Figures & Dioramas

Reviews of products for scale figures and diorama models.

Men-At-Arms Series: French Naval & Colonial Troops 1872-1914

Published: February 2nd, 2019     
Men-At-Arms Series: French Naval & Colonial Troops 1872-1914
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198

The world's perceptions concerning nationalistic colonialism have virtually reversed over the course of the last century, and the impact of such behavior and its aftermath by mostly European nations on less-developed areas of the world is still being debated today. That being said, for the figure modeler this era in human history is a goldmine of really interesting military uniforms, not least because so many of them combine European and local costumes in truly unique ways.

As far as global colonial powers during the 19th century go, France was certainly in the top three, having footholds throughout most of northern Africa as well as IndoChina and elsewhere. They incorporated large numbers of natives to help keep order in these regions, and in the process created some of these fascinating hybrids of dress. I can't think of any other colonial power of the period who embraced this idea quite so enthusiastically, although perhaps the British are a close second.

The Etruscans 9th - 2nd Centuries BC

Published: January 27th, 2019     
The Etruscans 9th - 2nd Centuries BC
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198

The Etruscans are sometimes regarded as the fore-runners of the later Roman civilization, and they certainly appear to have had enormous influence over the development of that empire, and yet despite this, relatively little is really know today about them. Their language has only ever been partially translated and very little written documentation survives except later tomes by Romans and Greeks which are debatably accurate, to say the least. What is generally believed is that the Etruscans were something of an amalgam culture, having some seafaring antecedents as well as people from the Asian subcontinent and other places (which seems to suggest they were very much a merchant culture with extensive trade routes). However, there are other later writers who claimed they were native to the area of Northern Italy, so go figure. In any case they dominated Northern Italy for around a millennia, and even occupied Rome for a while before going into a steep decline and eventual extinction.

Bundeswehr. German Military Men, Present Day

Published: December 30th, 2018     
Bundeswehr. German Military Men, Present Day
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box Ltd

Over the last few years, Master Box Ltd. has produced numerous figure kits of varying scales and genres. Many of these can be used to enhance automotive or military vehicles, and some, such as their fantasy and sci-fi line, can stand on their own. For this out-of-box review, I will be looking at the Master Box release of Bundeswehr. German Military Men, Present day in 1/35 scale.

The kit includes five full figures, each of which have detailed uniforms and equipment consistent with the era. The poses for each are different enough to distinguish them from each other. Each figure is comprised of 7-13 plastic parts, depending upon the pose and the amount of gear. The basic parts for each include a torso (molded in 1 part), a head, two arms, and two legs. Two of the figures have a hat that is a separate part, while the other 3 have the hat molded onto the head.

USAF Crew Chief - Marshalling

Published: December 29th, 2018     
USAF Crew Chief - Marshalling
Reviewed by: Damon Blair - IPMS# 49062
Scale: 1/32
Company: Videoaviation

VideoAviation.com has come up with another wonderful diorama accessory with this new kit. One of the most important jobs that a crew chief has on the flight line is the safe taxying of aircraft from or to their parking spots. Modern United States Air Force (USAF) crew chiefs wear reflective vests to highlight their visibility to the aircraft's pilot.

This is a four-piece resin kit, with both arms and the head molded separately. The figure comes molded in the "This Marshaller" pose, which is the very first signal that a pilot will get before any taxying or other aircraft movement happens.

Molding is fantastic, with just a minimum of seam lines to clean up. Most of these lines are cleverly hidden in the folds of the uniform, but there are a few that do stand out a bit - but a file makes quick work of them.

I chose to represent myself as an active duty crew chief with this kit. The uniform is molded as a modern USAF uniform, although it is easily backdated to the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) that was the standard during my time in the USAF. An addition to the figure for marshaling large aircraft would be to add orange paddles to the hands.

USAF Crew Chief - Vietnam

Published: December 29th, 2018     
USAF Crew Chief - Vietnam
Reviewed by: Damon Blair - IPMS# 49062
Scale: 1/32
Company: Videoaviation

United States Air Force (USAF) crew chiefs work tirelessly around -the clock to ensure aircraft are available for missions, especially in combat zones. VideoAviation.com has captured this spirit of "Can - do" with their latest offering.

The kit contains 12 parts for two figures and a Vietnam-era flight line fire bottle. The standing figure has doffed his shirt, something that would be quite understandable in the hot tropics combined with constant combat sorties, and aircraft that needed around-the-clock maintenance.

The fit of the parts is excellent, and seams clean up quickly and easily with files. My only problem with fit is with the standing figure, whose arms didn't quite fit properly into place, and required just a touch of putty. My recommendation would be to dry-fit the figures into place on a diorama before gluing the arms into place.

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