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In-Box Review
135
British Soldiers in Greatcoats
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]

Introduction

Spearhead Miniatures are a fairly new company producing 1/35 resin figures and 1/9 scale busts and full figures. Iím happy to say that so far all their subject material has been British/Commonwealth orientated and I reviewed their British Wounded Soldier on Armorama just recently.

This review will concentrate on a 2 figure set of British Infantry in Greatcoats, which were sculpted by Pete Morton.

The Set

The set comes packed in a fine sturdy professional looking box. The figures themselves are contained within a separate zip plastic bag and were surrounded by suitable packing to protect them in transit. On the top of the box is a colour picture of the painted figures to aid painting, and the manufacturers name and product number/description.
The figures are cast in a light cream resin and appeared free from any air bubbles or major damage in transit.

British Infantryman with Sten Gun:
This figure depicts a walking British Infantryman, Sten gun at the ready, and consists of 8 parts. The body is cast as a whole, with separate arms, head, back pack with a part of the shovel, the shovel shaft, Sten magazine and 37 pattern entrenching tool.

The body shows that of a soldier wearing a British Army Greatcoat. The Greatcoat was a double breasted garment, with two rows of large metal buttons on the front, two pockets on the side and a half belt fixed to the rear of the coat and joined by 3 small buttons. The coat had a split pleat on the rear and hung down below the knees.

This looks to be a very good representation of this garment, but I could see no evidence of the large pocket flaps on the side of the garment, part of these would be visible even with webbing worn over the top of the coat. This slight error should be a fairly easy fix. The collar is folded up, and around the neck is a scarf. The folds of the coat are extremely well done and the garment hangs naturally.

Over the coat the figure wears a full set of 37 pattern webbing consisting of belt, left and right ammo pouches, water bottle on the right hand side and the short stabbing bayonet in a frog on the left hand side. To complete the webbing a back pack with shovel head, 37 pattern digging tool and shovel shaft are provided as separate items. These will need careful clean up and the pack, which also has the outline of a ground sheet below the straps, has somewhat weak buckle detail.

The webbing has very nice detail, all the brasses or part thereof being present and in the correct place. The rear of the 37 pattern belt rides proud of the coat as it would have done with the half coat belt below it. To complete the equipment and slung right to left across the body of the greatcoat is a bandolier of ammunition. This has the correct 5 pouches to hold the 100 rds of spare ammunition that came packed in the bandoliers. (see comment below)

The figure wears battle dress trousers, anklets and ammo boots to complete the uniform and again these are well depicted.
The greatcoat and uniform all have very natural looking folds and the garment hangs well on the figure body and should paint up very well.

The arms come as separate items and are designed to be holding a Sten gun, a Mk II with skeleton butt. The Sten is moulded to the right hand with the left hand being moulded to the end of the barrel. The left arm is designed to mate with the left hand on the Sten barrel which completes a natural looking hold on the weapon. The weapon itself has good detail, but you will need to take care when cleaning up the end of the barrel which would also need to be drilled out a little.

The head is also a separate part and has very good facial detail, showing the face of quite a stern looking chap. There is a good chin strap for the helmet around the chin and on top of the head the figure wears a Mk II helmet covered with scrim and netting.

Overall, this is a very well proportioned and sculpted figure offering a seldom modelled order of dress. There will be a need to clean up some flash and take care when removing the pour ends from the magazine, shovel shaft and entrenching tool as well as the Sten barrel. With the exception of the missing partial pocket detail and some weak buckles on the back pack this is a very neat looking figure indeed. The stance and uniform folds look very natural to me.

British Infantryman with No 4 Rifle:
The second of the two figures depicts a walking British Infantryman with his rifle slung over his shoulder carrying a shovel in his left hand. This figure consists of 7 parts. The body cast as a whole, head, separate arms, shovel and shaft and small entrenching tool.

This figure also wears a British Army Greatcoat, again extremely well sculpted but this time showing the edges of the side pocket flaps not present on the first figure. Again the coat collar is turned up at the back and the neck is surrounded by a scarf. The uniform is completed with battle dress trousers, anklets and ammo boots all of which are nicely detailed.

Over the Greatcoat this figure wears a full set of 37 pattern webbing, this time the small back pack is moulded to the figure and contains no groundsheet. As with the first figure, the detail on the equipment is excellent but the buckles on the back pack are weak once again.

The arms, which come as separate items, are nicely done. The right arm has a No 4 rifle moulded in place. The detail on the weapon is good and the rifle comes with a strap also moulded in place. The left arm is designed to hold a shovel which comes in two parts and fits into the hand.

The head is again extremely well done this time shown a slightly younger looking soldier with a Mk II helmet tilted slightly back and to the right. A good chin strap is in place.

Additional equipment is in the form of the two shovel parts and the 37 pattern entrenching tool. Take care when removing the parts and cleaning them up as not to lose any details such as the rifle strap.

This figure is also extremely well sculpted with a natural pose. Combined with the detailed equipment, it will prove to be a very useful figure. There will be some flash to clean up, but for both figures a sharp X-Acto blade and razor saw plus some files are all that will be required to tidy them up.

Conclusion

Two cracking figures from Spearhead Miniatures that have a good, not often modelled, order of dress for British troops. The sculpting is excellent, and the casting very good. The only weakness is in the finish of the back packs that lack the clarity of detail one would desire, but as this is early days for Spearhead Miniatures let us hope that this process will get refined even further.

Both the figures have natural looking stances and fit well together. I particularly like the greatcoat order of dress, the folds and creases are natural looking and these two should paint up very well indeed, and be of interest to both stand alone figure painters and diorama builders.

The choice of weapons limit them to use in NWE but I had heard rumour that some alternative arms might be in the making, but as with any rumour that may or may not be true. Anyway, letís hope so as these two would also be extremely useful for a North African or Italian theatre of war scene, if armed with a SMLE and .45 Thompson SMG and the long bayonet.

Whatís slightly odd is that the chap with the Sten Gun wears a .303 bandolier and the rifleman doesnít! I wonder if both were originally intended to carry the No 4 rifle, and the Sten was added for variety after the bodies was cast?

Height from boot to shoulder comes in at about 40mm so these should be very acceptable in size and the body proportions look excellent.
Normal precautions apply when working with resin.
SUMMARY
Highs: A very detailed set of two British Infantry in a much ignored Order of Dress. Excellent sculpting and very good casting, two welcome and useful figures.
Lows: Slight weakness on the buckle detail on the back packs and some missing pockets on one of the Greatcoats.
Verdict: Highly Recommended.
Percentage Rating
87%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: SM35005
  PUBLISHED: Dec 07, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.00%

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 ...

Copyright ©2019 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Hi Neil and John, Agreed, the order of dress is grand. I would have opted for a change of weapons to suit N Africa/Italy though. I have a soft spot for Pete's figures since he did the Sailors/Policemen and Spiv. Cheers Al
DEC 09, 2009 - 04:55 AM
Hey Alan, How's the Market Garden dio coming? N ice figures and subject! Cheers, Paul
DEC 11, 2009 - 01:22 PM
Hi Paul, Still building figures and vehicles for the Market Garden Campaign, slowly would be a good word!! Not much done these last 8/10 weeks been busy at work and I miss the clear nights. Thanks for the thoguhts on the review, not many Greatcoated figures around. Cheers Al
DEC 11, 2009 - 09:53 PM
Hi Guys, I opted to try and make a couple of Indian Army Infantry, the bodies lend themselves well to conversion, I think Al
DEC 30, 2009 - 09:18 PM
They look really good Alan. Are the heads from Dragon?
DEC 30, 2009 - 10:47 PM
Hi Pat, Yes, they are 2 of the Dragon ones. Just realised I missed the Greatcoat buttons Slightly better pic to follow. A nice set of Hornet Indian Heads would be very useful too. Cheers Al
DEC 30, 2009 - 11:04 PM
Buttons in place!! Amazing how much the light effects a picture:
DEC 30, 2009 - 11:33 PM
Very nice work Alan. Although the chap on the left, the position of his head looks a bit funny, like he's suffering from a hunched back or something.
DEC 31, 2009 - 05:17 AM
Hi Neil, That's because he has a shovel behind his head and the angle of the picture, makes it look like part of his head Al
DEC 31, 2009 - 05:52 AM
   

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