A recent craze
among military buffs the world over has been the development
of sophisticated 1/6 scale military "action figures." There
are currently several hundred 12-inch action figures on the
market, representing the militaries of several nations and
Unlike GI Joe,
released by Hasbro Toys in the 1960s, the current crop of
action figures pays great attention to detail and historical
accuracy. Weapon actions actually work, FASTEX clip on web
gear can be operated, and some figures even represent actual
The Canadian Army received a unique honour from Dragon
Models, a Hong Kong hobby company, in August 2002 when a 1/6
scale action figure was released for worldwide distribution,
proudly displaying the distinguishing marks of The Calgary
Highlanders, who served in the Second Canadian Division
during the Second World War.
One of the
researchers and artists for Dragon's model and figure lines
is Ron Volstad, an artist very familiar to those in the
military collectibles scene in Canada. Mr. Volstad is a
native of Alberta, and his artwork has been the centerpiece
of some 60 military reference books and histories, dating
back to the early 1970s when he first illustrated books for
Squadron-Signal. He has also illustrated the box tops of 150
plastic model kits.
Mr.Volstad has been instrumental in ensuring the Canadian
military gets its due among plastic model and action figure
When Dragon showed interest in releasing a "Commonwealth"
action figure, Mr. Volstad approached Corporal Michael
Dorosh of The Calgary Highlanders for reference material
regarding insignia. Corporal Dorosh hosts a Web site devoted
to Canadians in the Second World War
(www.canadiansoldiers.com), as well as having published two
books on Canadian Army uniforms of the 1939-45 era.
As a result of Cpl Dorosh's input, Mr. Volstad was able to
arrange for the 1/6 scale "Commonwealth Infantryman," to
proudly display the distinguishing marks of The Calgary
Highlanders. "Liam" is the first specifically Canadian
offering by any major producer of 1/6 scale action figures
in the current era.
The figure -
wearing highly detailed WW II era battledress and web gear -
was available at major hobby and model shops throughout the
world until the limited production run sold out. Dragon
Models sometimes reissues older figures, and updates on
their product line can be found by visiting the Dragon
Models Web site at www.dragon-models.com.
Shoulder title from
the collection of Mr. Bill Alexander