by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
U Models are a French based company who specialise in unusual maritime items and also do a range of 1/35 Naval figures, accessories , full resin kits and upgrade sets.
This is a brief look at one of their accessory sets UM 070 WW2 Royal Navy Life Jackets.
The set comes in a small clear plastic snap box with a paper insert showing the manufactures detail and product details. The items are contained within a small plastic zip bag inside the box.
The set consists of 3 full body life jackets and 3 life belts. Cast in a light cream resin the parts were free from any damage and the detail on the jackets and belts is very good. The jackets are presented in 3 different configurations as are the belts (see appropriate pictures).
Finding any information about the jackets has proved almost impossible so far but both jackets and belts appear to conform to the few reference pictures I have seen. The Ďsquaresí on the jackets are quite pronounced in contrast to when being worn but that may well be the case.
The jackets are shown in the box art as being yellow with the belts a blue colour. I canít confirm this my only recollection of this type of jacket is a child-hood memory and that is of a greyish off white colour and Iíve enclosed a few pictures with that finish but more information may require a re-paint. I have also included a couple of reference pictures of the full body jackets being worn.
Normal precautions apply when working with resin.
The set will add some nice additional detail to any 1/35 scale Royal Navy boat you might have such as the LCM 3, LCVP, LCA or forth coming Vosper MTB.
Both jackets and belts were common on many types of vessels and would work equally well as a dock side accessory.
Unfortunately for me there is a down side and that is the cost. I bought two sets of these several years ago and honestly canít remember what I paid for them but I checked the price on site and currently they sell at 12.50 euro. Now I am all for anyone making a living and appreciate the time, effort and research that goes into any product especially AM ones, but no matter what way I view the price I canít see value for money here.
If these were a specialist one off item like for instance the Resicast Sherman Foul Weather Hoods then I can see there might well be a limited demand. However, these to me are a generic item that has much wider use and as such I would expect both quality and quantity at that price or a price that better reflected the content of the box. For example if the set contained 5 x life jackets and 3 x belts and say cost 8/10 euro I would say brilliant, but unfortunately that is not the case. The price to be fare does include VAT.
I shall leave it to the individual to make up their own mind, cost aside they are a useful and interesting item to add to your build, giving that little bit of extra detail and interest modellers often seek.
Click here for additional images for this review.