L’Arsenal 1/350 - 1/400
Naval Figures

Reviewed by Devin Poore

L’Arsenal continues to release new and innovative products for the model ship enthusiast.  One of their latest releases is something that has been little seen in the field of resin accessories, a set of 1/350th and 1/400th scale resin figures.
Figures add a sense of interest to model ships, giving a scale comparison for those who do not realize how large a battleship was, or how tiny a PT boat truly was.  Crew members also add a touch of life, a representation of something living and breathing among all the steel and paint.

Until now, the only options for figures in the ever popular 1/350th scale range have been either etched brass two-dimensional, a very elusive set of plastic figures from Preiser (which is expensive at $13+ for only 5 crewmen), and some white metal war gaming miniatures in 3mm scale. 

The L’Arsenal set gives you 50 figures, 10 resin sprues with 5 figures per sprue.  Casting has to be seen to be believed.  I have tried my best to capture the tiny figures with photos, but they are so tiny that even my Canon G2, in macro mode, AND with a magnifying lens fitted, had trouble catching all of the detail on these microscopic pieces.  The pieces shown in this review have had a light coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 primer brush over them to show more of the detail.

There is nothing to assemble on the figures, only removal from the casting sprue.  They are attached to the sprue via a very thin wafer of resin, which looks as if it will be easy to remove.  Just score along the back of the figure at the sprue attachment with the back of a #11 blade and they should work free relatively quickly.

As can be seen, there are a variety of poses, the package lists 15, but it actually looks to me like there are a few more than that.  This set contains mainly what I would classify as "daily life" poses, walking, standing, climbing ladders, sitting, etc.  Those wanting more "active" poses can indeed heat the figures lightly and attempt to reposition arms and legs, but this would be a very tedious proposition.  With the two sets I have the mix seems to be 4 sprues of the general standing and walking figures, and then two sprues each of the other sets containing climbing, sitting, etc.  I have no idea if this is the standard, or if they vary from pack to pack.

Casting is exceptional.  Head detail, headgear (very much looks like the French sailors hat, but that can be sanded to your liking), and even definition lines at the belt and top of the boots are easily visible.  I ordered two sets of these figures, for a total of 100 little guys, and there is only one of that lot that has a short cast leg.  Every other piece is fully cast and well detailed.

The average height for the standing figures is just shy of 7/32nds of an inch, which is right around 6' tall by my calculations.  Good enough in my book.

Click images
to enlarge


Excellent accessories for your 1/350th and 1/400th scale ships.  They cost a bit more than their PE counterparts, but are worth the difference in my book.  The poses are a bit static, but L'Arsenal stated that they will probably do a "deck crew" set in the future, but the design of these figures takes much time and they would not be ready until early 2004.  If they do design several other sets, I for one would love to see some aircrew figures, and some gunners for the excellent L'Arsenal line of anti-aircraft guns.

For those looking for that extra little bit of realism for their ship models, this is it.  I highly recommend them.

Review samples courtesy of my growing model stash and my shrinking modeling fund. 


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