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Set 172144

Lord Lovat's Commandos

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2010
Contents 23 figures and 2 accessories
Poses 13 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Green
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

Lord Lovat (1911-1995) had been one of the first men to volunteer for the newly formed Commandos units, which were intended to raid the enemy coast and generally take the war to the Germans at a time when the main army was unable to do so. By the time of the Dieppe raid in 1942 he was in command of No.4 Commando, leading them to a successful attack on a battery of guns in an otherwise disastrous operation. Two years later he was a brigadier and in command of the 1st Special Service Brigade, the name for the units of assault or light infantry which were essentially Commandos but with a more conventional battle role. He went in with his men on D-Day and relieved the paratroopers that had captured the bridges over the Orne, including the 'Pegasus Bridge' named on the box.

In the finest tradition of aristocratic British officers Lord Lovat was quite a character. Despite orders to the contrary he ordered a piper to accompany his men and play whenever possible, suitably attired in a kilt. The men went ashore wearing their famous green berets, despite the risks that entailed, and seem to have only worn the steel helmet when forced to, much like many commandos. As a result the figures in this set all wear the beret, but are otherwise in standard battledress. This has been adequately sculpted, but the webbing, and in particular the ammunition pouches, has been poorly done. The final figure pictured above is wearing a jumper, and is therefore probably meant to be Lord Lovat himself. Although he is depicted dressed this way in the film 'The Longest Day' (1962) it seems the truth is he wore the jumper beneath his normal battledress, and certainly waded ashore in battledress as he was pictured doing so. Whether he later discarded the blouse to reveal the very visible jumper is uncertain. As for the piper, Bill Millin, we know he did look much as this figure suggests, although the full stockings shown are more likely to have been long socks with gaiters over them.

The style of these figures is really chunky and anything but elegant. Small items are either ignored or exaggerated in size, while all the weapons are very fat and shortened, making them pretty ugly and unrealistic. The Brens in particular are bad, while we have to assume the submachine gun held in the bottom row is a Thompson, because it looks like no suitable weapon we can think of. Lovat himself is known to have carried a rifle during the landing, but here he is depicted with a really fat pistol that looks like something out of the 18th century.

Proportions are all wrong too. All the kneeling figures are almost as tall as those standing, while limbs generally are often bent in unnatural ways. One of the standing firing figures is looking in a completely different direction, and all the poses are quite stiff and awkward. It must be pointed out too that these figures are quite fragile. Several had to be repaired before being photographed, and while not as bad as some previous output from this company they are still prone to serious breakages with very little rough treatment.

The set includes the two larger pieces in our last photograph. These are foxholes, or basically a small parapet of earth into which some of the figures have been placed after first having their lower halves removed. They are made of the same material as the rest of the set. We were not impressed.

One nice thing about these figures is that most carry a moderately accurate model of the Bergen rucksack, as they would during the initial landing or on the march. By the time they reached the Orne bridges they might have discarded their inflatable life-belts, but should still have had the toggle ropes and other paraphernalia, which are not visible here.

We did not care for these figures, an particularly the very poor proportions on some limbs and weapons, and the wide differences in height, while the square ammunition pouches cannot be put down to the style but must simply be an accuracy error. Some very static poses do nothing to help, so despite an interesting subject this is not a set worthy of it.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 5
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Army Commandos 1940-45" - Osprey (Elite Series No.64) - Mike Chappell - 9781855325791
"D-Day 1944 (3) Sword Beach & the British Airborne Landings" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.105) - Ken Ford - 9781841763668
"The Commandos" - Time-Life (World War II Series) - Russell Miller
"The Commandos" - Arms & Armour (Uniforms Illustrated No.20) - Derek Oakley - 9780853688440
"The World War II Tommy" - Crowood - Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram - 9781861261908
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.11
"Military Illustrated" - No.10
"Military Illustrated" - No.26
"Military Illustrated" - No.30

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