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"Liam" Action Figure

A version of the following article appeared in the 30 October 2002 issue of The Maple Leaf, official newspaper of the Canadian Forces. 
2Lt Kevin Winfield began his military career as an infantryman in The Calgary Highlanders.

Canadian Regiment Honoured by Toy Company
by 2Lt Kevin S.Winfield, CD (1 General Support Battalion)

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 time periods.

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 persons.

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 collectors.

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.

 

wwiititle.jpg (133225 bytes)
Shoulder title from the collection of Mr. Bill Alexander

 

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