Monday, June 27

Master Details RAF/ Commonwealth Pilot - Mid - Late WWII

Kit no: 32027
Scale: 1/32
Figures:  1
Parts: 14
Material: Soft Resin & White metal
Head Choices:  4
Product Link: Here
Until a few years ago Master Details from the USA was a company with a great future. They produced some excellent pilot figures, add-ons to well-known kits such and the Hasegawa Bf 109 and P-47 kits, as well as many drop tank and weapon sets. These bits not only added to the kits, but made real museum pieces of them. The additions were much sought after with the bad news that the company ceased trading last year. It was a blow to modellers who lost a good supply of quality aftermarket additions.

.....Sometimes though, lightning strikes twice and it appears we have all been lucky, as stepped in and purchased the assets of the company which has been re-launched as MASTER DETAILS. Several kits have been re-issued or re-released. The first completely new release though is a brand new pilot figure, and an excellent starting point for them.

Master Details Kit no:32007 - 1/32 Scale Royal Air Force and British Commonwealth Fighter Pilot from mid to late World War Two. This kit comes in a re-sealable plastic bag complete with colour and black and white instructions, plus 14 pieces. These parts consist of nice and soft (not too soft) grey resin for the torso, legs and four arms, four non-lead white metal heads plus oxygen mask and hose. Above is the "expanded view".

This kit was made specifically for use with late war RAF and empire machines in mind. Really this figure is suited to ETO operations as the pilot has fleece-lined boots and full-length thick flight gear. However if you are specifically after an excellent pilot with tropical or western desert camouflage, Master Details also does them in an earlier release. The four different heads we have in this release are the same as their earlier RAF pilot figure, which is a good thing as they are indeed excellent.
Firstly, one or two words about the resin and the white metal in this kit. The resin cuts away from the casting blocks even easier than plastic styrene. It glues together nicely with super glue and is easily worked on and filed down. The metal parts are amazingly delicately cast with only a minimum of extra metal to clean up and with no "bubbly" surfaces seen anywhere. The heads are moulded, just like a drawing. I was very impressed.

The four heads all have a flat neck joint, so the heads you don't use with this figure are an excellent donation/replacement to any other 1/32 RAF pilots you may have. The pilot heads come in four different variants and here they are in close detail: 

The first, oxygen mask and goggles off

With oxygen mask hanging and goggles on this time

Oxygen mask on but goggles off

Oxygen mask & goggles on

I like them all really, but somehow I think I prefer the detail of the oxygen mask hanging from the face off and the goggles off as well. I like them this way as you can show the life in a pilot's face. Others though like the opposite and like to see everything on. People who aren't as confident at painting faces can "choose their own skill level" if you like. An interesting option as well is the head with the goggles on his face. Purely for the simple fact you can paint the eyes in and then carefully place clear glue or as recommended here on the instruction sheet BSI 20 minute finish cure epoxy to achieve the effect of clear glasses. Master Details have included as well a pattern for the flip-up sun visor for the goggles' glasses which sit on top of the "Type D" flight helmet. This helmet is perfectly replicated down to the straps on the goggles and nicely shaped ear pads.
The "Type E" oxygen mask and hose is nicely cast in two parts here, with a long strap on the mask and lengthy tube on the hose. The option of the oxygen mask hanging from the face is an interesting way to show your figure in that it gives more depth to the pilot, and allows you to show the face as well. Supplied with the mask separately is the oxygen hose in white metal, which is flexible and not brittle (I wouldn't go about moving it a about a lot though).
I found out a massive amount of detail about this pilot's outfit and equipment in the Osprey book Men at Arms 225: Royal Air Force  1939 – 1945 So it's a great place to look if you are interested.

The pilot is always in a seated stance as the legs are in only one position. They have some nice circular notches which help the fixing process. These points anchor the legs in quite snugly and without gaps in the body. There is also some overlap on the leg join, which adds to a smooth non-gappy fit. Starting at the 1936 model boots with fur-lined gap in the centre and the flying officer pants, the legs are sculpted in proper proportion. No chicken legs here!
The torso of the pilot is nicely sculpted as well, with the pilot sitting on the parachute. This 'chute has a casting block below the pilot which took all of half a minute to clean off and as it was under the pilot could not be seen anyway. The seat pack harness and later style life vest are sculpted well over the typical RAF flight officer uniform, of which all of the detail can be seen under the straps and flaps. This figure has more detail than any other RAF pilot I have seen, and the torso is just as impressive as the head parts. This will look great painted and weathered. There is such good depth there it will take paint well.
Lastly the arms come in four different flavours, two each for each side, so you aren't stuck with just the typical "pilot holding the stick" routine as is usual with many figures. There are notches to help position these arms as well. So although the arms cannot be positioned in any way 360 degrees there are options to have the arms up or down. Pretty much wherever they could be in the cockpit.
Here is the pilot figure with his arms in a few different positions with the standard issue heavy gauntlets on. These pictures show two of the head options on the figure as well complete with and without oxygen mask and hose attached.
I have changed my mind now – I like this figure in all of these configurations! As you can tell, I am a bit of a fan of this figure, from the finely cast head and equipment, to the torso with great detail and the arms and legs in perfect proportion, through to the research and care gone into this project. I can recommend this wholly if you need a seated pilot for your RAF/Commonwealth model.

Adam Norenberg

Many thanks to Master Details for the review sample used here.