by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
MiniArt continues to expand their figure range with another recent new release simply entitled ‘British Officers’. This should be a very welcome release for modellers as the set includes 5 x standing officer figures for the World War 2 period.
The set comes packed in the now standard size box for MiniArt small items. On the front of the box is a good colour drawing of the 5 completed figures to aid painting. Also included are the manufacturer and product details. On the reverse of the box are the build instructions and a suggested colour chart for the main paint brands.
The set consists of 55 parts that come in a sealed plastic bag. Inside the bag there are two small sprues of parts, and a sheet showing part numbers against the sprues. The parts are very nicely produced with little or no flash in the set I looked at. The detail for plastic figures is very good indeed. There will be the usual seem lines to deal with before assembly.
With that said let’s take a look at the individual figures.
Figure A – Standing Staff Officer
This figure consists of 10 parts. The upper torso is made up of two parts these being the officers coat, separate arms and a separate hand for the left arm, separate legs, officers cap and head and a small map board.
The Officer is shown wearing a staff officers cap. The facial detail on the head shows the face of a mature officer with a moustache. The upper body is clad in a greatcoat style coat and collar and tie. Officers, particularly Senior Officers, often had kit made/altered to suit and this is what I feel is depicted here. The coat is fashioned in a double breasted style having 6 buttons visible on the front. Around the front and rear of the coat runs the small strap that attaches to the map board. On the arms there are two small buttons at each cuff; one of the coat pockets has the flap tucked inside the pocket and the other on the outside. There are nice natural looking folds/creases and should paint up well.
The legs are clad in Battle Dress trousers with anklets and officers ammo boots. There is no map pocket or hip pocket on the legs but as they will be under the coat this isn’t really an issue. The left arm is designed to hold the map board and the map board is nicely done with a folded over page sitting over one edge. The hands are wearing woollen gloves and the pose of the officer seems natural to me. A decent head and officer’s cap are provided, should you not want to replace this with a Hornet one. The cap badge on the cap was not that clear, but there is an indication something is there.
Figure B – Officer standing in Battle Dress
This figure consists of 12 parts and displays a standing officer in Battle Dress Serge 37/40 with the pleated blouse pockets. Over the blouse the figure wears skeleton webbing in the form of belt 37 pattern and shoulder straps. There is a collar and tie under the battle dress. The webbing has buckles/brasses present on the front and rear of the belt, and a lanyard for the pistol runs down the centre line of the blouse. The lanyard disappears under the collar of the blouse. The legs which are separate items wear BD trousers. The battle dress trousers have the correct pockets and again the officer wears anklets and officers boots.
To add to the webbing you get a decent pistol holster with the butt of the revolver present, a binoculars pouch and two small pouches one for pistol ammo and the other for a compass. A large map case is also provided for this figure with the left hand moulded on. The right arm is designed to be writing on the map.
A separate head and cap are provided for the figure. The face sports a small moustache and is younger looking than that provided on the former figure A. The cap is nicely done and this time the badge seems to be more sharply cast. There is also the indication of a rank insignia on the shoulder epaulets, probably that of a major.
The map board is of the larger canvas folding type, my only reservation here is how well the left arm and hand will mate up. The hands are wearing leather gloves
Figure C – Standing Highland Officer in a Kilt
This figure is also made up of 12 parts in the normal figure format. An upper torso in 37/40 Battle Dress blouse with the pleated pockets, separate arms, legs, head and bonnet, with a sporran and early tankers open pistol holster to complete the build. The kilt is of two parts and separate arms and a hand holding a swagger stick complete the parts.
The 37/40 battle dress blouse is nicely done; around the waist is a 37 pattern belt, with an average set of brasses on the front and no buckles on the back. A shirt and tie complete the upper body dress. A pair of bare legs with knee length socks with unit flashes and brogue shoes are provided for under the kilt. I couldn’t see any evidence of a sgian-dubh in the socks. The kilt itself is in two pieces, the front being flattish and the rear being pleated. An example of the tartan of a highland officer is provided on the rear of the box to aid in painting. To add to the Kilt is a leather sporran and to add to the 37 pattern belt a early style tankers pistol holster. The arms again separate have the unit flashes moulded on. The right arm is designed to rest behind the officers back and the left to hold a small swagger stick.
The head shows the face of an officer with a largish moustache, and looks a little like Sean Connery. The bonnet or Tam O Shanter looks adequate for the job.
Standing Figure D – Officer with hand in pocket
This figure is comprised of 9 parts. Upper torso, separate legs, head and beret, separate arms and closed map board and pistol handle. The figure is designed to be standing with the right hand in the pocket of the DB trousers and smoking a cheroot or cigarette.
Dressed in Battle dress the blouse is closed and around the neck the Officer is wearing a wool scarf which hangs the full length of the chest /stomach. Running from the lower right hand side of the scarf is a pistol lanyard. Running right to left across the upper body is a strap designed to link up with the map board when added.
The legs are separate items and wear Battle Dress trousers. Again the officer had anklets and officers boots. In the front right hand upper pocket of the trousers is the shape of a pistol and to add to this is part D9 the pistol handle when torso and legs have been joined.
The right arm is designed to have the right hand in the trouser pocket of the BD, whilst the left arms holds a cigarette or cheroot. Unit patches are present at the top of the arm sleeves.
The head and beret come as two pieces. This one looked a little like Dirk Bogard to me with a moustache. The beret has a badge present. The map board is folded closed this time and designed to be worn across the back of the officer.
Standing Figure E – Officer in Duffle Coat
This figure consists of 13 parts, the rear of the coat, left and right sides of same, a chest insert, hood for the duffle coat, left and right lapels for the coat, separate legs, arms, head and beret.
The figure depicts a standing officer with hands in the pockets of a duffel coat. Under the coat the figure wears Battle Dress. The coast and upper body are made up of 7 parts. To add to that are separate legs with BD trousers, anklets and officers ammo boots. The hands are designed to go into the pockets of the duffle coat and to add to the whole thing a simple head and beret. This chap has the feel of an officer from Combined Operations. His pose is casual and again the head has a moustache.
This is a really nice set of British Officer figures. With a little TLC you have a good range of officers for individual use or several being in a group together. Whilst a little clean up will be required I really do like the poses which all seem natural. The body proportions seem good also and additional variety could be added by altering the odd head here and there. With the arrival of the AFV Club Dorchester and IBG Bedford QLR these officers will certainly fit the bill for many, but I see many opportunities to incorporate these chaps either individual or in small group scenes.
Moustaches were very much in fashion during the 1940 so I don’t have an issue with the variety shown here. There is certainly good variety of clothing being used here all the figures being quite individual. Not a single officer pointing which was different. Where appropriate Divisional patches etc have been provided on the upper battle dress blouse sleeve, so you will probably need to remove these if using decal markings, but may be useful if you choose to paint them.
Overall a very welcome set of useable figures for British and Commonwealth modellers and another good edition to their figure range.