In-Box Review
British 8th Army Infantry
6390 British 8th Army Infantry El Alamein 1942.
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry

by: Pat McGrath [ EXER ]


Despite the pleadings of modelers, in wish lists on the web for many years, there have been very few 8th Army (Desert Rats) figures in either plastic or resin in 1/35 scale. The Tamiya 8th Army Infantry set and their 25rdr crew are the only plastic 1/35 sets that I recall and they are no way up to todayís standards. That scarcity of 8th Army figures makes this set by Dragon all the more welcome.

The Kit

The set of four figures are dressed in the tropical uniform of Khaki Drill Shirt and Shorts together with long woollen socks and leather ankle boots with cloth puttees. The set consists of an Officer armed with a pistol, (and a whistle) a kneeling NCO with a Thompson SMG, a kneeling Bren gunner and an advancing rifleman carrying extra pouches for the Bren.

Not everyone will be happy with the poses Ėtrue even in wartime there is a lot of waiting around and beverage drinking in all armies, but soldiers do occasionally see action and this set would look good posed by a burning Pzr III or waiting to advance along a path cleared through a minefield.

The instructions are on the back of the box and inexplicably show the Bren mag mounted backwards. Since the Bren comes with the mag moulded in place this shouldnít be a problem. The box art is reproduced on the back also as a painting guide with colours indicated in the Mr Color and Model Master ranges.

The breakdown of parts is along Dragonís usual lines with each figure made up of five parts- head, upper torso, separate legs and separate arms. The figures are well sculpted with sharp detail, good creases in the uniforms and well defined musculature. The faces are good with only the ears and the cast on helmet straps lacking detail. One small mistake in the uniforms that the sculptor has made is that the figures are all wearing their puttees backwards the V shape should be pointing towards the back and not the front.


Okay I like the figures and I was really excited when I heard the early model Thompson with the fore grip and round magazine would be included but I have to say the weapons are disappointing. The Mk III Lee Enfield and the Thompson are on the main sprue and the detail on the Thompson is very soft with no bolt detail at all while the Lee Enfield looks a little too slight to me. The Bren is fine comes on a separate sprue with two redundant MkIV SMLEs and a Sten from 6605 British Commonwealth Troops (NW Europe 1944.) which will find their place in the spares box.

The officerís pistol is unfortunately cast in his hand and also lacks detail. It would have been a good move on Dragonís part to do the weapons on a separate sprue up to Gen 2 standards which would have modelers buying this set for the weapons alone.


The equipment is quite good with two exceptions. The two flap holsters provided are an odd shape and reminiscent of older leather holsters. The steel helmets look to me more like the mark I helmet than the mark II, with a higher dome and a way too prominent rivet on the top.

The rest of the equipment is well proportioned and the packs have a nice well stuffed look. The officerís map case is a nice addition and something I havenít seen in plastic before.
Only one bayonet and scabbard is included and there are no entrenching tools included with the set which is a pity. The officer also lacks a case for his binoculars.


Despite the few flaws Iím delighted and hope Dragon produce more and better 8th Army sets. Until then Iíll buy more of this set.

Highs: Excellent choice of subject. Crisp casting of figures.
Lows: Lack of detail in weapons and some equipment.
Verdict: A very welcome set from Dragon with hopefully more on the way.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6390
  Suggested Retail: $10.06/ Ä6.94
  PUBLISHED: Feb 09, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Pat McGrath (exer)

I served three years in the Irish Army. Then I studied fine art for five years. Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII) Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs. Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models

Copyright ©2021 text by Pat McGrath [ EXER ]. All rights reserved.


Thank you for the information so far. As I stated I am interested because of my Grandfather and only the 8th Army tends to be portrayed in the desert.
FEB 10, 2008 - 09:58 PM
Pat-- nice review. I just ordered a set. thanks DJ
FEB 11, 2008 - 12:47 AM
OK, we have a ton of DAK figures and now the Brits, isn't it time Dragon started doing Italian Army figures for our North Africa diorama enjoyment? The very few hard-to-find and super-expensive resin products from Italy just don't cut it...
FEB 11, 2008 - 05:30 AM
What about Hornet's Italian figures? David
FEB 11, 2008 - 02:08 PM
What about Hornet's Italian figures? David[/quote] 1. Not really a large choice 2. Everybody has used them, in pretty much every Italian Army diorama I've seen
FEB 11, 2008 - 02:56 PM
One comment about the 8th Armyset, the handle the bren gunners lifting the weapon with isnít a carrying handle but the barrel change handle. Whilst thatís not say it couldnít or wouldnít be carried by this handle on occasion it wasnít the approved way. More importantly the weapon is imbalanced when carrying it this way. With all the weight towards the rear of the weapon, the centre of balance is some way behind the handle. Picking it up by the handle would cause it to drop heavily toward the butt and would be quite uncomfortable . The straight position the figure is holding the weapon in would therefore require a fair amount of effort on behalf of the man and place a corresponding amount of stress on the handle. Iím sure the weapon was commonly picked up by the handle before being transferred into a more comfortable position but the butt needs to show a fair bit more droop but to be truly realistic. Sorry if this sounds a bit pedantic of me or over picky!!
FEB 11, 2008 - 03:57 PM
I carried the Bren a fair bit when I was in the Irish Reserves during the seventies and I don't remember any problems carrying the Bren by the handle. In all the schematics I've seen it is actually called the carrying handle. The MAG GPMG's barrel was much easier to disconnect IIRC. The butt of the Bren should be resting on the ground with the DML figure. Admittedly it is easier to carry this way
FEB 11, 2008 - 04:27 PM
Pat Iíll defer to your greater knowledge but in my defence Iíve seen it referred to as a barrel change handle in places. The first photo shows what I mean about the drop of the butt though.
FEB 11, 2008 - 04:45 PM
Not to forget the 'round the neck' strap frequently attached to the bren for ease of carrying. Chas
FEB 11, 2008 - 05:13 PM

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  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • British 8th Army Infantry
    British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry
  • 6390 British 8th Army Infantry
    6390 British 8th Army Infantry