Saturday, May 9

Build review: Gregory (Pappy) Boyington gets immortalized in cream resin by Ultracast

Today we thought we would build up the new Ultracast figure of the 32nd scale WWII USMC Seated Fighter Pilot representing Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. Does this figure represent the man and even past that a USMC pilot from the era very well? Let’s take a look in our review.
Construction Review:
WWII USMC Seated Fighter Pilot
Gregory “Pappy” Boyington

1/32nd scale
Sculpted by Mike Good
designed for the Tamiya Corsair kit.
7 parts in cream resin
$24.95 (CDN Funds) each
Available from Ultracast and their Distributors Worldwide.

Ultracast’s range of 1/32nd scale pilot figures are growing in number and always seem to be up there in quality. We looked at the German mid-late WWII pilot last week on TMN and today we are lucky to have another pilot on the desk. This time a war hero of the “Flying tigers and the US Marines Flying Corps Colonel Gregory (Pappy) Boyington, WW II Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipient with VMF-214.
The Man
IT is often harder to convey the reality of replicating a figure well known than just a nameless person. Risky but rewarding. This sculpt is of one of it not undoubtedly the most colourful and well known Marine Corps' ace. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, commanding officer of VMF-214 or the “Black Sheep” squadron. A popular figure amongst US Navy and Marine Corps enthusiasts. He was a hard-drinking and hard-living man, but by all accounts a hero for his nation but by his own self-assessment "Just name a hero, and I'll prove he's a bum." 
Recognized as the Marine Corps top ace, Boyington volunteered to serve in the fight supporting China as a member of the American Volunteer Group, “The Flying Tigers” where he served skillfull whilst racking up quite a name as “unorthodox” and score for himself.  As an example of how good a pilot he was  his Oct. 17, 1943 Marine Corps Maj. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington and his squadron shoot down eight Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeros. Unfortunately for Boyington he was shot down and captured in 1944 and he spent a year and a half as a Japanese POW.
His exploits and face became well known and highly valuable to the American Propaganda machine during the war. His characteristic cherub like smile is well known and he was photographed a lot during the war and so it is surely with some trepidation that he has been sculpted by Ultracast. The pressure to get him right is understandable.
But someone at Ultracast must like him – because this is the second 32nd scale figure of Boyington that they have commissioned. The 54010 1/32 - WWII USMC Fighter Pilot, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington shows a Boyington out of his plane with his hands on his hips standing up. It looks good and I am sure it was popular. This sculpt however sees Boyington in his natural environment in the flying seat of his Corsair.

Well this kit was designed to fit into the Tamiya Corsair. We have some pictures of that later on in the review – but we thought we would put him together and show you just how good or not he is as a figure and a likeness to the real man

The Figure
The figure comes in seven parts in cream resin. There were no surface bubbles on the resin, although one very small and almost insignificant bubble came up when I removed the thin material from the arm. A light sand and this was gone. Each of the parts where the casting/ pouring block has these attachments but most of these snapped off easily and the clean-up was minimal. 
 The sculpting of this figure was again done by Mr Mike Good. He handles a fair few of Ultracast’s figures and they choose well because he is one of the best sculptors of military figures and he does pilots especially well. It’s great to see more pilots in larger scales.

The figure kit & engineering
Let’s look at the parts now... The kit comes in a zip loc bag with a small cardboard placard with the box art painted figure by Kevin McLaughlin (very nice job Kev) – anyway you notice that as soon as you open the bag a look at the small seven parts that each has a connecting socket to fit into.
The legs are buried deep into the pelvis and sit up slightly so the feet can ride rudder pedals, the arms are placed in the “Throttle and Stick” positions and have sockets in them so you cannot get the placement incorrect and the head fits straight onto the neck joint through another socket. These largely eliminate any gaps you might otherwise have and ease construction to no end.

The clothing
This figure comes complete one head choice of Sr. Boyington who is dressed ready for flight with what may be either a 1092-S or an M-450 helmet with MKII goggles. These are very similar but both are made from canvas cloth and both had hard earphones that protrude from either side with the cabling for the “cans” clearly evident on the sculpt along with details like the stitching on the cloth. The same helmet that Boyington wears in many different photos.
The face of Boyington is probably one of the most important details on this figure. The broad noose, large lipped grin is well captured here as are the details of his wrinkled and thin eyes.  His large-ish chin adds to the mischievous smiling face and together it all adds real life to this sculpt. I think it captures him perfectly. Well done on this minor in size but really important detail.

On his torso this USMC pilot is wearing a long sleeved tropical flight suit, with a US AN-6510 ‘chute over it.  Although there were two types of ‘chute – both on the shoulders and the seat type, many pilots preferred seat-type parachutes because they allowed better freedom of movement when pilots turned their heads and that is what we have here. The naturally encapsuling nature of the chute as it tightly packs over the tropical flight pinches and makes many wrinkles and gatherings that look easy to weather in some great detail.
Underneath the parachute it looks like he is wearing the AV189 "Mae West" Life Preserver which was made by the Firestone R & L Products Company. Further down the body there are two large socket holes on the lower body for the legs to slip straight into. Also the shoulders have recesses and a knob for the arms to secure to. The light pant legs are open to reveal the laces on his officer’s shoes. These are slightly up so they can rest on the aircraft’s rudder pedals.
The two arms that come with the figure are like the rest of the flight suit – very wrinkly in a nicely naturalistic way. The folds of the cloth bend like the rest of the material and the gloves on the hands (leather?) are thick and solid making a little difference in the texture that will be a different shade to the flight suit.
The chin strap I forgot to photograph silly me – but it hangs off the right side of his flight helmet and there are pictures of it attached at the end of the review.

Putting it all together:
The figure went together incredibly easily. The sockets provided make it pretty easy and with some medium thickness CA glue the figure goes together in about 10 minutes. There is a little gap in the joints of the legs which kind of look to me like natural folds and they are well hidden anyway so any perceived problem there is non-existent.
He went together really easily because of the handily positioned and most helpful notches in the arm sockets. The head slips in and out of the neck joint which hides any joint seam 
So there he is all together. The major part of the aim of the figure I suppose was to capture the essence of Boyington and I reckon the sculptor has done it very well here. The resin is great and the engineering of the kit is without any issue. He is a great figure and I am sure he will find a place in many aircraft (not just corsairs from Tamiya) in the near future.

Well done Ultracast.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Ultracast for sending this figure for us to review - he is now available from the Ultracast Website and from their many distributors worldwide

Here he is from images from the Ultracast website - painted up by Kevin McLaughlin, UE. Showing you just how good yours could be with some skill applied and brushwork
You can see here just how well he fits into the Tamiya Corsair kit