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Esci

Set 210

British Commandos

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1983
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Brown, Light Tan
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

As Great Britain was expelled from mainland Europe in 1940, the immediate concern was of invasion by the Germans, and it was very clear that there could be no attempt at liberating Europe for a long time. Nonetheless it was felt that Britain should be doing something to hurt the enemy, and the result was the formation of a special unit of volunteers for use in 'butcher and bolt' raids, the Commandos, who's name was inspired by the irregular troops Britain had struggled with during the Boer War of 1899 - 1902. As the unit developed they became much more sophisticated, often working well behind enemy lines and carrying out many raids. Their exploits made them a legend, and many manufacturers have chosen to depict these men in 1/72 scale plastic.

With their early emphasis on World War II, and a strong inclination to portray British troops, Esci made this set of British commandos, but they did not take the opportunity to create something distinctive. With the specialised nature of these troops, other manufacturers have felt it necessary to provide ropes, canoes and inflatables, not to mention soldiers armed with knives. This set has 15 pretty standard World War II poses, with most of them being perfectly appropriate to regular infantry. The middle figure in the top row is pretty bizarre, running sideways as he is, but otherwise the poses are quite good. The only unusual figure is the man apparently pushing a plunger, presumably detonating explosives, but apart from him this is a pretty boring collection and an opportunity missed.

The uniform on these figures is standard British battledress, with many wearing a jumper under the blouse and nearly all wearing the woollen cap that was to become a commando trademark. Though a much greater variety of uniform would have been likely, and often the men wore helmets when in action, these are accurately sculpted. The ropes and other equipment that most commandos carried have been omitted, however, leaving the men with only their webbing and occasionally a small pack. No-one even has the usual Fairbairn-Sykes dagger, bayonet or other cold steel.

Nearly all the men carry the same weapon, the Sten machine-carbine, and though this weapon was indeed used by the commandos, it was far from being the only weapon as suggested here. Several other types could and should have been included to create a more accurate representation, in particular the Thompson, which was much preferred by the men.

Needless to say the sculpting is excellent with good detail that is clear and sharp, and no trace of flash is to be found. However an unimaginative choice of poses, men with too little equipment and an over-emphasis on one lesser used weapon greatly lessens the appeal of this adequate but hardly memorable set.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 7
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Army Commandos 1940-45" - Osprey (Elite Series No.64) - Mike Chappell - 9781855325791
"Dieppe 1942" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.127) - Ken Ford - 9781841766249
"No.10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 1942-45" - Osprey (Elite Series No.142) - Nick van der Bijl - 9781841769998
"St Nazaire 1942" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.92) - Ken Ford - 9781841762319
"The Commandos" - Arms & Armour (Uniforms Illustrated No.20) - Derek Oakley - 9780853688440
"The Commandos" - Time-Life (World War II Series) - Russell Miller
"The Royal Marines 1939-93" - Osprey (Elite Series No.57) - Nick van der Bijl - 9781855323889
"The World War II Tommy" - Crowood - Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram - 9781861261908
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.11
"Military Illustrated" - No.10
"Military Illustrated" - No.26
"Military Illustrated" - No.30

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