Built Review
France 1944
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


From Master Box (MB) comes another nifty set of figures that is more or less a diorama, or at least a vignette, in a box. This particular offering includes three US paratroopers, a small child, a young woman, a nun, a telega, or wain, style farm wagon, and the horses to pull it. Let’s give credit to MasterBox for their continuing efforts to make available more and more figures of civilians in styrene.


The kit comes packaged in the end flap style box favored by MB, although I wish they would convert to the 2 part box which seems much sturdier. In the box you will be treated to three generous sprues of styrene delight with a total of 134 regular parts. As a bonus MB includes two extra figures that they make no mention of until you open the box. Talk about not tooting your own horn, there are other manufacturers that would have that kind of information plastered all over the box art. The front of the box has a very nice illustration by A. Karaschuk while the reverse has the construction and painting guide which is keyed to the Vallejo line of paints. A couple items noticeable in their absence are any decals for the unit and American flag patches for the paratroopers, as well as both the horses reins and slings for the weapons, although the painting and construction guide shows them all in place.

One sprue contains the three US paratroopers as well as the three civilian figures that are depicted in the box art. The paratroopers are well done, with a decent amount of personal equipment. The poses for two of the troopers are arranged to fit with the two civilians, one fellow is holding the small child figure in a pose that is very reminiscent of Pvt. Caparzo from “Saving Private Ryan” moments before he is mortally wounded. Another trooper has an arm around the waist of the young woman in a pose that is meant to portray him leading her to safety. The third paratrooper, I’m guessing an NCO based on the Thompson he is carrying, is shown with a hand up halting the wagon being driven by the nun.

As far as the figures themselves, they are all well done. In particular, the undercuts for both the paratroopers M42 field jacket and the young woman’s skirt are created with separate pieces that do a good job of portraying the look of dynamic clothing. I like the six pocket .30 cal ammo bandoliers that are included for the two troopers. While they are a bit stiff I like the way they are presented, as you can see on the built up figure how well they look, and honestly if I had taken a bit more time to work with them I think I could have made them lay down a bit better.
MB has also done a good job of replicating the canvas reinforcing pads on the knees and elbows of the paratroopers as well. Also, the pockets of the paratroopers are really nice with just enough ‘bulge’ to indicate that the pockets are filled with something. Some of the detail is a bit on the soft side; particularly so with the weapons for each of the figures. As well the weapons have no provision for slings even though they are prominent in the box art and painting guide.

One of the biggest deficiencies in the kit are the paratroopers helmets, the shape is clearly off, almost like a strange amalgam of American and Russian helmets. Most modelers with a decent spares bin will end up replacing these along with some of the other bits of personal kit the paratroopers are carrying.

The second sprue contains the parts to build the wagon, a telega style farm vehicle. The sprue shows it is from kit #3562, but I can’t find that MB ever has released a kit 3562, at least not yet. The telega is very well done, with no knockout marks on either side of any of the pieces. I find that most modelers don’t like the heavy handed wood grain on many kits so MB has rectified the issue by omitting the wood grain completely! Not really a big deal, as it is an easy addition if you desire. The wagon itself appears complete with springs, traces, buckboard, etc.; one prominent piece that is missing is the set of reins, much like the weapons slings they will need to be added with whatever your favorite media is for that sort of thing.

The third sprue contains the horses and the two bonus figures, an older gentleman and a young girl. This is the same sprue that made its first appearance as “Somewhere in Europe”, MB #3538. Both horses have all tack molded in place, with the neck and head attaching at the breastplate which helps to eliminate another of those pesky joins requiring filling. You will also need to add the spreader chains, or at least a spreader bar at the front of the wagon tongue to keep your team of plastic equines in line.


Despite some soft details, poorly rendered helmets, and a few missing bits and bobs with the horse team’s tack and equipment I think this is another versatile set from MB. You can use the figures as part of a vignette or larger diorama in France, 1944, or they can be placed in many other settings, particularly the civilians and wagon which would be appropriate throughout Europe. I for one really appreciate their commitment to producing civilians in 1/35 scale, and this set, with a total of five civilians, goes a long way in that respect. Recommended.
Highs: Dynamic poses for the figures, great addition to the growing number of civilian figures available.
Lows: Poorly rendered helmets, soft details, and no provision for reins, or weapon slings.
Verdict: Recommended. A nice set, but you will want to replace a few items.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3578
  Suggested Retail: $20.99
  Related Link: DragonUSA Item Page
  PUBLISHED: May 07, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Rick Cooper (clovis899)

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2021 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. All rights reserved.


I agree, the helmets are a bit off. They need to sit lower on the head. They look more like Nam era helmets than WWII helmets. But, I still plan on adding this kit to the stash at some point.
MAY 07, 2011 - 03:03 PM
I like the mix of these, creative thinking on their part. I was over having a look at their WIP and they have some interesting sets of figuers coming along, with several development on the softskin front for German cars. No British Staff Cars yet!!!. Good for them, any errors look easily fixed. Al
MAY 10, 2011 - 07:50 AM
The wagon in this is different to the old Hay wagon that's included in the older sets like "Somewhere in Europe" and "Road to the Rear". The one in this set is more akin to the new Miniart one, and is larger. Personally I think it lends itself to more uses than the old hay wagon one.
MAY 20, 2011 - 11:03 PM
This set along with many other M.B. will be ordered by me when my settlement comes in. M.B. has taken the leap others would not. The sets they are releasing are some of the best interactive around if the only ones yet. The mixture of civilian and military is quit nice. To bad other companies missed the boat on this, hint to D.M.L.!! Just look at it this way. In refferance research, how many pics do you see with military passing by or through civilians, or civilians standing on the side of the road. There will always be more civilians about the war zone than soilders, ratio wise, and they have to be somewhere. As a dio/vign builder, I love these sets. The possobilities are wide open as they are or as seperate set ups. You could even set them up as post war national guards helping after a natural disaster, flood/earthquake etc. The added bonus of course is the wagon and horse. Again as is or alone. I feel as if the companies out there are doing a fine job with new releases but M.B. has jumped ahead with these sets. Even if you don't do figures, the wagon can be used as a support in a dio for a a.f.v. or truck passing by. And the helmets can get replaced out of the stash box or if they sit too high as stated, just sand down the head a bit. Heck, what kit doesn't need a tweek here or there. From the M.B. kits I have and the future releases I see, M.B. is in the front with styrene and I will continue to purchase their kits. Good job M.B!
MAY 21, 2011 - 03:32 AM
You've sold me I'll add it to the stash
MAY 21, 2011 - 08:49 AM
Hi I have build most of these figures for a diorama I am building. I am no expert on helmets etc. but I did enjoy building all the figures and will be using the two "bonus" figures in the diorama as well. Just one comment. The nun would not fit onto the wagon! I had to reduce her "veil??" significantly to be able to have her sit on the wagon's seat. However the "veil" never did look natural too me and the pointy parts that I cut off actually makes it look more natural. Of course I might have built it wrong somewhere! I will be posting some photos in the next couple of days in my diorama build: Normandy 1944 Johan
MAY 25, 2011 - 12:26 AM
A Horse, a child, a nun, a women ...well done...
MAY 27, 2011 - 07:36 PM
Just bought this box of goodies of e-bay, really looking forward to doing something with them.
MAY 27, 2011 - 11:26 PM
Yes, I know I'm seven and a half years late, but perhaps future modelers will read this as I did today. These are not M1942 jackets, as it states in the review. They all have the wrong pockets for the unit, time AND location. So just be warned you'll have a little work to do. Otherwise a pretty decent set.
NOV 05, 2018 - 12:57 PM

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