söndag 4 mars 2012

Plastic Soldier Company, 1/72 WW2 British Infantry review

I recently bought a box of 1/72 scale British Infantry from the Plastic Soldier Company for my long-term Western Europe late ww2 project. My goal is to have enough british and german forces as well as terrain to play almost any scenario I wish. This means I need about a company of infantry per side, a couple of platoons of tanks and various support weapons. Still a long way off, but progressing slow and steady. As I'm a long-time sufferer of GAD -- Gamer's Aquisition Disorder -- I just couldn't resist adding these to the pile.

A sprue of british infantry. Inside each box are three identical sprues, for a total of 66 figures.
Now, the first thing that has to be said about Plastic Soldier Company, is that they are extremely good value for your money. Depending on where you buy it, this box of 66 figures will set you back around £11. From the contents you can assemble a whole platoon of infantry, with enough extra figures to build a lot of command and extra assets. If you scrounge a bit and are careful about what options you use, it's possible to get three platoons out of two boxes. That's your company right there! (I did a breakdown of how to assemble a platoon earlier, using the german box from PSC. Unfortunately it's in Swedish, but if you want to have look it's here.)

As you can see from the sprue about half of the figures need assembly. This can be a bit fiddly although most of the time it's just gluing the rifle and half an arm in place. The fit is good though, so there is no faffing about with various pieces trying to discern what arms go with what body and/or weapon. Most of the figures have the full combat load with backpack, gasmask bag and entrenching tools, although the backpack looks a bit square and thick on some figures.

The first, third and fifth figures are "signature" PSC poses.
The figures are sculpted digitally, which means that they are drawn in a 3D CAD-program. The advantages of digital sculpting are about the same as any other digital design; you can copy and paste ideas and try out different variants, and you don't have to do a physical mould until you are satisfied with your work.

This can however lead to some short-cuts being made, like the same poses used in different sets. This is nothing new, back in the good old analogue sculpting days, you could quite often tell that two figures where variants of the same prototype. So in this set you get some poses which also can be found in the PSC soviet and german sets. Most notable of those are the kneeling and pointing officer as well as the advancing riflemen. The grenade-thrower however has been completely redesigned which is a relief since the pose was horrible in the Soviet and German infantry sets.

The three duplicate poses in the box.
There are also some multiple copies of the same pose, with some variants. The two left figures can be assembled as either carrying a rifle or a bren gun. Thankfully we get two weapons for each figure, so if you need two extra bren guns you can do that. The next two figures are advancing with either a rifle or a Sten submachinegun. Like the previous case you get two weapons to each figure. Last we have a kneeling sniper and a kneeling rifleman. The resemblance is easy to spot, and while the sniper is nice to have there is no choice here since the figures are one piece. I would have preferred another ordinary rifleman since I don't really need three snipers.

Officer, radio operator, medic, two NCO's and an officer with binoculars.
There are some nice touches among the command figures. I like the officer talking into a handset while his radio operator stands at ease beside him. The NCO waving is good, the NCO firing his Sten is similar to figures in the Soviet and German sets, but the pose is tweaked a bit and not identical. I don't know why he's firing up into the air though, maybe it's the recoil kicking in. The medic is so-so, he's nice to have but I don't know what he's doing. At first I though he was a loader for a Bren Gun but then I noticed his armband and medical bag. But I don't know what he's holding, a packet of band-aids? Maybe he's offering a pack of cigerettes to a wounded? The last officer, kneeling with binoculars is identical to a figure in the german pack (but british of course) and very similar to another in the soviet pack. I guess he fills a function though.

A "signature" crouched pose, and the mandatory prone LMG team.
As well as the standing figure with a Bren gun we also get a prone Bren Gun team. The gunner is very nice, which also is the most complicated figure in the box, where you have to glue the right arm with half the gun, the front piece of the gun, the head, and half the left arm together. This makes his pose very natural and allows the Bren gun to be moulded with a proper bipod and excellent details. The loader however is quite poor. The pose is okay, but similar to his soviet and german counterparts he is wearing very little kit; no extra barrel, no bag with ammo, and not even a personal weapon.

That's not excess plastic on the muzzle of the Bren, it's the front sight!
Last we get a casualty. That's a first for PSC, although with the other sets I plan to make a casualty out of the grenade thrower. This one almost seem like a "By jove, we have some space on the sprue left, what should we do with that" product. The pose is based on the loader. While it looks quite comfortable when trying to load a Bren Gun it looks totally unconvincing for a casualty. It almost looks as if he's resting, having fallen asleep or something. The bare head and lack of kit also add to the feeling that this is not a combat casualty.

To sum it all up, I do like this set. As mentioned previously there are 66 figures, and even if we discard the two weak poses (the medic and the causalty incidentally) we are still left with 60 good figures. The details are good and being hard plastic they take paint and glue well. There are two extra heads on each sprue, one bareheaded and one with an officers cap, should you want to convert some figures.

I give this set 4 out of 5. (If I do more reviews I might expand on the scoring a bit...)

6 kommentarer:

  1. Looks promising. Not that I need any Brits, but that is no reason not to buy new toys, is it?

  2. Nice, if only they were early war (but I'm looking into expanding into late war Brits - PSC is working on Churchills...)

  3. Between your blog, IABSM3 and the PSC I am having serious trouble trying to maintain focus on Bag the Hun these days!

    1. Per, focussed hands are the Devils' playground! You need to diversify. Start with these figures for Late War NWE. Soon you will find yourself painting some Germans for them to fight, and Late Germans work for East Front too so you need some Late Soviets for them to fight, and much Soviet Late East stuff works for Barbarossa, so you need some Early Germans and once you have them, it's a skip and a jump to BEF and Frenchies in Adrian helmets!

  4. Thomas: Indeed it isn't.

    Jocke: The old Esci/Italeri is semi-suitable for early war as they don't have a lot of kit, and have Thompsons instead of Stens. Still no true early war stuff in plastic as far as I know.

    Per: I take that as a compliment :-)

  5. Very interesting review. I haven't looked deep into their range, and I have hundreds of brits, but they have very good quality and some interesting poses, not to speak about the good value for money as you say.


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