"Spiv" is the nickname for a small time wheeler-dealer, who rose to notorious fame during WW II, both through his ability to dodge Military Service, and his ability to obtain those much sought after luxury goods, which were either rationed or non available at all. Always well dressed and groomed, looking at him you would not have known that a war was going on. The origin of the name Spiv is uncertain, but various theories are around. One possible derives from the old phrase 'spiffing', meaning good looking, whilst another theory links it to the Romany Gypsy word Spiv (Sparrow) which was a derogatory term for small time thieves and opportunists.
This figure from Jakrei Miniatures depicts a typical "Spiv", well dressed, leaning casually against a wall, lighting his cigarette, whilst looking out for a fresh opportunity to make a quick deal.
what's in the box?
The figure is packed in a small black heavy cardboard box with a separate lid. Inside the box is a fitted piece of foam, and the three separate parts are held in a small plastic zip lock bag. There are no instructions, nor a painting guide. The photo on the box lid is the only reference you get in this respect.
The figure has been broken down in three pieces, and all the pieces are cleanly cast, with just some minimal clean up required before the parts are glued together. There is a fairly large pour stub on the elbow, but this is easy to remove with a sharp no. 11 blade. The only other clean-up is to remove the very faint mould line on either side of the torso and legs. The head fits well to the torso, but there is a small gap where the arm meets the torso, which will need some filler to tidy it up. Torso and legs Torso, left arm and legs are cast as a single piece. He is wearing a double breasted jacket, and trousers with turn-ups. The detail is crisp, and includes a buttonhole on his lapel. His tie is cast with this piece as well, including the knot, which looks like a small nub at the top of his tie. Do not remove this by mistake. His left hand is stuck in his trouser pocket, and whilst the jacket has been sculpted to flow around this nicely, some better detail defining the edge of the trouser pocket would have been good. But as this part of the figure will lean against something, it is not a big distraction. The shoes have some detail around the laces area, and well defined soles. The head The head includes the neck, and the collar of his shirt. On the plus side this gives a very good separation of the collar lapels, adding detail to this area. On the down side, this means that there is no scope to adjust the length of the neck, which is a touch long, nor the direction he is looking. Luckily the fit is good, so no filler is required. Whilst face has reasonably well defined details, such as the moustache, and his mouth has been sculpted with a slight sneer to the left corner, to fit a cigarette, the overall detail of the face is a bit flat. There is some lack of definition between the collar and the neck on the right side, although the left side is much better. Right arm The right hand is holding a lighter, and is in the process of lighting his cigarette. The proportions are good, with a reasonable detail around the edge of the sleeve. The hand is well sculpted, with the thumb over the lighter very well shaped.
This is a figure that many diorama builders have been waiting for. A civilian male, in a nonchalant pose, who will look great leaning against a corner or lamp post, filling up space without drawing to much attention from the main subject. This figure can be used in most North Western Theatres (even Germany I suppose) as the Man's Fashion would not have been that much different. And after all, where there is war, there is somebody making a profit...
The figure's pose and proportion are very good, but the detail could have been a little bit shaper in places. I think that many would choose to replace the head, but the fact that the collar of the shirt is cast as part of the neck, means that a replacement will not be easy to find.
Overall however, a useful and relatively versatile figure to dress up a non-combat diorama. Recommended.
Note: The Jakrei range, including this figure, is now marketed by Friendship Models
Highs: A very original and versatile figure.Lows: Leaning pose requires a support, such as a wall or lamp post. Some details are a touch flat.Verdict: Recommended.
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