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Airfix

Set 01709

8th Army

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1974
Contents 45 figures
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Tan, Mid Brown
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

When Airfix came to upgrade their original set of 8th Army figures (see Airfix 8th Army - First Type) they clearly put the job in expert hands as the resulting figures were not only a quantum leap forward in quality, they were also quite beautiful. It would seem that Airfix used the masters for their 1/32 scale set as the basis for this one, and added a few extra poses to bring it up to spec.

At 14 poses there are somewhat fewer poses than the type 1 set, but it is clear that the designer started with a clean sheet and made no attempt to merely upgrade the old poses, as was done with the French Foreign Legion. Though all the standard positions are here, they have been realised with real skill. The men really lean into their activities, and there is lots of movement about every one. With the difficulties of undercutting inherent in prone figures, this set includes only one, but he is superb, showing just what can be achieved with a little thought. The only pose we felt slightly uncomfortably with was the man thrusting down with his bayonet. Hand-to-hand fighting was rare in World War II, and this figure doesn't really convey the act of bayoneting.

The uniform conforms to the appearance most people associate with these troops, with khaki shirt, shorts and standard British steel helmet. In reality a real medley of clothing was worn as befitted the situation, not least because of the very cold nights in the desert. Therefore this uniform look is attractive but not very authentic. Still it has been correctly represented, and beautifully sculpted with plenty of detail and realistic-looking folds.

All the weaponry is accurately done except the large .303 Vickers Medium machine gun, which is a lovely model but lacks the water cooling system. Other kit is all correct, though some men lack bayonet holders, even though they are sporting a bayonet on their rifle.

This really is a lovely set. The examples we saw showed no signs of flash and needed no trimming. A study of period photographs and film or a conversation with a veteran would soon highlight that the reality was much less neat and tidy than these men, but this is nonetheless a very useful set that has seen considerable service over the years and is likely to continue to do so.



Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 10
Mould 9

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