France 1944

Published: June 2nd, 2011     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Andy Renshaw - IPMS# 35806
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box Ltd
Price: $30.95
Product / Stock #: MB3578
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

When I first saw this as a "work in progress" on Master Box's website it instantly went on the "must have" list. I believe it was the combination of the US Airborne assisting some distressed civilians that caught my eye. This wasn't your normal "in action" or stand-and-point pose, but something unique that had instant diorama possibilities! Toss in the horse cart driven by a nun, and you have a winner with this set of figures.

In the box there are three sprues giving a total of two horses, a cart, and eight figures. Eight? Yes, there are two bonus figures included that are not shown on the box art. That's a total of 147 parts, which makes this probably the largest figure set I've ever seen! The cart and figure sprue are all new, however the sprue with the horses and bonus figures are from #3538 "Somewhere in Europe, 1944". Parts are very cleanly molded with some great detail, but do show the more low-tech molding (but not low-quality) that Master Box uses through some thick sprue gates and seam lines. Having worked with a lot of Master Box figures in the past, these are nothing to be afraid off and a few passes with the file during clean up eliminates the issue.

Instructions are limited to illustrations on the box which show part call-outs and painting instructions. A sprue diagram is included in the box on a single sheet of paper. Though the illustration may be enough for instructions to get everything assembled, it would have been nice to see some additional illustrations and diagrams on tacking up the horses for the cart and the appropriate chains, straps, and reins.

As mentioned there are three US Airborne figures, one armed with a Thomson SMG and the other two with M1 rifles. Detail is a little soft on these items, so if you have any spare Dragon items this might be a good time to use them. A nice touch is the separate bandoliers along with the bottom half of the blouses below the belt are also separate parts. This will add for some nice relief and it would be great if more manufactures would pay such attention to these details. The civilians are also nicely done with the dresses and skirts being separate parts built around the bodies. It will be interesting to see how they fit with the airborne troops, as I foresee some slight tweaking to make sure the fit is snug and there are no unrealistic gaps between the figures. One item that has caught my attention is the quality of the sculpting on the faces, as all look outstanding and will do well with some careful painting.

Overall I am impressed, and am looking forward to building this one. Even if the scene as a whole doesn't appeal to you, the figures themselves could be used in a variety of settings and interactions so it's worth just having in the stash. Many thanks to Dragon USA and IPMS USA for the review sample!

  • Box underside
    Box underside
  • Parts layout on instruction sheet
    Parts layout on instruction sheet
  • Sample sprue
    Sample sprue
  • Sample sprue
    Sample sprue
  • Sample sprue
    Sample sprue
  • Sample sprue
    Sample sprue

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