So these were the new version, much anticipated, they were a bit of a disappointment when they finally arrived, and most of the criticism of the set found elsewhere over the years is well founded. But - there's always a 'but' - it doesn't add up to much really, as the set still delivers a decent bunch of figures, well sculpted and ten times better than the Combat Group set they replace while paying homage - through a stretcher team!
It's about how much the problems bug you, or how much you are willing to let the problems bug you! They are thinnish, they are under-equipped, and too 'clean', their uniforms are too tight...but...they paint-up OK, sculpting detail is fine and they are a vast improvement on the Britains-clone blobs.
The slightly larger ammunition box illustrated is an accurate representation of the ammo-box for the Bren gun, but its carrying handle was actually on one end, so it would hang with the long dimension in the vertical. An academic point as the actual figure sculpt clearly carries the thinner box configured for the belted ammunition of the Vickers MG! The figure from the older set of Combat Group however, could very well be carrying a Bren gun ammo-box!
main blog a while ago.
I can never imagine what makes someone start painting their figures all-over jade green or gloss balck, but then I remember I had some silver Marines when I was a kid, which I must have painted myself in a mad moment, so it was clearly just part of being a kid...thinking about it as I was writing that (I'll get rid of the resultant typos before you see them), it struck me that actually it probably goes something like this...
You think - on the spur of the moment - "I'm grown-up enough to paint these (at age 6-8 or so) without supervision...and no-one is watching"...you get the paint out, you find a flat-ended craft brush in your school pencil-case (or the jam jar on the window-sill by the kitchen-sink), you open the thinners, then you dip the brush in the paint...it comes out dripping! You panic, realise you haven't the faintest idea how to paint a floor or a barn door, let alone 20mm figures...You stab a clumsey hand at the bayonet you intended the silver for or the boot that the gloss black was destined to coat, a large quatity of paint then uses the laws of water tention to flow down the rifle, slide effortlessly over, under and around your fingers and on down the figure...Your limited life experiance then kicks in, instantly you realise 4 things: 1) you have not got a painting cloth; 2) that blob of paint is going to drip off the figure (onto your trousers or the carpet) if you don't do something; 3) the rest of the paint on the brush is now flowing down the handle toward the other hand and 4) you need to do something about 1-3, now! So...you spread the rest of the paint on the first figure; it's still pooling....you do a few more and hey...it'll help your story that 'that's what you wanted to do', you run to the loo and grab some loo paper, you clean the brush and the fingers (at this point some story's will get worse with incompatible thinners or the introduction of water or washing-up liquid...nightmare), you put the figures somewhere to dry - hoping they won't be found before you can hide them...upturned box at the back of a drawer near a radiator was a good one...and ergo...oddly-painted figures in you nascent collection!
The experience only encourages you to try the matt green with a proper brush a few weeks later or the next time you're alone in the house!
Basically you get more than enough for all the men in a late-war Infantry platoon, with or without a dedicated MG section, but without a mortar team. The two signallers can be a signaller and runner, or signaller and attached FOO, air liaison or similar, or you can leave one in the box!
Some sets of toy soldiers have identical stretcher carriers, this has them stepping-off from opposite feet which is a nice touch and a sign of the effort that went into the production of the set, even if it was ultimately a bit disappointing!
The closest Airfix (or the owners of the 'brand') have ever got to decent WWII British Infantry was the ex-Esci/A-Toys/Italieri type 3 which had already been issued by...err...Esci, A-Toys and Italieri! The Bren guns are particularly poor in this set, but the PIAT is rather nice...if a little thin, and the comparison above suggests an easy conversion of the older prone figure to a PIAT-man?
The kneeling firer's from both sets make the same mistake as the type 1 (and the Britains Herald granddaddy of them all), in adopting a pose no man firing a rifle from the kneeling position ever adopted, ever, in the whole history of warfare, drill, and press pictures for dill manuals, indeed - I don't believe the human body can adopt that position without a hip or thigh being surgically dissociated first!...I just tried, you can; but it's bloody uncomfortable!
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