When I found out about the release of Ykreol’s latest set I immediately headed over to the Michigan Toy Soldier Company site. Unfortunately the speed it took to arrive didn’t quite match that with which it took me to fill out my credit card details, and I had to wait four full weeks – the longest I’ve yet done for a wargaming product.
Upon opening the box my enthusiasm for the set considerably dampened, mainly due to the moulding, which isn’t exactly stellar. The plastic is smelly and somewhat bendy, and there’s a fair amount of flash to remove. Some of the figures even have shallow holes burrowed into their backs (or backpacks). Worst of all is the bareheaded commander, two out of three of whom have chunks of their heads missing.
The sculpting is reasonable if a bit rough, while many of the sixteen poses are well animated without being acrobatic. The silliest figure here is without a doubt the chap standing around with a puny little flag stuck to his rifle; nevertheless he isn’t quite as useless as the ballerinos other sets are wont to include. Size wise they’re a good match for SHQ and IT figures, in terms of both height and proportion.
Unlike SHQ’s French Foreign Legion range, which consists of simple conversions of their desert Commonwealth figures using kepi-wearing heads, the figures here have French leather webbing, and carry Berthier rifles and FM24/29 light machine guns. The sprinting infantryman even has an (admittedly badly-shaped) Adrian attached to his pack!
Also included, in the tradition of the old Matchbox sets, is a surrendering Afrika Korps soldier, whose usefulness for me is nil.
While I prefer metal figures, this unique set allows me to finally field the III/5e REI for the Phum Preav scenario I’d written for an old issue of the SOTCW’s Journal. The figures aren’t 100% accurate (they’re supposed to represent the 13e DBLE, evacuees from Narvik who’d been kitted in England; hence they’re wearing KD shirts and shorts, and not the 1937 French tropical uniform) for Vichy troops based in the tropics, but they’ll do.
For all of the set’s faults, Ykreol should be applauded for covering a WWII subject that hasn’t been done to death.