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Coates & Shine

Set 8122

WWI Serbian Infantry

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2006
Contents 48 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

What was to become a World War started in relatively modest terms with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia on July 28th, 1914. During that year Austria tried to invade Serbia three times, and each time they were humiliatingly defeated and expelled by Serbia's army, already battle-hardened after the Balkan wars. However a year later, much weakened by unwise deployments in Albania, the army was unable to resist yet another invasion, and began the long terrible retreat through the mountains where so many died. On reaching the coast they were taken off by British and French ships and regrouped on Corfu, where the rank and file were given British or French uniforms, thus removing the distinctive Serbian look which is portrayed in this set.

We must begin by stating what the pictures make completely obvious - this is not a good looking set of figures. As can be seen they are very crude in shape and the detail is not all it might be. Anatomy and proportions are very poor and the posture is pretty unconvincing. Examples seem unnecessary here, but the grenade man is neither bending his knees nor extending his throwing arm, and exactly what the officer is doing with that short sword is hard to say.

The choice of poses is reasonable, if poorly executed, but the accuracy, where it can be judged, is not a problem. All the men wear the M1908 summer uniform with an unsupported waist belt, three ammunition pouches (one at the back) and coat rolled over the shoulder. They also wear the distinctive Serbian kepi hat which is still to be seen today, and one seems to be wearing the traditional opanki footwear, which was commonly worn instead of boots, but the rest have puttees over more conventional boots. All of this is perfectly normal for the 1914-15 period. So the research is fine, although trying to identify smaller items like the rifles is doomed by the lack of detail there.

While the sculpting won't be winning any awards the casting of the mould is fine, with no flash or other problems. Since all the figures are attached to the sprue through just the base there are no issues with spurs damaging the figures themselves, which is always good to see.

These are easily the ugliest thing to have appeared for some time, and they are best viewed at a distance, or not at all. While they are accurate and well cast, it is hard to get round the poor anatomy and stances. How much that will affect the buying decision will vary between customers, but no one is going to put these horrible figures on show as works of art.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 4
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 2
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War I" - Lorenz - Jonathan North - 9780754823407
"Armies in the Balkans 1914-18" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.356) - Nigel Thomas & Dusan Babac - 9781841761947
"Army Uniforms of World War I" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Andrew Mollo - 9780713708219
"L'Uniforme et les Armes des Soldats de la Guerre 1914-1918 (1)" - Casterman - Liliane and Fred Funcken
"Military Uniforms of the World" - Blandford - Preban Kannik - 9780713704822
"The Serbian Army in the Great War 1914-1918" - Helion & Company - Dusan Babac - 9781910777299
"Uniforms of the World" - New Orchard - Richard Knotel - 9781850791096

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