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Set P5007

Japanese Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released Unknown
Contents 45 figures
Poses 20 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)


Though only a few sets were ever made, the Matchbox range was also top class with plenty of poses, excellent sculpting, spot-on accuracy and lots of action. These Japanese are perhaps the best of the bunch, and were voted one of the best World War II sets ever made in a recent poll.

The 20 poses in this set are beautifully animated and with plenty of life. The large number of kneeling and prone positions is good to see, and there are a good number of advancing/charging poses. The man with the hand grenade is an exception to the rule, displaying little activity, but is still nicely sculpted. The range also includes an officer with sword and a man displaying his 'Buun-Tchokyu', or good-luck flag that many infantrymen had presented to them by their families. Finally, there is probably the best-animated and most convincing falling-wounded figure ever produced.

All of the figures wear the type 98 uniform that was issued in 1938 and worn throughout the rest of the war. The majority also wear their field caps, which in all cases includes the sun curtain which was made of four pieces of cloth hanging down the back of the neck. For the rest, the standard helmet is worn, sometimes with camouflage netting. The officer wears boots, which was common, but the rest have puttees with the canvas straps making the 'X' pattern. Equipment varies but all seems plausible, though very few are provided with a bayonet frog. The two front pouches are much in evidence, as is the rear pouch. However, while each of the front pouches held 30 rounds, the rear held 60, and therefore should be larger than the front, rather than of the same size as modelled here.

Most of the men are armed with the Arisaka Type 38 rifle, generally with bayonet attached. One prone figure is firing a 6.5mm Type 96 machine gun, and another man is using the heavy 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun. This latter piece is beautifully detailed, but has no apparent supply of ammunition, which should be fed from the left in 30-round metal strips. Another kneeling man has the famous 50mm Type 89 light mortar, sometimes wrongly referred to as the 'knee mortar', which was produced in very large quantities and provided a useful extension in range from the hand grenade.

Detail is superb throughout, but for a long time this old set was out of production and hard to obtain. More recently however this and other Matchbox sets have been rereleased in Revell-branded boxes, so it is nice to see this fine set back on the market.


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

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