by: Bob Davis [ ]
This kit comes in MasterBox's typical open end box, with a colour picture of the contents on the front and with instructions and painting guide on the back. There is some very thin and tiny flash on few parts in the kit I was supplied with. Only one part was broken, (sprue B, part #16) and was a clean snap and no problem to fix. B-15 has a stress bend in the middle but is easy to straighten out. The helmets are attached in a way that the sprue gate is over the top lip which can make it hard to file cleanly and keep its shape correct. It would have been better to run the sprue attachment point under it instead, if possible.
Typical break down of figure parts is: 1 head with chin strap, 1 torso, 2 arms and 2 legs. The heads are fine enough for my own needs but some might want to look for aftermarket options. A few have moustaches which look good to me also. We have assorted equipment to add on. The weapons included are 2 holstered revolvers, 3 .303 calibre SMLE (Small Magazine Lee Enfield) rifles in which 2 have bayonets attached, 1 Lewis machine gun with bi-pod and ammo tin attached. No decals are provided for ranks or equipment marking.
The kit consists of 1 officer and 4 enlisted ranks. They are standing in a relaxed pose with the officer indicating an area with his hand.
The clothing they wear depicts autumn and the title, Somme battle period, was fought from July to November in 1916. Both types of pattern gear are shown in use. The 1908 webbing (canvas with leather fittings) which has ammo pouches staggered in rows upward, suspenders (braces), bayonet (1907 17" Wilkinson) with frog (sheath), entrenching tool handle, small haversack. The 1914 one has the same equipment but is made of leather. The difference is the ammo pooches, 2 to a side and carry 75 rounds each and what is an S buckle (snake). Oddly, there are no canteens or entrenching tool heads to complete the kit except for the machine gunner. Also missing is the chest pouch with neck and chest straps for the box respirator. Maybe the hood/goggle type could be carried in the small haversack? The canteens can be sourced from your spares box and are the same as the WW2 kits. The entrenching tool head I am not sure of as the WW2 has the handle inside the pouch. You might be able to carve the handle lump off them.
The officer wears a double breasted great coat with the collar turned up, cavalry trousers (hoppers) and riding boots. He also wears a helmet, Sam brown belt with holster but no shoulder strap. A small haversack is slung over his chest witch would carry personal items or the cloth type hood/goggle gas mask. And of course a walking stick tucked under his right arm.
The enlisted ranks wear time appropriate uniforms but because they wear the sheepskin leather jerkin (front left and right sides and back come as separate parts for definition) you cannot tell if they are pattern 1902 or 1914, which would only differ by pocket size and pleats.
From the box art, figures are from left to right.
Figure #1 is standing supporting a Lewis machine gun by his left hand. He wears wrap around leggings. The S buckle means 1914 leather kit. His jerkin is buttoned up and has the small haversack pouch on his right hip, the entrenching tool handle and bayonet should be attached behind this. A close look shows what appears to be a larger double area for them both but only one tubular section extending from the bottom. You could shave off one if you desire rather easily. Entrenching tool head is provided along with a holster for a revolver and clipped pistol ammo pouch. The Lewis machine gun is 3 parts. Not too bad a casting but there are resin ones available if you want better.
Figure #2 is standing with his rifle over his left shoulder being held by the barrel. The parts description has his rifle with a bayonet attached so it would be better to change rifles with figure #3 or cut it off. He wears 1908 webbing and buttoned up jerkin. The artwork shows a bandaged head but no bandage is on the figures head. He has ankle puttees on. He also has a pouch slung over his right shoulder which appears to be for carrying hand grenades.
Figure #3 is standing with his rifle on the ground held by his right hand. His trousers hang over his B5 ammunition boots, no puttees or leggings. His jerkin is open and kit is not buckled up. 1908 kit is supplied for him. He also carries an ammo container and canvas for the Lewis machine gun in his left hand.
Figure #4 is standing with his rifle slung over his right shoulder. S buckle indicates the 1914 leather pattern. Wrap around leggings are present on him. His jerkin is open but his kit is buckled. On his head is a comforter, a stocking cap usually sent from family, which the helmet fits over. Some artistic touching up and you will be able to hang his helmet from his hand or belt for a different look. The officer was described above.