Well having already purchased the 2 earlier infantry sets in Plastic Soldier Company Limited (PSC) 1/72nd scale range I knew that once they announced the release of their British Infantry set that I would have to lay my hands on these figures as well and so the eagerly awaited goodies arrived at Kingsleypark Manor earlier this week.
This set contains 66 figures on 3 sprues (the German and Russian sets contained only 57 figures). According to the blurb on the box this comprises 9 junior officers/NCO's, 51 riflemen/SMG's (3 of which can be converted to Bren Gunners) and 6 Bren gunners.
22 figures on each sprue, 14 of which are multipart. Unlike the German and Russian sets, however, there was no instruction sheet showing how the multipart figs go together. I don't know if this was error or if this is now to be the norm - I have e-mailed Will Townshend about it but no reply yet (any comment Will?). Having said that, the way the figures are laid out on the sprue, it is fairly obvious which set of arms go with which body and so on.
I have to say, that unlike the German figs I found this guys a real pain to put together and hard work. It may have been down to stubby finger syndrome but I just found them very, very fiddly. The prone Bren gunner is in 5 parts!
Persistance won in the end, however, and fully assembled they end up looking like this
22 different poses although 2 of the poses are the same but you have a choice of arms
As it is 1944-45 there were no mobile phones so the officer speaking into the microphone presumably needs to be standing pretty close to the figure carrying the radio pack on his back. A wee bit of modelling in the shape of a wire joining the 2 figures might be required to make it look right
There's even a dead 'un!!
Some of the poses, as in the German kit look a wee bit uncomfortable, the crouching figure is there again as is the figure that is on the move firing his rifle, which is pointing downwards. The figure throwing the Mills Bomb looks a little bit more natural than his German counterpart though.
Although the set provides 1 prone Bren Gunner and 1 prone loader per sprue there is also another figure who is leaning over with Magazine in hand, clearly intended to be used with the prone Bren gunner. But if that is the case you don't need the prone loader, so the net result is that there 3 figures which are effectively surplus to requirements . And while the casualty figure is a reminder of the consequence of war I would question it's usefulness in this set. A casualty figure can be useful in those games where a unit is ranked up and you require some way of marking the casualties that unit has taken, but for a WW2 game where ranked up units would be tantamount to suicide, the emphasis is on skirmishing, and so I think the casualty figure is a bit of a waste.
The figs are pretty clean with little or no flash. Mould lines where visible are easily scraped off. Sculpting though was a bit of a mixed bag with some of the detail pretty poor. On the sniper figure the helmet camouflage on the right hand side of the figure is non-existent and runs into the torso of the figure making it look a bit "blobby"
And on the 2 advancing figures shown above the chest and ammo pouch detail is non-existant.
The figs are kitted out in typical 1937 web pattern and the helmets, although camoflaged, look like the 1944 model.
The biggest surprise (and disappointment) for me though with the set is the size of the figures
The figure above is 20mm from foot to eye. Those of you who have seen my post on the German figures will recall that they were on the whole 22mm from foot to eye. The difference is quite noticeable here
Okay, perhaps not as huge a difference compared with the Valiant figures (see my post on "A Question of Scale") but still pretty significant and as I've said disappointing, given that these figures are from the same manufacturer and are both sold as 1/72nd scale.
I wanted to like these figures as they are more compatible with the 20mm ranges that are available but to be honest I was left a bit uninspired by them. I will see what they are like when they are painted up (I've currently got the Germans on the painting table just now so it may be sometime before I get round to them) but I had been thinking of selling the Valiant figures that I have and replacing them with the PSC range. Now I am not so sure.
Again from a price point of view - £11 for a box of 66 figs (although 6 of those are of questionable use), they can't be faulted, to buy a similar number of figures in metal could quite easily cost 3 times that amount (eg check the 20mm WW2 figures from Warmodelling ) and that would, in my view, be the main reason for buying them - cheap and plentiful provided you can live with the size discrepancy between these figures and their German opponents.