by: Jim Rae [ ]
Background On August 1st, 1944 Colonel Antoni Chruściel's irregular troops of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), began their uprising against the German forces occupying the Polish capital, Warsaw. Encouraged by contradictory messages of the exiled Polish government in London and with the proximity of Soviet troops, around 30,000 members of the Home Army begin the uprising which was to last 53 days. The Russians, already hostile to the Polish Government in London, stopped only 8km from the center of the city and did nothing to assist. Nor did the other two members of the 'Big Three' (Churchill and Roosevelt) offer SIGNIFICANT help although air-drops WERE made by South African and R.A.F. aircraft.The AK were left entirely to their fate. The statistics are terrifying - 18 thousand insurgents, 180 thousand civilians and about 3.5 thousand soldiers of the 1st Army of the Polish Armed Forces are killed. Approx. 25 thousand insurgents are wounded, including 6.5 thousand seriously. 16 thousand of the surviving insurgents are taken into captivity. The city is razed to the ground (a process continued by the Soviets) and the priceless cultural heritage of Warsaw is virtually eliminated...
The Vignette TM 35F15 - Bren Gunner, Warsaw Uprising is sculpted/packaged by Toro Model (Poland but is sold and exported by Adalbertus Miniatures. The set consists of a wooden base, a two-part resin vingette base which reproduces a ruined street corner and the figure - a Bren-Gunner of the Polish Home Army (AK) cast in six, cream-colored resin parts. The set comes in a small cardboard box carefully packaged with foam 'peanuts'.
In detail The figure comes with all the parts on some fairly heavy mould-blocks. Casting is pretty clean with only some minimum flash (easily removed with a sharp blade) and only a few (small) air-bubbles.
The base comes in three parts - the groundwork, an extension to the brick pillar and the wooden base.
As usual, with this kind of review, i'll look at the individual areas of the figure and complete the section by (briefly) describing the construction and any problems which were encountered.
HEAD The figure is sculpted wearing a German Steel Helmet which was pretty typical of the headgear of the AK's troops. This is well cast as are the facial details.
BOOTS: Nicely-cast although a bit of cleaning-up is necessary to recover the definition on the sole of the left foot.
CLOTHING: The figure is portrayed wearing a one-piece coverall. Casting on this is crisp with good, clean detail of pockets, creasing etc.
HANDS/ARMS The hands are excellent as are the arms both anatonomically and in respect to creases in the sleeves.
The Bren Gun: This is the weakest part of the set. For me it is a little too 'chunky' and the barrel was also warped. The seperate bipod also seemed out of scale. It was replaced by a plastic one from Italeri's (old but excellent) set of Allied Weapons and equipment. I simply carved off the hand-grip and glued the gun directly onto the top of the right hand. It would be equally easy to replace it with an MG42 or 34 (both used by the AK during the Uprising).
THE POSE: Once again, excellent. The figure is designed to be firing from cover behind a section of low wall and this is carried off convincingly - the figure is crouched with the bipod resting on the wall in front of him.
CONSTRUCTION: Very straightforward although a bit of careful and delicate work is required with the razor saw and sandpaper (to get rid of any 'flat' bits where the casting plugs are removed). Some work with the X-Acto was required to clean off a few bits of flash. I glued the arms a little high (meaning i'll have to put a sandbag under the bipod) although I like the effect as it seems the gunner is a little unfamiliar with the Bren (well, that's MY story and i'm sticking with it!). A little putty might be a good idea to 'blend' the arms into the shoulders although fit was excellent.
Construction of the base is limited to gluing a section of brickwork to the pillar and sanding both sides to get it flat.
conclusions It's a very well-executed and very unusual subject of a a very tragic and largely forgotten period of WWII. Toro Model (Poland) are doing a number of very interesting subjects both in this scale and in the larger scales. For those who don't want the base, the figure is available seperately - for those who don't want the figure, the base is available as a seperate reference in their catalogue. The weakest part is probably the Bren - the other elements are extremely well done. This is a company which really is using a great deal of imagination and technical skill in its product list and well worth looking into..
My thanks to Wojciech for this and the other material provided for Review..