by: Randy Harvey [ ]
Master Box has released s French soldier, WWII era, kit number MB35173, a kit of one figure in 1/35th scale, which represents a French soldier armed with a MAS Modele 36 rifle and standing next to a bicycle during the WWI time frame. The figure was sculpted by sculptor A. Gagarin.
The box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard open end box with artwork of the figure on the top of the box by the artist Valery Petelin. The bottom of the box has a very basic assembly guide in the form of a repeat of the illustration of the completed figure and bicycle featured on the front of the box, a photograph of the sprue and a paint reference chart. The image of the figure has numbers that correspond with numbers on the photograph of the sprues for proper part identification and placement. The sprue is sealed within a re-sealable clear plastic bag.
There is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box for the assembly of the figure. There is a separate instruction sheet included in the kit for the assembly of the bicycle. There are a few simple mistakes made on the bicycle instruction sheet such as numbers completely missing in regards to pieces that go on the bicycle. These are simple mistakes that should have been noticed and corrected. My biggest complaint in regards to the instructions is that there is only a repeat of the box illustration and not actual photographs of the built figure as is the normal practice for Master Box. As there is only a repeat of the box art there is only one view of the figure and bicycle. Front and back views would have been very helpful for construction of the figure and bicycle. Due to lack of decent instructions there is guess work involved in construction.
Included on the bottom of the box is a very basic painting guide. There are two brands of paint referenced. They are:
to paint the figure and bicycle as shown, the necessary colors are:
818 Red Leather
863 Gunmetal Grey
875 Gunmetal Grey
880 Khaki Grey
887 Brown Violet
888 Olive Grey
955 Flat Flesh
985 Hull Red
LC 16 - Matt Raw Siena
LC 76 Gun Metal
LC 17 Matt Brown
UA 097 Middle Stone
UA 091 Dark green
UA 001 Dark green
LC 41 Flesh
UA 112 Italian Light Sand
LC 74 Gloss Silver
LC 17 Matt Brown
The kit comes with two grey styrene sprues which contain 28 total pieces. The sprues comes sealed in a clear plastic bag. All of the pieces are attached to the sprue with a minimal amount of contact points. When I examined the sprue I didn't find any bent or missing pieces nor did I find any poorly placed knock out points. There was one broken part (Number 6) on the bicycle sprue but this was easily repaired during assembly. Please refer to my photographs of the front and back of the sprues so that you can see the individual pieces and their layout and location on the sprues. As I examined the individual pieces I found what I would consider to be a normal to minimal amount of flash however there are seam lines present. I did not find any push out (knock out) marks on the individual pieces. The detailing on the individual pieces is nice.
The fret contains eighteen total pieces and these are all for detailing the bicycle. The photo-etched brass detailing parts have nice crisp detailing and they have a minimal amount of fret attachment points. The pieces were in good shape and not bent or twisted. They were all easy to remove and clean up.
There is no guide or instructions for using and assembling the pieces for first time photo-etch users. I personally would like to see a basic users guide for first time users of photo-etched brass with basic instruction on removing the pieces from the sheet, how to bend the pieces properly when required and what type of adhesives should be used. I understand that this is something that can easily be found on the internet but I still think a basic guide would be a nice touch.
The kit comes with one WWII French infantryman with a bicycle. I assembled the figure and bicycle straight out of the box without doing any work on them, other than to clean up the spot from where I removed them from the sprue, to show all of the seam lines, flash, gaps and how the equipment fits on the figure. I feel this is a good way to show the work required on all of them. This has become my standard for figure reviews and it has met with praise and appreciation from my fellow modelers.
French infantryman with the MAS Modele 36 rifle
The figure is made up of 6 pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The detailing on the clothing is nice. The figure is wearing a Capote (overcoat) with the lower front buttoned back that is very nicely done. The lower section comes in four separate pieces which makes for a realistic 3-D appearance. There are no locator holes for the coat pieces on the figures torso nor locator pins on the separate coat pieces so dry fitting for correct placement is required. The look is nice and there are minimal gaps to fill. The cuffs on the coat sleeves will need to be hollowed out by the modeler for a realistic look. The figure is also wearing a standard pair of Pantalon type trousers which are bloused at the knee with the lower leg being wrapped with puttees down to the lace-up ankle boots.
The figures face is decent and the neck fits into the collar nicely and leaves a realistic looking gap between the neck and the collar. The French Model 1926 "Adrian" helmet fits on the head good and the detailing on it is molded nicely. There is a molded chin strap on the figures head. He is armed with a French MAS Modele 36 rifle which is modeled as to be hanging around the figures neck and shoulder and resting on his chest. If desired the modeler will need to scratch build a sling for the rifle. I felt that the detailing on the rifle was fair but lacking detail around the breech and trigger area. The weapons barrel will need to be hollowed for a realistic look. The figure comes with a bayonet for the MAS Modele 36 rifle, M35 canteen, French backpack Mdle 35 and a gas mask carrier, for which there is a molded strap, and the Model 1935 leather harness and pouches set. The harness is molded on the figure but the ammunition pouches are separate. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled.
The bicycle is made up of 9 styrene pieces and 18 photo-etched brass pieces. The modeler ends up with spare parts in regards to the cargo rack only depending on if you use the styrene or photo-etched brass rack. The bicycle goes together rather simply with few problems in spite of the lack of decent instructions. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good. When constructing the bicycle rims and the chain and sprocket assembly I did have to make the holes larger for them to fit on the locator pins as they were too small to fit properly. Other than that the construction went pretty much without trouble. I was disappointed that the headlight housing wasnt hollow and there wasnt a clear lens for a more realistic appearance. The art work on the box shows that there is a bicycle bell on the handle bars but in actuality there isnt one. Other than my few complaints the bicycle builds into a decent looking World War II era bicycle.
All in all this is a decent set. I was impressed with the detailing, especially on the uniform and the gear. A modeler will just need to be prepared to spend some time removing seam lines and filling the few gaps. Other than my few complaints I was very impressed with the kit and I feel that anyone who purchases this set will be pleased and I would have no hesitation to recommend this set to others.
World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton
World The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg
The French Army 1939-45 (2)
Men At Arms 318
Ian Sumner (Author)
Mike Chappell (Illustrator)
Thanks to Master Box for the review sample. Please be sure to mention that you saw the kit reviewed here when ordering.