The Paratroopers of WW II are amongst some of the most famous, and highest regarded, units of that time, and their battles are some of the most well known of that conflict. The German "Grün Teufel" Fallschirmjäger, the American 82nd "All American" Airborne and 101 "screaming Eagles" Airborne and the British "Red Devils" forged a new elite, who's fighting prowess was only surpassed by their habit of jumping out of perfectly serviceable airplanes...
Monte Casino, Sainte-Mère-Église, Pegasus Bridge and Bastogne are just some of the names that invoke the essence of the Paratrooper: Outnumbered, outgunned, and far behind the lines, but tenaciously holding on to nothing until relieved. The British 1st Airborne Division is probably best known for their desperate struggle in Arnhem and Oosterbeek in September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden. Immortalized in the book and film "A Bridge too Far", Arnhem cemented the reputation of Paratroopers as the toughest soldiers with a 'never give in' attitude.
The figure in this review wears a full battle dress, and can be displayed on its own, or as part of a vignette/diorama, as this figure will work well with two other figures from the series (WF35023 and WF 35024). It comes packed in a small, clear plastic snap close box, and the cream coloured resin parts are secured in a small zip lock bag within. A small insert shows a picture of a painted figure (front and rear), and includes also some details of the company. The picture is of a poor quality, and of not much use as a painting guide.
Torso and Legs:
The figure wears the standard boots with anklets, battle dress trousers with large left hip pocket, para trooper camouflage smock, and standard webbing with two ammo pouches to the front, haversack/backpack on his back, bayonet to his right and canteen to his left, and the entrenching tool at the center. The casting is very good, with no mould seams to clean up or any air holes to fill.
The Denison smock is sculpted with the elasticized cuffs of the first pattern issue smock, and with the 'beaver tail' crotch flap buttoned up at the back as with the second pattern. A prominently sculpted seam at the front appears to indicate a full length zip (which was not introduced until after the war). These various details are not regularly found together on the 1944 era issue smocks, however, the smocks could, and would, be altered by the owners, to improve them as the wished. After the second pattern saw the introduction of straight sleeves with buttoned cuffs, sometimes the tops of socks would be sewn to the cuffs, to make them windproof again.
The folds and creases in the fabric, of both trousers and smock, have been sculpted beautifully, particularly the smock around the waist, where the fabric is gathered in very realistically by the webbing belt. The pockets are properly bulged, to depict them being full, as they would be this early into action, with excellent definition of the flaps.
There is a small amount of flash to be cleaned around the water bottle, and around the handle of the entrenching tool.
The webbing is delicately sculpted, and because all the webbing is cast integral, there are no problems with pouches etc 'floating' on the figure.
The right arm is simply extended fully at shoulder height, with the right hand index finger pointing to the distance. The pour plug is located at the attachment point of the shoulder, and removal and clean up is no problem. The arm fits to the body without the need for filler.
The left arm is cast without the left hand, and also has the pour plug located at the shoulder. Test fitting revealed that a small amount of material under the armpit needed to be removed from the body, to ensure a snug fit. No filler is needed. The left hand is cast integral with the Lee Enfield rifle, to ensure a gap free grip of the hand on the rifle. Both rifle and hand have been sculpted nicely, with particularly nice detail around the bolt area of the rifle. The rest of the rifle's detail is a bit soft though, and the index finger is a bit long. The finger can be cut back simply with a sharp knife, but care must be taken not to damage the rifle in the process. I needed to remove a small amount of material from the left pocket of the smock to accommodate the hand properly.
The inclusion of two different heads is always a welcome option, and in the case of British Paratroopers a most useful one, because of the Para's habit of wearing the Maroon Beret in battle, rather than the Para Helmet. One head wears the Para Helmet complete with a camouflage net with hessian strips, and the chinstrap done up. The face (or what you can see of it) has been sculpted reasonably well, complete with an impressive mustache. The other head wears the Maroon Beret with the wings cap badge of the Parachute Regiment. Beautifully sculpted, with excellent facial detail, mine is unfortunately marred by a small air bubble on the chin. This should be easy to fix with some CA glue though.
This is a very nice figure of a Red Devil, and whilst the slightly rigid pose may not suit it best in an action diorama, it is quite suitable as a 'stand alone' figure for somebody who wants to paint a single figure, or it might work well with one of the various available Anti-Tank guns. The detail is excellent, and the casting almost flawless. Highly recommended.
Highs: Sharp and clean cast, beautifully sculpted Para in full battle dress. Lows: Smock seems to include features of different issue patterns, even post war (full length zip). Verdict: Highly recommended.
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