British Infantry, 1940–1945

Matchbox 1:76 Scale Figure Review

Matchbox 5001 - British Infantry 1940–1945

Matchbox British Infantry mix very well with Matchbox British Commandos to create an enormous variety of infantry figure poses for wargames and dioramas. There are enough miniatures in this set to recruit a standard infantry platoon of 36 men. The remaining officers and heavy weapons may be used to create engineer elements, mortar and heavy machine gun sections of the Headquarters Company. The figures may be deployed as infantry and motorized infantry of the line and guards divisions, although they are too lightly equipped to represent British and Commonwealth infantry hitting the Normandy beaches.

Contents

49 figures in 17 Poses – 22 mm equal 167 cm height

  • British Senior Officer (2)
  • British Officer, Royal Tank Corps (2)
  • British Officer with Motorola SCR-536 »Handie Talkie« and Sten SMG (1)
  • British Officer with Pistol (1)
  • British NCO with Sten SMG (4)
  • British Soldier with Bazooka Rocket Projector (2)
  • British Mortarman No. 1
  • British Mortarman No. 2
  • British Machine Gunner No. 1 with .303 Vickers HMG (2)
  • British Machine Gunner No. 2 (2)
  • British Machine Gunner with Bren LMG (4)
  • British Soldier with Flamethrower (2)
  • British Soldier throwing Grenade (4)
  • British Soldier charging with Bayonet fixed (6)
  • British Soldier prodding with Bayonet (5)
  • British Soldier standing, firing (4)
  • British Soldier kneeling, firing (6)
  • Medium Mortar and Bipod

Evaluation

Excellent choice of subject. Matchbox British and Commonwealth infantry is a staple for wargames and dioramas.

Exceptional variety of figure poses. This figure sets offers enough riflemen, officers and heavy weapons to raise infantry platoons and company level support teams.

Useful wargaming poses throughout. Sculpted by Bill Farmer. Matchbox seems to have designed this figure set with the wargames market clearly in mind. The figures are easy to paint.

The Matchbox infantrymen are wearing the Mk.1 or Mk.2 helmet which was gradually replaced by the M.1944 Mk.3 "Canadian" helmet and the M.1945 Mk.4 "Turtle Shell" helmet with removable liner.

With the exception of the Flamethrower, the ratio of heavy weapons to riflemen is about right. Others figure sets are overloaded with heavy weapons which end up in the spare parts box.

The figures may be converted to represent British commandos by replacing the steel helmet with a beret or knit cap.

The bayonets are too short, thick, and blunt to be accurate. Airfix did a much better job with their British 8th Army figures which carry perfectly sculpted bayonets.

The trousers are sculpted without pockets. There should be a right rear pocket, a large map pocket on the front left thigh, and a small pocket for the field-dressing in front of the right pelvic bone.

The anti-tank rocket projector included in this set looks like the postwar 84 mm Carl Gustav M.1965 infantry anti-tank weapon. It cannot be used to represent the British PIAT Projector Infantry Anti-Tank which was used during World War Two.

The mortar is a representational wargame model only. Miniaturists and diorama builders will want to replace it with a more accurately detailed weapon.

The size of the standardized ammunition pouches varies from one figure to the next.

Historical Employment

  • British and Commonwealth Infantry, 1940–1945

Possible Conversion

  • British Commandos with Berets, 1940–1945
  • Indian Infantry with Turban, 1940–1945

Matchbox British Infantry was first released in 1976, and they are still a must-have for wargamers and miniature collectors alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

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British Miniatures of World War Two