by: Darren Baker [ ]
Gecko Models is a relative new comer to the market place, but while new they have made some big noises with their releases of WW2 British armour and troops. Gecko Models has now released the second figure set of World War 2 British troops, but they could just as easily be Commonwealth troops. This set offers a 5 man team on the march and offers the option of nine set ups for the figures.
The contents arrive packed in a very sturdy cardboard tray with flip top box, that is then packed inside an end opening carton. Inside of this packaging are two bags containing the sprues and a Ziploc bag containing decals and photo etch. Taking a look at the mouldings I can see a small amount of flash in some places, but it is not of a level that would annoy me. The sprue gates are not excessive in number or size and for the most part well placed.
The figures are moulded in the typical fashion as regards parts, but due to the assembly options there are extra parts and hands for some of the figures. The figures are all walking in a non conformal manner (IE Not in step). The hands of the figures look good having nice finger and palm detail. The heads are also very nicely done especially the ears which is an area that is often poor or lacking if figure sets. The ears do appear to be a common spot for flash to be present but I can easily forgive this due to the nice detail. The facial expressions are a little bland, but they do seem suitable for the stances depicted.
The uniform depicted is the short bodied battle blouse I believe due to not being able to see the bottom of it, this is due to the brown leather jerkin being worn by all figures in the set. I had believed this piece of clothing was popular with artillery troops, but I was informed that it was a popular piece of kit with all British and Commonwealth troops. The trousers look right and are finished off well with the puttees around the ankles. The footwear has some nice detail present in particular an instep being present. Lastly the tin helmets have been well covered and I like that two of the helmets depict the chin strap on the rim. The other three helmets have been supplied with photo etched chin straps. The crease detail is well replicated and will I believe look nice when painted and detailed
The figures have decals provided which is a welcome and uncommon feature of figures offered today. The decals provided for these figures covers both rank and unit allowing the modeller to replicate ranks from private to sergeant and with the machine gunner's proficiency badge. The three units provided in this offering from Gecko Models are:
159th Infantry Brigade
49th Infantry Brigade
10th Armoured Division
The webbing depicted appears to be the 1937 type which is a canvas like material. The items provided for the webbing consist of backpacks, ammunition pouches and even a bandolier; I have been informed that this item would be the tool kit for the MG, but I cannot say it is something I know about. Bayonets and water canteens are also included with a high level of detail present.
On the equipment front we have been provided with a number of ammunition boxes with photo etched handles and a range finder with tripod base. The ammunition boxes have been provided with decals in order to lift the level to that normally associated with aftermarket offerings. Also supplied are a couple of shovels which was a common piece of kit seen with troops that is a very usfull item to have, and I especially like that tin mugs have been supplied, which while none of the troops are drinking these are an item sometimes seen hung externally on the webbing.
On the weapons front we are offered a great selection by Gecko Models. We have been offered:
4 SMLE rifles
A Bren gun
A Sten gun
The Vickers machine gun
The weapons are well detailed, the Bren gun has a choice of a folded or deployed bipod and I like that there is a recess in the muzzle of it, another pleasing aspect of the Bren gun is that Gecko Models has got the sighting system correctly placed and replicated along the left hand side of the weapon. The Sten gun is supplied with a separate magazine and is of a good quality, but I am unable to locate ammunition pouches specific to this weapon. The Vickers machine gun has been provided with 2 barrel options and has a recess in the muzzle. The design of the Vickers MG has made it easy for the modeller to display the model assembled for use or as in this case broken down for transportation. Another really nice aspect to the weapons is that we have been provided with photo etch slings for them, I have to strongly commend Gecko Models for having included this aspect. The SMLE rifles have a good level of detail that makes them a great addition in this offering.
This offering from Gecko Models is the best of the two figure sets I have looked at so far from Gecko Models due its wide number of uses. The contents mark this as one of the best injection moulded figure sets available today and could only really be bettered if they were resin figures. I would have liked to see more expression in the faces of the figures, but it needs to be said that the faces are suitable for the function. The inclusion of decals and photo etched elements lifts this figure set into the top end of its genre.