortunately it is a 'Buy Now' listing. I prefer to go for auction listings where the price starts low and you have a chance of getting them for a better price.

  4. Wonder if that weird gun is a BOFORS?

  5. Atlantic Italian Black Shirts - Part II contains 2 more pose one is a drummer, and one saluting, they are on sale on ebay around 20 $ starting bid till sunday i just sow.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. CO-MA from Italy(1958-1971) did 6 Real ww2 set of Italian 6 main army units/corps.(marines,infantry,alpine,paratroops,winter (east front) and bersaleri)All with more detail and realist true WW2 weapons.
    Atlantic with exception of alpine sets ,all Italian are post WW2 Italian army corps(marine, air forse,modern infantry and paratroopers)+ police sets with modern weapons and gear.
    CANE did three different sets of WW2,alpine,paratroopers and bersaleri.
    CROMOPLAXTO AND XILOPPLASTO did the more WW2 and post ww2 sets of Italian army 17 different sets(only 5 WW2) most painted and old rubber material, very hard to find intact sets=$$$$.
    I may provide pictures base in my sets/else if need to
    Best regards.

    1. Hi Erwin, thanks a lot for the useful info. Knowing what manufacturers to look for is key to be able to expand the collection. If you can share some pics that would also be great!

    2. How can I send you pictures

  8. The German artillery tractor is an oversized kettenkrad (motor-cycle half-track) without the motorcycle front. It's one Atlantic's odd inventions.

    It's amusing that the camouflaged Japanese soldier wears a tie.

    the small version of the Russian is frustrating because there's 6 of those guys standing around guarding or marching on a sprue but one shooting rifle man and one kneeling submachine gunner. Why they put so much emphasis on non-combat/non-action poses compared to the other WW2 sets is baffling.

  9. Here in Brazil, Gulliver (Brazilian Toy Company) in the 70's and 80's injected several "armies" with soldiers based on the Atlantic mold, with a much better quality. I can send the photos of the Japanese, American and German Army.