Bolt Action WW2 Miniatures Review
As always, I like to form a first general opinion of the common characteristics upon opening the little bags. The first thing I noticed when I picked up one of the models, was the nice, flat, perfectly oval base. Then I noticed all the figures shared the same regular base, with same size and shape. I know it may be trivial and of course the quality of the actual mini is what matters most, but it is still a welcome change from the irregularly shaped and increasingly thick solid bases I've been experiencing with other companies and that often require sanding in order to get some stability for the figures. Actually, the solid bases on these are so good you could very well use them for skirmish games without adding a larger base if you wanted. As with most new ranges, casting is good and mould lines are very small. Only the ones on the legs needed a little cleaning (which was very easy). These are cast in white metal, but you already knew that.
Now lets take a closer look at the figures in question. The images show the front and back view of each miniature (click on them for full size).
The first figures are infantry riflemen equipped with Lee Enfield rifles. These figures are suitable for either British or Canadian troops from D-Day onwards. They are also wearing MKIII helmets, complete with foliage and additional mounted items. I don't know for you, but for me there's nothing that quite evokes the feeling of old World War 2 movies as these foliage covered MKIII's. Poses are realistic (I know, I've tried them out). Sculpting is good, with plenty of little details and equipment items all over the backside of the figure. The faces seem pretty appropriate for the period, meaning they look a lot like those you'd see on old pictures of those days. The only thing I noticed is that none of them appear to have hair on the back of their head, but since they're military it's probably just because it is cut really short. Overall there is a nice attention to detail, as shown in the texture of the soles on the kneeling figures (see pictures backside).
The other figures are more D Day British and Canadians, but this time armed with the sten gun and shown in advancing and firing poses. As described on the Bolt Action website, they are dressed in combat fatiges with MKIII helmet complete with foliage and helmet mounted bits and bobs. Again, the poses are mostly realistic. I only have a small reservation to make about the kneeling figure. Although the lower body seems to be based on the same dolly as the riflemen discussed above, the positioning of the torso seems to indicate this figure is resting most of his weight on the leg that has the knee on the ground. When I tried to duplicate this position (don't laugh!), I found this to be somewhat uncomfortable and holding it for a longer period was outright painful. Of course, this could simply imply that there is something wrong with me, not with the miniature. Either way, I strongly doubt anyone is going to point to this particular soldier on the table and question his pose, which looked very reasonable until I tried it out.
I did appreciate
the way he rests his left arm with the sten gun on his leg, saving his
strength before aiming. The
stens themselves are reasonably small for this scale and making them any
smaller would probably result in casting difficulties and bits breaking
off before you got home with them.
The most important
question most gamers will ask (after: "What do they look like?"),
will be: "What size are they really?" Well, the ruler indicates
25mm sole to eye, that is not counting the base, or 29 mm top of head
(30mm with the base). Click on the picture to see for yourself. What does
this mean? Well, that they're probably going to look great next to some
of your older ranges, like the Foundry WW2 miniatures (and there was much
rejoycing). They will however be smaller than some of the more bulky figures
like the Chiltern Miniatures big 28mm's.
Now to conclude, Bolt Action provides gamers with some very nice WW2 figures, both in concept and execution, with generally good poses. These are 'small' 28mm's, but should fit in nicely with most historical ranges, except those already affected by the dreaded 'scale creep'. Fans of Second World War gaming, this is one to watch.