Tag Archives: airfix

Army Men Around the House.

I love these little set ups by Gareth McGorman, called Army Men Around the House.

Yes, I’ve seen figurines used this way before. I’m thinking of farmhands chopping up florets of broccoli, that sort of thing.

But, I just find these quite amusing. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that I used to play with toy soldiers as a child. (Much to the consternation of our cat.)

Gareth hails from Toronto, Canada and I first came across him on Instagram. I can’t find a website for him, but I’ll post a couple of links to his work under the shots.
















Gareth McGorman


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Filed under Art, Children, Comedy, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized

Airfix – #62/365


Seeing as though we’re on the cusp of a third world war, I thought it might be interesting to talk about toys that glorify war.

In the olden days, we didn’t have X Boxes or PSPs. We had to make do with eating coal and playing on’t road with plastic figurines for entertainment. I had hundreds, if not thousands, of these tiny Airifx soldiers.

Airfix Mountain Troops

But, unlike the meticulously crafted dioramas that you see in model shop windows, my battlefield was the living room carpet. Cushions for mountain ranges and my mother’s ornaments for barricades. I wiled away many an hour pitting German stormtroopers against American marines. Or Japanese infantry versus British paras. And sometimes it was a free-for-all with Napoleonic cavalry and American Union soldiers thrown in to spice things up a bit.


My love of war wasn’t limited to reenacting battles – I was also partial to building second world war model aeroplanes too. When I got bored with them, or they got damaged, like when the props or undercarriage fell off, I’d “borrow” my mother’s lighter and set fire to them and throw them out of my bedroom window, imagining them in a dogfight during the Battle of Britain.


I thought it might be interesting to do an ad campaign that promotes these “old fashion” toys to a present day audience. What these toys lack in graphic depiction they make up for in the users ability to improvise and use their imagination. Not to mention the necessity to apply strategy – not that prevalent in your average shoot-em-up console game. Games that merely lead the user down a labyrinth of computer code rather than require said user to think creatively.

I used the illustrations that Airfix actually commissioned for their packaging, which I’ve always thought were brilliant, because that is exactly how you imagine it whilst playing.

Now, I know it’s not particularly PC to promote toys that glorify violence, but it was a large part of my childhood during the 60s and 70s and I derived huge amounts of pleasure from it. And I turned out okay, didn’t I?

I can’t hear you…


Filed under Advertising, Brand, Children, Creativity, Design, Ideas, Inspiration, Strategy


Computer games hadn’t been invented when I were a lad.

Come to think of it, neither had computers.

I used to while away the hours playing with my toy soldiers and model aeroplanes.

I had hundreds, if not thousands, of centimeter-high military figurines all vying for supremacy on the living room carpet: Paras; commandos; stormtroopers; gurkhas; chindits… you name it, they all fought on the beaches [rug] of Normandy [sofa].

Now, I know things have moved on a bit since then what with all the incredibly sophisticated graphics on computer games, that I suppose pretending your sister’s dolls’ house is an impregnable German fortress seems positively kid’s stuff.

But my point is, that whilst computer games have incredible cgi and complex storylines, they do spoon-feed the player. The player may think they’re in control of an elite squad of navy seals, but they are, in fact, just being lead down a labyrinth of computer code like lambs to the slaughter.

Playing with soldiers on the rug required imagination. You were in control. You made up the story. You decide what happens. Are computer games actually stifling kids’ imaginations?

Obviously, the super-intense scenarios weren’t there – or were they?

You see, when I played, I didn’t see a cushion or a sideboard, I saw a hill and a bunker. My imagination filled in the gaps.

So it got me thinking about whether I could do an ad campaign to resurrect these tiny little plastic armies to appeal to today’s kids.

Not to replace computer games, just to be an alternative.

(This is where some mums and dads object to promoting toys that encourage violent behaviour. Well I say: Come down ‘ere and say that yer shandy-drinking tree huggers! Never did me any harm.)

I digress.

Whilst my idea isn’t based on research of the target audience, it is based on the insights of someone who’s played both.

I love the illustrations on the packaging as this, to me, accurately depicts what the child imagines. While the headlines juxtapose the dramatic imagery with the real-life environment the game would actually be played in such as a bedroom, living room etc.

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Filed under Advertising, Brand, Children, Cross of Iron, Design, Digital, Ideas, Illustration, My Portfolio