by: Pat McGrath [ ]
While at long last we are getting plastic figures of British/Commonwealth, to date I'm aware of only one figure in plastic representing an AFV Crew man wearing the "Pixie Suit" in the DML VC Firefly, so this set from Resicast is a welcome release and should find a home on any tank or Armoured Car in British, Polish or Commonwealth use in Europe.
The set of three figures comes in a ziplock bag with a card insert showing the finished and painted figures. The figures themselves are contained in separate smaller ziplock bags. Cast in a light grey/green resin the set consists of two half figures and one quarter figure.
The Pixie Suit:
The pixie suit was a lined, buff/tan colored one piece cold weather overall suit issued to AFV crews. Despite being heavy to wear it was very popular with the troops. It had seven external pockets and also had two full length zips running down the front and along each leg allowing easy removal, and also easy access to wounds if need be. It came with a detachable hood. There is a good series of colour photos from November 44 showing a tank crew dressed in Pixie suits on the Imperial War Museum website-the photo reference numbers are TR 2566, TR 2568, TR 2570 and TR 2571.
The first figure represents a tank commander wearing the AFV Crew helmet over his headphones and holding a microphone in his right hand. His left hand is posed as if resting on the turret top. He is cast in four parts; the head, two arms and the torso. The torso ends just where the head of the figures femur would be. A large casting plug is attached to the end of the torso, but to my mind there is no need to remove this and it may even help in mounting the figure. He wears the Pixie suit and has a web belt and holster worn gunslinger fashion, with only the top of the pistol grip showing on his right hip.
The details, folds, and seams of the Pixie Suit are well done and it is gathered together realistically at the front by the web belt. Around his neck the figure wears a face veil / kerchief as a scarf. The buckles on the back of the web belt lack the brasses, but I seem to remember that some crew members cut these off as they tended to get caught on fittings in vehicles. I found only one seam line -on the left hip at the web belt, only a few mm long this is easily removed. The head is shown wearing earphones under the AFV crew helmet with goggles mounted on the outside. Modelers will need to add wire leads to the headphones.
The arms are attached to the casting plug at the elbow by a thin sprue and should clean up well. The right hand holds a microphone, and like the earphones this will need a wire lead attached. The left hand has what is either a small casting plug or a small box, this will need to be removed carefully. I test fit both arms and they are a perfect fit.
The second figure is again a half figure representing a crew member wearing a helmet and Pixie suit with his arms folded. This is a two piece figure consisting of a torso with arms moulded integrally, and a separate head. The details are as good as on the commander figure and I could find no seams or flaws.
The right hand is particularly well sculpted. Again the figure wears his pistol belt slung gunslinger fashion, though this time the top of the ammo pouch is visible.I like this figures head, he sports a neat little moustache and there's a lock of hair showing under the front of his helmet.
The third crewman is a quarter figure in two pieces; head and torso. The torso ends mid chest and has a large casting plug. No casting seams on this figure, and again the detail is quite sharp. The figures head wears goggles and at first these seemed rather proud of the nose, but having looked at photos of them in use it seems right. The head is turned slightly to the left.
I'm not overly fond of half figures for tank turrets, but I like these and plan to use them on the DML Hybrid Firefly Ic. They are very well detailed and sharply cast and are suitable for any Commonwealth/British vehicle with hatches.