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Waterloo 1815

Set 006

Italian Infantry (at El Alamein)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2002
Contents 36 figures
Poses 6 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Throughout the whole of the North African campaign, Italians made up the majority of the Axis forces, so it is remarkable that until this set was produced, no figures existed for these men.

Right from the start we must say that six poses are just not adequate for any infantry set. Many people complain about sets of eight poses, though such sets often match up with others to provide a broader range of figures. The provided poses are the standard World War II stuff, but only six poses means much is missing. For example, there is no advancing figure here. The prone machine gunner (which looks to be the standard Breda M1930) is not looking forward, so cannot be firing his weapon.

All the figures are dressed in typical Italian tropical uniform. All except the kneeling man and the officer are in shirt sleeves, and many of the men wear shorts. The characteristic Italian belt and harness, which supported two ammunition pouches on the front centre of the belt, is worn by all troops except the prone gunner. This sort of variety of uniform is typical, but it is the headgear that is the most diverse. One man wears the standard Italian M1933 steel helmet, while another wears the very common cork tropical helmet. The man throwing a grenade also wears the steel helmet, but the flamboyant cockerel feathers that adorn it identify him as Bersaglieri. The remaining two privates have a felt fez worn on the back of the head, which identifies them as being either Bersaglieri or belonging to the 'Giovani Fascisti (Young Fascist) Division'. These latter were members of the Fascist Youth Organisation who volunteered for service in North Africa and, though held in reserve at El Alamein, earned a fine reputation over the campaign as a whole. Photographs of these men show them with the Party dagger on their belts, but this item is not evident on either of these figures, making them more likely to be Bersaglieri. Finally, the officer wears the comfortable and popular bustina with cloth visor.

The sculpting and detail are excellent, there is no flash and the figures are well proportioned. Accuracy is 100% and nearly all the major parts of the Italian army are represented. This set would have been a triumph if only there had been twice as many poses. Other sets of Italian desert infantry have since appeared, but this remains an excellent quality set, although one that definitely leaves you wanting more.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 3
Sculpting 10
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Bersaglieri (Volume 3)" - Compagnia Generale Editoriale - Silvio Bertoldi
"I Bersaglieri 1836-2007" - Itinera - Luigi Scollo & Pietro Compagni - 9788888542256
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"Operation Compass 1940" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.73) - Jon Latimer - 9781855329676
"The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II" - Amber - Chris Bishop - 9781905704460
"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
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150

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