Thursday, 14 April 2011

Review: Bolt Action Miniatures' Plastic German Infantry 28mm

Action packed box art - "Take that Ivan!"
When, last year, I saw these miniatures previewed over on TMP I was interested.  It was inevitable that the "Plastic Revolution" spread eventually to WW2 and it was no surprise that the first release was German.  At the time of writing they remain the only hard plastic miniatures of their type - PSC's offerings are pending.

After looking at the original promotional photos (now on the rear of the box) I was not greatly impressed.  The miniatures appeared especially "cartoon-like" and the detail soft.  Additionally, I thought the fact that the rifle pouches were moulded onto the bodies was sloppy.   This would require the modeler to carve them off should he wish to depict an Officer, SMG wielder or MG team.  Still I decided I should purchase a set to look them over for myself...

Sprues front and back - you get five in the box.
Now that I have studied the sprues I have a somewhat more favourable impression.  Each of the five main frames contains five bodies wearing open-necked uniforms.  All wear ankle boots and gaiters (thus suitable for 1943 onward) and all but the kneeling figure sport Kar98k pouches on the belt.  You get fourteen arms (seven each of left & right) eight heads and five different sets of personal equipment.  Anyone familiar with the Airfix Multipose sets from the 70s will, at this point, be taking a trip down memory lane! 

The weapons sprues (three included) have a lot of different options ranging from P08 pistol through to a Panzerfaust.  Included are MGs 34 & 42 and ammo box but no cleaning kit pouch.  Similarly, there is an MP43/StG44 assault rifle but no ammo pouches are present.  To me, this appears to be an oversight by BAM - there is certainly plenty of free room on the sprue to include these options.

Also in the box are enough bases to mount all 25 troopers (plus 5 spares)  These are simple circular (25mm) offerings from Renedra.  Slim and with texture on one surface - nicely done.

When it comes to details the mouldings are good, pretty pretty good.  The quality of moulding is excellent as we expect from Renedra.  The clothing is not full of over-played folds, the back packs are realistically individual and the hands not over-large.  The poses are acceptable and with careful arm selection a presentable advancing unit can be created.  The heads are not quite as good as the bodies, looking decidedly "heavy set".  Additionally, something about the stallhelm shape seems wrong.  I cannot pin it down but, to me, they don't look 100% right.  I think this lets the set down somewhat as people tend to focus on this iconic feature above all others.

Weapon and base sprues.
The weapons are beautifully realised being both slender and well detailed.  The only problem may be that they look too small when coupled with the 28mm figures (which have the normal exaggerated proportions)  I should add that the weapons are extremely fragile.  Taking the sprues from the box and then returning them I managed to break a few Kar98k barrels and I am far from ham-fisted!

Overall, this is a very useful set.  It has it's problems but none are insurmountable (apart perhaps from the curved mags for the StG 44)  With a bit of work and careful posing a good looking unit should be achievable.  Personally, I think they are a little over-priced at £20.00 (April 2011) and feel that this places them in competition with some metal ranges that are superior.   However, being plastic they are easier to convert than pewter and will certainly appeal to kitbashers.  Incidentally, trawling online can get you the set at a better price which renders the plastic option more attractive

In a future article I intend to get a few of these cleaned up and assembled to test the versatility.

Scores out of 10 - thoroughly personal ratings explained:

Sculpting - Quality of detail and accuracy
Casting - Mismoulds and flashing
Variety - How comprehensive is the range
Service - Was the seller easy to reach, polite and helpful
Delivery - How long did they take to get to me
Value - Are they a good deal overall

Sculpting:                        7.5/10 
Casting:                            10/10 More outstanding work from Renedra.
Variety of Subject:    */10 Range is new and expanding.
Customer Service:    */10  Bought from a third party.
Delivery Time:            */10 As above.

Value:                                6/10 Based on MSRP - (Mine cost £15 - 7.5/10) 



  1. i seem to remember bam talking about redoing the weapons in a slightly larger size because they came out so fine.

  2. Thanks for the review. I had been considering purchasing these but I agree the price was putting me off as they seemed expensive compared with the offerings of other 28mm plastic manufacturers. It will be interesting to see what Plastic Soldier Company do with their 28mm Germans when they are eventually released - hopefully avoiding some of the errors made with their 28mm Russians - but still giving you twice as many figures for roughly the same price.

  3. Thanks for the good review! I don't know about all those plastics. So far I prefer the metals esp. for ranges I don't need hundreds from...Cheers, Michael