by: Pat McGrath [ ]
With the recent Sherman tank models being issued by DML and Tasca and the promise of an early Sherman and an M7 Priest from Academy, as well as a host of other Allied armoured cars on the way from Bronco and others, modellers have been decrying the lack of suitable crews to go with them. Step in Pete Morton with his new line of Jakrei Miniatures, which will concentrate on British and Commonwealth figures.
Armoured troops of the Desert War wore many and varied garments such as sheepskin coats and corduroy trousers and even, in the case of tank commander and poet Keith Douglas, an almost complete Italian Officer's uniform. Many of the pre war cavalry regiments also tried to hold on to their distinctive head dress and a mixture of berets and field service caps were worn by officers. This figure however, wears the more official issue uniform. This consisted of Khaki Drill Shirt and Shorts (Bombay Bloomers) together with long woollen socks and leather ankle boots with cloth puttees. The figure also wears a .38 Enfield No. 2 Mk 1 revolver in the special low slung open topped holster issued to armoured troops. He also wears the black beret which was adopted in 1924 for tank crews and extended to the whole of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940.
J3501 is a 1/35 scale figure cast in white metal. The review figure came in a zip lock bag containing the main torso with an inner bag holding the smaller pieces, although I believe in future Jakrei figures will be boxed. J3501 consists of six parts; the main torso, two arms, a head, a holster and a set of binoculars.
The figure is in a relaxed standing pose, legs apart, with his hands behind his back.
This is the first part I check on whenever I get an after-market figure to see whether I need to dip into my box of Hornet replacement heads. Well in this case that box remained firmly shut as the kit head is cleanly cast with nice crisp detail and character, with only the bottom of the neck needing sanding to ensure a good fit to the body.
He does have a slightly serious look on his face but then tank warfare is no laughing matter.
The body and legs come in a single casting. Detail on the web belt, shirt pockets, buckles and buttons etc is very crisp. There were faint seam lines around the feet, which I removed with the back of a craft knife blade.
The bagginess of the Bombay Bloomers is particularly well represented.
The arms are nicely sculpted but need a little sanding and trimming to ensure a good fit. The fit of the hands together behind his back is very good.
Again an area that I feel is sometimes weak on aftermarket figures and I often replace white metal or resin equipment and weapons with plastic versions. No need for that here with the holstered pistol and binoculars very cleanly cast.
Construction and Painting
Construction was fairly straightforward and there were no problems to speak of. I used a file and a No. 11 blade to clean up the remains if the runners and sprue attachment points on the arms on the body. These were minimal and require a very light touch. I used CA glue to join the parts and also to fill the small gaps at the shoulders although I probably could have eliminated these gaps if I had spent more time cleaning the joints.
If, like me, you have a tendency to drop figures during assembly, then I recommend drilling a hole in the figures foot and super gluing in a piece of heavy gauge copper wire. I then fix the wire into a craft knife handle and hold the figure by that. I find that white metal figures are a lot less forgiving when they hit a tiled floor than resin and this trooper had enough character without getting a broken nose. The handle also avoids any oils from your fingers getting on the figure during painting
As a figure painter I belong to the expressionist school and generally the longer I spend on a figure the worse it looks -Calvin Tan or Jorge Alvear Iím not! I primed the figure using a Games Workshop spray can of Skull White and used Vallejo paints for the uniform. I built up washes of 976 Vallejo Buff shaded with Vallejo 921 English Uniform and highlighted with buff mixed with white. I finished with a wash of Windsor and Newton burnt umber over Vallejo buff for the skin tones. For the beret I used black with grey highlights and for the socks and Puttees British Uniform. For this review I didnít get into the nitty gritty of painting the buckles and buttons.
I was very happy with this figure. It went together simply enough and I can see myself buying more to go with Desert projects I have in mind. Swap this figures head for one with a tin hat and give him a closed holster and you have an infantry officer. For an LRDG or SAS trooper either leave him with his beret or use a head with a cap comforter. The Khaki Drill Tropical uniform was also worn in the Far East campaigns so there is a lot of potential with this figure.