With the end of the Great War the world suddenly had a huge surplus of aircraft, and pilots, for which there was little apparent use. At the time few saw the possibility of making commercial air travel a success, but a number of innovators began small airlines, often with just one route. They had to compete with rail travel, which was cheaper, quicker and much more comfortable, but they did have some advantages, particularly when water had to be crossed as on the London-Paris route. Europe, particularly Germany, was where this early development took place, and in time, thanks to government subsidies, air travel began to be accepted by the public. By 1925 many routes were well established and services were starting to run to ever more remote parts of the empires.
The set contains three identical sprues containing the 12 figures shown. One of the pilots and the 'sailor' have a separate arm, but the figures are otherwise complete rather than kits. The first pilot seems to be flying his plane while the second is putting on or taking off his helmet. The next few figures are ground crew, engaged in various tasks which all seem reasonable. It might be imagined that the man in the long coat is some sort of foreman, and next to him stands a very smart conductor, who could serve as an officer in many armies.
The bottom row shows the passengers, and possibly an early example of airline staff. The first figure seems to be a sailor in the traditional 'square rig' which was common to all the great navies of the day. However it seems possible that he is an employee of the airline, assisting passengers to board, in which case he is an illustration of the maritime heritage of all civil aviation. The two women are dressed much alike, with the calf-length skirts that would sensationally rise above the knee in 1926! They are fashionably attired, with the flattened chest and long coats, and most datable of all the cloche-type hats. In 1925 air travel was still very expensive, and therefore only open to the upper classes, who could afford to dress in the latest fashions. The male passenger is wearing what might seem a timeless suit and tie. In fact the constant swapping of fashion in jackets was towards double-breasted in this year, so he is not so up to date as his companions. His jacket appears to have no pockets on the skirts, which is incorrect for any age, although he does have the breast pocket and visible handkerchief that is correct 1925 style.
These are hard plastic figures, so the separate arms fix very securely, but the detail is quite disappointing. Although there is a reasonable amount it is quite flat and difficult to make out, and areas such as the hands are not great, with little or no attempt to show fingers. We found no problem with flash, but the fact that none of the figures come with bases will be annoying to some. One extra included in the set is a sprue of heads - 15 of them - all civilian. The ladies wear various fashionable hats of the day, while the men wear trilbies, boaters and caps or are just bareheaded. Since none of the figures come headless, these are just useful additions for the spares box.
The figures are obviously posed to be placed round a suitable aircraft model, and as such are fine (the woman apparently doing the charleston is in fact boarding the aircraft). The suited passenger looks a little too thin to us, but otherwise the figures are reasonably well done, and most would also be suitable for World War I airfield scenes of any nation.