British Paratroopers with Small Motorcycle
|Stock Number and Description||Tamiya Kit No. 35337 - British Paratroopers with Small Motorcycle|
|Media and Contents:||132 grey plastic parts; two small photo-etched frets|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Good level of detail; includes four figures; bikes may be built deployed or folded; includes photo-etched spokes and chains; ideal for standalone scene or a larger diorama.|
The diminutive Welbike was a motor scooter developed by the Excelsior Motor Company in response to a 1943 requirement for a vehicle that could be dropped by parachute. At this time there were no British aircraft capable of carrying a jeep or other motorised transport. The Welbike weighed just 75 lbs and could be folded to fit inside a compact drop container, but it was uncomfortable to ride and it could only carry a single Paratrooper.
Despite its limitations, the Welbike was used during the D-Day invasion and Operation Market Garden. Its two-stroke, two cylinder 98cc engine delivered a range of 90 miles. Beats walking in full battle gear I suppose!
Tamiya has packaged four 1:35 scale WWII British Paratrooper figures in the same box as two Welbikes, although they are coyly referred to in this set simply as “Small Motorcycle”.
Four sprues of grey coloured plastic are supplemented by two small photo-etched frets. Moulding quality is excellent, with no ejector pin marks or other imperfections apparent.
The Welbikes and figures are presented on two identical sprues, each complete with parts for a scooter plus the figure parts. The bikes may be built deployed or folded. Tamiya offers optional heads and arms so that the figures will look suitably different from each other despite being sourced from two basic sets of parts.
The photo-etched fret provides finely detailed spokes for the wheels and drive chains. I believe that this is the first time Tamiya has included fine photo-etched detail with a military bike or motorcycle kit, and it is a very welcome development. In 1:35 and smaller, photo-etch is really the only way to accurately depict spokes in scale.
A four-piece plastic jig is provided to press the spokes to the correct shape. The bikes are made up from eleven plastic pieces each, plus six photo-etched parts.
The figures are nicely detailed. Arms, legs, torsos, heads and helmets are all separate. The para helmets do not have camouflage netting. Two of the figures are seated on the bikes and two are standing. All are in casual poses.
Two additional small sprues provide generic British weapons, tools and personal stowage. These include .303 rifles, Bren guns, Sten guns, holstered sidearms, picks, shovels, helmets and more.
Tamiya's 1:35 scale Paratroopers and Wellbikes is a great little set that should fire the imaginations of modellers. There is plenty of potential to use this set as a standalone vignette, or in combination with a vehicle for a larger diorama. Now all we need is an injection moulded 1:35 scale Light Tank Mk.VII Tetrach!
Text and Images by Brett Green
Page Created 5 July, 2014
Page Last Updated 5 July, 2014