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Set 9007

The March on Rome - Mussolini and the Black Shirts

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 1972
Contents Varying number of pieces
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Black
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)


Like so many other countries, Italy was full of discontent after the Great War. In 1919 Benito Mussolini formed the Fascist movement, and over the next three years they steadily grew in strength. After yet another coalition government had collapsed in 1922, a general strike was called. The strike was broken, however, by Mussolini, who used his Fascists to keep services running, and gained much support as a result. On October 28 large numbers of fascists gathered 100 km outside Rome, ready to march on the capital and demand power. Intimidated, the King invited Mussolini to form a government, and he travelled to Rome by train (first class) to do so. Many of his supporters did likewise, so only fairly small numbers made the peaceful march to the capital, where parades were held before everyone went home again. Typically, this was later exaggerated to be a much more dramatic event than it actually was.

As an Italian company, it is hardly surprising that Atlantic would want to include figures depicting this event in their Revolutions series. What they came up with was the Duce taking the salute as his Blackshirts pass by in review. As well as the single pose of a Blackshirt simply marching, there are figures carrying a banner, a drum and one carrying a fasces - all designed to recall the glories of the Roman Empire. The inclusion of the bicycle and the motorbike add more variety to what could easily have been a very dull set.

The fascist uniform at the time was a black shirt and breeches. Other items such as headwear were a matter of personal taste, but all the figures in this set are dressed exactly alike (apart from Mussolini himself), with all wearing a soft tasselled fez which was typical. Many have medals on their chest to show their meritorious service in the last war. All the clothing is reasonable enough, though photographs of the event suggest a more motley appearance than these smart figures present.

As with so much of Atlantic's output, these figures are quite small (1/87 scale) and quite thin. However the proportions are otherwise not too bad, and the sculpting is fair, though flash is certainly a problem here. The drummer has extra plastic under his drum where the mould cannot reach, and the wheels of both bikes are solid when we prefer the Airfix solution to spokes, namely to have the wheel empty. The cyclist is moulded as one piece with the bike, but the motorbike is separate from the sidecar (and of course the riders), though these pieces fit together well enough. As with many such Atlantic accessories, however, the motorbike is really much too small, and the sidecar would be a very uncomfortable ride for anyone but a midget.

As revolutions go the March on Rome was pretty unexciting, though the consequences for Italy were of course immense. To many people parade soldiers make very dull models, and Atlantic have tried to inject a bit more variety with the bikes. Overall it is a fair representation of the event after which it is named, but sadly that means the set is not likely to generate much excitement.


Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 5
Mould 6

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