The Fusilier
Australian Infantryman (Wearing Gasmask) 1917
1/24 (80mm) figure
Kit GWA/2
Review by David Solosy

The Fusilier It’s easy to be enthusiastic about the figures of sculptor Steve Warrilow. They have no exaggerations, are accurate and reflect his obvious interest and expertise in World War I in particular. In particular, these figures have great individualism without resorting to caricature.

This is the third The Fusilier figure I have finished and each one was a most satisfactory building and painting experience. Cleanly cast in white metal, this figure had no obvious flaws and required minimal cleaning up.

It comprises about 20 pieces and a base and assembles fairly quickly. Plenty of dry-fitting is recommended to get every thing to fit snugly in its right spot and to hang or sit in a natural way.

I began assembly with the body, attaching arms and various packs, bandolier, water bottle, entrenching tool and other bits. This was given a spray undercoat of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer for Plastic and Metal and left 24 hours to dry.

The head was mounted on a cocktail stick and painted separately. Likewise the helmet, rifle, shovel and respirator hose were painted prior to assembly.

One of the small dilemmas for me was whether or not to bother painting the eyes as they would probably not be visible deep under the gas mask. I chose to paint them anyway (practice makes perfect they say. Boy, do I need the practice in that case!) and I’m glad I did. After applying a health dollop of Micro Kristal Klear to replicate the goggle lenses of the mask, it was quite easy to see the eyes, even in poor light.

The rifle strap had to be cut in two and the cut ends positioned in the small grooves sculpted onto the top and bottom of the left hand. The idea is to give the impression that the strap is contorted in the soldier’s hand.

The only difficult piece to fit was the box respirator hose. My main quibble with this part is that from the photos and paintings I have seen, the hose disappears into the pack under the top flap. This flap is sculpted as closed with only a hole in the top through which the hose supposedly passes. Well, I was asked to review this kit straight out of the box, so I did not attempt to rectify this. The hose supplied is way to long and requires some trimming and bending, but be careful bending it too far or it may snap as mine did.

Another question concerned the chinstrap on the helmet. Virtually all the references I have seen depict it as either one continuous piece from one side of the helmet to the other, or its absent altogether. I have not seen a photo showing it undone or as two bits dangling from the helmet. However, in one of the main references I used for this model, the Osprey Elite Series (No.78) Word War I Trench warfare (1), plate G, illustration 3, it appears that the chin strap may be undone. I have assumed that this painting is based on a photo somewhere and decided that I liked that look, reasoning that if it was a two piece strap, then it is feasible that some individuals may have worn it undone. Even if this is not the case (and please correct me if you wish) I will argue that, in the case of this soldier, the strap was broken!

Painting was done with Vallejo acrylics, using the artwork by Adam Hook in the second Osprey volume on Trench Warfare (Elite 84), plate D, illustration 3 as a colour reference, as well as the useful descriptions given by Mr Warrilow in the kit instruction slip. I believe that more recent The Fusilier releases have a back and front colour photo of the finished figure, which I think is an excellent idea and extremely useful.

This was the first time I have tried a ‘glazing’ technique for blending colours. Simply put, this means laying down a base coat of the main colour, then applying the highlights first using successively lighter layers of very thinned colour. I was using one part paint to five parts water. Then the creases and dark recesses are laid in by applying successively darker and darker well thinned coats to the appropriate areas. It takes some practice and you need to be patient, but it is so far the most successful way I have tried for blending acrylics.

I was not happy with the way the fleece facings of the sheepskin jerkin were painted. I just couldn’t get the right colours having first tried an off-cream, then a light brown with a heavy darker wash followed dry-brushing some white. It somehow looked unconvincing. I then tried a light grey and attempted to make it look dirty by a dark grey wash and minimal pale grey dry brushing.

When painted and completely dried, the figure was mounted onto the kit base which was then integrated into a base made from Polyfilla. The groundwork was appropriately textured with small stones and twigs and a new weathering powder product by MMP (Model Maker Products). One of the neat things about this weathering powder is that it can be easily mixed with water or paint (or any type of thinners, turpentine, etc). It sticks wonderfully well as can be seen on the shovel.

Australian Infantryman Wearing Gasmask by The Fusilier is a most pleasing figure. It has nice proportions, a natural pose and is easy to assemble. I unreservedly recommend it.

Thanks to Brett from The Military Workshop for kindly supplying this model for review.

The metal parts
The Fusilier
The FusilierThe FusilierThe Fusilier
Osprey Elite 78
World War I Trench Warfare (1)

Osprey Elite 84
World War I Trench Warfare (2)

Osprey Men-at-Arms 391
The British Army in World War I (1)


Page created 24 April 2004

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