by: Rick Cooper [ ]
MiniArt is keeping up a frantic pace of releases in their rapidly expanding line of 1/35 figures. This time they have provided us with a five figure set of British infantry tank riders from the NW Europe campaign. Not only are they providing more and more figures but the price represents quite a value at under $10.00.
The kit comes packaged in the standard end flap opening MiniArt box without any instructions other than the back of the box which has a parts call out and painting guide for each of the figures. So much for the outside of the box, it’s what inside that really counts; 71 parts that make up the fab five with a small paper parts map as none of the parts are numbered on the sprue.
Each of the figures is dressed in the 1937 battle dress uniform with accompanying web equipment. Each of the five has the appropriate web material anklets, no puttees in sight. The four private soldiers all carry the SMLE no. 4 .303 rifle while the sergeant is armed with the Mk. II version of the Sten gun. Each of the troopers is wearing what looks to me to be the Mk II helmet, but I could be wrong on that one as the difference between some of the British helmet designs is more than my eye can discern with any certainty.
That is what is in the box, as to the quality of the product I was very impressed. Each of the figures are wearing uniforms that really looked lived in with plenty of ‘life’ to the cloth. The figures each have lots of nice wrinkles, folds, and bunching going on to help eliminate any ‘toy soldier’ look to the poses. The equipment is also nicely done, although I would have liked to have seen MiniArt push the envelope a bit more on creating more battle weary web equipment. I do have to mention the very well done peculiar entrenching tool and bag that each of the soldiers carry. The poses themselves work very well for what the set is supposed to be; a group of British soldiers on the back (or front, if you are so inclined) of a tank. I think they look just like they belong on the back of a Sherman. As far as the looks of the figures go, each of the head sculpts is a bit different, doesn’t appear like it will look like five guys all related to one another as is often the case.
I put two of the figures together as you can see here on the right. The private carrying the SMLE has a face only a mother could love while the sergeant of the section sports a rather impressive mustache. This guy looks something like he could be a Polish Hussar or a Cossack cavalryman in a previous life! The two figures I assembled featured very nicely molded and articulated hands that actually have a nice snug fit around the weapons they are holding. The remaining figures look just as nice as these pair and should build up nicely.
There are a couple of drawbacks to the set, the helmets are all depicted with the hessian netting and scrim yet the actual parts inside the box are molded without, not necessarily a deal breaker, but come on guys even the old Dragon “British Infantry, Normandy 1944” figures had helmets with it molded on.
The second beef I have is the lack of decals; I for one would pay an extra half a dollar for a small sheet of decals. The figures as depicted are part of the 4th battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry as part of the 159th Infantry Brigade a component of the 11th Armored Division. As such each of the troopers has the famous charging black bull of the 11th as a shoulder flash. You can buy the divisional flash in a set from Archer but they don’t provide the K S L I which is prominent just above the flash. Of course you may have a set of decals lying around your spares box that will fit with these guys but it would have been nice to have it provided in the box.
Other than those two nitpicks I am very impressed with the set. I think they will look great on the back of whatever vehicle you choose to put on. I’m sure that if you pick up a set you won’t be disappointed and will come up with a number of different ways in which you will be able to use these very nice figures.