We gave Michael a box of the new British & Canadian Army Infantry from Warlord Games to review for us. So, let’s get right into the Review and see what Michael thinks after cracking the box and building some new models!
Warlord Games’ British and Canadian Army Infantry (1943-45) is the latest plastic infantry box set released for Bolt Action and a welcome addition to any Commonwealth player’s collections. Featuring good detail, creative assembly options and great in-game utility, this set is an excellent choice for newcomers and grizzled veterans alike who are looking to play Commonwealth infantry forces fighting the climactic battles of Italy and North-West Europe. In this build review, I will go over the set’s contents, the assembly process, building effective army lists using only the included models, and provide some easy ways to add extra details to these models.
Inside the box are 1 leaflet, 2 decal sheets, 2 sprues of bases and 6 sprues of infantry. The leaflet provides samples of completed models to illustrate the different options players can construct and a numbered layout helpfully identifying the sprue contents. The waterslide decal sheets have markings for the British 3rd Infantry and 3rd Canadian Divisions. The bases are lipped 25mm circles, and come on one full and one partial sprue for a total of 30 bases. There are no large bases included, so players who prefer to model their team weapons on a single large base will have to provide their own. The 6 infantry sprues are all identical, but Warlord Game’s clever modular design and plethora of accessories enables players to build these models into 30 unique figures – more on that later.
The infantry sprues are well designed with an impressive amount of detail and variety for war-gaming miniatures. The bodies are posed naturally with realistic proportions, and the faces have interesting expressions without cartoonish exaggeration. I applaud the decision to sculpt some basic gear, such as Bren magazine pouches and entrenching tools, as part of the bodies. This simplifies assembly and ensures that these details are fitted snugly against the figures. Likewise, all but one of the weapons on the sprue are molded integrally with the arms holding them. These design decisions help players to quickly assemble realistic-looking models with a minimum of modeling effort required.
While all 6 infantry sprues are identical, Warlord Games’ online store claims “that there are a possible 396 variations that can be made BEFORE the consideration of optional heads and additional accessories.” I’m no mathematician, but I certainly felt spoiled for choice during construction. For example, there are 3 different types of helmet, 3 versions of rifle arms in the firing position, 2 types of heads, and even a replacement hand with a revolver that can be grafted onto almost any arm. The bodies are designed with flat shoulder joints and ball socket necks, enabling players to attach arms and heads in almost any desired orientation.
The one downside here is that there are few standalone weapons and arms with which players could create their own poses, as was the case with earlier plastic infantry sets. I figure that this limitation was likely done to simplify construction, and I was able to use some basic modelling skills to create the additional poses I wanted anyway. Still, it would have been nice to have a loose Lee-Enfield rifle and some more non-paired arms to play around with. That being said, I did not come close to running out of combinations and enjoyed playing with different set-ups prior to construction.
Given all these choices, I recommend players familiarize themselves with the options available to them in the Armies of Great Britain and/or Campaign: D-day: Overlord books to ensure they build enough of each type of soldier to field a reinforced platoon. Here is a sample list that I used to guide my build:
This list, which is themed around the Canadian forces assaulting Juno Beach but can easily represent any late-war British force, showcases the versatility of this set. I chose to build one of each of the basic infantry support teams available to a Commonwealth force, such as a medic, sniper and the all-important free artillery observer. I then decided how many soldiers would be equipped with sub-machine guns and light machine guns, and the remainder became riflemen to round out my platoon. I built my figures one sprue at a time to best keep track of which parts went together and which combinations I had already built.
Assembly was largely straightforward from there. A sprue cutter, a hobby knife and styrene cement will be needed to assemble these models. The parts reacted well to the Tamiya Extra-Thin Cement I was using. I chose to glue the heads to the bodies before painting, though some players may prefer to leave them separate for ease of painting. Some gaps occurred between the arms and shoulders on a few models, but this was easily resolved with Tamiya Epoxy Putty.
The mold lines were a more significant problem. Of all the plastic infantry sets I have built from Warlord Games, this one had the most frustrating clean up process I have had yet. My sample had heavy flashing on some figures, but this was easily removed and I did not lose any detail in the process. The mold lines on all the body parts were much more prominent, however, and required careful cleaning with a hobby knife to avoid damaging some important details. The design decision to model arms with weapons attached results in many mold lines that are difficult to remove due to the tight clearances around the arms, hands, weapons and slings. The mold lines on the hands also run across the fingers, and I had to re-carve some definition after removing the mold line. In the end, I left some mold lines in place rather than risk damaging details. For all that frustration, I was ultimately impressed with how these figures came together and only required a few evenings of work to assemble the entire box.
I chose to spend extra time during assembly to add some finer details to these models. These modifications are not necessary to complete these figures and may be more work than the average players wishes to spend when creating their force, but demonstrate the potential for players who wish to add extra details to their models.
I used a pin vice to drill out the barrels of the Bren gun, 2” mortar and PIAT. I also drilled out the solid grips of the observer’s slung Sten to add the trigger and thumb-hole stock.
I then created a medic by carving the binoculars from this arm and replacing it with one of the backpacks to represent a first-aid kit being carried into battle.
Making a sniper was as easy as cutting out a section of the loose shovel’s rounded handle to make the scope and gluing it atop a rifle.
Next, I used some basic kit-bashing to demonstrate how different sets can be combined to create even more possibilities for your miniatures. In this case, I used a spare Thompson sub-machine gun and shotgun from the USMC infantry set along with some extra hands I had in my bit boxes to add some variety and make these two section leaders stand out on the tabletop.
Finally, I scratchbuilt bangalore torpedoes and wire cutters out of various scrap styrene pieces for my demolition team.
This British set has also provided plenty of interesting pieces for my bits box, such as the loose pouches and especially the bare heads that can be used with almost any other plastic infantry set.
I highly recommend this set to any players looking to build a late war Commonwealth force for Bolt Action. The models are well detailed with plenty of options to take advantage of during assembly. Dealing with the mold lines is a bit of a headache, but construction pains are more than offset by the great in-game utility this set provides. These 6 identical sprues of infantry can be easily made into a reinforced platoon of around 500 to 650 points containing most of the infantry and basic support options available to Commonwealth players, which cannot be said about most other nations’ respective plastic infantry sets. This is a great way for players to construct a playable and effective force with a single purchase, and provides a great foundation to later expand upon with additional units.
A big thank you to Sentry Box for providing this review sample. Now that I have built these figures, I am beginning to paint them up as soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Division assaulting Juno Beach in anticipation of the 77th anniversary of D-Day. Stay tuned for a painting guide in the coming weeks!