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Monday, August 24, 2015

Pech Hermanos - Figures

Pech Hermanos was a Spanish firm based out of Barcelona. Started by the Pech brothers, Jose and Manuel in 1945, they started out by recasting and cloning metal soldiers in 50mm. Towards the mid-50's they began casting figures in rubber and later on in plastic. This is also when they began to sculpt their own figures. These plastic sets are bigger in scale, in the 60mm range. They cover a wide variety or periods and nationalities, as well. In terms of WWII figures, they produced sets for most of the participating nations, each with about a dozen poses. And then they also produced complementary artilly sets and heavy weapons sets. They seem to have had a great, and very productive run while it lasted. The following linksshow more of their sets:
Pech Hermanos Collection Page 1
Pech Hermanos Collection Page 2
Pech Hermanos Collection Page 3
Pech Hermanos Collection Page 4
In the sixties, the business was dissolved, allegedly due to family difficulties, and some of the molds got sold to the firm Oliver, known today for their reproduction of the Pech Japanese. Other molds apparently ended up in the hands of BUM who still manufactures several of their WWII heavy weapons sets of the GIs, and some Spanish soldiers in parade poses. Today, the original Pech figures are a much sought after collector's item in Spain, fetching top Euro for a complete set. Unfortunately I only have one Pech Hermanos figure to show, along with several recasts from Oliver. Let's take a look.

Pech Hermanos Japanese Infantry
This guy is part of an artillery crew -the officer in charge-, but it is basically sculpted in the same style as the rest of their Japanese infantry figures. He is also 60mm in scale. Note also the size and shape of the base and compare it to the bases of the Oliver guys below. As you can see, their soldeirs came factory painted.

Oliver Japanese Infantry (Pech Recasts) - Part I 
The first half of the set. Note how they have much larger bases and Oliver did a poor job embedding the smaller base within the larger one. On some cases, like the man on the right holding the binoculars, the inner base sticks out higher than the outer one. Overall, the figures show quite a bit of dynamism and action. I bet the originals were even nicer. Another thing to note is that Oliver apparently replaced the grenade thrown by the man on the left for some type of pole or stick. 

Oliver Japanese Infantry (Pech Recasts) - Part II
The rest of the set. Again, a good set of action poses. I also like the fact that even though the figures are large in size, they are not bulky. They have nice thin lines. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Publius - Figures

Publius is a Russian manufacturer based out of St. Petersburg. They are not very known in the west, but apparently they have a good range of metal figures in 40mm, which they have been producing since 2009 or so. These figures cover sets like Vikings, Saracens, Normans, Saxons, Tatars, Germanic, Pirates, Knights, etc. And of course, they also have some WWII Soviet troops. At least two of these WWII sets have also been released as 1/32 plastic sets. The sculpting for these figures is among the best in the industry. Unfortunately, they have only made a limited number of sets. What I heard as the reason for this is that the molds deteriorate and only support a limited number of casts. Therefore it is very hard to find these figures in 1/32 plastic and they have become very pricey. But if you can get your hands on some, they are well worth it. Let's take a look at the two sets which I have managed to locate.

Publius Soviet Naval Infantry - Part I
These guys are a great complement to the Pegasus figures and add much needed variety to this service branch of the Soviet Army. As I mentioned, they are really hard to find. I got these guys courtesy of my friend and fellow collector, The Plastic General. He discovered them and managed to obtain some from a contact in Russia. The level of detail and fluidity of movement in the sculpting is among the best I've seen. They are so well done that leave you longing for more poses. 

Publius Soviet Naval Infantry - Part II
I also like the fact that every pose is an action pose, as opposed to having some marching or standing guys, which tend to have a more limited use. And as you can see, there is a nice variety in the weaponry and outfits of the figures. I also like the fact that the bases have some detail and texture, but they are not bulky as has been the trend recently in the hobby. 

Publius Brest Fortress Soviet Infantry - Part I
Again, these are some of the best figures I have seen. I love the action-packed poses, how the movement and intensity of the fight is captured, and the great level of detail. For instance, look at the figure on the left, standing on a German helmet. I also like the man on the right firing the MG with the circular ammo drum from the hip. 

Publius Brest Fortress Soviet Infantry - Part II
Great sculpting. The attitude of the man in the middle is totally consistent with the the weapons he carries. Throwing himself into a close quarter combat situation. The woman on the right reflects the important role that women played in the Soviet army, not just as nurses, but in many combat functions. The only things not to like about these figures are that there are only six poses and that they are really hard to find. 

Publius Stalingrad Soviet Infantry - Part I
Publius' third WWII set is just as good as its predecesors. The uniforms emphasize the winter season of the campaign. The poses are loaded with action and movement. When you look at the man in the middle you can feel the tension in the situation that he might find himself in. 

Publius Stalingrad Soviet Infantry - Part II
The only pose that seems a bit stiff, compared to the rest is the sniper woman, but even she is well sculpted. The man on the right is an interesting pose. If you look at him closely, you will notice that he is wearing body armor. I've seen some pictures in which you can actually see the dents left by bullet impacts, so it seems that they were reasonably effective.

Publius Battle of Berlin Soviet Infantry
Another nice set from Publius. Great sculpting, with lots of action and emotion packed into the poses. The only figure that I am not very excited about is the signaler. Not just because it is not a combat pose, but also because Engineer Bassevich had just released pretty much the same pose in its latest set. Also, note that the set comes with a wall section. I would not have minded if that had also been replaced by another combat pose. Forces of valor has given us many factory-painted wall sections that look even more realistic. One thing I like about this set is that these guys can be combined with their earlier sets to get more poses. For instance, there's a naval infantry guy who can be mixed with their first set. The guy with the smock can be mixed with the Staligrad guys, and the regular infantry guys can be combined with the Brest Fortress figures.