The British QF 25pdr Field Gun was undoubtedly one of the finest weapons used during the war. But no weapon is worth much more than scrap metal without the men to employ it to its full potential. With that Bronco Models has followed up their earlier release of the Mk III/IV version of the 25pdr (for the review look here
) with the introduction of the crew to man the gun. Itís always nice when you get the crew from the same manufacturer as the artillery as they more easily seem to match up perfectly.
This is NOT a full review of the Bronco British 25pdr Gun Crew, that has already been well covered by Darren Baker here
. All I really wanted to do was to see how well one of the figures cleaned up, fit together, and what it would like with some paint and some of those decals applied. I choose the figure of the gun detachment commander, normally a sergeant. I know the figure is wearing an officerís coat, but I depicted him with his sergeantís insignia sewn on the coat anyway; because truthfully, I really liked the figure. I donít know if it would have been tolerated for someone in the Ďother ranksí to wear a coat like that or not. If not, the fault is mine alone, no reference was consulted. (Besides, I really think that this guy will be promoted soon based on his ability to point, the most essential skill for any officer!)
Anyway, this wonít be a long review, the pictures tell the story much better than I could. The plastic is just about what you would want, not to brittle and not too soft. You can see him here in his disassembled state as well as assembled. The figure only needed a bit of putty for the overcoat between the bottom of the binocular arm and the top of the belt.
Most of the uniform painting was done with Vallejo brand paints; the primer was Vallejo as well. The colors I used for the base coat were 860 Medium flesh, 921 English Uniform for the overcoat and hat, 843 Cork Brown for the pants, 50/50 mix of 843 Cork Brown and 921 English Uniform for the blouse, and 876 Brown Sand for the gaiters.
I gave it a couple of days to dry thoroughly before I came back for the shading, highlighting, and skin tones; what I consider the real
fun when doing a figure. I use a drop of Liquitex retarder to keep the Vallejo paints from drying out before Iím done. For the shading I used the base color with a few drops of 871 Leather Brown and a touch of 859 Cadmium Maroon for the darkest recesses and to outline under the pockets, around seams, etc. For the pants and blouse I deepened the base color with 921 English Uniform. For the highlights I just used the base color lightened a bit with 860 Medium Flesh and a few of the highest points lightened with 815 Basic Skin Tone. I wanted a splash of color so I used Humbrol 89 Sky Blue for the scarf inside the blouse. For the hat I picked out the leather strap with the Leather Brown. The cap badge I hit with a graphite pencil.
The skin tones were painted with oils using the wipe off method. I mixed up a darkish brown color from Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber with a bit of Ochre paint it on and leave it for about 5 minutes. Then I use a low quality Q-tip (Cotton tipped ear cleaner) which I roll between my fingers to mash down any stray fibers before gently rubbing off as much of the oil paint that I can. After that I simply add dots of Titanium White on the highlight areas and slowly blend them in until the color starts to take on that look of weather-exposed skin. I used a hobby knife to add a spot of white inside the open mouth for a bit of teeth and that was it.
I added the decals for the sergeant from the kit; they are really nice decals I might add. I did need to cut the decal for the right pointing arm to get it to sit right in relationship to the arm. A drop of Solvaset and they looked painted on. I finished off the decals with a drop of 520 Matt Varnish from Vallejo and that was it.
I loved this figure, the fit of the coat was good and the open look of it makes it seem as if it is a resin figure. The crease detail throughout was very nice and made the painting an easy task. Iím hoping that the rest of the crew will look just as nice. If you are debating between this set and some resin figures I would advise you to save yourself a bit of hard-earned money and go with this Bronco offering.