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Revell

Set 02512

Scottish Infantry, 8th Army

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1994
Contents 50 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Although it is perhaps inappropriate to describe any warfare as civilised or appealing, the war in North Africa between 1940 and 1943 probably comes closer than most in the modern era. This is often overstated of course, yet compared to the ruthless and often barbaric struggle going on in Russia at the same time the Desert War was carried on with much less hatred and even a grudging respect by both sides for each other. This set of British 8th Army was released when three other manufacturers, Airfix, Esci and Matchbox, already had full sets on the market. That begs the question of whether this set is just repeating what has gone before, or does it have something different to offer.

Happily, the answer is the latter. This set of 12 poses has some splendid figures, and some genuinely original touches. Revell moulded several of their figures wearing standard British battledress, recognising that not all the troops wore the light khaki shirt and shorts all the time. In addition, some are wearing pullovers, and some long trousers. All these features are unique to this set, and authentically reflect the diversity of clothing that the army wore in an environment that could be stiflingly hot by day and bitterly cold by night, or simply cool in the winter. As a result this set better reflects the wide range of clothing than any that came before.

All the major infantry weapons are represented here, with rifles, Thompson machine guns and a Bren gun being utilised. By far the majority have rifles, which is as it should be, but there are no weapons heavier than a Bren mounted on a very thin tripod.

The poses are good, and include a sentry and a private eating his rations, though he seems to be putting his spoon in his ear! With many sets it is possible to detect their inspiration, or at least the source used for much of the research. As with many other sets, the inspiration here is in the Osprey Men-At-Arms books - in this case 'Montgomery's Desert Army' - where can be found the soldier eating, the piper and the unusual officer with his cane. The inclusion of a piper seems to be practically compulsory for 8th Army sets, though Scottish regiments served in all theatres of war. However in this case the sculptor has not represented the actual act of playing the pipes well as the bag is not properly placed to be squeezed - a necessary prerequisite if any noise is to be gained from the instrument. One notable omission is a figure on the ground. In a landscape often devoid of any real cover, soldiers who got involved in a fire fight without first hitting the ground would be courting disaster. With so many poses clearly not in battle (the piper, man eating and two with rifle upright, plus arguably the officer) the number of combat poses is a bit low here, but all of them are really nice.

Sculpting is very good, with a natural feel to the clothing and faces, and good detail on the weaponry. The very thin tripod for the Bren is not convincing, though it means there is no assembly in the set. The men are well proportioned and the poses look natural. Early releases of this set had little visible flash, but later ones had a great deal which makes a vast difference, so if buying unseen you may find yourself lucky or not.

A most excellent World War II set that complements and expands on others already available. It has taken the trouble to offer a more diverse range of figures both in terms of clothing and pose, and while it could have benefited from more poses, those poses are available in other sets, which is perhaps what the designer had in mind when creating this really nice collection of figures.

Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"British Infantry Equipments (2) 1908-2000" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.108) - Mike Chappell - 9781855328396
"Desert Rat 1940-43" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.160) - Tim Moreman - 9781849085014
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"Khaki Drill & Jungle Green" - Crowood - Martin Brayley - 9781847971098
"Montgomery's Desert Army" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.66) - John Wilkinson-Latham - 9780850452501
"The British Army 1939-45 (2) Middle East & Mediterranean" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.368) - Martin Brayley - 9781841762371
"The Thompson Submachine Gun" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.1) - Martin Pegler - 9781849081498
"Tropical Uniforms" - Wessex Military (British Soldier in the 20th Century Series No.6) - Mike Chappell - 9781870498050
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150

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