Both of my grandfathers served in the war, and saw action in France and Germany after D-Day.
We were taught by many heroes of WW2. In fact one of my teachers was married to the guy who was the last man to leave the sinking Ark Royal. Maybe his precious photos of the heavily listing carrier are what kicked off our obsession with WW2 in the first place.
So while teaching English in China I was overjoyed to find some "Lego" minifigs who combined my love of Lego with an avid interest in the Second World War.
Here are the sets I bought. Each sells for 10 RMB, which is about $1.59.
I should add at this point that these aren't of course genuine Lego Minifigs. They're the exact same size as the genuine thing. But they're not nearly so well made.
When you assemble the kits you have to attach the arms to the torsoes, and you have to put their hands on their arms. That's really fiddly and a good way to detach a fingernail.
So here are the kits. I can read a little Chinese and I believe these are from the North Africa campaign.
This set came with the field commander, who I guess could be Rommel. I didn't think Rommel had a goatee though.
I really love the artwork on these boxes. I think they're better than genuine Lego packaging! That machine gunner is giving it everything.
As is the machine gunner in the second pack, as shown below. I especially like the expression on the other guy's face (he's operating an anti-aircraft battery). You can kind of see it in their eyes that the tide of the war is starting to turn.
This is the back of the 1943 North Africa Campaign packs. This tells you which minifig you're going to get. It also shows the accessories both soldiers come with.
Here's both packs when assembled and combined. I haven't included the extra guns (more on those below).
Both sets came with accessories: barbed wire, 3 sandbags and an oil drum. A nice touch is that both minifigures come with a stand. The field marshal came with a couple of shells.
The Lego barbed wire is really cool and not something I've ever seen before. Heck, my 1970's original Lego Space minifigs didn't even have guns.
I'm not sure who manufactures these minifigs but they're quite good quality compared to other imitation Lego figures I've bought before. A clue to their improved quality is that their hats fit well. Also there are no missing pieces which was a problem I had when I bought some Pokemon Lego from Amazon.
And so to another set I bought. This one is themed on Arctic combat Blitzkrieg troops. I guess they might be serving in Norway.
Although this one has a bigger box it's actually the same price as the two previous sets.
This particular one is an infantry soldier on a snowmobile. I'm not sure how historically accurate this is.
A look at the back of the box reveals there are probably 5 sets in this collection. I really want the motorbike and the anti-aircraft battery. I don't know if I'll be able to find them. These minifig kits sell out really quickly and they're replaced by completely different series of sets.
Other sets I've seen include Minions, Batman and Marvel inspired superheros and some really cool characters from Minecraft.
The snowmobile guy once assembled. Sadly the set doesn't have the helmet or snowmobile decals as shown on the box artwork. There's been a bit of artistic licence used there.
Finally I'll just mention that each kit also comes with a set of weapons. These are so cool!
The sniper rifle is pretty good but I'm not sure if that was standard WW2 issue. The Luger pistol is really recognisable though.
I also love the Stielhandgranate hand grenades which are straight out of Saving Private Ryan.
There's also an anti-tank grenade launcher and a pretty meaty machine gun.
Finally a selfie with Mrs Krabappel (who is a genuine Lego Minifig). I love this minifig as I bought her the day I passed my CELTA English teaching course. It was so ironic that the minifig I ended up with was Mrs Krabappel, who is of course a teacher.
I hope you like these Lego minifigs. I hope to get some more soon if they haven't sold out already. And it would be good to have some Allies to pitch them against.
Do you think they're a great idea, or should they be banned or consigned to history? Leave your comments below.