Monday, May 18

Review: Sang Eon Lee captures the emotion of “Life” at Dunkirk 1940

It seem Sang Eon Lee from Life Miniatures has captured the spirit of “The Miracle of Dinkirk” with his new bust sculpt – Let’s have a look at him a little bit closer in our review...
Review: Life Miniatures 'Retreat to Victory'
"Evacuation of British Expeditionary Force
Dunkirk, June 1940"

Sculpted by Sang-Eon Lee
1/10th scale bust in grey resin
Sculpted by Sang-Eon Lee

IT seems Sang Eon Lee’s new inspiration is the sandy beaches of Dunkirk in France – but not any holiday beach like it is now – this is the life or death struggle to get away from the Nazi juggernaut in 1940 WWII.
The beaches of that June in 1940 saw thousands of allied soldiers streaming out to see to get their last chance home in one of the many little ships that were coming from Britain to save these soldiers from imprisonment or maybe death at the hands of the German invaders..
 Indeed sang Eon Lee sculpted this bust to honour the allied soldiers who were rescued from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and 4 June 1940. This young man – (with a striking resemblance to a certain Liverpudlian singer) is seen here in a bust sculpted and cast in light grey resin in 1/10th scale. He is seen waiting for a passage - or maybe he has returned from the transport across the English Channel and safety in “Ol’ Blighty” 
The kit comes in the usual black card box from Life Miniatures – the generous padding inside reveals eight parts of light grey resin. The parts of resin were bubble and release mould agent free on inspection. There were no seams or extra resin to remove except for the stubbs of resin that the parts are poured through.
 For the most part this is an easy removal on the modeller’s behalf. The only buttock clenching moment is the resin stubb on the helmet’s thin edge that takes some care and concentration to remove. Apart from that this kit is not at all as complicated as some busts we have seen recently and he went together in about 15 minutes. A stand in cylindrical resin is also included.
So we know the first influence of this figure was the soldiers of the Dunkirk evacuation – the other inspiration came from further north. Liverpool to be exact.
“I’ve just seen a face”

When first looking at the box art I noticed this was a look alike of someone I thought I knew. On forums people were saying “Isn’t that Macca?” Indeed there was more than a passing resemblance. 
I wrote and email to the sculptor for Life Miniatures, Mr Sang Eon Lee.  He confirmed that he wanted to include Paul’s face in the sculpt – for no other reason than that he wanted to do it. Now this might not be some people’s cup of tea. They might want their figures to be as “unknown” as anyone else in the true lost soldier spirit. I think it’s a brave move, and a risk. But I also reckon it fits into the ethos of this new company. Brining faces to “Life” with some of the better known faces of the last century. 
(Sir) James Paul McCartney MBE was born after the events of this sculpt – on the 18th of June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles (might of heard of them?) They were/are one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop music; his song writing partnership with Lennon is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. After the band's break-up, he pursued a solo career and formed Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine. McCartney has been recognised as one of the most successful composers and performers of all time and now still records solo works and is still relevant and playing music today.

McCartney has been pictured in Military uniform before - his song "Pipes of Peace" where he played both a German and a Empire soldier in the christmas truce of WWI
Now let’s look at resin - we have already described the condition and surface detail of the material – but now we will look closer at each part from the head down – starting at the face.
The face itself is very well sculpted with fine details. The eyebrows (one raised), ears and hair sit over the pinched nose and the ears are tucked into a bandage that is hiding a head wound or knock of some sort. Better symbolizing a battered soldier.
You cannot – unless you live under a rock, get away with these features looking striking like McCartney. All of what I have just described , from the raised eyebrow, the  large almost slanted eyes and the small bump chin just scream a likeness I am not surprised that most people, including blind tests that I had done myself asking people not even into figure modelling. They instantly said “hey isn’t that…” If the sculptor was trying to make it look like Macca well - Mission accomplished!

The torso of this British tommy is typical 1939 battledress. The thick khaki tunic is seen open at the neck. The collar stiff and bent and where the button is open the material is seen to be dual layered just like the real thing. The rest of the battledress is seen in a fairly similar drape with the thick joins at the seams of the arms and the stitching.
Over this heavy battle dress is the British MKVI Gas mask bag on the front of the soldier’s chest. This pinches and pulls at the uniform and the thick layers are seen binding each other in a rather natural way. You can see in the front pack where a cylinder inside the pouch is pulling at the material. The push buttons holding down the lapel of the pack is pulled in the middle. The strap of the rifle on the right shoulder and the elasticated webbing on the helmet strap on the left of the torso offer lots of little nuances of texture make it a potentially very good figure to paint.
The rear of the figure’s torso see some funny indentations which puzzled me. On looking at the packs I found out why they were there…
The roll up sleeping blanket and the small rectangle pack fit neatly into these holes. Both are different so you really cannot get them mixed up. The resin stubs on them are an easy enough removal and the scar left is hidden under the gap in the crevasse nice and neatly. The notch is seen on the “tommy” style helmet as well. This fits into the notch in the front of the torso on the left. You can see the potentially problematic resin pouring stub which in my case proved to be pretty easy to remove. The bonus being that this is on the “Non show” edge on the bottom of the figure as well.
The “show” side of the accessories. The backpack with sewing and straps starring and the roll up sleeping blanket wrinkled and pulled in tightly by the straps around it. These canvas straps give a colour highlight against the darker blanket colour as well.  On the right you can see the “tommy” helmet. Notice the nasty bullet wound? This soldier was VERY lucky it seems as he both dodged a bullet and found safe passage home to “blightly” as well. The other thing that we see here is the barrel section of the .303 Lee Enfield rifle. The typical rifle of the British soldier during the war. Nicely detailed with a small reamed out barrel and delicate sights it fits into this figure perfectly.

You can see where it all goes together here. The notches gel together with just a little super glues and the rifle fits into the hollow trough sculpted into the figure as well. Nice engineering Mr Lee!

How the pack and webbing looked on the soldiers from side on
You can see here how the helmet fits into the torso in the hollow provided and the neck of the soldier fits neatly (without glue if needed) into the neck joint and it hides the seam quite well.
And so here he is together from all angles, stand in place all you need is your own base. He actually stands aloft without a base so the natural balance of the figure is well created.
And from aloft you see the details on the shoulder boards and the hair as well as the bandage on the head, the blankets, packs and clothing. The rifle barrel, sights and extra provided catch for a rifle strap that you can add to the figure all making the whole thing pretty impressive.
Well it’s interesting this one. A multi layered figure that will be great to paint up. The construction is easy and the resin is well sculpted with plenty of detail.

Whether you like the fact that he looks like Paul McCartney or not this is quite a lovely bust. I expect nothing less from Life Miniatures and I am not disappointed, in fact I like the sculpt a LOT and I like it that he looks like the former Beatle.
If you do not want him to look like “the Walrus” then add a moustache, glasses etc. I would not because half of the charm of this sculpt is people saying – “hey doesn’t that look like….”

Great work by Sang Eon Lee. Life Miniatures have not disappointed us and again continue to bring interesting pieces to the market.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Sang Eon Lee for sending us this bust to review -  available from LifeMiniatures’ distributors worldwide. 
Here this sculpt is - and you can see from the work by the box artist and creator Sang Eon Lee just how good this bust can look under a skillful hand and some brush and paint..