In recent times the subject of Allied Armour has seen a big revival, after years of virtual neglect by all but a few manufacturers. No longer does the Allied model builder need to spend a small fortune on resin after-market parts, to build a accurate WW II AFV. Even the Post War era is now getting covered, with the Jumbo Sherman and Centurion.
Still lacking behind this are the figure manufacturers, who still seem to think that we need more WWII German soldiers (pointing at things..), and although there has been a small increase in Allied figures from some manufacturers, these have been concentrated around Infantry. If you want Allied tank crew figures, you are restricted to either expensive resin figures, or the old Tamiya figures. Most of these are restricted to (half)figures that have been sculpted to fit in the hatches of various AFV's with varying levels of fit.
This figure from Jakrei Miniatures
then fills a huge gap, as it covers a number of previously neglected subjects. It is a British Tank Crewman, wearing the 'Pixie suit' winter overall, free standing, handling ammunition, wearing the Mk I Paratrooper helmet which was widely adopted as a tank helmet towards the end of WW II. Whilst the helmet places the figure firmly in the WW II era, with a different head this figure can be used with a number of Post War AFV's, as the Pixie suit was in use well after the war.
Incidentally, this figure interacts with another figure from Jakrei
, "British Tanker Loading Ammo" (J3503)
, a review by Jim Rae of the figure can be seen here
. The figure I'm reviewing here can be used on it's own, with the addition of an ammo crate, to show the figure picking up a round. But together these two figures will be the perfect finishing touch to any Allied AFV, from churchill, via Firefly, to the Centurion.
what's in the boxJakrei Miniatures
use a small black box, made from heavy quality cardboard, with a small foam insert, to pack their figures. This not only protects the figure during transport, it also makes it an attractive package, befitting of the quality of the figure inside. The six parts, including two ammo rounds, are packed in a small plastic ziplock bag. There is a single photo of the finished and painted figure on the lid of the box. No instructions or painting guide are included.
This figure has been sculpted beautifully, and the moulding is first class. Apart from the small pour stubs on the arms, no clean-up is needed and the pieces fit perfectly together.
The head is sculpted with the MK I Paratrooper helmet, which was developed (as the name implies) for use by the Paratroopers, who needed a small helmet with tight fitting straps to stop the helmet from moving, or worse falling off, when jumping from their plane. These specifications made it a perfect helmet for the small confines of a Tank, and the helmet was duly adopted by the Armoured Corps. The chinstrap has a finely sculpted buckle on the left side. The face does not carry much detail, with the eyes all but having 'disappeared' under the rim of the helmet. This would be the only area of the figure where the detail is less than impressive. Depending on the final use of the figure, you may want to replace the head with any number of available after-market heads.
Torso and legs
This figure has the torso and legs moulded as one, and this is a huge improvement over the usual practice of plastic figures where this is made up of multiple parts, with the resulting seams which can ruin a one piece garment.
The one piece 'Pixie suit' has been sculpted beautifully, with bulging pockets and subtle zipper detail. This being a baggy suit, the soft edged folds have been sculpted very realistic, with only a few sharper rendered creases behind the knees, where you would expect these. The large flyflap cover of the two 'top to bottom' zips, as well as the subtle zip detail behind these, at the front has been sculpted nicely. The pockets are so detailed that you can make out the rectangular shape of something in the right thigh pocket.
Both arms are well proportioned, and look very natural in the act of reaching out whilst accepting an ammo round being passed on. The hands have been sculpted very well, especially the right hand which grips the top of the included round perfectly. The left hand has been sculpted well, but rather than 'gripping' the round, it is somewhere between opened up and a fist. The way the figure holds the round it still works, as the hand does support the round, as is more show in the process of grabbing it. If you use this figure together with the other figure, it should look very convincing.
The fit of the arms to the torso is quite simply perfect. I did not trim the locator tabs, nor did I have to trim the parts otherwise. Running a small amount of thin CA glue in the join leaves no gap to fill. Very impressive.
This is a very impressive figure, which fills a large gap in the market. This figure will be a perfect finishing touch to any British AFV, especially if used together with it's companion piece. Although the Helmet limits the use straight out of the box a touch, if you exchange the head for one from the many available after-market ones, this figure can be used for a wide range of British AFV's. Very highly recommended.