Monday, October 14

Review & construction: 1/32nd scale MasterBox “RAF Pilots, WWII Era”

There is STILL a dearth of choices in the 1/32nd scale aircraft scene of figures and accessories and vehicles to go along with your cherished aircraft – all too often they sit forlorn without a touch of life on the scene that a figure can add. If you are loaded you can buy any number of the most excellent resin figures on the market – but why has no model company really embraced figures of this scale on a larger number - Sales?  Difficulty? Or is the market too small? Well MasterBox have taken up the challenge – this is their third kit in 32nd scale - “RAF Pilots, WWII Era.” We build them up for you in our review…

I sprue in grey styrene/ 43 parts
Three figures (+ 1 dog)

This new kit from MasterBox is their third in the 1/32 scale series of aviators. It follows the heralded “Aces” set which featured many different high scorers of the Second world War from Nippon, UK, Germany, France  & the US. It also follows the recently released Luftwaffe pilots kit in 1/32 we noted to you earlier on in our review – we liked that set very much as well..

This kit consists of 4 figures. Three human and their pooch companion – in this case on the box art the dog is an Irish setter.   The artwork deserves a special mention as it is really very good quality – as is the pictures on the back which provide instructions for the assembly and painting of the figures. Colours are given here in both Vallejo and Lifecolor shades (couldn’t add Tamiya could ya?)

There is a sprue map on the back to help you correctly identify the part numbers. These work almost as well – and I say almost – as having numbers on the sprues. The good thing is that a certain figure is left to one part of the sprue – making it an easy construction.
The plastic on offer is grey and soft. Any gaps found can be easily trimmed or melted out of existence by glue. There are seams down the sides of the figures and the dog. These will need to be removed, though they did their best I believe to put them in places which did not obliterate the detail in their removal.
The three RAF fliers are doing some feverish “plane hands” – or maybe “vogue-ing” I don't know – but one is describing the aerial battle to his two comrades who look very happy to hear the story. All are in “Mae West” flotation devices so I would say they are Battle of Britain pilots – though these vests cannot really be left off by the looks of the bare torsos underneath – just showing a flat jacket and shirt collar. That makes these suitable for Battle of Britain/ France fighter sweep/ V1 buster/ Mediterranean theatre duties. Let’s have a look at them all in turn and put them together.

 The Narrator (or superman)
This flyer looks a little lie he is going for a swim or doing a “superman” from top down once assembled – he is the one telling the story with his “planehands” whilst the other two look on intently listening.
He went together easily enough and his face especially looks pretty good which is important in conveying the emotion in the story.
Several parts of his life support system were hard to attach and the bows the hold on his ‘chute under his legs aren’t attached to anything I can see. Apart from that and a little trimming around the neck to make his ‘chute fit well over the shoulders he is a really nice figure.

The fellow with the pipe (or “the smoking man for X-files fans)
This flying officer is seen smoking a pipe whilst listening to the yarn about his mate the “ace of aces” go on.
He actually looks lumpier around the body in these pictures than he does in real life. He doesn’t have much of a neck which isn’t helping his cause though his back looks great and high unlined flying boots suggest a summer campaign. You can make out the RAF logo on his officer’s hat and some nice work has gone on with his life jacket and pipe. A little more work than I have done here will bring this figure up to the standard of his comrades in this set.

The flight Sargent. 
9 holding his leather flight helmet while he listens to his compadre talk up his score .He is the best of these three pilots as he goes together the easiest, his face is sculpted well and the expression of a smile is obvious.
The stripes on his shoulders are visible and will come out well under some careful painting and his flight helmet and “Mae West” look pretty nice. He s also standing off to one side which makes him more appealing as well – more naturalistic.

Bad dog! (Canis lupus familiaris)
I say that because he is in a bit of a state when he comes from the sprue  and he has some fit issues – his face just doesn’t fit flush on the inside of the joint – and trimming the inside of a dog’s face could be a bad look! PETA fears aside I trimmed the insides of his (plastic) skull and applied lots of glue squeezing and holding – and his head came together.
On the cover he is an Irish or “Red” Setter (“sotar rua” in Irish) and this fog looks similar but not so shaggy. It is a shame that you have to pare away at the fur to make him fit together well – but he came out ok in the end. He is holding a parachute (you have to cut open his mouth to make it so as it is moulded shut) for his master in a very sweet pose on the box art. I suppose the mouth is moulded shut to give you the option to re-enact this or not. 

For anyone wanting to find out more about squadron dogs this is a great little blog.. 

So that is all three of them – I put them in a few poses so you can see the dynamic. I am sure you could show them off by themselves or in a pair, with or without the dog.
So for this third in the series of sculpts of 1/32 airmen we again have a solid but not amazing set. All the right equipment is there for three Battle of Britain/ France fighter sweep/ V1 buster/ Mediterranean theatre pilots (or any pilot who needed a “Mae West”) and a dog which adds to the scene. However on price and the fact there are three figures in a box you are on to a winner – a little work and you have a good set on your hands.

Adam Norenberg

The thanks for letting us build & review their kits goes to MasterBox Models.