Those who model British/Commonwealth Armor have not been particularly well-served by the 'plastic' manufacturers with a very-commonly seen item of uniform in the late-war period - the British Cold-Weather tank suit - the 'Pixie Suit'. Therefore, it has been left to the smaller companies to provide suitable crew figures.
The 'Pixie' suit was one of the most sought-after items of clothing amongst vehicle crews - not simply due to it's 'thermal' qualities, but due to the padding it offered in the confines of a vehicle. The suit was seen in service up until the 1960s and is particularly useful with the post-war vehicle kits such as the Centurion which are now appearing on the market.
J3506 - British tank commander in 'Pixie' suit is a1/35th scale, white-metal casting. The kit consists of seven parts: Torso, Arms, pistol holster, ammunition pouch and two heads - one with beret/headphones and the second with the British tankers helmet. The figure comes inside a plastic bag attached to a simple header-card.
Initially, I must admit to being a little suprised at Jakrei having chosen to cast the figure in white-metal. However, white-metal although not used as much as it previously was (particularly in the case of 1/35th scale figures), does hold detail well and apart from the 'wear and tear' on the moulds, is a casting material which does give good results. As usual with this kind of review, i'll go through the various aspects of the figure and finish with an overall asessment. HEADS: The two provided heads are very nicely done - good, but subtle detail and convincing expressions. The Tanker's Beret is convincingly done with goggles sculpted onto it. The headphones will need some fine wire attached to either side - a simple enough job.. TORSO: The sculptor has done an EXCELLENT job with the complex nature of the pixie suit. The patch-pockets are not sculpted flat (as is too often the case) but bulge as if they were actually being used. The legs of the (original) suit had a double flap on the front - this is very-well executed indeed. Also present are the various adjusting straps which are where they should be.. The suit is actually a fairly complex design and the sculptor has managed to recreate it very-well indeed. ARMS/HANDS: The two arms again have all the relevant straps etc. and are well-done. My only doubts are with the hands. The right hand is well-sculped and proportionately correct. However, the left does seem a little small by comparison and lacks the definition of the right. This should be simple enough to correct by replacing the hands from some of the many which are available. HOLSTER The holster is well-enough done although perhaps lacking a little in detail. The ammunition pouch is also adequate. FIT of PARTS It's a simple enough figure to construct although a good deal of 'dry-fitting' is recommended. I did find it necessary to file the locating pins for the arms flat and I am not convinced by the 'bunching' where the arms meet the shoulders. There wasn't a lot of creasing due to the heavy nature of the material used and, in this figure at least, it should be a lot less accentuated. I may well replace the arms or at least sand them down a bit when I do a final assembly. The head(s) are provided with a generous length of neck - making fitting the head simple and convincing.
My 'gripes' apart, this is an excellent figure of a (too-often) ignored subject. and should (with justice) find its way into many dioramas. There are areas which could be improved, however, considering this is one of the first releases from Jakrei, they really promise a great deal for the future.
My thanks to Jakrei Miniatures for providing the review samples..
Highs: Undoubtedly the subject - not many figures on the market can be used with vehicles over a twenty year timeframe...Lows: The fit of some of the parts and having to 're-learn' working with white metal.Verdict: A figure which promises great things from this company. As we're unlikely to see any of the plastic manufacturers tackling this subject in the near future, companies like Jakrei keep Allied vehicles 'populated'!
Our Thanks to Jakrei Miniatures! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...