Preiser make a staggering range of plastic figures in many scales and covering a wide range of subjects. While many of these are in our favourite scale they are mostly factory painted and non-military in theme, and are clearly intended to help decorate a model railway or town scene, although other applications such as architectural models are also catered for. This set of airport figures is for some reason in their mostly military range, so we have included it on our site, although that is not to say that the military modeller cannot find some use for these figures anyway.
Researching authenticity for these modern figures is of course supremely easy. You only need to turn on the television to see pictures of people stuck in airports delayed by security, strikes or 'exceptional weather' (or volcanoes of course). This set covers the three main groupings of people found at any modern airport. The top row shows the air crew, while the second has the passengers and the last row the ground crew. We will look at each in turn.
The aircrew are made up of three pilots plus three cabin crew or flight attendants. The pilots wear the classic and almost universal pilot’s uniform of smart jacket and trousers, shirt and tie, topped off with a peaked cap. With a few deviations such as leather jackets this is what all airlines expect their pilots to wear, which stems from the maritime tradition of both military and civil aviation. All these figures look correct and very smart, and the same applies to the flight attendants. Uniforms for such crew, or at least the female staff, clearly vary between airlines but the common themes are smartness and a sense of identity. They almost always follow the corporate colour scheme, and apart from the positive image they give, such uniforms help in an emergency as passengers can instantly recognise cabin crew by their uniform. All these figures wear smart jackets and skirts and a scarf around the neck, but none have hats, which would suggest they are on board or at least inside.
The passengers of course follow only the fashions of their time and their own personal taste in clothing. The first three figures in our row give the impression of being young adults, and are all casually dressed with open-necked shirts or T-Shirts and casual trousers. All carry small hand luggage and follow the current trend of wearing nothing on the head. The second half of this row seems to be older, and includes a smartly dressed woman in the kind of weird hat you sometimes see, a man in a shirt and tie and possibly a suit, and a larger man in a suit and carrying a coat. Again, everything fits what you might find at an airport, particularly the tendency for some older people (and of course business travelers) to dress smartly for travel.
The last row shows the ground crew, which are not normally particularly apparent to the customers at an airport. Two of the figures wear ear-defenders which may also serve as communication headphones. The first, the left-hand figure in our picture, seems to be speaking into a microphone, which is reasonable, and might well mean he is some sort of supervisor. The other figure is the man holding the wands aloft. He is a marshaller and is guiding the aircraft into the bay. He seems to be carrying illuminated sticks rather than the old-fashioned paddles. Both are wearing trousers and a short jacket, but such clothing would be based on the uniform of their employer and can vary - this looks fine. The other four ground crew have no ear-defenders, so do not work on the apron near the aircraft. They could be baggage handlers or other support personnel, but would only be within the buildings. They all seem to wear everyday clothing with the obligatory addition of a high visibility jacket. All this is fine, but the one crucial thing missing is identification passes. Although small these should have been modelled, and all personnel working airside must have such security, so to be accurate these will have to be painted on.
The usual sculpting standard from Preiser is very good, and so are these, with nice natural posture and good definition on the clothing and faces. Civilians of any era are hard to find in this hobby, so these are as welcome as any, even though they are not intended for military modellers. If you ever need to populate a civil airport or similar then this is certainly a set worthy of consideration.