Barcode: 0 89195 86552 6
Case Pack: 48 Pieces Per Master Carton
Box Size: 6.4" x 10.2" x 1.5"
Following directions from his officer pointing a swagger stick, the British
gunner aimed and fired his Vickers medium machine gun at the German soldiers
advancing across the field. His loader lying on his right fed the weapon with
continuous 250-round belts of .303-inch cartridges until the water in the barrel-cooling
jacket was boiling from the intense heat. The reliable weapon, mounted on a
tripod, sustained high rates of fire as the British soldiers desperately held
off the enemy attack. Dragon has a brand new 1/35 scale figure set that allows
modelers to recreate such a scene from May 1940. The new set represents four
“Tommies” from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), a formation sent to Europe
to dissuade Hitler from attacking Western Europe. After the Phoney War came
to an abrupt end with Germany’s invasion of France and the Low Countries on
10 May, the BEF was forced back until much of the remnant was evacuated from
Dunkirk by early June.
This exciting set fills a glaring gap in the range of plastic figures that are currently available on the market. The 1/35 scale Vickers medium MG is itself a work of art. The weapon sits on a tripod and it’s connected to the condenser container necessary for keeping it cool. Dragon has thoughtfully provided the MG with boxes of ammo, the same bullets as fired by the iconic Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle (Rifle No.1 Mk.III*). Two such SMLE rifles are included in the set. The British figures are sharply molded, and most are wearing the Mk.II steel helmet as well as greatcoats to protect against the night-time chill. The officer, on the other hand, is clad in a raincoat. The four figures of the MG team combine to create a very effective and dramatic vignette as they defend a strongpoint somewhere in France during the confused withdrawal. With these BEF figures, Dragon has greatly expedited the model-maker’s task of producing an early WWII scene.
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6552; British
Expeditionary Force France 1940; 96 parts (83 in grey styrene, 13 etched brass);
pre-order price US$16.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: nicely done set of figures with full coats and excellent new Vickers gun
Disadvantages: use of heavy coats limits usefulness of the set
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Commonwealth fans
In a surprise move DML has now released a nice fresh set of four Commonwealth figures from what appears to be the "Sitzkreig" or "Phony War" period of the BEF deployment to France in 1940. It consists of an officer in a raincoat (NOT trenchcoat) and three "squaddies" in greatcoats manning a Vickers .303 water-cooled machine gun.
The figures follow the DML format – six parts consisting of head, torso, arms and legs – but as all are in winter garb their coat skirts are separate parts. Each skirt consists of three or four parts, all with nicely thinned edges, and all designed to simulate the positions shown on the box art. The officer is kneeling and pointing with a stick, the gunner sits wrapped around the rear trail of the Vickers, and the "other numbers" are prone, one feeding the gun and the other with rifle at the ready to provide cover.
The Vickers gun is of the "smooth" jacketed variety but comes with expansion/feed tank (the hose must be bent to fit by the modeler as it is molded integral with the tank), three ammo cans, a belt of around 50 rounds, and the lock and brace. It has the recoil booster in place but as it is in the middle of the sprue does not come with a clean molded bore. The carrying straps and handles are provided as etched brass components, but they will need annealing to be twisted to shape as shown. A section of what appears to be spare hose (W9) is also provided.
This kit also uses the disappointing Photoshop style artwork which has begun to appear on other DML sets of late. It shows a Universal (“Bren”) Carrier with two soldiers covering the deployed team and appears to combine reworked shots from WWII with reenactors. The back of the box is little help in finishing them (they assume you use GSI Creos Mr Color!) nor is the washed-out color of the figures any help. DML really needs to spend more time on supporting their products.
Overall this is a great new set, but due to the early war winter setting will be of little use other than very early in France, Norway, or some of the operations in Greece.
- Cookie Sewell
British Expeditionary Force - France 1940
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Serial Number: 6552
Following directions from his officer pointing a swagger stick, the British gunner aimed and fired his Vickers medium machine gun at the German soldiers advancing across the field. His loader lying on his right fed the weapon with continuous 250-round belts of .303-inch cartridges until the water in the barrel-cooling jacket was boiling from the intense heat. The reliable weapon, mounted on a tripod, sustained high rates of fire as the British soldiers desperately held off the enemy attack. Dragon has a brand new 1/35 scale figure set that allows modellers to recreate such a scene from May 1940. The new set represents four Tommies from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), a formation sent to Europe to dissuade Hitler from attacking Western Europe. After the Phoney War came to an abrupt end with Germany’s invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10 May, the BEF was forced back until much of the remnant was evacuated from Dunkirk by early June.
After such a sterling introduction from Dragon themselves, does the set live up to expectations? Well the box art doesn't. Most of the time I avoid boxart...since it goes it usually gets discarded once you've built the kit anyway. I'll make an exception in this case...since it really is bad. Elements of it look sort of cut and pasted onto a background. We need Ron Volstad back!
The kit's contents consist of a large grey sprue containing parts to make four
figures. In addition there four other small grey sprues, consisting of weapons
and supplemental body parts. Two small photo-etched brass frets are also included.
All the parts are cleanly moulded with no flash. All four figures are moulded
wearing greatcoats over their battledress, (apart from the Oofficer) and the
lower portions of the greatcoat are provided as separate parts for all four
The first Officer figure is posed pointing and directing fire in the distance.
He has his left arm raised, pointing with a baton, whilst his right arm is partly
raised and is holding binoculars. Although he wears a peaked cap, his helmet
is also hanging from his webbing. The lower portions of his raincoat...beneath
his belt...are provided as four sections which have to be joined around the
waist of the almost completed figure. Dragon have use this system in many previous
figure sets, and although it works as a great way to achieve the necessary undercut
for improved detail, it almost always results in quite large gaps that will
need to be filled. However, careful assembly, and not fixing the upper torso
in place until afterwards, can reduce the size of the gaps that will need to
be filled. His gasmask bag, worn on his front, is moulded integrally with a
scarf that falls in front of it.
The second figure is posed sitting, firing the Vickers machine gun. He too
has his greatcoat lower portions supplied in sections, in this case three. Bothe
arms are raised firing the gun, and he's wearing a steel helmet. The third figure
is of similar construction, and is posed lying down and feeding the ammunition
belt to the machine gun. The fourth figure again is posed in a similar manner,
and of the same construction. Apart from the officer not having a haversack,
all the figures are wearing haversacks on their webbing over their greatcoats,
with gasmask bags on their front.
The weapon sprues supplied hold three Lee-Enfield rifles (Rifle No.1 Mk.III),
plus two bayonets, and on its own sprue, the Vickers machine gun with tripod,
plus condenser, ammunition belt, and two closed ammunition cans plus one open
one. The barrel of the Vickers is not slide moulded and will need to be drilled,
and although there were a few different models of the Vickers, this one doesn't
have the fluted cooling jacket, so I have no idea which model it is? The condenser
is moulded with a length of straight rod attached to it and will need to be
replaced with something a little more 'flexible'?
It's very early-war British...that alone makes it worthwhile, however, it's also a nicely sculpted and moulded set, well thought out. Almost a diorama in a box! And the Vickers is worth it's weight in gold...plastic doesn't weigh that much though! Recommended.
- Vinnie Branigan