Figures & Dioramas

Reviews of products for scale figures and diorama models.

WWII French Tank Crew

Published: March 14th, 2021     
WWII French Tank Crew
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: ICM

ICM continues to please with their latest figure offering - three French tank crewmen showing off their pride and joy to a couple of typically bedazzled kids. Not surprisingly, the sculpting is first-rate, with distinctive character to every face. As the figures don't come with a lot of equipment, assembly is very straight-forward with no real glitches. A wee bit of putty here and there is definitely called for, especially around the officer's coat tails.

Although the box art shows them gathering around ICM's new FCM-36 French tank, the seated tanker can fit into almost any French tank. The standing figures, of course, are appropriate for just about any vignette you can think of.

Gladiator

Published: March 8th, 2021     
Gladiator
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery - IPMS# 14003
Scale: 1/16
Company: ICM

Quote from "Gladiator", the movie, "Are you not entertained?"

ICM has released this Gladiator kit in 1/16th scale, and just a note that may be interest, ICM also offers a kit of "Roman Centurion, 1st Century, Kit # 16302 and also in 1/16th scale.

The kit includes 44 parts. There is no information to accompany this kit that indicates that this model is modeled after a particular historic figure. There is no mention of such a person and no historical or biographical information is provided. That being the case, you are free to paint the figure as you wish without a concern for precise accuracy.

If, on the other hand, you wish to model a more accurate figure then there are some references that could be useful.

  • Osprey Publications 156 is entitled Early Roman Warrior 753-321 B.C.
  • Osprey Publications 425 is entitled Roman Military Clothing (3) AD 400-640

As is standard practice for ICM, the box is a sturdy cardboard design. The box top fits over the carboard container, keeping it closed and presenting some excellent box art. All parts are contained in a single plastic bag.

The Italian Folgore Parachute Division – Operations in North Africa 1940-43

Published: February 28th, 2021     
The Italian Folgore Parachute Division – Operations in North Africa 1940-43
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo - IPMS# 46363

Casemate Publisher is distributing a book from Helion & Companion Publishers on "The Folgore Parachute Division, Operations in North Africa 1940-43". The author has done extensive research on the topic and each chapter is profusely referenced.

Each chapter describes a very clearly defined period of time of the Division and has the very logical breakdown, as follows:

  • Recruitment and Training
  • Malta
  • Major Operations prior to El Alamein
  • Operation "Lightfoot"
  • Tunisian Campaign, 1943
  • Conclusion: Folgore - An Assessment

It also includes two appendices covering the Order of Battle and a list of recipients of the Gold Medal for Military Valor.

Les Suisses au Service de la France 1715-1820

Published: February 27th, 2021     
Les Suisses au Service de la France 1715-1820
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198
Company: Heimdal

I didn't really know this, but the Swiss have a long and distinguished history of serving as mercenaries in other country's armies, especially France, from as far back as the Late Middle Ages all the way through the Age of Napoleon and beyond. The last vestige of this type of Swiss service remains in the Swiss guards at the Vatican today. In some ways, these mercenaries were the harbingers of today's professional soldiers - men dedicated to a life of arms rather than the temporary civilian levies standard up until that time.

This book by Heimdal studies the history and uniforms of a century of service to the French, starting with the Louis XV and ending with the incredibly colorful period of the Napoleonic Wars. The book is entirely in French, which may prevent one from enjoying the short historical preambles interspersed through the volume, but that's scarcely where the interest in this book lies anyway. What drags you in is the voluminous color panels of uniform after uniform in all their visual riot. This is a true feast for the figure modeler, and if you can't find one idea after another leaping at you out of the pages, you're just not trying hard.

Les Italiens de L’Emperur: Les Armées de la Péninsule Italienne 1800-1815

Published: February 27th, 2021     
Les Italiens de L’Emperur: Les Armées de la Péninsule Italienne 1800-1815
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198
Company: Heimdal

I'll be the first to admit it - I'm getting hooked on these Heimdal uniform books. Any dedicated figure modeler is well aware of the fact that the period roughly 1790 - 1815 constitutes the highlight of colorful uniforms worn by any belligerents in any war, before or since. The development of coal tar dyes led to the creation of a bewildering range of bright colors, almost immediately employed by all the major military powers of the time, as they regarded the quality of their military attire to be a direct reflection of the power and majesty of their particular countries.

Napoleanic uniforms in particular reflected this obsession, with an almost unbelievable range of military costumes. For figure modelers, the fact that almost all of them were based in large part on standard French military garb means that one can, if one chooses, create a incredible array of accurate toy soldiers with uniforms spanning the rainbow.

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