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There are the Dapol/Airfix figures. They do need painting of course, as do the Chinese figures (even the painted ones, though they are better than they used to be). Preiser do bulk packs of unpainted figures, but, being intended for H0 scale, are a bit small.

 

Otherwise they can sometimes be picked up cheaply at toy fairs.

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Are the Dapol figures still polythene?

 

I haven't bought the general set, rather than the workmen (which always have been polystyrene AFAIK), but I believe the Dapol issue is also polystyrene. It was a pain getting paint to stick to the originals (very good value at 2/-!), but I still have  a few survivors.

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I find model railway figures always look better once washed with something like  the Army painter Ink Tones.

 

If all else fails google "1/72 figures" and there are shedloads out there.

 

1/72 figures tend to be a bit too large (the Dapol workmen suffer from this), just as H0 ones are too small. Careful placing can disguise this of course.

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As Il Grifone says, careful placing increases the choice dramatically. I am in the process of painting 240 Preiser HO figures, 120 each seated and standing, price per unpainted person in a box of 120: about 13.5p when I  bought them last year. When mixed with 00 figures they are mostly 5' to 5'6" tall, which is within the normal adult variation, but if you can keep them all toward the back of the layout, so much the better. The drudgery of painting them is offset slightly by the incredibly realistic and sometimes amusing poses.

 

The Preiser figures should be kept well away from some of the Dapol figures though; I have one set that all appear to be 6'6" and above in 00. I assume they were adapted from 1/72 designs. The 1960's Airfix 00 soldiers and railway figures found in the loft are closest to the median of human variation in 00 scale. Unfortunately some of them have become brittle through age, and require more careful handling than is practical. Those that aren't brittle can be adapted with the help of a sharp knife and a lot of care (to avoid adapting yourself!). For example, soldiers can become anyone with a need for a hard hat.

 

Finally, many of my footplate staff come from Falcon Figures (often at exhibitions, or phone 01428 741426). They are quirky but effective, though not cheap.

 

There are many others I have bought in small quantities to provide a specific pose.

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There are the Dapol/Airfix figures. They do need painting of course, as do the Chinese figures (even the painted ones, though they are better than they used to be). Preiser do bulk packs of unpainted figures, but, being intended for H0 scale, are a bit small.

 

Otherwise they can sometimes be picked up cheaply at toy fairs.

 

For me Preiser and Noch  figures tend to look very continental in the dress sense.

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As Darren01 says, Dart Castings Monty's Models are exceptional white metal figures.

They aren't cheap, but they are wonderfully detailed, far more than the usual 1/72 'little soldier' types.

That probably accounts for me parting with £40 at the Dart stand recently at Warley!

Another source well worth a look is W^D models, although military based, they are second to none.

 

I guess it's a case of 'you get what you pay for'. 1/72 figures from flea bay cost pennies, but you've got to be prepared to work on them

I tend to use the Monty's & W^D figures at the front of my layouts, whilst the rear portion is populated with run of the mill figures, normally unarmed!

 

The only things to remember are that Airfix, Revell,HAT, Zvedza, etc figures are made out of a weird plastic that doesn't take paint easily.

Cut them from the sprue, de-flash them, wash them in hot water with plenty of washing up liquid or washing soda.

Dry them thoroughly, a light spray of white spirit, then give them a very light coating of diluted PVA (not too thick, it hides the detail)

Once dry, a thin coating of white auto primer has them finally ready for painting.

 

I know it's a bit of a hassle, but the end result is more than worth the extra effort.

There are plenty of videos on youtube showing amazing results with model figures.

Good luck

Cheers

Rob

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As Il Grifone says, careful placing increases the choice dramatically. I am in the process of painting 240 Preiser HO figures, 120 each seated and standing, price per unpainted person in a box of 120: about 13.5p when I  bought them last year. When mixed with 00 figures they are mostly 5' to 5'6" tall, which is within the normal adult variation, but if you can keep them all toward the back of the layout, so much the better. The drudgery of painting them is offset slightly by the incredibly realistic and sometimes amusing poses.

 

The Preiser figures should be kept well away from some of the Dapol figures though; I have one set that all appear to be 6'6" and above in 00. I assume they were adapted from 1/72 designs. The 1960's Airfix 00 soldiers and railway figures found in the loft are closest to the median of human variation in 00 scale. Unfortunately some of them have become brittle through age, and require more careful handling than is practical. Those that aren't brittle can be adapted with the help of a sharp knife and a lot of care (to avoid adapting yourself!). For example, soldiers can become anyone with a need for a hard hat.

 

Finally, many of my footplate staff come from Falcon Figures (often at exhibitions, or phone 01428 741426). They are quirky but effective, though not cheap.

 

There are many others I have bought in small quantities to provide a specific pose.

 

I find the heads of H0 figures tend to look smaller than 00 figures (I think the human skull varies less in size than the rest of the skeleton. Children have larger heads in relation to the rest of their body than adults.)

 

I bought a box of Preiser unpainted figures about thirty years ago (13,500£it IIRC converts to about €6.50 - rather more expensive now!) Some still need painting, but I don't really need any climbers or musicians and dancers.

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You are quite right about the head size, but Preiser do tend to make their figures "beautiful" in the fashion model or Sindy doll sense; i.e. super-skinny. A few super-fat ones are thrown in for good measure. For me, their main purpose was to get some passengers into the coaches, for which they are ideal. They were sold as railway passengers, so I was spared the climbers, musicians and dancers!

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You are quite right about the head size, but Preiser do tend to make their figures "beautiful" in the fashion model or Sindy doll sense; i.e. super-skinny. A few super-fat ones are thrown in for good measure. For me, their main purpose was to get some passengers into the coaches, for which they are ideal. They were sold as railway passengers, so I was spared the climbers, musicians and dancers!

 

The range was considerably more restricted then than now (it was before the Merten takeover) and there was only the one bulk pack available, which included most of the range. (I believe it still is but I haven't seen a Preiser catalogue lately - must remedy*). The pack of passengers came out later. Inside coaches the seated Chinese figures (which seem to be crude Preiser copies) are quite adequate. The fact that they are the same dozen or so repeated can be camouflaged fairly easily.

 

Years ago I bought several packs of Subbuteo seated supporters conned by the '00 scale' on the box. They turned out to be 1/72 (or maybe larger) and with their hands in the air. They can be cut down (one of the ladies now drives a Cararama sports car - also 1/72 but never mind), but it involves a lot of time and graft. (like finances, in limited supply in the Grifone world).

 

http://www.preiser-figuren.de/

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Hats!

 

I am specifically interested in pre war LMS and early BR

 

It struck me yesterday, almost everyone was wearing a hat, or holding one. The men were either in suits, jackets and tie or some form of overcoat. Working clothes were just that, or even 'normal' clothes. Rail passengers seemed to be wearing their best clothes!.

 

What is needed is sets of figures aimed at a specific era. Figures that look real as well. The average model figure seems to inhabit an alternative universe, one where the laws of physics are different, given the wierd poses they adopt and the almost universal ability to ignore the law of gravity, as evidenced by the crazy angles they can stand at.

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A lot of Montys figures are period accurate .I have done 30's ,40's ,and 50;s mainly  and late 60's coming up plus some odd types and eras .The railway men are pretty universal in uniform and ladies are the most era specific wot with their titfers and  skirts .Most people also wear fashion and hairstyles from when they were younger so grey up the hair a bit for older people .

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A lot of Montys figures are period accurate .I have done 30's ,40's ,and 50;s mainly  and late 60's coming up plus some odd types and eras .The railway men are pretty universal in uniform and ladies are the most era specific wot with their titfers and  skirts .Most people also wear fashion and hairstyles from when they were younger so grey up the hair a bit for older people .

Wow!. That looks just what i want, thanks.

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I know you say "cheaper" but you get what you pay for, obviously.

If you're populating coaches then the Chinese ones will do a good job in forming bulk passengers which can't be seen. They're also cheap enough to cut in half (!).

In my experience, the Airfix trackside workman figures have been an excellent choice for 50 to 60 years, although I haven't bought the other which used to be polypropylene ones recently from the Dapol stable.

If it's scenario work you want to undertake then the following offer cast figures, but they're not in the "cheap" range, but as I say, you get what you pay for.

Have a look at

Peter Goss figures

Dart Castings/Montys models

Springside

Mike Pett

Langley Models

 

I have no association with them only as a satisfied customer.

 

Good luck.

Bob

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Some time back I brought a box of Preiser 1:72 people unpainted

this contained sets 72402 and 72403 which are described as walking passers by persons

unfortunately I recently through the box away so don't know the code for the set but were good value.

I haven't painted them yet so cant comment on the comparison with 1:76 but they are closer than 1:87

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