WWII US Army Infantry GI Set
Reviewed by Steve Zaloga
|Stock Number and Description||Tamiya Item Number 32513 - 1/48 scale WWII US Army Infantry GI Set|
|Media and Contents:||Injection molded parts for 15 figures|
|Advantages:||Welcome addition of figures to this neglected scale; excellent weapons and kit; includes three figures in winter wear.|
|Disadvantages:||Some odd poses; poor heads; detail is a bit soapy|
|Recommendation:||Recommended (with a bit of extra work).|
So far, the rejuvenated 1/48th scale
does not have a wide selection of figures suitable for dioramas as
compared to 1/35th or even 1/72nd scale. Tamiya has not been in the
forefront of military figures. and their 1/35th scale figures have
generally lagged behind in sculpting, poses, detail and variety
compared to Dragon.
I decided to try my hand at a few of the figures from their recent 1/48th US WWII infantry set.
The set consists of figures derived from earlier Tamiya 1/35th figure sets, so the poses will be familiar. This is good and bad. Their earlier 1/35th sets are softly detailed and some of the poses are odd such as the prone rifle grenadier. The selection of tankers is very poor, only two. One is a standing commander figure and the other is the ubiquitous gnome 1/2 figure driver with the stupid grin from all their Sherman kits. (Their British set is much better in this respect). On the positive side, they do include three infantrymen in winter wear from their later and better "Battle of the Bulge-period" Sherman updates. I wanted to do some summer 1944 figures suitable for sticking next to a Sherman, so I chose these four, having already built most of them in 1/35th scale in the past.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Overall, the strong points of these figures are the excellent weapons and added kit such as canteens, and shovels; this is true of the 1/35th scale versions as well. The detail on the figures is be a bit soapy, and this is as much a carry-over from the 1/35th scale originals as from the scale change. The weakest points of the figures are the heads which combine mediocre detail, short necks, and no versatility as far as poses are concerned.
To deal with the detail problems, I resculpted the figures a bit with a Dremel Mini-mite and some small burrs to sharpen and amplify the detail. I lopped off the heads, reattached them to necks made of plastic rod, drilled out the neck cavity, and then reattached them in better poses (sort of "Hornet" in 1/48).
Some of the heads are from the Tamiya British infantry set, which are more recent and so with better facial detail. I added some detail such as buttons, helmet straps, legging lacing, and ears. The figures are painted in acrylic.
In summary, Tamiya's 1/48th scale WWII US Army Infantry GI figures can be turned out into nice little figures, but they take a fair amount of fiddly work to get there.