has been a major player in the armor, figure, and diorama aftermarket arena since the late 1970’s, when Mr. Francois Verlinden, who then was in the scrap-metal business, gave it up to pursue his love of armor modeling and creating dioramas. After opening up a hobby store in Lier, he soon found himself dissatisfied with the items that were on the market at the time. Soon after this the Verlinden Productions
company was born.
In the 1980’s, Mr. Verlinden met with Mr. Bob Letterman, an American modeler and started a business relationship along with Mr. Verlinden’s other Belgian partner, Mr. Josef Stok, and in turn the three formed VLS. VLS imported Verlinden Productions
products into the U.S. marketplace along with other product lines.
In the 90’s, Mr. Verlinden moved his Belgian operation along the VLS branch of the company to St. Louis, MO. The move would benefit both companies economically, but this was short lived. Philosophical and personality differences between the owners and staff lead to the split of the company shortly after moving the operations to the U.S. Verlinden Productions
remained in Missouri and was directly competing with VLS until VLS was bought out by Squadron in 2007.
(Source information: www.usarmymodels.com/MANUFACTURERS/VerlindenProductions/verlinden.html.)
Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s take a look at the product.
Kit #2800 from Verlinden Productions
was packaged in a white cardboard flap type opening box with information about the item and a photo of the finished item on the outside of the box. The box itself measures 4”x4”x1.5”. Inside the box was a plastic zip type bag with pieces for three figures and two hammers. The figures are made of a cream colored resin and are set in three different poses. There is no visible mold flashing or imperfections in the pouring of the resin.
As I’m looking at the first figure, something goes off in my head, “I’ve seen these before, but not offered in a three figure set.” So I went back and did some digging in some old Verlinden
catalogs and sure enough, found them in Catalog No.10, Winter 1991/1992 under Items 142, 143, 144, U.S. Mechanics No. 1, 2, 3.
- Pose one we’ll call “Standing, smoke break”, which is No. 142.
- Pose two we’ll call “Looking over the shoulder”, which is No. 143.
- Pose three we’ll call “Tippy toes”, which is No. 144.
I may have the figures incorrect as I’m working with the old catalog as a reference point which at the time was hard to decipher which number matched which figure in the catalog. You had to make a trip to the local hobby shop and ask which was which and get a price also. These figures were also listed in the catalog as 54mm in size and where priced at around $7.95 (guess) per figure back in 1991. Verlinden
now offers them as a 3 figure set.
I’d like to point out at this time that there is no instruction sheet for these figures, so figuring out which leg and arm combo goes with what pose maybe a challenge for those that are using these figures for the first time, but a look at the box image should sort you out.
Now, figure “Standing, smoke break”, No. 142 in the old catalog, is posed in a relaxed, legs semi-crossed, standing position holding a torch in the right hand and a cigarette in the left hand. The box art photo clearly shows the cigarette in the left hand, however it is not there in the kit supplied hand. The figure is molded bare-headed with a pair of welding goggles placed on top of the head. In the older figure this head was not present, and instead this figure was offered with three other heads depicting either a German, British, or American mechanics wearing their countries head gear, a soft cap for the German and American, and a beret for the British.
(Review source for older figures can be found here: www.usarmymodels.com/MANUFACTURERS/VerlindenProductions/vp0142.html.)
Detail of the “Standing, smoke break” figures leg area is decent. This figure appears to be wearing the 1st pattern HBT trouser with a belt and service shoes, type II, with the upper body wearing an Army “light shade” HBT jacket. Once again, the head has a pair of welding goggles on top of a cap-less head. The detail of the head is also decent. Facial features are noticeable with the goggle strip somewhat visible on the hair. Hair texture is lacking however. The fingers are noticeable on the hand and all digits are there. However, the cigarette is again missing from the left hand.
Now on to figure two, “Looking over the shoulder”, No. 143 in the older catalog.
This figure in posed in a standing, semi-leaning over position holding what appears to be a hammer or pry bar in the right hand observing figure “Tippy toes”, No. 144, working on a road wheel or sprocket. His left hand appears to be open as if holding a few bolts. This figure appears to be dressed in the same clothing as the first figure, HBT trouser with belt and HBT “light shade” jacket and service shoe, type II. However, this figure has a “Jeep cap” placed on his head. The cap lacks some texture, but the detail of the seams can be seen. Overall, detail for this figure is of the same quality as the first figure. The right hand that is holding the hammer is closed with no gap between the thumb and first finger to place the hammer, so some surgery on the hammer will be required.
Lastly we come to “Tippy toes”, No. 144 in the older catalog. This figure is posed kneeling over, balancing on his toes, hammering on a pry bar. The hammer is placed in the right hand and the pry bar is in the left hand. He appears to be dressed in the same trouser as 142 and 143 and is wearing the same service shoe, type II. This figures shirt is different however; it appears to be an M37 wool shirt and not the HBT jacket that the other two figures are wearing. The cap on this figure is different from what the second figure is wearing, and is either a U.S.M.C. P44 cap or an Army HBT cap. These caps are too close in style to make an accurate comparison on this figure. Again, the left hand is molded closed and has no gap between the first finger and thumb to hold the pry bar in place.