The Congo 1960s Figure Conversions

 I made a post on a Congo wargame a year or two ago. I was motivated to post this as a compliment to all the 'army men' groups and to show what cheapo figures look like when given reasonable paint jobs.

I got interested in the 1960s Congo conflict after watching the fil 'Dark Side of the Sun' and reading the book by Wilbur Smith. It follows the exploits of some mercenaries fighting for the breakaway republic of Katanga. In the story they have to fight UN forces, and, later the Simbas, poorly armed tribal fanatics.

As for Army men figures many of the ones children are given today are appalling copies of copies, much worse than the cheapo figures I remember getting in the 1960s. But some of those Chinese cheapos, before they got copied to bits, are quite good. Blue box is a named Chinese company which put out good stuff. Hing Fat is another. 

Below are my take on the Congo mercs, fighting for Katanga. Among the figures I used were modern infantry, The webbing is not exactly right and should be trimmed down. These same figures have been endlessly copied in China, to the point where they are almost flat and details lacking but the originals are nice.

               The sub machine gun man is an Airfix Australian (or copy). The other figure with slouch hat is a copy of Airfix cowboy converted to put manning a machinegun.

   The two figures with helmets are painted as wearing the plastic helmet liners only! They are government troops. The front left figure is a copy of Timpo WW2 with a Britains Detail guardsman assault rifle. The firing figure is a copy of Matchbox American WW2. His weapon has been changed to an assault rifle. (I got a swag of these rifles from my friend Bob, as he had replaced the ones on his guardsmen so he could use them for the Crimean War!)


  1. Some very nice work there, Q. I did something similar. Cleared a load of Chinese-made plastic figures into African Union troops, and used miliput to alter others into Somali insurgents. They were all about 50mm, but better moulds than much of the stuff sold cheap today. Always fun to turn nothing special into something useful.

    1. Thanks, Osprey published a good book on African wars.

  2. I think I got some few similar figures that ended the same way as the other cheapos's; As BB-gun targets...
    (I know. Should have kept them)

    Great paintjob and conversion! How many do make? Enough for a platoon?
    When giving some of te soldiers new rifles, do you use greenstuff to rearrange their hands so it grips the new rifles?

    1. I made about a dozen, I think. Their allies were Belgian paratroopers (Super detail British ones and Crescent ones). The guns were modified from existing ones, using putty and trimming.

    2. I have about 27 of the mercs plus a number of jeeps with swivel machineguns. There are also two heavy machineguns and a couple of bazookas.
      I use green stuff to mold new hands if there is no other way which works; sometimes a hand is destroyed in the drilling out process.

  3. The Congo government figure shooting may have had his hand redone - some of the green putty still shows! Sloppy of me!


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