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Built Review
North Vietnamese Regular
North Vietnamese Regular
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane/history lesson. If you have insights or corrections, please post them.

Introduction, Metal Figures
Forty years ago there were not very many model plastic figures available. Those that were available were often no better than today’s soft plastic toys offered bagged by the dozens in grocery store aisles. While there were some injection figure companies -- Airfix, Almark and Historex being a few -- before the age of resin figures if you wanted accurate, authentic model figures, you had to look to metal castings. Those were often pewter, metal combinations and, occasionally, good ol’ toxic lead!

Valiant Miniatures was a metal figure company that filled the void of decent specialized figures. Other big names in the business were:
    Almark (Also made styrene figures.)
    Bugle and Guidon
    Cavalier Miniatures
    Imrie/Risley Miniatures
    Old Guard
    Squadron/Rubin Miniatures
    Vallance Miniatures

Valiant Miniatures
Valiant Miniatures are highly regarded cast metal historical figures. Back in the 1970s when The Squadron Shop published their quarterly magazine-catalogue The Squadron, an anxiously awaited highlight was the new figures by Valiant Miniatures.

Valiant Miniatures started making casting metal 54mm figures in 1968. Valiant figures were prominent in model magazines, both as the primary subject as well as parts of a diorama. Valiant Miniatures showed up in many Shep Paine dioramas, including several of his famous diorama brochures included in Monogram kits.

I do not know how many figures V.M. cast although their website shows 373 models under the Valiant Miniatures series of 54mm figures. Furthermore, the site shows hundreds of other models in other series. The V.M. website catalogs these series in many scales (including 28mm and 1/1200):
    32mm Fantasy Figs
    AE Bounty
    Clan War
      Crab Clan
      Crane Clan
      Dragon Clan
      Lion Clan
      Naga Clan
      Nezumi Hero
      Phoenix Clan
      Scorpion Clan
      Shadowland Horde
      Toturi's Army
      Unicorn Clan
      Yoritomo's Allies
    Fighting Sail
    Kobolds Ate My Baby!
    Model Plane Landing Gear
      1/48 Scale Helicopter
      1/72 Scale Jet
      1/72 Scale Prop
      1/144 Scale Jet
      1/144 Scale Prop
      1/24 Scale Prop
      1/32 Scale Jet
      1/32 Scale Prop
      1/35 Scale Helicopter
      1/48 Scale Jet
      1/48 Scale Prop
    Ramming Speed
    Spanish Main
    StarDate 3000
    Valiant Miniatures

Model Plane Landing Gear lists 665 (!) sets - I didn't know they made these!

Valiant makes a wide range of interesting subjects; with 373 figures and figure sets in dozens of subjects, I am not going to list each one but I do offer this sample of what I think are interesting:
    Bugle-Major, Highland Lt. Inf. - 1896
    Doc Holiday
    Highland Light Inf., India - 1935
    Lutzow's Reitende Jager - 1813
    Maj. Pechkoff, French Foreign Leg. - 1925
    Piper - 51st Sikhs
    US Marine - 1900 Boxer Rebellion
    USN - 1920's - w/B.A.R.
    WW2 Australian Vickers Machine-gun Team
    Wyatt Earp

V.M. made a large range of Vietnam subjects:
    Montagnard Tribesman - Vietnam
    Republic of Korea Marine, 1970
    US Air Force Crew Chief - Present
    US Air Force Pilot - Present
    US Army Grenadier, Vietnam
    US Army Helicopter Pilot
    US General Officer
    US Helicopter Scout Pilot - Vietnam
    US Marine, Vietnam
    US Spec. Forces Off., Dress Uniform - Vietnam
    US Spec. Forces Sgt. - Vietnam
    US Special Forces Sergeant
    US Tank Commander - Vietnam
    USA Infantryman - Vietnam
    Vietnamese Fighter Pilot

All of the above are on the Valiant website although all are not listed together as a series.

Valiant who?
I do not know what happened nor when, yet today this company is named Valiant Enterprises Ltd. (Today there is another Valiant Miniatures in England, which makes plastic 1/72 figure sets.) I also do not know how long V.M. cast figures although they do catalog US Pilot - "Desert Storm" - 1991. The site lists New Products.

North Vietnamese Regular
My records show that I painted and assembled this figure on 15 July, 1976. Back then Valiant Miniatures packaged their models in a clear plastic bag closed with a red card label. They included a color or black-and-white paper showing a photograph of the completed figure as well as line art of assembly.

This model is cast as four components: the right arm; rest of the body; neck roll; AK-47. Back then I carved away flash but did not put much emphasis on cleaning seam lines. As this figure does not show any marks, it must have been cleanly cast.

Some metal figures have a rough surface. This one does not. However, it must have had some 'tooth' to it as back then I did not prime figures and none of the enamel paint has scuffed off.

The subject is dressed in a floppy hat, a simple tunic, 'pajama' pants, and recycled tire sandals. He wears a web belt, backpack with a blanket, US canteen. He is armed with an AK-47. Oddly, he has no magazine pouches for the assault gun.

Facial detail is acceptable although eye detail is slight. The belt has definite stitching and buckle detail. The tunic is not well demarcated around the neck. The strap of the AK-47 shows the looped fabric and fittings.

Nowadays there are injection molded and resin 1/35 NVA and Viet Cong figures. "Back in the day" these metal figures were the only models of the subject available Aside from the limited facial and tunic detail, this model has good detail. Casting is good with no mold seam lines nor flash. The amount of detail of the equipment is good.

This model is a nice single figure representing a North Vietnamese Regular.

I did not explore where to buy these models. Valiant has their own sales part of their site and an eBay page; several years ago Squadron sold Valiant, and I stumbled upon another big online figure store with the product.
Highs: Casting is good with no mold seam lines nor flash. The amount of detail of the equipment is good.
Lows: Limited facial and tunic detail.
Verdict: This model is a nice single figure representing a North Vietnamese Regular.
  Scale: 54mm
  Mfg. ID: 9805
  Suggested Retail: $17
  Related Link: North Vietnamese Regular
  PUBLISHED: Jul 29, 2014

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


Good article. Thanks for the trip down memory lane with Valiant 54mm figures. Although some of their kits were not that good. They had some greats. I would love to know more about the British Lassett 54mm figures. They were wonderful.
SEP 13, 2014 - 05:21 PM

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