Friday, April 27, 2012

Play Ball ! - Ajax 54mm Plastic

Just finished painting these, plastic baseball players from the long-defunct Ajax company.  These date to the 1950's I believe.  They came molded in hard plastic in bright primary colors, wonder if they would have held more sales appeal in home white/road gray ?  In any case, they must have been produced in volume as they continue to pop up on eBay with regularity. I'd had these sitting in a box for quite some time waiting for the right mood, and the opening of the 2012 season this month gave me the motivation to give them a go.

What I like about them is their old-fashioned style.  Cut down the cap bills a bit and they fit even as dead ball era players, suitable for any time after collars went out of fashion. This book, illustrating every Major League uniform from 1900-1993 provides a good painting guide:

Mixing things up a bit, the batter is a St. Louis Cardinal, wearing 1916-1917 home whites, the catcher a 1918 New York Giant. The familiar Cardinals logo didn't come in until the early 20's.  Players seldom wore numbers until the Yankees started the trend for good in 1929.  As a fan, evidently you were expected to know who was who from their positions, size and mannerisms.

Interesting that the sculptor left the "back" of some figures with a rough and chiseled look.  The faces are rather blandly generic but the poses are nicely executed.  Overall, they look right.  I'm very fond of reading about the old era of baseball. ca. 1900-1920.  I firmly believe it was a more exciting game in those days because it was played at a much crisper pace than today's dawdling marathons. The box scores don't lie, the average 9-inning game 100 years ago was completed in less than 2 hours.


  1. Cpl Trim

    Those are beauts! Batter up!


  2. Thanks, Peter ! I wasn't sure how these would be received on a wargames figure blog, but figured at least a few here in North America might be fellow baseball fans.


  3. Not a sports man myself but just about any miniature of that era is a "toy soldier" to me! I doubt that a modern figure would have captured the movement or spirit as well. Too subtle perhaps, much is implied in these figures.

    I suppose that I shouldn't have been surprised to see a book about baseball uniforms.

    Anyway, very nicely painted. Like the sculpting, its beyond basic but "just enough" rather than "over the top".

  4. Thanks, Mosstrooper & Ross. I'm painting the last few that I have now and then back to the soldiers.

    Best regards,

    1. Steve,

      This has to be the coolest thing I've ever scene on the internet!!! Awesome paint jobs!!! I have a few of these figures (I've been painting the football versions in the colors of the college teams from 19-teens). BTW, where do you get the grandstands graphics?


  5. Thanks, Chris.

    Glad you like the ballplayers ! I used the book "Historic Ballparks: A Panoramic Vision" for the stadium backdrops. Very large format and no longer in print I think, but used copies available on Amazon starting at < $5.00.

    I don't have any of the football players in the leather helmets, but they're cool, very old-school as well. Some of the throwback jerseys worn by NFL teams are comically ugly but I think they suffer from being taken out of historical context much more than baseball uniforms - I'd like to see what you did with the football guys if you've posted on the internet anywhere.

    Best regards,