No, not the Manchester United Football team, but the nickname given to the British Paratroop force during WW2.
As promised Dear Reader, here are some pics of the Valiant limited edition British Paras that arrived this week at Kingsleypark Manor.
Firstly hats off to Colin Rumford at Valiant. The order was placed on Sunday night and arrived Thursday morning - post free.
So what exactly arrived in the post? Well I had ordered the Rifle Group (8 figs in the pack) (as mentioned in my earlier post, also available are a command group and a support weapons group) but was very pleased to see that that they didn't just contain riflemen but also a bren gunner and a sten:
There are five different poses in the pack including the sten and the bren gunner, but (and as is the case with the Plastic Valiant figs) no firing poses. The poses, in fact, have been lifted straight from their Plastic British Infantry kit. I don 't know anything about the ins and outs of figure moulding but presumably they have used the masters for the plastic figs and adapted them slightly for the metal figs. Also the heads are separate so that gives a wee bit of scope to change the look of the figure with a choice of beret or helmet. However, although it was useful to have that option it would have been even better if perhaps a few extra heads could have been included in the pack - not everyone would have felt comfortable fighting with just a beret on their bonce when there is a lot of shrapnel flying about but with 3 beret heads included you will end up with quite a high proportion of that type of headgear in your force. And the sculpting of the heads, particularly the helmeted ones was a bit disappointing - the detail being a wee bit blurred on some of the faces.
Just a wee bit of cleaning up required, with some slight mould lines and a bit of flash on the end of the weapons - the latter being a wee bit tricky to clean up as you risk losing the forward sight of the Lee Enfield if you file a wee bit too vigorously!
The detail on the bodies of the figs is, however, good, with webbing and pouches on the whole cleanly sculpted although on those figs who are in the "advancing" pose (inc the sten), the detail on the back of the fig disappears a bit under the right arm and side but nothing too drastic. The figs are clearly wearing the Denison Battle smock.
Size wise the figs are sold as 1/72nd. On measuring up the figs stand about 25mm from foot to eye:
They do, however, size up well against their Valiant Plastic brethern:
Overall impressions? The figs are, in my opinion, well done with the minor quibble about the faces although I'll see how they look once they are painted up. Certainly they are a welcome addition to the Valiant range after such a long hiatus. It would have been good to get a few extra heads, just to avoid having so many of the troopers wearing their berets but I guess my major problem with the figs is the price.
They retail at £9.60 for the pack, admittedly they are post free but that works out at £1.20 per fig. The only figures that I know of a similar size (and have experience of) on the market are the Stargrunt figures sold by GZG and they retail at £1.00 per fig (although P &P has to be added). But compared to Valiant's own Plastic figs which sell at £11 for a box of 64 figs (that's 17p per fig!!), they are pretty expensive to say the least. Presumably Valiant have decided that the demand for the figures wouldn't justify the cost of tooling up a mould for Plastic figures but guys these are British Paras! Every WW2 nut would want to field these warriors but at a total cost just under £51 to field the equivalent of a battalion under Rapid Fire rules, it would make most people think twice when considering there are other cheaper options available. Having said that, given the size issues of the figures and the fact that they are not compatible with 20mm figs, if you already play with Valiant figs then they are your only option if you want to refight the Paras' famous battles in Sicily, Normandy and of course, Holland.