by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
IntroductionTamiya announced the release of this new figures set at the same time as their 1:32 scale Spitfire Mk.IX kit so it is not a surprise that it didn't receive the same media attention as its bigger brother. However it didn't go unnoticed amongst the 1:48 scale builders, especially those who like carrier based aircraft subjects. Of course, it is not the first time that Tamiya has released a figure set (there are many in their 1:48 scale armor range for example) but lately the Japanese manufacturer has had the habit of reboxing the excellent figures made by ICM. Is it the case this time?
The KitTamiya's U.S. Navy Pilots w/"Moto-Tug" set comes in their standard top opening cardboard box. It consists of two grey plastic sprues and an instruction sheet.
With what is provided on the two plastic trees, you can assemble three crew members (two carrying an ammunition box and one Moto-Tug driver) and six pilots (three knelt on the carrier deck, two standing and one to be placed into the cockpit of an aircraft). The poses of the plastic figures are the same as on the box cover so the latter will represent a good painting reference. Included as well are an ammo box, two plotting boards, separate ordnance guns with holsters and the Moto-Tug. The latter isn't all new as it was included in a special boxing of Tamiya's F4U-1D Corsair kit (see accompanying photo) but is nevertheless a very welcome addition to this figures set.
The overall moulding quality is very good. The figures are all molded in several pieces and must be assembled prior to painting. Some are made of five parts but other of up to nine! The Moto-Tug is a little kit in itself and will be easy and fast to build as it is only composed of approx. 20 parts. Aircraft towing bars are included as well.
While it is written nowhere on the box or on the instructions this time, I'm pretty confident that the figures have been designed and produced by ICM. "Tamiya" is written on the sprue though, so I suppose they won't be released under the Ukrainian label in the future but will remain exclusive to the Japanese manufacturer.
The instruction are printed in black and white on a small sheet of paper. One side is dedicated to the assembly and painting of the figures while the other side covers the assembly and painting of the Moto-Tug. Two maps have been printed on the instructions and are supposed to be cut out and glued to the plotting board. However they are unusable because the printing is not very precise. Too bad Tamiya didn't place a color version on the side of the box or, even better, include them as small decals.
ConclusionThis is a nice and interesting figures set, especially with the Moto-Tug included. With what is provided in the box it will represent a very good basis for an U.S. WWII carrier based aircraft diorama. Highly recommended!
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