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Almark

Set WD2

British Infantry Weapons

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1972
Contents 8 figures
Poses 3 poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Dark Green
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

This set was the second and last set of plastic soldiers to be made by Almark, a company best known for their books. The figures came on one sprue, held under a thick clear plastic sheet with a card backing, and were advertised as 20mm or HO/OO scale. The Almark range disappeared very quickly, so clearly it was not a success.

The packaging states that this set should be used in conjunction with set WD-1, and that may help to explain why this one contains relatively little. The infantry weapons alluded to in the name are a Bren gun, a Vickers machine gun and a 3-inch mortar. All are reasonable well represented, though all suffer from coming as one piece, which means the gap between the legs of the stand is filled in. However some details are missing on each piece.

The three figures are, from left to right, the Bren gunner, Bren No. 2 (prone) and the machine gun/mortar gunner. The Bren number two is not convincing if he is supposed to be feeding the ammunition, and his rifle is resting on his right hand - he is not holding it at all, unless by the strap, which is not part of the model. The other gunner does not give the appearance of interacting with either device, and is of no real value. Almark say that the prone gunner can also be used as a rifleman, which is probably a better role for him, and they also say the grenade-thrower in set 1 could be used as a mortar loader, which works surprisingly well. However we felt two of the figures in this set were not worthwhile.

The gunners wear British battledress and the classic British helmet, but are missing some items of kit. The level of detail is adequate but not sharp, with believable folds in the clothing and some loss of detail on weapons. The figures have a little flash in a few places, but the kneeling figure has lost his right foot in a mess of extra plastic that merges his right leg with his rifle - really horrible.

This is not a useful set, especially when its more recent soft plastic competitors are considered. The main problem is the lack of figures actually using the Vickers and the mortar, although the weapons themselves are not too bad. The fact that there are only two Bren No.2s for the three Brens, and just three gunners for the four larger weapons makes matters worse. Not a great start for Almark, and perhaps part of the reason why it was also the end of the range.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 4
Pose Number 2
Sculpting 7
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"British Infantry Equipments (2) 1908-2000" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.108) - Mike Chappell - 9781855328396
"British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660" - Blandford - Michael Barthorp - 9780713711271
"British Web Equipment of the Two World Wars" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.32) - Martin Brayley - 9781861267436
"Infantry Mortars of World War II" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.54) - John Norris - 9781841764146
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The British Army 1939-45 (1) North West Europe" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.354) - Martin Brayley - 9781841760520
"The World War II Tommy" - Crowood - Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram - 9781861261908
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150

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