Atlantic Revolutionary Sets
During the early 1970's ATLANTIC of Italy produced four sets of figures based upon major political revolutionary movements of the 20th Century: Lenin and Stalin during the Russian Revolution, Mussolini and the Black Shirts March on Rome, Hitler's Brown Shirts and SS at the Nuremburg Rallies and Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China. This has always struck me as an unusual concept for mass produced toys aimed at the juvenille market, I did hear that because of their controvertial nature they were only sold "under the counter" but when I was in Italy during the 1970's I saw mountains of them on display. Curiously they seem to have become quite rare since then.
In 1917 the Germans smuggled Lenin into Russia in a sealed train to raise the revolution which would eventually lead to an armistice between the two countries. This allowed Germany to concentrate troops on the Western Front before the Americans could arrive with massive reinforcements and resources. Here Lenin addresses the crowds while a young Stalin standing on a troika (sled) whips up a revolutionary fervour in the masses, 1917.
This could be either a Bolshevik or a Cossack of the White Russian forces during the Civil War, either way he is holding a shell about to load this howitzer.
A sailor from the Black Sea Fleet fires a rifle while an infantryman feeds a belt of ammunition into his machinegun and a young officer fires a Mauser pistol. This is the only toy soldier I have ever seen armed with this distinctive handgun.
A Bolshevik or Cossack loads a mortar while a sailor in typically patriotic stance waves a communist flag sporting the "hammer and sicle".
Unmistakably a Cossack with drawn sword charging.
ATLANTIC made all four sets in both 54mm and 20mm scale, the figures and box art were identical in both cases. Generally I have no interest in original boxes and the concept of keeping figures "mint in the box" to preserve their value I find abhorent, any toy which has never been played with has not fulfilled it's purpose, but I must admit the artwork on these ATLANTIC boxes is superb.
In the mid 1970's I visited Italy and filled my suitcase with ATLANTIC figures, I didn't have room for the boxes so I threw them away. Do I ever regret that? you bet I do!
"Il Duce", Mussolini with his Black Shirts. The first carries a fasces, the ancient Roman symbol from which the term fascist derived, the second carries a standard displaying the fasces and the third is a drummer. ATLANTIC were notoriously bad at packing their figures, the contents were rarely ever correct, I got four figures of Mussolini in my box.
A motorcycle and sidecar form part of the motorcade in the March on Rome in 1922
Two more of the Blackshirts marching on Rome.
The box art for the Hitler set shows a typical Nuremberg rally scene from the mid 1930's, the uniforms and standards of the SA and SS men depicted were more accurate than the figures ATLANTIC made. Curiously there were no SS figures in the set despite the legend on the box.
Hitler stands in the back of an open vehicle which bears a vague resemblance to a Kubelwagen.
A goosestepping SA drummer leads two SA men who are in slightly different poses.
This is the most curious of all these figures, a standard bearer and a man with a "swastika on a stick". I'm sure this last one is a pure invention of the sculptor but if anyone knows different please correct me.
An SA motorcyclist and man marching with shouldered rifle.
Box art for the Mao set shows the infamous red guards with students during the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1969
Chairman Mao, centre, holds aloft his "little red book" while flanked by two enthusiatic students. He actually wrote several little red books, I tried reading the one on his military philosophies and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone suffering from insomnia.
Red guard with machinegun and local militia throwing a grenade, they could have stepped staight out of the Korean War.
More Red Guards in marching and action poses.
What this has got to do with the revolution beats me, a lady reclines in a ricshaw pulled by a coolie.
Likewise the final piece in the set, a sampan rowed by a coolie.
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