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Waterloo 1815

Set 037

Italian Tank, Vehicle and Artillery Crews

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2012
Contents 18 figures
Poses 9 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 26 mm (= 1.87 m)

Review

Throughout their involvement in the Second World War Italy’s armed forces suffered from a shortage of heavy weapons, artillery and motorised transport, and much of what was available was virtually obsolete by 1940. Nevertheless what equipment there was played a vital part in Italian operations, and this set is designed to provide crew figures for some of those services.

To begin with we find several tank crewmen. The first, at the start of our top row, wears the standard leather crash helmet with padded rim and neck flap. He also wears a typical double-breasted leather jacket and leather gaiters over his short boots, while on his legs he wears breeches rather than the also-common overalls. Another cavalry-style element is the two-pouch bandolier he wears, and he is also armed with a pistol. In total then he is perfectly accurate in all respects, and a perfectly decent pose too. Another tank crewman is the last figure in that row, and he is more casually dressed in overalls and wears the popular bustina cap. Again everything here is correct, and he can be made to carry one of the separate items shown beside him. A third tankman is the first seated figure in the second row, who also has the leather jacket, cavalry bandolier and pistol, but as he wears a bustina he could also pass for other arms such as the artillery, other motorised units or the cavalry. All these figures would look good placed around a model of an Italian tank.

Several of the remaining figures could be artillery, as they wear either the standard tunic or the Sahariana jacket along with the bustina cap but have leather leggings rather than puttees. Both the remaining figures in the top row fit this description, as do some in the second row, while the rest wear long trousers. However they could also be crews for many sorts of vehicles, so are quite diverse in their uses. Most have no kit as such, although a couple do have a water bottle on a strap. The rather curious pose at the end of our second row is actually a figure kneeling and looking up. The manufacturer suggests he is kneeling beside a tank looking at the tracks, but he could just as easily be working on any sort of vehicle, and since he wears just a pair of shorts and sandals he is perfect for dioramas set in North Africa (or anywhere in the summer), representing virtually any unit in the Army.

The box artwork gives a good idea of the intended purpose of these collection of eclectic figures, and we thought all the poses were very good. Many have been achieved with separate arms (see sprue image), which may upset those that do not enjoy assembling their figures, but it certainly makes for a better figure – particularly the seated figures intended to be drivers or similar. However it has to be said that some of the arms are not quite as good a fit as they should be. Otherwise the sculpting is first class, with beautifully done detail and very natural proportions. There is not a hint of flash anywhere and the plastic used is hard enough to take ordinary cement well.

This is clearly not a set intended for a battle scene. Instead it is meant to complement tanks and vehicles, and we felt it achieved that really well. The figures are very good, and with perfect accuracy everything would seem to be pretty rosy. There is just one more fly in the ointment however – at an average height of 26mm (1.87 metres) these are particularly tall for men of that time, and while this is not apparent on many of the figures, those standing up may look a little odd when compared to other, better-sized sets of Italian troops. Perhaps that is easier to forgive here given the intended, quite solitary use, but it is a small flaw in what is otherwise a very attractively produced set, although with so many spaces on the sprue we would have liked to have seen more poses, and more than 18 figures, in the box.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 9
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Army Uniforms of World War 2" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Andrew Mollo - 9780713706116
"Regio Esercito" - Lulu - Patrick Cloutier
"Tank and AFV Crew Uniforms Since 1916" - Patrick Stephens - Martin Windrow - 9780850593624
"The Armed Forces of World War II" - Orbis - Andrew Mollo - 9780856132964
"The Italian Army 1940-45 (1) Europe 1940-43" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.340) - Philip Jowett - 9781855328648
"The Italian Army 1940-45 (2) Africa 1940-43" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.349) - Philip S Jowett - 9781855328655
"The Italian Army at War - Europe 1940-43" - Concord - Philip Jowett - 9789623611503

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