Hobby Fan 590 - British Infantry Riding Churchill Tank

 

Resin figures came about to fulfill the need for figures that actually looked like people and not toys in a time when companies like Italeri and Tamiya were the main providers of injection moulded figures. Over the years though companies like MiniArt and Dragon Models have started producing very good quality figures, especially of late, and a few other companies do some very good ones as well ( Trumpeter unfortunately is still not in that category ). So these days a resin figure has to be a notch above the best plastic figure to really justify the premium pricing.

 

These four figures are from Hobbyfan who are essentially AFV Club’s sister company who produce resin figures to AFV Club’s injection moulded plastic kits ( as well as doing resin kits of modern armour ). Pricewise they fall into the middle ground, cheaper than the likes of Warrior and Alpine, a little bit dearer than the likes of Legend – or to put it into comparrison, the per figure cost of this set is about the same as the per kit cost of an older DML figure set, or half a Gen 2 set. Because of the cost I feel that as well as just looking at what is in the kit that I should also address the question “are they worth it”

 

What you get is four figures of British Infantrymen designed to sit on the AFV Club Churchill III ( and presumably a few other Churchills as well ). You also get a large rolled tarp for a bit of stowage. One of the potential pitfalls with resin figures that are sculpted to fit a particular vehicle is that it is often very difficult to adapt them to any other vehicle and you do find that with a couple of these ones to a degree.

 

The mould qaulity is very good, very clean with sharp details and small pour plugs. The arms and heads have small locator pins with corresponding holes to place them in the right position. To be honest while this is a nice touch I do feel that if you’re buying resin figures you should already know where an arm and a head goes.

 

Figure one is designed to sit atop the mantlet and this pose is actually quite good. He comes with a canteen in the frame holder, head and helve carrier, haversack and two Mk.II helmets with netting covers, one of which also has foliage bits attached. He also has two Mk.II ammo pouches which are moulded to him as are the haversack straps which are overly heavy, especially at the top where they should be a lot thinner. His face is well done and includes a moulded on chin strap with the buckle which is well done. He comes with a No.4 Mk.1 rifle which is one of the high points of this set being beautifully cast, though he gets no bayonet.

 

Figure two is designed to lean against the rear of the turret with his legs crossed at the ankle but looks a little awkward to me as if he needs to be more upright. He gets the exact same loadout as number one ( the same equipment moulding actually ) with the same No.4 Mk.1 rifle. Likewise his ammo pouches are moulded on and his haversack straps are overly thick. His face is also well done though looks so similar to number one that I had to double check that they weren’t just the same head.

 

Figure three is posed reclining on the fender and is the best pose of the bunch though he does get the same equipment as the other two, the same moulded on ammo pouches, the same nicely done but all too similar face, the same excellent No.4 Mk.1 rifle, and unfortunately the same bulky straps and all the failings listed below.

 

Figure four is the Bren gunner and though pictured on the ground is meant to go on the right fender as on the ground he doesn’t sit flat. With the exception of his weapon he again is pretty much a repeat of the first three when it comes to equipment, face and weaknesses. This time he gets a Mk.II Bren gun rather than the rifle. This, like the rifle, is beautifully cast with the only real minus being that the seperate bipod has the pour plug on the bottom so the bipod is missing the small pointed bits under the feet. He also doesn’t have the Bren gunner’s spare barrel and parts/cleaning kit carrier.

 

The biggest mistake in all four figures, which shows where Hobbyfan haven’t done their homework, is having the haversack straps simply go under their arms rather than through the top of the Mk.II pouch as they should.  The pouches are also too solid and square looking as are the haversacks ( this seems to be a common problem with model manufacturers who seem to think these pouches and packs were solid ). The other big failing is that three of these figures have the soles of their boots visible but none have the hobnails that should be there.

 

Conclusion. While the quality is good these are let down by the lack of some basic attention to detail like the haversack straps and the ammo pouches, and small things like the lack of bayonets, hobnails and bren gun barrel carrier. If you can pick them up cheaply enough then go for it, but overall these don’t offer any better value than any good injection moulded plastic figure set, and less than a good Gen 2 DML set.

Resin figure’s downside is always that they are harder to work with and a lot harder to remodel, so they really need to offer something that is a step above regular plastic kits and these ones really just don’t do that and I suspect will suffer when MiniArt’s tank riders set appears this month. We already have several boring sets of british infantry where everyone has the exact same equipment so this set missed the chance to step above that and offer us some truely unique tommies with some real individuality.

 

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