This figure was originally modelled in white metal by Pete Morton and is one of the range of figures that Ian at Friendship Models took over and re-issued in resin.
Wee Friends figures come in a clear snap plastic box with a fold out colour insert depicting the figure front and rear, to aid painting. The fold out also shows the company name and product reference number. The figure is contained within a further zip plastic bag within the box. Also included is a small leaflet showing the contact address, and phone number for the company. This leaflet contains an additional safety warning regarding working with resin.
Cast in a light cream resin the figure comes in 4 parts with 2 rounds of 75 mm ammunition. The figure is posed as to be sitting on the engine deck of a tank, a Sherman I would guess, in the act of loading ammunition into the tank.
The body is cast as a whole, and is depicted wearing trousers and shirt sleeve order. The cast is excellent with nice folds in the trousers and shirt, so this figure should paint up well. The shirt, I would say, is the later pattern KD shirt with the buttons running down to the waist, with the 2 pleated breast pockets, and the trousers are the later KD style with the left leg map pocket. I’m no expert on Middle East uniforms and the KD style evolved throughout the war, but that‘s my thinking. Around the waist the figure is wearing a 37 pattern web belt. The shirt is open at the collar. Good brasses are evident both front and rear. To finish off the body the figure is wearing a pair of anklets and ammo boots. Again the detail is very good. There is a very fine mould seam running down the right hand side, but this should be easily removed.
The head and arms come as separate items. The arms have rolled up shirt sleeves and are bent up to hold the 75mm shell. Around the left wrist is a watch. Detail on both the arms is very good and again minimal clean up should be all that is required.
The head shows the face of a youngish man, and there might be the inkling of a moustache. The features are quite good, but there was a very tiny blemish on the chin of my sample, which should be an easy fix. On top of the head is a tankers beret with goggles. The beret is pushed back on the forehead, so the face should also paint up well.
Overall, the body proportions are very good and this figure should fit well with most of the current market types available.
Equipment comes in the form of 2 x 75mm shells. These would appear to be a fair representation of the ammo and should be perfectly acceptable.
This is a very good figure, in a good order of dress. I would think you could use this figure anywhere in the MTO, and with very little alteration NWE too. (You would need to add the hip pocket and the small pocket on the top of the right leg). I would imagine the figure would work well on the side of most tanks, or even on the turret for that matter.
Overall the casting and quality of the product is very good indeed with only some very minor flaws to be attended to.
Another really useful figure that I’m glad was saved by Ian. A little imagination and change of arms and I can see this figure on the top of other vehicles, too.
Highs: Overall good quality casting with nice body proportions. A very useful figure, that has scope for easy development.Lows: A minor blemish on the chin.Verdict: Highly Recommended.
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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 ...