by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
Master Box have recently released their first WW1 1/35 scale figures in the format of a mix of British and German troops linked to the battle of the Somme in 1916.
The figures were sculpted by A Gagarin and the illustration is by Karaschuk.
I for one have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this kit, so lest see what you get.
The kit comes packed in the standard Master Box format of a cardboard box depicting a coloured picture of the completed figures, product and manufacturers detail on the front and build instructions, painting guide and parts identification on the reverse.
The set consists of one tree of grey plastic parts providing the makings for 6 figures, two British Soldiers and 4 German prisoners. There is a bit of a discrepancy between the box art picture and the build picture on the reverse in so much as the box art shows two German soldiers carry a wounded British soldier whilst the reverse show two German soldiers carrying a wounded comrade. I suspect the wounded soldier could be from either side depending on the ID disc shown hanging on the chest as this figure only wears trousers. Also both the British Infantry have the 1908 wed infantry equipment whilst the box art shows one with this kit and the other with the leather pattern pouches.
The addition of a painting guide maybe a useful item if you use wither Vallejo or Life colour paints.
So lets take a look at the figures and parts.
Both figures are made up of the same basic parts, separate head, upper torso, lower torso and legs with separate arms. Both are dresses in WW1 tunics with putties and ammunition boots and both carry a full set of equipment and SMLE rifles with bayonets fixed.
The heads are quite well done with decent enough facial detail and the chin strap for the helmet in place. To add to each head you get a helmet covered with hessian. These look right for the time period.
The upper torso shows the tunic detail and 1908 webbing belt and straps with the buckles in place. Further straps to attach the various bits of equipment to are present also.
The lower torso and legs are nicely done with the putties and ammunition boots having good detail.
Both figures are standing walking figures and have the same arms with only the leg position being different. This is not really an issue as the set is based on a well published photograph.
Equipment comes in the form of a SMLE rifle with fixed bayonet. These look well done with good detail on the rifle and bayonet. To add to the figures you get a water bottle with the hanging straps in place, empty bayonet scabbard with tool shaft, backpack , small haversack, ammunition pouches and bandoliers and the web holder for the entrenching tool. All the web equipment has the straps and buckles in place and the ammunition pouched come moulded in the early configuration as the lower three don’t show the holding straps fixed to later sets.
Overall the figures seem to have good body proportions and all have the normal seems that will need cleaned up. As guards or marching infantry they should work well.
The only thing I could identify as being missing from the webbing were the buckles that held the backpack in place on the rear shoulder straps
Three German prisoners come with the set all are dressed in appropriate uniform and one of whom is a medic. The medic and one of the prisoners are designed to carry the casualty and the third prisoner is marching along a bit dejected looking with his left hand in his tunic pocket.
The make up of the figures is standard, separate heads, arms, upper and lower torso. Again the body proportions look good, detail on the uniforms and cuffs of the jacket is nicely done.
Two of the heads come with caps attached whilst the third has the cap as a separate item as it is placed well back onto the rear of the head. All have good individual facial details.
The two ‘soldiers’ have the right looking collar and cuff detail whilst the medic shows the marking for his trade.
Hands for the two carriers are separate, one is a set of clasped hands whilst the supporting hand is on the underside of the casualties legs as all three figures will be linked together.
The casualty is designed to be supported by the two carriers. A simple figure made up of 5 parts he is bear chested with just a set of dog tags, trousers with braces and bear feet. The feet will need a little work, one is depicted quite well but the other foot will need some clean up.
Whether or not you show him as a German or British casualty will depend on how you paint up the dog tag and trousers. He has no visible wounds other than the fact he is being carried and wears no shoes.
Over all I think these look to be a really good set of figures, with good body proportions and a good level of detail. There are the normal seems to deal with but these chaps should paint up well one assembled.
The bayonet scabbards for the two Tommy’s are a bit square for my liking and the SMLE rifles have quite large stocks. If I have a grumble about this set it is that the hands supporting the wounded soldier are moulded to the underside of the legs making attachment of the three troops tricky, and I would suggest you pin the arms to the hands. The plastic is quite soft therefore easy to work with but this means it takes longer for a strong bond of the parts.
That said MasterBox have produced a very useable set of troops and the first new issue for some time and there are numerous possibilities for display either together as a stand along set or use separately used within a diorama.
I would hope MasterBox will expand their range of WW1 figures.
I have enclosed a few WIP shots of the troops as I have them ear marked for a specific project.