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  1. US Tank Crew NW Europe Special Edition (35399) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models During WWII, once the American war machine had been roused to war footing by the cowardly attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, American Tanks were a common sight in Europe, Africa and the Pacific. North West Europe suffers from cold weather in the winter, so after the D-Day landings in the summer of ‘44, the weather began to cool off rapidly in preparation for one the worst winters in a long time. Cold weather gear was the norm during the 44/45 winter, and this also applied to the tankers, as their engines and heaters could only keep them warm whilst inside their vehicle, and most tankers only battened down the hatches when action was expected, to escape from the claustrophobic conditions and any fume leakage, plus the chance to stretch their legs away from the confines of the tank. The Kit Inside the end-opening figure-sized box are five sprues in grey styrene, two containing the figures and three their helmets, weapons and accessories, plus a sheet of instructions for the accessories, and a small decal sheet. The parts for each figure are found in separate areas of the sprue for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. Three of the figures are standing casually, one with his hands in his pockets, and another with a steel helmet and pair of glasses, as if he is checking something out. Of the remaining two, one is standing in the tank leaning on the surround of his hatch, while the other is sitting on a sloped corner of the hull, which looks like the glacis plate of a Sherman, which were the most common US tank during the majority of WWII, although there were plenty of variants to choose from. They are all wearing similar trousers, and have leather spats over their boots, and differ mainly whether they are wearing just their overalls, a short tanker jacket, or hip length BDU jacket in the case of the observer wearing the steel helm with captain’s bars on the front. The accessories include three four-part tanker helmets, eight M1 helmets, four of which are bare, two have fabric covers, and two more with net covers. The accessories include various pistols in and out of holsters, M3 grease-guns with separate sliding stocks, goggles and pouches for ammo. Entrenching tools, two styles of bag, water bottles, hand grenades, bayonets in and out of scabbards complete the range of accessories available to personalise the figures. Markings Decals? For a figure set you say? Absolutely, and I couldn’t be happier, as this is a feature that I’ve been longing for from major figure manufacturers for a while. The small decal sheet contains rank and unit insignia, a few stencils for the accessories, and the Captain’s bars for the helmeted figure. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A highly detailed set of figures to crew your latest WWII US AFV, and the addition of decals to the package make the offering even better than usual. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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