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Esci

Set 200

British Soldiers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1982
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Khaki, Dark Brown, Light Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

For the first set in their range Esci chose to portray British infantry, and established the formula that they were to stick to throughout their production, and which became a benchmark for the rest of the industry. Thus we get 50 figures in 15 poses with excellent detail and a high standard of sculpting.

Most of the poses were to be seen in all of their World War II sets, with a few becoming trademarks of Esci. The man using his rifle as a club, whilst not a common action in that war, was to appear again in other sets. Perhaps the most familiar Esci pose is the 'helping-a-fallen-comrade' pair, which is a nice idea and has been very well realised. Some of the other poses are a little less well presented, with the man throwing a grenade looking particularly awkward. The man firing the heavy machine gun is all wrong as he should be sitting behind his weapon, looking along the barrel. We also worried about the first figure in the top row, who is in grave danger of hitting his helmet on the pickaxe that is so prominent at his right shoulder.

All the figures are wearing standard British battledress as introduced before the war, and the familiar pre-Mark III helmet. This applies to the officer as well, which is a more likely form of dress at the front than the peaked cap seen in some sets. Both uniform and webbing have been well represented, with plenty of clear detail. All the figures have the two-part entrenching tool, which was introduced in 1941.

Most of the men carry rifles, though there are also machine guns on show. Two figures are holding the Thompson submachine gun, which while certainly used in the British army was too expensive to be very widely used and we would have preferred to see more Sten guns instead. The heavier machine gun is the well-liked .303 Vickers Medium, and the prone men are carrying a Bren gun (automatic rifle) and using a PIAT. The PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank) was a very effective anti-tank weapon that could also be very useful against static targets like bunkers, but it was difficult to use. It is accurately modelled here except for the glaring error that the PIAT had a monopod support, and not the bipod used here. Also, the man assigned to use it would have been issued a revolver, but this man has none on show.

As we have said, detail is very good and clear, and for the most part accuracy is also good. The Vickers team and the radioman do not have bases and, although they do stand as they are, they are pretty unstable and we find it annoying that bases have been omitted for no good reason. Remarkably this Esci set is of exactly the same standard as those produced at the end of production; a good start for a good range.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"British Battledress 1937-61" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.112) - Brian Jewell - 9780850453874
"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 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 Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II" - Amber - Chris Bishop - 9781905704460
"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
Magazines
"Militaria (English Language)" - No.19
"Military Illustrated" - No.95

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