Anyone of you see the 1995 tele-movie starring Jim Belushi called “Sahara”? Well in that movie there was a bunch of rag tag soldiers who were defending a well in the middle of the desert against a numerically superior force of German infantry. 500 German soldiers versus nine soldiers from many of the allied nations in the world at that time, most prominently were a Senegalese infantryman, and Aussie Bren Gun soldier, and British young soldier, a Free French soldier and the American Tank Sargent (Belushi). Well I was inspired to watch that movie today when this set arrived on the doorstep from MasterBox – Clearly inspired from the movie (this isn’t a bad thing at all) called “MB 3594 – “Allied Forces, WW II era, North Africa”
Kit type: Styrene injection moulded
Sprues: 1 in tan
Available from: MasterBox Distributors
MB 3594 – “Allied Forces, WW II era, North Africa, desert battles series” comes in the side opening box with as always excellent artwork by Mr Karaschuk. The one sprue in tan contains five figures sculpted by the ever improving Mr A Gagarin. MasterBox is on the rise and especially the faces of their subject have improved greatly in the last few years, let’s see how these figures fare…
The tan sprue is compactly put together in a compartmental way in as much as one figure for every section of the sprue; the free Frenchman (with an option of two heads) is stretched across the middle sprue. Something common to all of these figures is the little bit of clean up you will have to do to each of these figures to get them ready to paint, as there is a few faint seam lines evident, otherwise there is no other fouling or recessions in the plastic – the figures are all moulded quite well – including their equipment which is very well done.
It will be interesting to see if the inspiration stopped at the figures faces or not, I’ll go a bit out of the way and look at each of the figures individually this time as I would like to see them separately and not as a group.
The Sudanese Infantryman is seen in typical shorts and light desert weight tunic with long sleeves, he is wearing short boots with puttees, and the soldier is wearing regulation webbing with separate ammo pouches for his Lee Enfield .303 rifle. The details of the rifle are a bit soft here, which is odd as the other identical rifle on this sprue is well cast – anyway it’s still pretty good.
The soldier’s face is sculpted really well – with the broad nose and high cheekbones prevalent. The Senegalese soldier is wearing a wrap around his head as well.
The Free French soldier who is the next one down has his parts right across the sprue; he has the option for two different heads, one – a bearded head (a bit like captain Haddock style) and a French style 'Kepi’ hat. The alternate head is the more reminiscent of the movie style with slicked back hair. He looks quite good in both instances
The French soldier is wearing gaiters around his short boots as well as short tropical knee high and full length lightweight shirt. He is seen carrying a large pack with sleeping kit included and is carrying a French model MAS Modèle 36 rifle; this looks very nice and is uncommon amongst many infantry kits. He is also seen sporting a large water flask different to the others – this combined with his pouches and rifle is a nice diverse touch to the set. A nice addition and well done for giving him something unique!
The Australian Bren gunner carries with him on his head a traditional A.I.F. slouch hat (and nicely done it is too in shape) and his facial features are quite good. He is seen here having a cigarette (in his right hand) and is wearing shorts and a light long sleeve battle dress.
In addition to the soldier’s galoshes he is wearing over his shin high boots he is carrying the impressive Bren gun with ammunition pouches moulded separately to go around his belt. The Bren is well rendered and has the option of an open or closed mount. Nice to see an Aussie in there!!
The young British Infantryman from the movie is seen here wearing his traditional “Tommie” Mk.II British style helmet and a face that could be seen as younger than the others, MasterBox and Mr Gagarin are indeed coming along with their faces!
The “Tommie” is seen wearing typical North African battle dress with a long sleeve shirt and shorts and with equipment like extra ammo and a water bottle included as well as a Lee Enfield SMILE .303 rifle complete with bayonet. The soldier is seen standing leaning slightly to the right.
Lastly the American tank Sargent is seen wearing a tanker’s helmet or indeed helmetless, he has a resemblance to Jim Belushi from the film but could be any other soldier in the army really. Congratulations on the sculptor for making more of a passing resemblance though.
The tanker is wearing long pants and a t-shirt (sweat optional in this case) and is seen in a pose with his hand on his hip and the right hand resting on his .45 holster. The standard US water bottle and pouches are there as well as a nicely sculptured long sleeve shirt that drapes over the tanker’s left shoulder
MasterBox have again come out with something – although borrowed – completely unique - you could imagine these figures as in the movie with their tank in the ruins by the well or planted separately in a larger West African diorama with many other nations. Well done on the difference of equipment and the weapons and choices of head for the Frenchman. These is a little clean up but that is to be expected on an injection moulded kit – top stuff again MasterBox!
Many thanks to the guys at MasterBox for this kit to review
Here are some of the figures made up at the MasterBox site