The opportunity to tag a ride on a tank was very welcome to many a footsore British infantryman in the Second World War, and photos show that a remarkable number of men could be accommodated on some tanks, if somewhat precariously on occasions. Naturally infantry did not engage in a fight while mounted in this way, but when on the move, and lacking the sheer volume of transport available to today’s troops, a tank ride was something of a treat. With the current trend for depicting troops in non-battle situations, this sort of set was perhaps inevitable, and this is one of a series by HaT showing soldiers of several nations in this way.
The poses are, needless to say, mostly of men sitting, so they could just as easily be in some form of lorry or other transport. All are quite relaxed and hold themselves and their weapons in a variety of natural-looking ways which we thought well done. Perhaps the most obvious question is what do they look like when riding a tank, and the answer is pretty good, as demonstrated by these figures riding a Churchill. Also included in the set, and pictured in our second row, are a couple of men kneeling plus two tank crew, both part way through a hatch to one degree or another. Some really nice poses.
All the infantry seem to wear the usual battledress and helmet, some of which are covered with netting etc. Webbing too is standard, with the usual 1937 pattern including front ammunition pouches, haversack ('small pack'), water bottle, light respirator bag, bayonet (where appropriate) and entrenching tool. The helve for the entrenching tool wanders rather over the surface of the carrier when it should always be at the top, but otherwise everything here is accurately done. The uniform and all the kit here is perfectly suitable (the light respirator being issued from 1943 onwards).
All but two of the weapons on show here are rifles, which sometimes want for detail as they are held at an angle which the mould finds difficult to reach. The other two weapons are a Bren gun and what looks like a Sten. The Bren is well done but the Sten is a bit more vague and has a rod stock that protrudes directly behind the barrel rather than at an angle to it.
The two tank crew both wear berets and the head-and-shoulders-only individual also has goggles. Naturally there is not much to see in terms of uniform on this part-figure, but the other wears a tanker oversuit with details on the legs omitted as the figure is intended to be perched in a hatchway. This pose looks peculiar when seen in isolation as it is here, but looks fine on a tank.
The sculpting of these figures is pretty good but nothing special. Detail is there and clear enough, and the proportions are fine. There is a small amount of extra plastic in places - a consequence of the natural poses chosen - but there is also a moderate amount of flash in some areas. However a little trimming will resolve that, and overall the figures are quite pleasing.
As we have said, modelling troops on the march like this is becoming very common, and these are particularly nicely posed figures. This set offers something new to those looking to depict a column on the move, and is an interesting way to enliven and decorate tank models. This is a very welcome and appealing addition to the range of World War II Brit infantry already available.