These are attractive figures that remind me of Airfix and Matchbox, which I would happily have bought and played with as a child and that work well today.
I have painted these with glossy shiny toy soldier style with pink cheek dots but I have yet to gloss varnish these. These were painted using Revell Aquacolor Acrylics. My gloss spray varnish supplies nursed through Lockdown have finally run out.
Some lively Russian figures and a curiously posed rifleman, shooting from high up or aiming low.
I like the range of costume and headgear, as well as the one with shovel tucked into a belt, protecting the back? Armour plating?
Size comparison with 1:32 Airfix Russians that I painted and gloss varnished when I was a child.
One of my 45 year old Airfix Russians had a crumbling base and missing SMG barrel end, so this has been repaired with wire and a new MDF base. He lives to fight again alongside the new Hing Fat recruits.
Curiously the old Airfix 1:32 Russians are not currently in the Airfix winter 2021 rerelease / preorder. Previous releases are around secondhand online.
Hing Fat figures are a new brand to me – I wasn’t very familiar with Hing Fat figures other than the versatile pirates, which Brian Carrick turned into Chinese figures or a fantastic Maratha Indian army. I’m not quite sure if the seaside shop pirates I have bought are real Hing Fat ones or pirated clone pirates. There must be some irony there?
Sample Figures 1. WW2 French Hing Fat 54mm plastic figures
Sample French WW1 / WW2 figure No. 1
In the parcel were samples from a variety of figure ranges from Knights and AWI to WW2. The hard plastic figures are usually in a base colour relating to where they fought or their base uniform colour. They would withstand fairly rigorous play handling by children (and ageing garden gamers).
I thought I would start with the most unusual, which are the Hing Fat WW2 (or at a push WW1) French infantry in light blue plastic.
At first sight I thought this Poilu poses was pantographed up from the familiar OO/HO WW1 French Infantry by Airfix.
The full range of twelve poses of Hing Fat French WW2 figures can be seen here on Peter’s Figsculpt eBay site:
They wear greatcoats (the capote), puttees and the Adrian helmet without backpacks.
Paint notes: Revell AquaColor Acrylic – Horizon Blue uniform and helmet light blue gloss 361-50, for other equipment paint colours see paint notes figure 3 (bayonet fighter) below. Gloss varnish acrylic spray for that traditional simple shiny toy soldier finish.
Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World, my childhood branch library standard features this Belgian Infantry Officer in Khaki 1940.
Painted khaki rather than ‘les bleuets’ of the Great War, these Adrian helmeted French infantry could pass as Belgian as well as French Infantry. Maybe even WW1 Italians?
If you were not too fussy, many of these rifle wielding poilus and the officer and bugler could be used for WW1 French or late WW1 Belgians.
Similarly, if you were a 54mm wargamer not looking too closely at buttons, webbing and equipment, these would work for a range of other nations in WW1 and WW2 who adopted the greatcoat and Adrian helmet, as suggested below looking at a few uniform books.
My trusty Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of The World suggests Belgian and French in WW2, wearing khaki greatcoats and Adrian helmets.
My battered Funcken WW2 Uniforms part IV volume suggest Free French Infantry WW2 and an interesting colonial French Moroccan Riflemen in Uniform in WW2 Part IV (see figure 3 below with bayonet)
Funcken WW2 part III has Norwegian forces in their Norway 1935 Pattern Helmet which looks a little like an Adrian Helmet. There is also a Navy blue great-coated French Navy sailors in Landing Rig. I don’t have Funcken WW2 Uniforms parts 1 and 2 yet.
The Funcken 18th Century to the Present Day volume shows “les bleuets” from WW1 and khaki Belgians in late WWI, along with khaki French and Belgians in WW2.
Let’s look at the other two sample figures, No. 2 and 3:
This almost war memorial poilu statue 54mm figure has a large Bren type LMG, probably the FM 24/29 French LMG (in service from 1924-60s and beyond. I cannot find information about a French stick grenade from WW2.
FM 24/29 type Light Machine Gun
The third sample figure was in the act of bayonet fighting.
My painted version of this 54mm figure in shiny gloss toy soldier style portrays this bayonet warrior as a French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat:
French Colonial Moroccan Infantryman in Khaki overcoat WW1 / WW2 – Paint Notes – painted using Revell AqauColor Acrylic paints – Olive Green silk matt 361-36 for the uniform greatcoat and helmet, Mud brown gloss 361-80 for boots and leather equipment, Leather brown matt 361-84 for wooden rifle parts, Dark Earth matt 361-82 for face and Copper paint cheek dot. Gloss spray varnish finish.
Further Uniform Possibilities?
The two volumes of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of WWI and its WWII companion volume suggest various troops wearing the Adrian Helmet:
Various figure suggestions including the Polish Legion, Russian Civil War and various other conflicts including French Foreign Legion in khaki.
Belgium 1940 – khaki Infantry greatcoat and helmet with Belgian lion badge for officers, men and support troops.
France 1940 – khaki French greatcoat and Adrian helmeted colonial infantry such as African Tirailleurs Senegales and Zouaves (when not wearing a fez)
Some (Free) French Infantry were still wearing the Adrian helmet in 1944-45 with US or British uniform.
Polish lancers in 1939 in khaki, shown without greatcoats.
These figures could represent the unsavoury figures in dark blue uniform and Adrian helmet of the Vichy France (Gardes Republicaines Mobiles) paramilitary police so feared by the Resistance. They are shown in tunics without greatcoats.
The French WW2 soldiers are shown in my trusty childhood Ladybird Leaders book of Soldiers, illustrated by Frank Humphris:
I hope you have enjoyed this taster glimpse of these sample figures which I enjoyed painting. I think a box or two of these poilus might be on my Christmas list.
As you can see, some Hing Fat WW2 figures seem to echo Matchbox WW2 figure poses.
Size or scale wise as 54mm / 1:32 figures go, here are three of the Hing Fat WW2 sample figures against my ‘standard’ figures of Britain’s 54mm hollowcast and Airfix plastic 1:32.
Nest sample figures: Three Hing Fat WW2 Russian sample figures
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
These WW1 / WW2 French Infantry reminded me of the tantalising glimpse in a late 70s / early 80s Airfix catalogue that promised 1:32 WW1 British Infantry in soft caps, based on the OO/HO ones. Sadly, this never happened and was never again mentioned. Did I dream this one?