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Set 72139

British Paratroopers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2024
Contents 40 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Pale Green, Mustard
Average Height 22.5 mm (= 1.62 m)


On the 22nd of June 1940, the British prime minister Winston Churchill wrote a note stating that he thought Britain should have “…a corps of at least 5,000 paratroops”. At the time Britain had none, but the success of the German airborne forces in the early months of the war had impressed him, and shown the potential of such troops, so organisation and training began shortly afterwards. In August of the following year, with the successful German paratroop attack on Crete still fresh in the mind, the First Parachute Battalion officially came into existence, thereafter seeing action on many occasions, most notably in Operations Overlord and Market Garden.

Early experiments with clothing and kit soon settled down to a rimless paratrooper helmet and a jump smock over battledress, and this is the look they maintained for the rest of the war. Happily this is also the look we find on these figures, with many of the usual refinements that you might expect. Most of the helmets are covered in netting, to which scrim (camouflage) has been applied in the majority of cases. The last pictured man wears the famous para beret rather than a helmet, and certainly the paras did sometimes wear this in preference to the helmet when in action. The Denison smock is largely hidden underneath all the kit and weaponry, but looks good to us, and some look like they still have the ‘tail’ attached between the legs, although on others this is missing (which was also common practice). The battledress trousers with the large pocket on the front left leg are also accurately done, as are the boots and anklets, although the latter are a bit exaggerated in size.

For most of the poses the kit is the standard British Army ’37 pattern web equipment, with the two large ammunition pouches on the front and water bottle in its carrier on the right hip. Most have the usual two-piece entrenching tool on the lower back, and all but one of the figures has their haversack (‘small pack’) strapped to their back in the approved manner (the running man has no haversack at all). Those holding a rifle have their bayonet scabbard too, and there are a few extra ammunition bandoliers – the running rifleman has an extra rifle bandolier, and the first man in row two has one suitable for his Sten. The final figure, with the beret, wears officer’s kit, including a case for binoculars, which is fine, but as so often the manufacturer has decided to make it absolutely clear that this is an officer by making him wear a soft cap and arming him with a pistol, which is not impossible but is a cliché we do not like to see in sets.

The weaponry on show is a nice mix. The first two men are holding ordinary rifles, and one of the mortar crew also has one slung across his back. Four of the poses are armed with a Sten submachine gun, a weapon very well suited to airborne troops. Two are the classic Mark II and the other two the later Mark V, with the forward pistol grip. The kneeling figure holds a Bren gun, and the two prone figures in the bottom row are crewing a 2-inch mortar. This has a barrel length of about 5 mm (36 cm), making it the shortened version often issued to airborne troops. The cardboard tube case for carrying six rounds can be seen lying next to the number two, who is about to put a round down the tube.

Although just eight poses is not a lot for a set, the designer has done a good job of offering a range of weapons and fighting poses. The mortar team and officer clearly mean there are few ordinary soldier poses, but those that there are all look very realistic and nicely dynamic. We particularly liked the walking firing man in the top row, and the mortar crew is a pleasing pairing which is not shown to best advantage in our image, but looks great when paired together as intended. One note of caution however, because the numbers of each pose stated above may represent an ideal rather than the norm. In our examples of this set there was only a single copy of the man with the grenade, and more of the other poses were randomly thrown into the box to make up the numbers. Precisely how many of each pose you may find in each box will probably vary.

The sculpting is as always very nice on these WWII Mars figures, with a complex subject handled very well in terms of detail and action pose. On our samples, the running man had lost part of his rifle sling in all cases, yet elsewhere there is a fair amount of extra flash. Although the poses are not flat, the detail is well maintained everywhere, especially on the two mortar crew, which can be challenging poses to do well.

So apart from the amount of flash there is really nothing to criticise in this small but nicely put together set. Although we are not fans of the officer being given soft headgear and a pistol, he is at least a very nice pose, as are they all, and with great sculpting and a pleasing selection of weapons, this set makes a very commendable addition to the sets of British paras already available.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 10
Mould 7

Further Reading
"British Web Equipment of the Two World Wars" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.32) - Martin Brayley - 9781861267436
"For King and Country" - Schiffer - Harlan Glenn - 9780764307942
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The Paras 1940-84" - Osprey (Elite Series No.1) - Gregor Ferguson - 9780850455731
"The Sten Gun" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.22) - Leroy Thompson - 9781849087599
"The World War II Tommy" - Crowood - Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram - 9781861261908

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