by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
The last couple of years has seen an amazing increase in the number and variety of British/Commonwealth figures becoming available in 1/35 scale plastic injection. We have plastic figure sets now that only a few years ago people dreamed of. The two key players in the ‘revolution in plastic’ have been Master Box Ltd and MiniArt. Each company has its own particular style and approach.
This latest release is a five figure set of British and German infantry in hand to hand fighting. The box art illustration is by A Karaschuk and the sculpting was done by A Gagarin.
The set comes packed in the standard Master Box (MB) format showing an image of the product on the front of the packing and build/painting instructions on the rear.
The set is contained on one sprue of sand coloured plastic which holds the two British Infantry and 3 German Infantry figures. The sprue comes sealed in a plastic bag.
There are no parts numbers on the sprue so you will have to cross check on the box instructions if you are unsure of any part, but these should be self explanatory as each figure and parts is contained within a given area of the tree.
So let's have a look at the troops.
Two infantry figures are included both in action poses. Both figures are made up of 17 parts consisting of separate lower body, torso, head, and arms.
Equipment consists of small back haversack, left and right ammo pouches, water bottle, Mk II helmet, bayonet and bayonet scabbard, small digging tool and Mk VI gasmask haversack. Each soldier is armed with a SMLE rifle.
Both figures are dressed in KD shirts and shorts, with hose, putties and ammo boots. Each wears skeleton webbing with the brasses present on the belt and straps where appropriate.
Overall the casting looks very good and the figures should build up well. There will be the normal seam lines to deal with. The facial detail is particularly appropriate.
A couple of observations; on the Mk IV respirator the flap appears to be wrong, it should be a straight edged 2 studded affair and not a single V fastening as given on the part and once again the putties are wound in the wrong direction with the V facing forwards instead of rearwards on the ankle. These are small details but very annoying especially given that access to photographs of British kit are detailed and easily available.
What kit you add will depend on the setting you choose but I don’t recall seeing pictures of soldiers in North Africa equipped with the small digging tool and it would not be appropriate for the early war period, but still a useful item to have depending on the time period you want to use the figures in.
German Infantry DAK
Three German Infantry figures are provided in the set, two to join in the hand to hand combat poses and engage with the British Infantry and one depicted as a wounded soldier toppling backwards.
Again make up of the parts consists of separate legs, upper torso, arms and head.
Equipment consists of left and right ammo pouches, small food haversack, water bottle, mess tin, digging tool and bayonet. Two standard respirator carriers are provided and one that has material/clothing wrapped part way around it. Two of the soldiers have optional covered helmets and all are equipped with the standard German Kar98k rifle.
The figures are dressed in tropical German Uniform, in the form of tunic and long trousers and wear skeleton webbing of the German leather belt but with canvas shoulder straps. Anklets and boots complete the dress.
The figures are well sculpted with good detail and should build up well. Again the normal seam lines will need removed but overall the detail is pretty sharp. My only observation here is that the water bottles look a bit small to me, but I could be wrong. Again facial detail look highly appropriate.
Overall thoughts on the Set
These are not a perfect set of figures but they are a very unusual and welcome addition for both Allied and Axis modellers. They depict something that I believe is extremely hard to achieve realistically in modelling and that is the actual pose of close combat and being shot.
If my memory serves me correctly the poses were based on pictures of soldiers in training situations. That doesn’t take away from their usefulness but how you set these figures will determine the overall effectiveness, but that can be said about any model.
As far as I can tell the overall detail of the uniforms, kit and weapons is of a high quality with the exceptions of what has already been mentioned. This is Kit 1 of what will be several sets of fighting infantry MB are producing, their British Infantry in Action set MB 3580, being Kit 2 (already released), with kit No 3 (3593) DAK German Infantry in the pipe line and Kit No 3597 Vickers MG Team all making up part of the theme of Desert Battles.
A welcome and interesting addition to the growing range of MB figure sets. These should be of interest to both figure painters and particularly diorama builders. They offer for the first time a growing range of interactive troops to use in action type situations and should inspire some interesting works from the modelling community.
This set combined with others offer great possibilities for the modeller, and a little TLC should produce some exciting results for the more action minded.
Whether you like fighting troops or not these combined interactive sets show imagination and creativity not shown by other manufacturers that breathe some fresh air into the standard British Soldier drinking tea theme so often seen, and I for one look forward to future developments.