Friday, November 23

MasterBox 35550: 1/35th Scale “Attack!” Review

are known for giving us figure kits with some interesting poses and emotion – they have taken the cake it seems with this release – we couldn't just review it on the sprue – we had to build them – and their horses – for you….

MasterBox 35550: “Attack!”
1/35th Scale 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry 89th Regiment Pennsylvanian Volunteers, Battle of Chancellorsville, May, 2nd, 1863 - American Civil War Series.
Kit No: 35550
Kit type: Injection Moulded (2 sprues in tan)
Figures: Three + three horses
Scale: 1/35
Available from:  MasterBox Stockists Worldwide

MasterBox from the Ukraine are not really the first company I would expect to do cavalry figures from the American Civil War – but their latest kit features three horses with their union soldier riders charging at their southern adversaries in full –dramatic flight. The kit has the longest name I can remember - called (not so succinctly) 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry 89th Regiment Pennsylvanian Volunteers, Battle of Chancellorsville, May, 2nd, 1863. American Civil War Series. “Attack!” This set shows some promise- let’s look inside the box..
Before we start I think I should give a plug to the hard working Mr Karaschuk – he has created one of the most striking box arts I have seen in a long time – he is a good illustrator but has topped himself this time with such a dramatic effort – it makes you want to pull the figures out and make them  - and it made us want to do that – but more on that later…

The two sprues have no instruction sheet to help complete  although they do have numbers on the sprues – instead the instructions are amalgamated into the picture on the back – with arrows pointing to where the parts go. This is also a painting instruction as well – as the painted figures are displayed from both sides – it gives you a good idea what could be done with some time and care to painting these figures. Thankfully the tones are marked in two of the more popular colour shades – Lifecolor and Vallejo – this is really helpful if you already have the colours but aren’t sure.
This kit contains 2 sprues that house includes 3 horses and 3 riders of the Army of the north from the period of the US Civil War.  The sprues are the dark tan we normally associate with MasterBox, there are mould seams and a little flash on the smaller and thinner parts like the stirrup straps – but it is nothing a decent modeller wouldn’t take in his stride and just scrape off. The swords and the stirrup straps are delicate due to their thinness – so take care to not break them.
Included in the sprue are the soldier’s loose equipment – sabres and their scabbards, a pistol for the officer, three rifles and the equipment of the horses as well. Their saddles, saddle bags, swags, water containers, and stirrups – about the only thing that isn’t included are the horses’ reins. These can be made fairly easily with some super-glue coated paper, lead sheet or rolled putty.

Each of the union soldiers wears the short brimmed cap and the dark blue jacket, long pants with a strip and boots. The sergeant is on the horse (stripes clearly visible on his left shoulder) and carries a very nicely detailed union flag that will look great painted up with the details the guys from MasterBox have moulded it with. It curls and flaps in the breeze as he bolts forward on the horse. His pose is an interesting one – he is leaning backwards slightly – as if: 

A/ his horse has been shot out from under him – or
B/ He has just jumped something and is leaning back to balance
You could pose him as either as his horse just needs to be angled in an angle for this to change on the sculpt
The soldier with the sword thrusting forwards – is the officer I think as he is leading the charge and you can place a pistol on his hip to make him the boss if you like.  His right arm is pointing his sword as his left is high in the air steering his charge towards the enemy lines.

The this soldier has an upright pose and is leaning to his right a little as he slashes at an enemy below him he is riding past. He has a strong beard and looks like he is bracing himself to slash away at the enemy in his body language.
These soldiers show a lot of fine detail for injection moulded figures. Clear are the troops’ facial hair and the crossed swords on the soldier’s caps. The buckles and straps around the waist are sharp in detail and the only thing you need to do with them is trim away the seam that most injection moulded figures have and you are ready to paint them. Gluing them together was a breeze with some thin brush on glue and they went together really easily.

The ponies – well these are very nice..

To be more specific – when they go together there are some only very minor seam issues –  around the base of the neck of one of them – but with a little sculpting or sanding this is eliminated. I think the ponies themselves are smallish in size but these breed of horses was not very large in real life - so they are right in size compared to their riders.

It is interesting to make something else than tracks, bikes and cars – and putting these ponies together was actually quite fun!  The seams are in the places of the horse that are usually naturally sunken. The two halves of each side and the neck are the main joints. This gives a natural look to the finished animal as the seams do not cross where they shouldn’t. About the only thing you would add is a US Cavalry branding mark like is shown on the box art – and that only takes a few minutes to do, if indeed you do add it at all.
The poses of the horses are very dramatic – the ears folded back and others forward mimic horses very well as all animal are different. The tail and the mane on each of the horses billow in the wind – details like the mouths with the horses breathing heavy definitely add drama to these animals sculpted here.
 The dramatic poses depicted on the box art are quite striking – and this kit makes a difference from their other kit of a union soldier and his horse looking at tracks!
Sabres drawn, these three soldiers are charging either side of the flag bearer horse who is depicted as having his mount shout out from beneath him – as his horse has buckled at the knees and is just about to go over. This is a really dynamic set and is sure to win fans with more than just civil war enthusiasts. We put them together to show you just how nice they can be before painting even.

Some have already said they are buying this set to convert the horses to Russian Cossack mounts – which figures when you know modellers – but shows how impressed people are with the sculpting of these animals. For those not obsessed with WWII figures this is a really great addition to your modelling bench. I had fun making them, and now all we need is some southern army soldiers getting murdered to go along with them!!

Ohh did I mention they are dirt cheap too? it certainly is a consideration I would make, at around £10 these make a big impact for not much dinero.

A very dramatic and well-conceived and executed set from MasterBox – these guys are getting better all of the time.

Adam Norenberg
Thanks to MasterBox for the review kit