On 20th July, 1936, small Breguet planes started landing in Seville. On board each were 16 men, soldiers of the elite Spanish Foreign Legion, the 'Tercio de Extranjeros', more commonly called 'la Legion'.Over the following few days more arrived, sent to Spain from Morocco to support the latest in a long line of coups in the Mother country. However this coup was different. It was the start of a long and bloody civil war, and for the Nationalists the men of the African Army were the principal force at their disposal.
BUM have long been making products in 1/72 scale plastic, but the figures have mostly been based on old output from other companies. This set represents their first truly original 1/72 scale figure set, so it can be seen as an indicator of things to come.
First impressions are good, with plenty of poses and some useful choices. Both the firing men are firing very high, but the advancing poses are good and the man throwing a grenade looks more believable than many similar poses in other sets. The crawling man is particularly well done, but the prone firing man is not looking where he is aiming, though this is not an easy position to achieve. We thought the man holding his rifle above his head was not particularly useful, and indeed he is holding his weapon in a very strange way. We would have preferred to see this figure replaced with one on the march, as no such pose has been included here. The standing figure is in parade uniform, which is an interesting addition. Finally, the officer is fine except that he is not holding a weapon, though the position of his right hand suggests there may originally have been a pistol in it (BUM say he could be holding a flag).
These men have no tunics, their sleeves are rolled and their shirts are mostly unbuttoned, so they are clearly in hot weather. Their uniform includes the gorillo cap, the open shirt and the granadero trousers with flared thigh and tight calf. Their webbing is of a common pattern, and includes several ammunition pouches, though these are all entirely lacking in detail such as fastenings. The officer is similarly dressed, except that he wears boots, which was a popular choice amongst officers. In all cases the uniform has been correctly done, as has the equipment, although curiously no one has a canteen.
The style of sculpting is very reminiscent of that of Orion figures. The figures are well proportioned and on our review copies there was not a trace of flash or excess plastic. Clothing folds are generally fine, and for the most part detail is OK too, though the ammunition pouches are a notable exception.
The set consists of three identical sprues delivering 36 figures, although we would have preferred to see four sprues delivering a more industry standard 48 figures. However the set does also contain a most interesting extra - a collection of flags, banners and posters from the Civil War. All are appropriate for the Nationalist side, and of course all are in 1/72 scale. This is an interesting accessory that certainly adds to the set, and innovations such as this are to be warmly welcomed.
It is always great to see a new manufacturer on the scene, and as we have explained we are treating BUM as a new manufacturer for our purposes. Their 'first' set is a fine piece of work, opening up a very important conflict that has hitherto been ignored in this hobby, and bodes well for their future output.