In the late 1970s Airfix had a large range of Railway products including locomotives, rolling stock, buildings, accessories and figures. One of these sets was ‘Platform Figures’, but for reasons unknown the set disappeared very quickly. Later Airfix sold many of their railway moulds to Dapol, including this one, and now it is marketed by that company. However Dapol changed the bases from the classic Airfix square style to a flatter, round shape.
When the Airfix Civilians and Railway Workmen sets are considered along with this one, they certainly produced a lot of fairly similar civilian sets. This one is really a mixture of the two, with both railway staff and civilians, although all the figures are unique. The style of clothing and uniform is old-fashioned, and was probably meant to be suitable for layouts with trains of the 1950s or earlier. However many could pass for civilians from much of the 20th century if required.
The figures are really crisply done, with good detail and natural poses. Clearly the poses are not particularly animated, and no one seems to be trying to kill anyone, which is unusual for a set reviewed on this site, but there could still be some scope for use in a historical or military diorama. Overall this is a very nice sculpting job - one of the figures (top row, second figure) is unfinished and is missing a hand, but other than that the figures are very attractive. One curiosity is that the last lady on the second row is wearing a man's coat, i.e. buttoned left over right. The last item on the bottom row is a luggage trolley, and is being pushed by the porter to its left. Sadly the handles of the trolley are a good deal further apart than the hands of the porter, so they do not go well together.
Another unfortunate characteristic is that all the figures have mould marks on their backs, and on some the plastic has caved in somewhat during cooling (this can be clearly seen around the right kidney of the second figure, top row, and on the luggage trolley). On our Dapol sample there was also a noticeable amount of flash in many areas, although the fact that these are made in a hard plastic makes removal of flash relatively easy.
While their usefulness for military and historical modellers may not be immediately apparent, it is worth knowing of the existence of these figures, and their generally good quality will hopefully keep them in production for many years to come.