have recently released a new 3 figure set entitled Welkom in Belgie. The set consists of 2 crew members for the Bren carrier and a Belgian Soldier. This is the first set I know of in 1/35 scale that links directly to the British Expeditionary Force in the early years of the war and the addition of the Belgian Soldier will be welcomed by many.
The figures were Mastered by Gerard Detroeye and if you combine Gerard’s sculpting with Reiscast’s casting then the chances are you will have something very worthwhile.
So lets have a look at the figures. All come cast in a light cream resin. I only found a small air bubble on the bottom edge of the Commanders Greatcoat and a couple of small holes under the pour stubs on the feet. All easily filled with some super glue. Other than that the figures are excellently sculpted and produced.
This is a standing figure designed for the inside of the Bren Carrier. The figure is a simple one of 4 parts, the body cast as a whole, 2 arms and a head. The figure is dressed in a Greatcoat and battle dress trouser. Around the Greatcoat he wears a set of skeleton webbing consisting of 37 pattern belt, left and right ammo pouches and shoulder straps, and around his neck and sitting on the chest is a Mk VI respirator haversack. The detail on the greatcoat and webbing are excellent. The coat has the right buttons, even the pocket edges are visible coming out from under the ammo pouches. It has nice folds and creases and looks the part. The webbing is excellently done, good brasses on the front and buckles present on the rear of the 37 pattern belt. Also present are the small buckles above the ammo pouches. The Mk VI respirator haversack is very expertly done. To complete the main body the figure had BD trousers, anklet and ammo boots, again all well depicted.
The arms, which are separate items, come with the greatcoat sleeves and on each hand is a long leather glove. Again all well sculpted and cast. To complete the figure is the head of a mature soldier . The facial detail is excellent , and shows a welcoming face. On top of the head is a Mk II Helmet with the chin strap around the face.
The Bren Driver is also a simple figure, again of 4 parts as above. He too is dressed in a similar fashion to the commander only designed to be leaning forward resting on the carrier frontal armour. Everything above applies here regarding the main body, except this time the soldier is not wearing a respirator haversack.
The arms have good detail and the hands are well represented. The face is also of a mature soldier, again very nicely detailed but with a slightly more pondering look. Capped of with a Mk II helmet, the chin strap is also present around the chin.
Thoughts on the Bren Crew
These are two cracking figures, both fit easily into the carrier, have good body proportions and are excellently detailed. Although designed for the BEF, you could easily use these chaps in the early desert war. The Commander stands about 43/44mm heel to shoulder so a very acceptable height. Given the nature of their dress and stance these could also be used externally from the vehicle without any problem.
The Belgian Soldier
Again a nice simple figure of 4 main parts with the addition of a rifle and bayonet. This is a most welcome addition to the Allied range of figures and sets the scene for the group if you go down the Bren carrier 1940’s route.
The figure is dressed appropriately in the jacket and trousers of the Belgian Army (see links below). The detail looks highly accurate to me. The figure wears a set of leather ammunition pouches, and a bayonet, leather gaiters and boots. These are all accurate to the references I have.
The uniform has good folds and creases and the pockets of the jacket are filled out nicely.
To complete the figure the head comes with a very detailed Belgian Army helmet and a rather unique face. Also provided is a rifle, a Mauser Model 1889 which was manufactured by FN (Fabrique National). These weapons were originally used during WWI and issued to conscripts in 1939 as the clouds or war gathered in Europe.
Gerard has modeled these troops on a specific photograph from WWII and has done an excellent job. The detail on all the figures is terrific and highly accurate. The set is a simple but very effective one and introduces a welcome addition in the form of the Belgian Soldier.
It is excellent to see some early war Allied troops and I hope we see some more in this vein. Were a set of Mk VI respirator haversacks and SMLE and bayonets to be come available, these would be most welcome!
These figures should be of interest to both model makers and figure painters. Although the British Soldiers were designed for the Bren carrier I can see other uses for them too. With highly accurate detail these should paint up extremely well. I built them up and I painted them for the review and they were a pleasure to work on - see WIP below.
The quality of the casting is as one would expect from Resicast, excellent. Coupled with the Bren Carrier this set will make for a very pleasing scene indeed.
The standing figures measure in at about 45mm from heel to shoulder, so are a very acceptable height. The body proportions on all the figures are excellent.
The British Soldiers would not be limited to NWE, they could easily be used in North Africa or any of the early campaigns.