Built Review
Jakrei Miniatures Desert Tanker
Jakrei Miniatures Desert Tanker J3501

by: Pat McGrath [ EXER ]


With the recent Sherman tank models being issued by DML and Tasca and the promise of an early Sherman and an M7 Priest from Academy, as well as a host of other Allied armoured cars on the way from Bronco and others, modellers have been decrying the lack of suitable crews to go with them. Step in Pete Morton with his new line of Jakrei Miniatures, which will concentrate on British and Commonwealth figures.

Historical Background

Armoured troops of the Desert War wore many and varied garments such as sheepskin coats and corduroy trousers and even, in the case of tank commander and poet Keith Douglas, an almost complete Italian Officer's uniform. Many of the pre war cavalry regiments also tried to hold on to their distinctive head dress and a mixture of berets and field service caps were worn by officers. This figure however, wears the more official issue uniform. This consisted of Khaki Drill Shirt and Shorts (Bombay Bloomers) together with long woollen socks and leather ankle boots with cloth puttees. The figure also wears a .38 Enfield No. 2 Mk 1 revolver in the special low slung open topped holster issued to armoured troops. He also wears the black beret which was adopted in 1924 for tank crews and extended to the whole of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940.

The Kit

J3501 is a 1/35 scale figure cast in white metal. The review figure came in a zip lock bag containing the main torso with an inner bag holding the smaller pieces, although I believe in future Jakrei figures will be boxed. J3501 consists of six parts; the main torso, two arms, a head, a holster and a set of binoculars.
The figure is in a relaxed standing pose, legs apart, with his hands behind his back.


This is the first part I check on whenever I get an after-market figure to see whether I need to dip into my box of Hornet replacement heads. Well in this case that box remained firmly shut as the kit head is cleanly cast with nice crisp detail and character, with only the bottom of the neck needing sanding to ensure a good fit to the body.
He does have a slightly serious look on his face but then tank warfare is no laughing matter.


The body and legs come in a single casting. Detail on the web belt, shirt pockets, buckles and buttons etc is very crisp. There were faint seam lines around the feet, which I removed with the back of a craft knife blade.
The bagginess of the Bombay Bloomers is particularly well represented.


The arms are nicely sculpted but need a little sanding and trimming to ensure a good fit. The fit of the hands together behind his back is very good.


Again an area that I feel is sometimes weak on aftermarket figures and I often replace white metal or resin equipment and weapons with plastic versions. No need for that here with the holstered pistol and binoculars very cleanly cast.

Construction and Painting

Construction was fairly straightforward and there were no problems to speak of. I used a file and a No. 11 blade to clean up the remains if the runners and sprue attachment points on the arms on the body. These were minimal and require a very light touch. I used CA glue to join the parts and also to fill the small gaps at the shoulders although I probably could have eliminated these gaps if I had spent more time cleaning the joints.
If, like me, you have a tendency to drop figures during assembly, then I recommend drilling a hole in the figures foot and super gluing in a piece of heavy gauge copper wire. I then fix the wire into a craft knife handle and hold the figure by that. I find that white metal figures are a lot less forgiving when they hit a tiled floor than resin and this trooper had enough character without getting a broken nose. The handle also avoids any oils from your fingers getting on the figure during painting
As a figure painter I belong to the expressionist school and generally the longer I spend on a figure the worse it looks -Calvin Tan or Jorge Alvear Iím not! I primed the figure using a Games Workshop spray can of Skull White and used Vallejo paints for the uniform. I built up washes of 976 Vallejo Buff shaded with Vallejo 921 English Uniform and highlighted with buff mixed with white. I finished with a wash of Windsor and Newton burnt umber over Vallejo buff for the skin tones. For the beret I used black with grey highlights and for the socks and Puttees British Uniform. For this review I didnít get into the nitty gritty of painting the buckles and buttons.


I was very happy with this figure. It went together simply enough and I can see myself buying more to go with Desert projects I have in mind. Swap this figures head for one with a tin hat and give him a closed holster and you have an infantry officer. For an LRDG or SAS trooper either leave him with his beret or use a head with a cap comforter. The Khaki Drill Tropical uniform was also worn in the Far East campaigns so there is a lot of potential with this figure.
Highs: Top marks for choice of Subject. There hasnít been much out there in terms of figures in desert uniforms so heís welcome on that score.
Lows: Not for those who like their figures in a dynamic action pose
Verdict: Good sculpting and clean casting together with a good pose make this a figure with many possibilities
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: J3501
  Suggested Retail: £8.50
  PUBLISHED: Apr 04, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Pat McGrath (exer)

I served three years in the Irish Army. Then I studied fine art for five years. Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII) Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs. Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models

Copyright ©2021 text by Pat McGrath [ EXER ]. All rights reserved.


Hi Pat, Thanks for the informative and interesting review. Just one comment though. You refer to the shorts as Bombay Bloomers. From what I can see the figure wears KD Shorts and not Bombay Bloomers, which are something different. The 'bloomers' were a pattern with legs which turnd and buttoned up at the bottom, to form rather voluminous shorts, but could be turned down over the lower leg and confined when required. Fair enough he may have cut them shorter as was the practice, but then he probably would have needed a second belt to support them... Once again, nice review. Thanks. Rudi
APR 05, 2007 - 01:35 AM
Thanks Rudi, my reference British Eighth Army North Africa 1940-43 by Brian Adair in the old Key Uniform Guide series edited by Brian L Davis for Arms and Armour Press ,which makes no distinction between KD shorts and Bombay Bloomers.
APR 05, 2007 - 02:10 AM
Hi Pat, My reference was Osprey's "The British Army 1939-45(2) ME & Med", where the distinction is made between KD Shorts and 'bloomers'. I'm sure I've also read that they were originally manufactured in India, so I would imagine they would have predominantly have been issued to infantry that were stationed there prior to the outbreak. But the KD shorts themselves also had a fairly full cut, so could also have looked baggy at times. "WWII Infantry in Colour Photographs" by Laurent Mirouze has a very nice picture of an NCO of the 50th Division on page 18/19 in NA in the spring of '42 which shows this well. HTH Rudi
APR 05, 2007 - 02:42 AM
I did wonder about it as from photos there look to be shorts of various styles and cuts but I just put it down to different manufacturers.
APR 05, 2007 - 03:56 AM
Hi Pat, Thanks for the review. Another very useful figure form Jakeri and well pointed out about his versitility. I think Rudi has it right on the shorts. To the best of my knowledge there were several styles and the 'Bombay Bloomers' would have been more common in infantry line regiments whereas KD shorts would have been worn by the tankers. As Rudi says the Osprey book gives some good reference pics on the order of dress for the Middle East and Mediterranean theatre of ops. Al
APR 05, 2007 - 01:02 PM

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