At the top of most reviews is a small image of the box for the set. Where a set can come in several boxes (such as Airfix or Atlantic) then a common box is shown. If this image is clicked then a larger copy of the image is opened in a separate window.
Beneath the box there are one or more scanned images. These show all the poses in the set, and any other significant pieces such as vehicles etc. Below each piece is a number in brackets, which indicates the quantity of each piece provided in one set. Most of these figures are supplied unpainted, but for some reviews we have painted the figures ourselves, partly because they look better that way, but mainly because we like to paint them and show them off too. Most reviews with our painted figures also have a button below the pictures which will display the same figures unpainted (as painting can distort the actual quality of a figure). Most reviews also have an image of a figure on a sprue here, and when clicked this brings up an image of the original uncut set sprue, with an indication of how many of each sprue can be found in a box.
The next section is the Stats, which shows the following key facts about the set:
- The year that the set was first released. The set may have been released later in some parts of the World.
- The number of figures in a normal set. This is the number of human beings, not the number of pieces. Thus horses, animals, bits of kit etc are not counted, but pieces where two or more people are moulded together will count each person represented - even stretcher cases.
- The number of human poses in a normal set. As with the total number of figures, this is humans only, and again groups moulded as one piece will count as several poses.
- The material used to make the figures, which can be either plastic or resin. When the material is plastic, there is also an indication of the consistency of the plastic, ranging from very soft to very hard. Sets made of polystyrene or similar are always labelled as 'hard', while Polyethyline and other kinds of plastic can vary greatly in consistency.
- The colour of the material in which the set was made. This will include all reissues, including those under licence by other manufacturers. The description of the colour is general rather than going into specifics about shade and so forth.
- Average human height gives an idea of the size of the figures. While all the figures reviewed are roughly 1:72 scale, some are still bigger than others. This value gives the average height in milimetres of all those poses which are standing reasonably straight, and in brackets the actual height in metres that this would represent at true 1:72 scale. For our purposes we define height to be from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head. Those figures in HO or similar scale are still judged in the same way as the rest, so will normally be shown to be small. Next to the figure is a graphic showing whether this height is correct for the subject of the set. As human height has varied through history the ideal height will vary between sets. Move the mouse over this graphic for an explanation.
The main body of the review gives a commentary on the set. This can pretty much include anything the reviewer wants to include, but will mostly be concerned with all the particularly good and/or bad points as well as a general impression. When compiling a review, the following points are considered:
- History or story of the set
- General impression of the set
- Number of poses
- Variety of poses
- Suitability of poses for the subject
- Anatomical accuracy
- Accuracy in uniform and equipment
- Level of detail
- Quality of sculpting
- Amount of flash or mould imperfections
- Usefulness for wargamers, diorama builders etc.
- Comparison with similar sets from other manufacturers
- Whether chosen subject is new or already well supplied
The ratings section gives a quick summary of the various aspects of the set. Each rating has a maximum of 10 points, with 0 being absolutely dreadful and 10 being perfect or as close as you're likely to get.
- Historical Accuracy covers the accuracy of the uniform and equipment, and the suitability of the poses for the subject
- Pose Quality covers how good the variety of poses is, how suitable they are for the subject and also originality in pose selection.
- Pose Number covers the number of appropriate poses included in the set, bearing in mind the subject matter. In broad terms the set will score maximum points if it contains 20+ poses (infantry), 10+ poses (cavalry or artillery), although the actual subject matter is always taken into consideration and scores will depend on how many poses the subject matter might ideally expect.
- Sculpting covers the level of detail attempted, how crisp and well defined that detail is, how anatomically correct the figures are, how natural the poses seem, how well issues of undercutting have been addressed or avoided. In short, all about the skill of the original sculptor.
- Mould Quality covers how well the figures have been moulded - for example air bubbles in the mould can produce holes in the piece, stunted or missing equipment or limbs. Also the amount of flash and other extranneous sprue that needs to be removed from the figures.
Where there are other sets which portray the same or very similar subject the review has a section with links to reviews of those sets.
In some reviews there is a list of books and magazine articles which relate to the subject of the set. This represents the major sources used in compiling the review, although it does not necessarily include all such sources. Where websites have been used as reference they are not included here due to the difficulty of ensuring any such links are kept up to date or removed if the page disappears.
Some of the books in this section have a shortcut link to the corresponding page on Amazon.co.uk where further details can be obtained.
Remember that this web site is all about reviews, which are necessarily dependant on the opinion of the reviewer. You may find that you strongly disagree with some of the opinions or scores. What we have tried to do is give as much information as possible so you can decide what may be worthy of purchase. However, if you intend to buy many copies of a particular set then it would still be wise to buy just one first to ensure it meets your needs.
Finally, where statements have been made as fact we have tried to ensure they are correct. If we have made a mistake, please let us know via the Contact page - we are only human after all and are happy to make corrections.