World War II saw the first serious use of paratroops, with their most famous early action being the capture of Crete by the German Fallschirmjäger in May 1941. This costly triumph discouraged the Germans from planning massed airborne actions in the future, yet its success encouraged the British to develop their own paratroop units, building to a climax with the famous but again costly action at Arnhem in September 1944.
The usual 15 poses of this Esci set include only one that could be described as specific to paratroops, and that is of a man standing wearing his chute and harness, presumably ready to either embark on the plane or jump out of it. The rest of the poses are reasonable, though some seem quite awkward, as in the unconvincing man about to throw a grenade and the strange way in which one man is holding his Sten gun. Nevertheless the fact that they are paratroops means the many prone poses are particularly appropriate here, and if the poses are not great then neither are there any useless ones here.
All are wearing the later-war uniform with Denison smock and rimless helmets. They are fairly light in terms of kit (there are no bayonets or ropes, for example), but most have the standard two front pouches, although here they are rather small and positioned too low down on the waist belt. As might be expected for Esci figures the detail on these is excellent, and is correct in all departments. Though all wear the paratrooper's helmet, not all have applied the netting almost always seen, and some of those who have have yet to insert the bits of hessian or other camouflage. One curiosity with these figures is that every man is wearing his smock with the 'tailpiece' (also called an 'ape tail') passed between his legs and fastened to the front. This arrangement meant the garment stayed put during a jump, but was quite uncomfortable and was always released once the ground had been safely reached.
The usual weaponry to be seen with these troops is on display here, with rifles, Sten 9mm sub-machine guns and Bren light machine guns. One soldier is using a P.I.A.T. ('Projector, Infantry, AntiTank'), but bizarrely Esci have repeated a mistake they made with their very first set, WWII British Soldiers, by giving it a bipod support when it actually rested on a single leg.
So, another Esci set, and another well sculpted product with loads of excellent detail and no flash, but also some silly accuracy errors. A handful of the figures have extra plastic between arms and weapons, but in general this is a well executed collection of figures.