Japanese Infantry

Airfix 1:76 Scale Miniatures Review

Japanese Infantry, 1:76 Miniatures Airfix 01718.

Airfix 1:76 scale Japanese Infantry is among the most popular figure sets for collectors and wargamers even today. Each of the 16 different poses is an artistically and technically convincing sculpture which may be displayed individually or in combination with other plastic miniatures.


48 Figures in 16 Poses – 22 mm equal 167 cm Height

  • Japanese Officer with (Shin Gunto) Type 98 Army Sword (2)
  • Japanese NCO with MAB 38 Submachine Gun (2)
  • Japanese Standard-Bearer (1)
  • Japanese Bugler (1)
  • Japanese No. 1 Machine Gunner with Type 11 (Nambu) LMG (1)
  • Japanese Bomber, throwing Type 97 Hand Grenade (3)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, marching (6)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, advancing (4)
  • Japanese Soldier waving Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, charging (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, charging (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, kneeling, firing (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, kneeling (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, crawling (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, prone, firing (4)
  • Japanese Soldier with Type 38 Arisaka Rifle, standing (3)
  • Japanese Soldier, falling (2)


Excellent choice of subject, Airfix Japanese Infantry set the industry standard back in 1964, which figures from other manufacturers have to measure up to even today. With 48 figures in 16 different poses, Airfix did the miniatures hobby a great service. Generations of kids have played with these figures in sandboxes, built terrain for them, depicted scenes, developed dialogues, resolved conflict and let their creativity run wild.

Japanese Infantry, 1:76 Miniatures Airfix 01718.

Excellent poses, anatomically correct and almost flawlessly produced, using the technical means available at the time. The liveliness of these Airfix figures is unsurpassed in this scale even today.

What little infantry equipment there is, is carried haphazardly, but such shortcomings are less obvious on small miniatures like these, compared to their larger 1:32 scale brethren. In addition, small mistakes on little figures require less effort and Green Stuff to repair.

The soldier advancing on all fours is the only one with proper cartridge pouches, namely two small pouches for 30 cartridges at the front of the waistbelt, and the large pouch for 60 reserve cartridges at the back. His kneeling comrade has three pouches at the front of the waistbelt, the machine gunner only one pouch on his back, and the remaining soldiers only have the two frontal cartridge pouches.

Five soldiers are without water bottle, three have slung theirs incorrectly, the remaining eight are carrying the water bottle correctly behind the right hip, but they are missing the bread bag. Designers and sculptors probably overlooked the fact that the bread bag and water bottle are worn together, on separate straps over the left shoulder. The bread bag is slung first, so that the water bottle comes to rest on the bread bag and does not slap the soldier‘s thigh at every step.

Japanese Infantry, 1:76 Miniatures Airfix 01718.

With the exception of the officer and machine gunner, all men are carrying their gas mask bag, most of them on a strap across the right shoulder, so that the bag comes to rest behind the left hip. The tip of the bayonet scabbard should be just visible below the gas mask bag, but none of the rifleman are actually equipped with one. The light machine gunner is the only figure carrying a bayonet, even though his Type 11 LMG could not be fitted with a bayonet. The machine gunner originated from Airfix 1:32 scale Japanese Infantry and he was later added to the 1:76 scale figure set in exchange for one prone rifleman. Unfortunately, Airfix did not add the excellent Type 89 Grenade Discharger to this updated mould as well. However, the grenade discharger has become available as a poor 1:72 scale reproduction made in Hong Kong.

Japanese Infantry, 1:76 Miniatures Airfix 01718.

The kneeling and signaling soldier, probably a non-commissioned officer, is armed with a rare Italian MAB 38 submachine gun. In June 1943, the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal ordered 350 Itariya submachine guns (Moschetto Automatico Beretta M.38/43), of which only 50 were delivered in August of that year. Fitted with a steel helmet, this soldier makes a perfect NCO for Airfix Italian Infantry. The other Japanese soldiers with steel helmets may be painted as Italians without the need for any conversion.

The Japanese riflemen are armed with properly scaled rifles which are so thin that Airfix did not bother to fix bayonets on them. This compromise is preferable to having to laboriously remove grotesquely oversized or short-shot bayonets from rifles. Those of us who cannot do without the Type 30 bayonet, may simply add a paintbrush bristle under the muzzle of the Type 38 Arisaka infantry rifle and trim it to approximately 7 mm in length. A good bond is achieved by painting the rifle first and attaching the bristle bayonet with a tiny amount of fresh artist acrylic paint.

Possible Conversions

Compatible with Fujimi, Matchbox, Milicast, Cromwell Models, Ostmodels, MMS, and Vac-U-Cast.

Airfix Japanese Infantry may be painted in a variety of interesting colours from tan to khaki and medium to dark olive. The field cap may be the most variable in colour, and it can differ from the colour of the uniform. Khaki dominates at the start of the war and is gradually replaced by olive green, but not completely so. Officers wore white or grey-green shirt; the tan or light khaki-coloured, later medium to dark green tropical uniform included a khaki-coloured shirt which could be worn without the field jacket in warm weather.

Japanese Miniatures of World War Two, 1937–1945