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Kit Review

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by Dan Morton, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    DES kit makes a number of 1/18th scale or 90mm resin kits of French soldiers of WWI. The kits are made in France at Champigny sur Marne. I’ve completed the “Colonial Tirailleur 1914” and the “Zouave Caporal 1914”. This 90007-F “Chasseur D’Afrique 1914” is similar to them in quality and presentation.

    The Chasseurs were light cavalry from the French colonial empire in Northern Africa. Their units were composed mostly of native soldiers with French officers. Their uniforms in 1914 were distinct and very colorful - rouge pantalon de cheval (riding trousers) and chechia (a tall cylindrical hat); bleu ciel veste (slightly darker than sky blue jacket) with large white and blue epaulettes and yellow uniform insignia. This fellow is armed with a model 1822 sabre and an 1892 8mm 5 shot musketoon.
    The kit is a pretty good effort all in all – better on the sculpting than the casting. The sculptor, unfortunately, is not acknowledged. The kit comes in the sturdy box shown, but internal packing could be improved. Of the 3 DES kits I’ve bought, all 3 had fragile parts that had broken, probably during shipment. Although they put nearly everything in a small plastic bag in the box and surround it with Styrofoam pellets, they do not reinforce the bag and tape down fragile parts. I’ve been able to repair the damage on the other two kits and repair to the Chasseur should be easy. You should be able to see in the photo that one piece of the sabre guard is broken.

    The parts have a moderate amount of flash, a small amount of bubbles and sometimes some annoyingly visible seams, but all fixable. The Chasseur parts dry fit together reasonably well with no gaps. By comparison, the Zouave required quite a bit of putty to cover arm-to-shoulder gaps.
    The instructions are printed in French, English and German on one side, listing the parts and giving the colors of each part. The colors are not referenced to a color mix chart or a paint manufacturer so that information is not as useful as it could be. The color picture on the box should provide enough details for an experienced figure painter. Some not always useful French magazine and book references are also provided on the instructions. On the other side of the instructions is a line drawing of the figure with a few details.

    The DES kits are a little pricey in my opinion - $39.95 from Red Lancer. Worth it if you want to include the Chasseurs, Tirailleurs and Zouaves in your menagerie of French WWI figures.

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