by: Rick Cooper [ ]
The September 1944 combined British and American Operation Market Garden parachute and ground assault into Holland has rightfully become the stuff of legend. And Miniart has recently released a new five figure set that taps into that storied history.
The kit consists of five figures: three British paratroopers and a pair of German Luftwaffe ground troops on two sprues of soft gray plastic inside MA's usual end-opening box, and includes one parts map sheet.
The set is a mini-diorama, or at least a vignette, in that the three airborne lads have been taken prisoner, while one of the German troopers searches one of the Brits and the other stands guard. I think this is a pretty cool idea for those of us (like me) who are not that hot at converting figures to fit a scene. The set provides a nice group of animated figures in the correct poses.
Unfortunately, there are no instructions to speak of beyond the reverse side of the box, which provides a map where the various parts go, Unfortunately Miniart only provides a one-directional view, so you will need to do a quick Google or a reference search for where the rest of the soldiers' kit goes if you are not already sure. The box does give a good paint rundown that includes references for nine different model paint providers; I donít know anyone else who is quite this comprehensive with paint information.
Unfortunately, the kit contains no decals for the German collar or shoulder tabs.
As far as the parts breakdown goes for the figures, it is pretty standard: our German fellows get the torso, two legs, two arms, head treatment. Each of the Germans has one separately-molded hand that enables them to have a better grasp of their weapon. The British troopers are given the two legs, two arms, head suite, along with a two part torso front & back molding for their distinctive Denison smock. The legs fit up into the smock, giving a hollow bottom opening rather than an incorrect form-fitting look that you would see had they been molded differently.
Way to go Miniart!
Two of the British heads are designed to fit into their helmets, while one is set up to be bare-headed.
The extras are a bit understated, but that fits with the theme of the set. The Germans both carry the Kar 98 with a full set of ammo pouches, bread bag, water bottle, and knife. The "crispness" of the moldings is actually a bit soft, so you may want to change these out with others that you may have in the spares bin.
Two of the British trio have already been separated from their web gear prior to this "moment," and thus Miniart has not included any equipment for them. The final British figure still has his gear and is the one being searched, so Miniart has provided one of the ammo pouches molded open for the German to be checking. Besides that you also get the one helmet for the bareheaded figure as an extra piece; it is molded with some soft detail inside as well. All of the distinctive airborne helmets have the netting with scrim attached; again however, the detail is a bit soft and you may want to spice it up a bit.
The German soldiers are Luftwaffe artillery troops; Iím guessing that means FlaK guns. They are wearing a uniform which has only hip pockets (at least that I can tell), and a quick Google check reveals it is a 1940 pattern Fliegerbluse, a pretty plain uniform to be sure. One figure wears jack boots, while the other has on gaiters. Both helmets are free of any netting, although the box art shows one with the wide netting attached.
The British troopers all wear the Denison smock, airborne trousers with the generous map pocket on the left thigh, and gaitered boots. The Denison smocks appear to be Pattern 1 style with the wool sleeves and press studs rather than buttons. The look of the smocks is a strong point: baggy and bulgy all at the same time. The figure who is being searched also still wears what appears to be the over-smock pulled around to his back, but I am not certain that is what Miniart is trying to model here. It may be a scarf, but it looks a bit oversize for that.
Construction: I assembled all five of the figures and had no problems at all in getting everything to fit with a minimum of gaps. I was able to assemble each without the use of any putty beyond my little trick of using plastic shavings to seal up any small gaps. I was a little concerned with the two German figures, as I have had past problems with weapons that are supposed to fit tightly into a figure's arms/hands, but they both were pretty much spot on. They both had a natural, well-balanced look to their grip on their weapons, which is always one of the things I look for in a figure.
Like I mentioned earlier, the detail on some of the equipment is a bit soft so you may want to replace it with spares from other sets. The parts all had some mold seams that will need some attention although I never felt like any of the parts lost any detail in the cleanup.
This is a really nice set of figures that should find its way into a number of small dioramas, as it is virtually a vignette in a box. Although some of the details are a bit fuzzy, and the heads could use an aftermarket upgrade, I like the animation of the set, particularly the figure who is going through the ammo pouch along with his opposite number. Recommended.