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Built Review
135
British Paratroopers
British Paratroopers and Bicycles set
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]

Introduction

In WWII airborne operations, the biggest obstacle faced was how to get the airborne troops to a target location quickly and quietly. This was made even worse by the fact that the airborne forces were frequently scattered over a wide area. Birmingham Small Arms corporation (BSA) came up with a simple solution-a bicycle that could be folded into a compact bundle and then quickly deployed on the ground for use. This was a full sized bicycle that had a quick wingnut assembly system, allowing the bike to be folded in half. The pedals were simple round pegs that could easily fit in the spokes of the tires when folded. The handle bars would also fold out of the way. The paratrooper would carry the bike in his hands as he dropped, and was intended to be disposable in combat, but enabled troops to cover over three times the distance that soldiers on foot could cover. While used in D-Day and Market Garden, the introduction of Jeeps reduced the need for the bicycles. Many that were abandoned or lost in combat were later recovered by locals and could be seen in use in France and the Netherlands.

THE KIT

The kit comes in a small, end opening box with artwork depicting two airborne soldiers with their bikes, discussing a map and pointing. While not the most original poses, the artwork does provide a nice painting guide. On the rear of the box is an assembly guide for the figures and on the box sides are pictures of the equipment and a small section showing the camouflage jacket with paint call out. All paints are for Tamiya brand.

Inside the box are three sprues in Tamiya's olive green plastic that is normally seen with Allied releases. One sprue has the two figures. The other two are identical, with the bicycles and accessories for the soldiers. A small instruction sheet is included for assembly of the bicycle.

The "A" sprue has the figures broken down in traditional form of torso, separate legs, separate arms and heads. The first figure can be posed with both hands on the bike handles, or one hand holding a map (included on the bicycle instruction sheet). The other figure can be posed pointing or again with both hands on the handlebars of his bike. Additionally there are two heads for each figure with the option of showing them wearing berets or the airborne helmet.

The first figure is molded with all straps in place but all of his kit separate. The other soldier is molded with ammo pouches in place and a large bandolier slung across his body. The water bottle, entrenching tool and a large backpack are to be added after assembly.

The bicycles come in two main parts, with the frame and wheels in one piece, the other side of the frame and the crank and chain on the other. Pedals, handle bars and a small pouch on the seat are added. If you wish to show the bike in folded mode, the main frame piece must be cut at the joints and a separate, folded frame piece with crank and chain used.

ASSEMBLY

Tamiya figures generally go together very well and these were no exception. The usual seam lines found on all figures were present but can be easily removed. Detail on the figures (and gear)is a bit soft, like the sculptor stopped after roughing in the details, but is still well represented. I opted to clean up along the jacket hemline to show a more realistic depth. Collars, pockets and straps can all be highlighted as well.

Once joined, there were very minimal gaps between parts, and only in a couple of small areas. Fit is very good. I did not add the arms on the first figure as I don't know which pose I will choose, and all of his equipment must be added. I have also not decided on the heads I will use, so these were left off as well.

Assembly of the bikes was very simple, and they went together almost effortlessly (a trademark of Tamiya kits). Again, detail is soft or a little clunky, but I am sure some aftermarket offerings will be available shortly if you need better detail.

There are no decals for the kit. The rifles will need slings made for them, and you will need to source some netting for the helmets if you want to add camouflage.

CONCLUSION

This set is simple, pleasant, and the poses of the figures appear natural. The options for posing the figures is a very nice consideration for modelers. It will make a very simple vignette on its own, or add nicely to a larger diorama setting. It is listed at Tamiya USA for $18.50 but online prices will vary.
SUMMARY
Highs: This is a very nice, simple set, with good fit and simple assembly.
Lows: Detail is a little soft.
Verdict: Great choice for those looking for a nice airborne setting.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35333
  Suggested Retail: $18.50US
  PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.24%

Our Thanks to Tamiya, Inc.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2019 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thank you again, Darren. This set is typical Tamiya-falls together with no problems.
NOV 12, 2013 - 04:48 AM
Interesting pair. Neat little set.
NOV 12, 2013 - 05:12 AM
Hmm, I don't know....some major concerns IMHO are The spokes....maybe OK in the 70s, but today..!? The helmets....don't look the part. I have an original, and I worked with the old Esci set back then...and these do not really qualify! One of the 2 berets is not that convincing either..nor is the strange dangling chin strap. I'm not even talking about "soft" details because these can be remedied by careful painting. All in all, the set resembles their recent MP motorbike which would have been more than welcome 30 years ago, nowadays however Tamiya has to compete with resin figs, other plastic manufacturers, etc ....and they must watch it! Cheers Romain
NOV 12, 2013 - 08:13 AM
The only thing that bothers me is the lack of photo etched spokes which have come to be the norm today.
NOV 12, 2013 - 09:00 AM
My take on Tamiya kits is that they are in their own category-designed to be simpler and often lacking many of the more advanced upgrades in other model kits, they are made for easy assembly and for less demanding modelers. If you read the forums here, Tamiya is usually the first recommendation made for beginners. As such, I think they do fine. I agree that more detail in the set, such as finishing the sculpting of the figures and etch for the bike spokes, chain and hand brakes would be great to see, but those are details I expect from other manufacturers. I doubt Tamiya will ever offer them for a set like this, though Voyager, Aber or some other aftermarket brand may come out with improvements.
NOV 12, 2013 - 11:16 AM
I welcome any Airborne kit, as it is an area truly lacking with manufacturers. More so in fighting poses as the Dragon and Wee Friends resin figures are as close as you get. Again I'm surprised no one has cashed in on the area....! But then some are seeing the light like Bronco with an airborne 6 pounder and airborne jeep around the corner. More Paras the better.
NOV 12, 2013 - 10:52 PM
Agreed!! Listen up you manufacturers!!!!
NOV 12, 2013 - 10:59 PM
Diopark has, or will release, a set of folding Para bicyles with plenty of PE. Great for D-Day Brits and Tamiya Paras.
NOV 13, 2013 - 01:56 AM
Better this than nothing. Agree with you about the Tamiya kits Russ. A bit of T.L.C. and it will perc these up, and we all know how to do that don't we? Still a welcome set and very usefull too.
NOV 13, 2013 - 07:54 AM
   

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