Thursday, August 14

The Desert Rats are stars of Alpine Miniatures latest releases...and our review today..

Alpine Miniatures gives the callers for some ethnic diversity a chance when they show off their latest two figures in 35th scale – two British Royal Armoured Corps “Desert Rats” in 35th scale – we review them for you today in the news..
Review: Alpine Miniatures 
British RAC AFV Crew #1
1/35th scale
#35178
1 Figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

British RAC AFV Crew #2
1/35th scale
#35179
1 Figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

British RAC AFV Crew Set
#35180
1/35th scale
(2 figures)
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim



Alpine Miniatures -  arguably one of if not the leader in 35th scale figures in the military market. Their use of two head choices to each figure and their dedication to quality has seen them just forge through their tenth birthday in business. We are lucky enough to get to look at a lot of figures on the market and they are one of our firm favourites.


Their choice of figures and the stances they have combined with the quality of research in the clothing and equipment of the figures is one reason for their success - another is that they seem to have the market cornered on German Elite soldiers of WWII.
Most of the Alpine line shows Aryans in abundance almost 10/1 - SS, tank and Paratroopers in WWII are all prevalent and some people do have a bit of a go at their German bias in figure choices - but the fact is the Germans sell a lot more and get more attention. When the rare US and British soldiers (rarer are Italians, Soviets and Hungarians) are the subject of release they get almost as much attention as the "Jerries" do.


From memory this is the third set of RAC tankers in the Alpine cannon - we have had #35080 British Armoured Crew Set (2 Figures and Puppy) & 35050 WWII British Tank Crew Set (2 figures) before but these are wearing different equipment and uniforms - nice to see some variation that must have the Brit fans excited.

Today we have a pair of "Desert Rats" Tankers of the British 7th Royal Armoured Corps. Their famous rat emblem on their shoulders and the armoured fist of the tank corps on the black beret is a famous symbol to historians and military buffs alike world wide. 
Our pair of AFV crew are probably applicable to any time after the desert war because of their long sleeves and pants. They would be great for Italian or north-European campaigns. From the D-Day landing to Villers-Bocage to Berlin in 1945 the 7th armoured fought their way across the European continent in Cromwells and Shermans – and all other types of armoured vehicles the mechanized brigades could use – these would be applicable for them all. One thing is common in all of these pictures - the Black Beret and Desert Rat.
The Resin:
These two figures come separately or together in the one little green and clear box Alpine is well known for. Both of the figures are sealed by themselves in a Zip-Loc bag. The grey resin inside doesn't smell too strongly and it is fairly free of any excess material but there are a few little bits of excess you need to scrape off with the back of your hobby knife. Nothing too strenuous. The resin is bubble free on the surfaces and the parts are attached to resin casting blocks which are not in dangerous areas when needing to be cut free.

The two figures are both wearing similar garb but with slight differences in them - just like soldiers would in the army. Let's have a look at them now individually and as a pair...


British RAC AFV Crew #1
1/35th scale
#35178
1 Figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
This first figure represents a Second Lieutenant of the 7th Armoured Division - The “Desert Rats” is seen sporting two different types of headgear choices – one with the "Royal Armoured Corps" beret in black with silver badge on the front facing edge.
The other head choice is the RAC Royal Armoured Corps Helmet with the wireless set head set over it. The wireless “cans” set of is a Bakelite headset with rigid head piece, adjustable ear pieces and web straps. Similar in shape to the dispatch rider’s and Mk III Airborne helmets, the three differing only in their liners. The RAC helmet used the same type of liner as the Mk II general service helmet.
He sports regular British Army, 1940 pattern, khaki wool serge battledress blouse, There is a 7th Armoured Division, black, orange and white Jerboa (the rat) badge at the top of both sleeves and a white and black 'Tank' badge of the Royal Tank Regiment on mid-point of upper right sleeve. 
The arms - notice the thick dispatch rider style gauntlets and desert rats insignia on the shoulders with RAC badge under that..

The pistol of course has a notch on the back of the resin which fits neatly into the body in the lug provided for a secure fit. Notice as well the braid under the arm that meets in the pocket and the pouches on the webbing cloth belt..
He has some field optical glasses hanging from his chest and his hands are covered by thick dispatch rider like gloves. His Webbley revolver is on his left hip attached to his cloth belt an you can see his trousers are gathered at the ankles by galoshes over his boots. The rear lower back is really very well sculpted - see how it pinches and gathers at the belt? Wowzers...

The pants are loose at the legs and tight at the bum while the galoshes on the ankles and tread of he boots "make an impression"
So here he is built up with both head choices on display - firstly the helmet 
And then the black beret of the RAC


On to the second figure...
British RAC AFV Crew #2
1/35th scale
#35179
1 Figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

The contents of this figure - Seven parts with two head choices...

This sergeant in the 7th RAC is seen again with two head choices in the one box. Again the same faces but the choice of the Tank Corps beret in black with silver badge on the front facing edge.

While the other head choice is the RAC Royal Armoured Corps Helmet - this time without the wireless cans but with a chinstrap secured tightly under his jaw.Notice the slightest of clefts in the middle of his chin?
Again this soldier is wearing the battledress of the 7th armoured with emblems of the desert rat on the shoulder and the tank corps on the elbows. The three stripes of the sergeant are clear to see here. 

Again we have a notch in the back of the revolver holster to catch and locate on the lug on the torso. The hands fit neatly into the sleeves. I used thick slow acting superglue to get the right position of the hands to the arms and body.
The self-protection Webbley revolver in it’s holster is here again on the left hip of the pants which sit really baggy until they are captured in his galoshes. The large pockets look to have something in them on the front pocket.

Again you can see here his battledress is held and pinched by his webbing this time as well as it being tucked in at the waist and the galoshes.
He is seen here holding his field glasses in his hands in a pose of either just using them or about to have used them. His hands look pretty good here if you notice them – tendons and bones showing as well as his wedding ring by the looks of it!


Here he is built up - firstly with his helmet


And then the head choice with the RAC beret...


and lastly the pair in one set...
British RAC AFV Crew Set
#35180
1/35th scale
(2 figures)
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
These two go together pretty well as a set – they can be used together in the same setting – I would think just like here as they are leaning against the tank. They are too good looking to bury inside a turret!
This release leaves me hard pressed to choose which i would like more - the Beret's and the short round helmets both look great - one of each would be some people's choice i suppose...
Very similar clothing in battledress, pants and boots but rigged differently with the addition of the x shaped webbing and different body language. This is a lesson in good sculpting here.
I think i like these both better than the earlier two releases from Alpine of British tankers. the faces are delicate, the patches on the arms and details of the folds of the clothing as well as two really naturalistic poses set these two apart. I expect to see them used in some dioramas pretty soon.

A great new set or single figure choice for your British dio..


Adam Norenberg
These two are available as singles or as a pair from Alpine Miniature’s Distributors worldwide

To see what can be done with these figures when painted check these out - painted by Man-Jin Kim they are very nice when finished aren't they?


British RAC AFV Crew #1
1/35
35178
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
 

British RAC AFV Crew #2
1/35
35179
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim


 


British RAC AFV Crew Set
35180
1/35
 (2 figures)
The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim