This is my third look at some of the British/Commonwealth figures produced by the Canadian Manufacturer Ultracast. This time the single figure depicts Canadian Infantryman in France 1944. Very few figures of fighting infantry are available on the Commonwealth side of life, so it was good to see the issue of this figure.
The figure comes in a sealed plastic zip bag, together with a cardboard backing card. On the front of the card is the makers name and a description of the figure inside. On the inside of the card is a reasonable quality colour picture to help assist in painting and assembly. On the back of the card are the maker’s details. At the bottom on the back of the card are a small set of instructions detailing steps 1 to 4 of the simple assembly process together with a Health and Safety warning about working with resin.
The figure comes in 11parts. Cast in a light cream resin the body is made up of the lower legs, upper torso, arms, head and separate boots. His weapon a No 4 rifle with fixed bayonet, along with a water bottle small digging tool and bayonet scabbard in a frog also come as separate items. The casting looks good with only some flash and the pour stubs to remove and I could see no sign of damage or air bubbles. A sharp X-acto blade, razor saw and file being the only tools you should need.
Designed to be built into a running/charging figure the final pose shows that of a man with his left leg forward, bent forward at the waist and holding a No 4 rifle. Being in 7 separate parts there will be some room for placement of the feet and upper torso. The figure is dressed in what I believe is Canadian Battle Dress with the 2 pleated breast pockets; no buttons are visible which is correct for this type of clothing. He wears BD trousers with a map pocket on the left hand trouser leg. This pocket looks much too small to me and would probably need to be removed and replaced with a slightly larger one. That said, he is a Canadian Soldier and there were differences in the style of uniform, the left hand map pocket being smaller and higher up on the trouser leg than seen on the normal British Battle Dress. Also present is the small pocket on the top of the right hand trouser leg, this looks to be filled with something and sits a bit too far over on the RHS of the uniform. His hip pocket is also displayed and looks to be reasonably correct.
The BD neck is closed and he is wearing 37 pattern webbing, consisting of belt, and shoulder straps. No buckles are visible on the rear of the belt and while his front brasses look OK, the buckle looks a bit odd. No ammunition pouches came in my set so you would have to source those from your spares box. To hang from the belt is a fairly good representation of the short stabbing bayonet scabbard in a frog, separate water bottle and entrenching tool. The water bottle is a fairly good representation of the item but the buckles are not well defined and the same is true for the small digging tool in so much as the detail is minimal. The shoulder straps sit under the epaulets. He is what would be termed in ‘skeleton webbing order’.
His boots and anklets come as separate items. The boots have good detail and the straps are present on the anklets although again the buckle detail is very faint. The top strap is showing at the top of the anklet which is correct for Canadian troops. Also, later issues of this kit had plastic, not brass, ends on the straps.
His arms, which come as separate items are designed to hold the number 4 Rifle in a thrust forward position. There is good detail on the hands and I am pleased to see the weapon as a separate item, thereby giving more choice in what you arm him with. From the picture both arms seem to hold the rifle in a fairly natural position. The sleeves lack any cuff detail as was seen on this style of BD.
The head has good facial detail, depicting a tough looking mature man. His expression is one of determination and concentration. On his head he is wearing what I would say is a Mk II helmet complete with netting and chin strap. The chin strap sports a buckle on the LHS. The head is designed to be looking forward, towards the enemy. Good crisp casting is evident on the head. There was a very slight lump on the front LHS of the helmet but this may just be a representation of bunched up netting.
The No 4 rifle would seem to be a good representation of the actual weapon, again a little clean up may be required, so a magnifying glass would be a handy tool to have. The rifle is fitted with the short stabbing bayonet, so care will need to be taken when assembling not to break this part off. To the rifle you will need to add a strap by your chosen method.
This is almost a very great figure. I like the running pose and the sense of action the figure has. Overall casting is good but the uniform and equipment lack some detail and areas like the map pocket and sleeve cuffs could have been portrayed much better. The buckle work or lack of it is quite evident.
There were subtle differences in both the uniform and kit of the Canadian troops so a good reference will help, but if you wish to use this figure as a Commonwealth soldier them some slight changes will be needed.
The kit should build into an acceptable, even great figure with a bit of work and some minor remodelling.
The lack of ammo pouches is not critical but I feel I would have been better to provide a set.
Highs: The action pose is very much a plus, and the casting is of very good quality.Lows: Lack of attention to some small equipment and uniform detail spoils what is a great action figure.Verdict: Recommended
About Alan McNeilly (AlanL) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...