The Infantry Pages

The aim of these sections is to offer some advise on getting adequate figures to accompany the tanks. As far as I know there are no plastic IDF figures on the market right now (nor at any other time that I know of), therefore converting is the order of the day. On this page you will find some general notes, a list of manufacturers with additional notes and links to the sections mentioned above.

General notes on figure converting

Small scale figures fall into two main categories: hard and soft plastic ones. The former are quite rare - actually, only Preiser seems to offer hard plastic figures at the moment, and few vehicle kits nowadays come with decent figures -, but it's immeasurably easier to work with them. You can cut them like plastic, paint them like plastic and glue them like, well, plastic! Soft plastic figures, however, while being quite common, are a different matter. Cutting is easy, but glueing can be a maior problem. I experimented with various kinds of super glue before settling for a gel-type super glue that seems to work with most figures (not necessarily, though, as I had the pleasure to find out the other day...). Moreover, removing mold lines can be very difficult and requires a really sharp blade.

A (controversial) word on painting

As far as painting is concerned, it is said that figures, especially soft plastic ones should always be undercoated, otherwise the paint will fall of after some time. Honestly speaking, I rarely do this, as I don't use painted figures for wargaming and the like, most of them sitting in vehicles anyway, and I up to now always got a decent paintjob. By the way, it is definitely not necessary with hard plastic figures. However, if you want to produce special paint finishes, an undercoat might be a good idea. Also, if you are to handle your figures quite a lot, then undercoat them.

Manufacturers' shortlist

Here I will only list the most common and (hopefully) readily availible manufacturers, providing some notes on scales and general quality. By the way, I only list manufacturers that offer sets interesting for the IDF modeller!


Airfix sets scale out to 1/76, some seem slightly smaller than that. Although some of the sets are on the market for over 30 years now, some of them are still well worth a buy, due to the originality of the poses. However, due to the age of the moulds the figures start loosing detail. I recently got some Airfix Afrika Korps figures, which were about 20 years old and compared them with the current release. The old figures made the current ones looking like Hong Kong copies one can get in one-pound/euro/whatever-your-currency-is shops... Anyhow, still highly recommended are the ground crew sets and the WWI sets, which recently have been rereleased by HäT (see below).


Emhar produces WWI figure sets that come with a variety of interesting poses, two of these sets also include WWI field artillery pieces (a British 18pdr and a German 77mm Krupp gun). They are in 1/72 scale, so slightly larger than Airfix figures, but then in real life people are of different height, aren't they? Detail on the figures is outstanding, and the plastic is not too soft, making working on it slightly easier.


Esci once had a huge range of 1/72 figures. I included it in this list as these figures are now in the process of being rereleased by Italeri (see below). Esci figures generally have fine detail and a great variety of poses, making them very interesting for the avid converter. However, the figure makers at Esci were not always very successful in getting the anatomy right - the WWII US Airborne set is legendary, showing soldiers that apparently have either never heard about recoil or have recoilless small arms... The figures are made out of soft plastic, only the very first releases of these figures are actually out of hard plastic. However, these today are collectors' items and hugely expensive.


HäT has a range of 1/72 figure sets expanding at warp speed. Apart from rereleasing old Airfix sets (mainly WWI ones), they also produce WWI and WWII figure sets of their own. Their figures tend to be between Airfix' 1/76 ones and Esci's 1/72 ones, so mixing all these up will probably produce very realistic groups of figures. Some of the sets have fine detail and fine poses, others slightly lack originality in both. The plastic tends to be close to the one Emhar uses.


All the figures released by Heller are actually Airfix ones, only in a different box.


Imex concentrates on the American War of Independence, offering not too small a range of figures and ancillary equipment. For reasons not exactly clear to me I was not able to get hold of one, so I can say neither anything about scale and detail, nor about the plastic. Judging from the catalogue, the artillery and wagon sets look very attractive, though.


Apart from the Esci figures they now release Italeri has also a fine range of figures of their own, which is ever expanding. Scale is close to 1/72, sometimes slightly smaller, detail is generally very nice. Highly recommended are the artillery and baggage train sets providing nice horses and horse-drawn vehicles.


Included for two reasons, although no longer in production: One, I have a soft spot for them, as the very first figure set I ever got was a Matchbox Anzac set. Which directly leads up to reason two: Some of the poses were very good. Especially the Anzac and the Commando set are highly recommended if you still can get them.


This may be not exactly fitting into the category "well known/common", but I thought it a good idea to include them, as Nexus rereleases old Atlantic figures. Atlantic was a very productive Italian firm offering all kinds of figure sets together with soft plastic vehicle and artillery sets. Although some of these figures are extremely interesting as far as poses and detail are concerned, they do really show their age. Also, scale is inconsistent, ranging from figures smaller than 1/76 up to ones larger than 1/72. The soft plastic artillery pieces and vehicles were often rather toys than models, being oversimplified. Still, some figures offer interesting conversion potential.


It was already noted that Preiser is the only manufacturer offering hard plastic kits at the moment. Most figure sets tend to have fewer figures than soft plastic sets of other manufacturers, but the often offer additional heads and other pieces of personal equipment. Moreover, they offer sets specially designed to fit into vehicles which is very helpful (even though these figures are Germans; but then you can convert them). Overall quality is superb, detail ranging from fine to truly outstanding, the poses supremely interesting (like three tanker playing cards, a pilot with an accordion, another one taking pictures with a camera etc.!!). They generally scale out to 1/72, though some are slightly taller.


Revell have a large range of smallscale figures, covering various periods. The sets are on and off their catalogue, but I seem to be unable to detect a pattern behind it. Also, some sets are genuine Revell ones, while others seem to be rereleases of some kind. Thus scale, detail and originality of poses can vary enormously. They also offer combination sets which combine a kit and a figure set. Highly, indeed most highly recommended is the German artillery set offering very nice figures, horses and other equipment (not to speak of the guns...).

The sections

In the following section you can find information on how to get adequate figures and infantry equipment. By the way, as you can see I organized this chronologically.

War of Independence

Operation Kadesh

Six Days' War

Yom Kippur 1973

Lebanon 1982

From 1982 till today

still under construction!!

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