with a popular line of styrene diorama buildings, MiniArt has a growing reputation
for producing quality utilitarian figure sets such as this offering, which originally
accompanied its Bantam jeep.
set presents three jeep riders, one of them standing and leaning upon the windshield,
who can be posed with the two MPs to easily populate a scene of a jeep at a checkpoint
or soldiers asking for directions. Three of the soldiers wear the M1941 second
pattern field jacket. The Tommy gunner wears the tanker winter combat jacket,
which was often seen on infantry. The driver has the M1943 jacket, which came
to the line troops in early autumn 1944, (though the Bantam was phased out well
before the driver's M1943 jacket was fielded, so keep that in mind with your chosen
setting). Three of the figures wear scarves, which also suggest cooler weather,
though there are photos of soldiers embarking on D-Day with white scarves around
the quality of the sculpting and poses is excellent, and I suspect they work well
in the Bantam for which they were designed. Unfortunately, the seated figures
will need some modifications to use in a Tamiya jeep (my desired destination for
these figures). A partial gluing and dry fitting of the parts suggests the driver
may need to lose some toes to sit down better into the Tamiya seat, and adjustments
may be necessary for the arms and steering wheel. The joe with the Tommy gun appears
to be positioned for the back seat with his arm leaning on the stowed roof supports,
but his butt floats a 1/8 inch above the seat. You could sculpt a tarp to sit
him. He'd probably enjoy the extra cushioning!
heads are noteworthy as they are better sculpted than most DML and Tamiya figures
and are full nogginsmeaning the tops are not lopped off to set helmets upon
(the helmets are fully scooped out). This enables you to use some epoxy putty
to sculpt hair if you wish to have bareheaded figures. Hands also are better defined
than most plastic figures. There are the usual seams to tend to, and a bit of
extra flash around the heads.
set is light on equipment. The M1 Garand and Thompson submachine gun appear to
be fresh renditions rather than sourced from other companies, and provide some
extra detailing with attachment points for slings (not provided).
does MiniArt include decals (offered with the Bantam) for the uniform insignia
and MP armbands, which are molded onto the jackets. I'll pull some decals from
Hudson and Allen for the helmet
markings, and Archer Fine Transfers
for rank chevrons. It's also a simple matter of whittling away the marking areas
on the figures if you don't want to deal with decals or painting the markings
by hand. Indeed, removing the armbands from the MPs will make them more versatile.
not going to ding this kit for not fitting the Tamiya jeep, as it doesn't make
any claim that figures are suited for it. If I don't split them up and apportion
them for other uses, I may have to get them a Bantam, as there is some photographic
evidence of its use in North Africa. I'd have to swap out the driver, but I have
a few extra Tamiya drivers around....