Dragon 6391 ITALIAN INFANTRY, EL ALAMEIN 1942
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6391; Italian Infantry El Alamein 1942; 66 parts in grey styrene.
Advantages: first new Italian figures in styrene in many years; choice of optional headgear
Disadvantages: generic weapons set not “Gen2" quality
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Italian and desert warfare fans
The Italian Army of WWII has never been given much credit, even though historical evidence shows that it was a brave force and did its best under trying circumstances against technically more proficient and better trained adversaries. Given extremely bad press for carrying out Mussolini’s dreams of empire in Ethiopia and their Fascist duty in Spain, they fared badly against Commonwealth forces in the desert. Even so, they did make up the bulk of the forces which were attributed to the German Afrika Korps up until its demise in 1943.
Up until now Italian figure sets and even Italian vehicles in 1/35 scale were given more of a miss than any interest. For the most part there were only two kits from both Italeri and Tamiya of M13/40 based tanks and self-propelled guns and one set of six figures from Italeri. Recently there has been a resurgence and Italeri has released some nicely done AB 40 series armored cars, one of the Asian companies has a series of CV 3 tankettes on the way, and Italeri has also announced an L6 light tank. Now DML has released this new set of four figures which are well timed to go with the new vehicle kits.
The set provides four figures - an officer and three enlisted men, of which two form a light machine gun team, and which the sprue actually calls “Italian 10th Corps”. They are given the desert uniforms and a variety of headgear – four pith helmets of which two have feather plumes, one steel helmet and one soft cap. The figures are provided with canteens, entrenching tools, packs and pouches, and two sets of desert goggles.
Each figure comes in “Gen1" style breakdown of six parts – head, torso, arms and legs – and is in a set pose. The officer is kneeling with a semi-prone infantryman with him. The machine gun team is running carrying the gun.
The set comes with a generic weapons sprue of Italian weapons – indicating there may be more sets or “users” in the future. The set provides one 6.5mm Carcano carbine with bayonet, one Beretta submachine gun with stock, and a 6.5mm Breda Model 30 light machine gun. This comes with a separate side-loading magazine and bipod. The weapons are conventional moldings and do not come with the “Gen2" features of optional position breeches or hollow muzzles.
The painting and assembly directions are on the box front and back, and are done by another of DML’s unknown artists. While tolerable they are not as well done as the Volstad ones.
Overall this is a timely and useful set which should go well with all of the new vehicles being released.