by: Darren Baker [ ]
When Bronco released their 25pdr gun and No 27 trailer the only problem was the lack of a European theatre gun crew for the model. With this new release, Bronco have resolved this issue and provided a six man crew for their model. I should say that I had some input with this figure set in order that you are aware, to clarify further I had a hand in decal placement and appearance but not units.
Inside the typical end opening box you will find four tan sprues in two polythene bags and a small decal sheet.
Starting with the box; on the front you have artwork drawn by Andrey Karaschuk which depicts the gun crew around a ghost image of the 25pdr gun. On the back there is a parts layout and a painting guide for the figures.
All of the gunners in this products breakdown into similar parts which are;
• Torso with the rear of the jerkin moulded in place.
• Front of the jerkin in either one or two pieces.
• 2 legs.
• 2 arms.
• Head with beret moulded in place.
• In some cases separate hand or hands.
The officer breaks down as follows;
• Torso with a portion of the great coat.
• Left and right side portions of the great coat.
• 2 arms.
• 2 legs.
• Left hand holding binoculars.
• Flat top head.
• Choice of officers peaked cap or beret.
This figure is the No4 and is depicted inserting a shell into the breach but could also be shown catching the expelled shell case after firing. The stooped stance and general look of the figure is a natural position for this role. The right hand of this figure is a separate piece and is shown as a fist which is correct for ramming the shell home without losing your fingers when the breach closes. The front of the leather jerkin being a separate part does allow for some nice undercuts to be present adding to the look of the finished figure. Detail on the uniform all appears correct with some nice crease detail.
This figure is the No5 and is depicted taking a charged shell case from the No6 to hand off to the No4 ready to be passed to the loader. This figure does deviate slightly from the box art work due to the orientation of the head but that is easily rectified. Uniform and crease detail is again good, with the jerkin being open and in two pieces allowing for some very nice undercuts to be present.
This figure is shown on the rear of the box as figure C, but is actually Figure E on the sprue. This figure is the No3 and has the job of firing the gun which is also the only sit down job on the crew. Careful placement of the arms will be required to make this figure sit and look accurate when placed on the gun. I do have some concern about the detail on the butt of this figure as I am unsure how the figure will look when seated on the gun.
This figure is the No1 and is the only error, uniform wise, as he is dressed as an officer with binoculars and a greatcoat when he should be dressed the same as the rest of the crew and placed at the rear of the gun shouting orders. The rank of this figure would be a sergeant or bombardier. That said this is a nice figure that could be used for an alternate purpose and the figure does have very nice uniform and crease detail.
This figure is shown on the rear of the box as figure E but is actually Figure C on the sprue. This figure is the No6 and is depicted handing off a charged shell case to the No5. The crease detail on this figure is excellent in my opinion with very natural looking sag where needed. Uniform detail is also very high with a very finely moulded front of the jerkin which really adds to the overall look of the figure.
This figure is the No2 who opens the breach and rams the shell, he is depicted in this set as having just engaged the shell before the charge is added. The hands of this figure are moulded on the ram rod which will make articulation easier. Uniform and crease detail is again excellent and this figure, as all the others, should shine in the hands of a skilled painter.
The hand detail on these figures varies between good to very good, and the facial detail is all present and well defined but they are a little featureless when it comes to expression. The Royal Artillery badges have been replicated on the berets which in order to be easily visible are a little on the heavy side, but should look alright.
Bronco have included decals with this figure set which is a step forward that I would like to see all figure sets supplied with. The ranks included with this set are;
• Bombardier (Corporal)
• Lance Bombardier (Lance Corporal)
The No 1 will be the highest rank which can be Bombardier to Sergeant, the No2 will also have the rank of Lance Bombardier or Bombardier.
Also included in the set are decals for the rank of;
• Second Lieutenant
Decals are provided for two different units which are;
• 52nd Division
• 49th West Riding infantry had the;
1. 69th West Riding Field Regiment RA (TA)Sept 1942 -
2. 143rd Kent Yeomanry Field Regiment RA (TA) April 1942 –
3. 185th Field Regiment RA Sept 42 – Dec 44
4. 74th (Northumbrian) Field Regiment RA (TA) November 1944 –
This is a good solid set of Royal Artillery figures that, with the exception of the officer, will really help a 25pdr model come to life with detail being good to very good. I would suggest seeking out a different number 1 figure for the gun to increase accuracy to the utmost if wished, but that said the officer figure could be shown in a command tent away from the guns as he is a very good figure that I like and reminds me of a character in a film that escapes me for the moment.
With all that said at the moment I believe this is the only injection moulded crew for the 25pdr gun in a Western Europe setting at this time unless you take the resin figure route. There are the two figures on the rear of the box that have been mixed up but that is no real hardship to notice. One change I would have liked to see Bronco make is the figure assembly and painting guide on the rear of the box which would have looked so much better if they had assembled and painted the actual boxed figures, but that is semantics.