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A Cotswold Shopping Trip

This is a brief review of some of the of WWII German gear I ordered from Cotswold Collectibles recently. Although it's expensive to buy all these parts piecemeal, it's very gratifying when they arrive in the mail (with the VISA bill arriving a month later). After ripping open the packaging and distributing the goods, I identify that which I can "improve": These become "quickie" projects.

Firstly, I wanted to fill out the back of the figure (the part that no one sees!). From left to right: The bayonet & scabbard are very high quality-- the scabbard is cast in a dark gray matte finish. The bread bag is actually made of a lightish green material (that my camera doesn't want to capture) and has leather straps sewn on. It doesn't appear to open. The quality of the gas mask cylinder and the canteen is good. They're well sculpted, but the plastic castings could be sanded down to remove the obvious mold lines. They're also quite shiny and this could be fixed with either painting or a good coating of Testor's Dullcote. In addition, the cylinder & canteen's cup could be made more realistic by irregular "nicks" of silver paint, to simulate wear. If you're in a really adventurous mood, you could improve the canteen by the application of khaki fabric glued carefully around the molded detail. Better yet, cut off the cup, hollow it out (or rotation cast it in resin), redo the straps... basically, rebuild the whole thing!

The headgear is cast in rubber, and have a good quality feel. The paint job is very basic, and could be improved by some cleaning up of the lines and the application of a dark acrylic wash to bring out the detail. The field cap seems larger than the rest: The design of the cap and the thickness of the casting's walls make it look too big on some heads. The flying helmet- while a great piece- has a very obvious mold line running down the center. I don't know what you do about that, except sand it off-- but rubber doesn't take kindly to sanding.

Lastly-- the stinkers. I don't know why they bothered to make the dagger. It doesn't remove from the scabbard, and it's poorly detailed with a huge oversized ring. This will require a complete rebuilding! The fist: although a great idea, is poorly sculpted. The veination is too exaggerated, and the sculpt is too flat and inaccurate, lacking proper undercuts where the fingers are curved near the thumb. The cupped hands: I love them for their functionality, but I wish they'd done a better job at capturing the index finger's detail & cylindrical curve. If Joe's not holding something, it makes his hands look absurd. To fix these problems will require some cutting with an exacto knife and sanding.

The fit of the nylon peg is a slight problem, because there are minute differences between the vintage Joes, Kung Fu grip Joes and Cotswold Joes. I was fitting these to vintage Joes, so I had to wrap the peg with Teflon tape in order to make them fit securely.

I don't mean to sound unduly critical of Cotswold. I love their stuff, but I've just got a driving desire to "accurize" it. Their stuff provides an excellent starting point, saving you lots of time (instead of scratch building)!

Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM