Sunday, July 24, 2016

Those 1970s 'epic figure conversions'

Some of the comments on my blog in response to the Hun conversions from the old Airfix Hussar figures lead me down memory lane this morning, reminiscing on some of the conversions we did 'back in the day' as they say, and the uses to which we put several versatile figure sets. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. Here are some more:

The archer figures from the Robin Hood set. IIRC the Hun list for that WRG edition called for a horde of levy archers, or something similar. This was mine.

In close up

And could we ever forget the versatility of the American Civil war cavalry? These were conversions to Gothic cavalry, drawing pin shields and pins for javelins.

The Airfix Romans were also put to a multitude of uses. These were conversions into Roman Auxilia (Light Heavy infantry in that specific WRG edition).

Airfix Romans

The auxilia again. The shields were made from plasticard

And this was a combination: the horse, and rider's lower torso/legs, from the ACW cavalry, with a roman legionary torso and head pinned to it, to give Roman light cavalry of the 1st centuryAD.

Roman light cavalry, with shields hand made from plasticard
Are we 'ad it tuff in our day - you try tellin' the young people o'today that. They won;'t believe you!!
That said, I think these will all be repurposed and re-used. They were a love affair at the time, and continue to be so despite the beautiful miniatures available on the market today.

If you re of that age, why not share some of your own epic conversions. I'll bet there are some astounding pieces of work out there.


  1. Great stuff Robin.

    Sadly I bailed out of ancients a long time ago and don't have any of my old plastic armies for that period. But I well remember slingers, staff slingers, peltasts, archers and all kinds of other light troops fashioned from the Robin Hood set. My opponent at the time had a fantastic Macedonian successor army with heavy infantry made from the top half of Airfix Cuirassiers on Robin Hood lower bodies with large thumb tack shields and extra long fine darning needles for pikes. I think most of our ancient cavalry was also made from Cuirassiers but as you mentioned the ACW cavalry was a great source for both Ancient and Napoleonic conversions. Last but not least I remember war elephants made from zoo animals with plastic card howdahs and converted Robin Hood crews. Again stretching my memory, I think even the Airfix Red Indians were put to use.

    Cheers, Dave

  2. Wonderful. The Robin Hood set I never had, but the Sheriff of Nottingham was a favourite, although I didn't use it for conversions (except I think I for the archer who, with the head of a WW1 US infantryman became a Cretan archer).

  3. There were series in Airfix and Battle Magazines on how to make a whole range of ancient armies. The biggest problem that those of us who lived in the colonies had was finding the figures. My Romans were bought in a shop 1000 miles away from where we lived as they were never available in my home town.

    1. I'd forgotten about those Airfix Magazine Articles - thanks for the reminder. Bike shops were the source of kits and figures, the idea of a 'model shop' was pretty foreign here 'in the colonies'. Growing up in Christchurch, Hobdays was the model shop of choice. Sadly they are now well gone.

  4. This post reminded me of a discussion I had at a wargaming dinner in Australia earlier this year. One of the gamers was talking about striking up a pose and others had to guess from which Airfix pack the pose was from. Fortunately the discussion didn't get out of hand...

  5. Nicely observed to see the possibilities... yeah.

  6. remembering too. like much big but frustrating at lack of variety. make want to give up.