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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Britains Deetail - Toy Soldiers

The Deetail variety of Britains figures was launched in the mid 70's and went on strong through the 80's. It included a nice range of WWII releases. Most of them come in sets of figures in 6 poses. Their key feature is that they are mounted on a metal base which makes them feel more solid and sturdier than a traditional plastic soldier. Because of how they are attached to the base, sometimes they lean sideways, but they can be straightened with a little warm water. They are well sculpted and true to their name, they are nicely detailed. They come factory-painted and it is in the paint work that I have my main criticism against them. The colors are not very accurate. Sometimes they are quite off. Besides the soldiers, the Deetail range also includes some heavy weapons and vehicles as you shall see below. Today the deetail figures are among the pricier ones to collect, although you can find recasts of the original Deetail figures manufactured and sold by a couple companies. One of them is First Gear which produces Super Deetail figures for US, German, Japanese and British Infantry and another company in Argentina called DSG which produces Afrika Korps and British 8th Army sets.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps - Part I
This is one of the priciest WWII sets from Deetail. Not sure why. Maybe they just made fewer of them. The poses are certainly nice, but they are of about the same quality as the other sets. One good, special touch is that the field glasses of the officer are actually not attached to his face like most other figures of its kind.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps - Part II
The rest of the set. To my taste the guy in the left and the one on the right are too similar. I would have preferred to see a different pose entirely. As mentioned, these figures are also produced nowadays by the firm DSG from Argentina. They somehow got the original molds and sell them in a wide variety of painted schemes representing other branches of the German military.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps Motorcycle
Britains Deetail also produced a nice set of motorcycles. This one has some similarities with the Zündapp, but I believe it is actually a BMW. Notice how they gave the driver goggles, which would obviously come very handy in the desert. It is a nice complement to the infantry figures.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps Motorcycle w/sidecar
This is essentially the same as the stand-alone motorcycle, with an attached sidecar. Notice how the caps on the two men are painted in different colors. That was not the case in all of these sets. I've seen it before with both men wearing the field grey cap, so I think these two guys are a bit of an oddity. Other than that, this model is not much different from the one made for the regular German Infantry.

Britains Deetail Afrika Korps Kubelwagen
This is also essentially the same Kubelwagen as the one made for the regular German Infantry figures, but in a desert sand color scheme and with the two men in Afrika Korps gear. Note that instead of a Wehrmacht sticker on the door, it actually has the AK symbol painted on to it. The man on the back is also just holding the MG, instead of aiming. A bit of a hard to find item, particularly for a reasonable price.

Britains Deetail British Infantry
A nice set all around. All small arms are represented. It's nice how they all have bits of cammo attached to their helmets.

Britains Deetail British Mortar Set
A really nice heavy mortar team. The mortar can actually fire shells enabled by a spring mechanism inside the tube. There is a small lever in the back of the mortar which can be pulled and released to eject the shells. A pretty fun set.

Britains Deetail British Assault Boat
An officer and a Bren gunner on a raft. A tricky set to find a realistic setting for, but like the saying goes, 'that's a good problem to have' when it comes to the coolness factor of this set.

Britains Deetail L6 'Wombat' 120mm recoilless Antitank gun
The Wombat is actually a weapon developed in the1950's. I suppose this is why it looks so much like a WWII artillery piece. At any rate, since I don't have other British anti tank guns, I have decided to accept it in my WWII collection. 

Britains Deetail British Land Rover
This is a nice little set. The Rover comes with a driver and a Bren gunner in the back. I would have rather had the vehicle in a tan color scheme to use it for some long range patrols in the desert, but hey, we can still send this guy to scout the French countryside.

Britains Deetail British Land Rover - other side
From this angle you can see the Bren gunner better. Notice how his knee is resting on a little ledge behind the cabin so that he can lean forward and rest the gun on the top of the vehicle while he fires away. It's those touches of realism that make the set special.

Britains Deetail Daimler Scout Car - Part I
This is another version of the Dingo. In this case, it comes equipped with a Bren gun instead of the .55 Anti Tank Rifle. In terms of its shape, I think this one might be closer to the actual model than the one from Airfix. For instance, notice the angles on the fenders. The detail on this one though is a bit shallow. In addition to dark green I have also seen it in tan, ready for the desert campaigns. As you can see, it has a two man crew. The officer in my case seems to have lost his hand. As is the case with the other Deetail vehicles, it is not a very common find and it certainly makes a good collectible from that standpoint. 

Britains Deetail Daimler Scout Car - Part II
The view from the back. Gives you a better idea of the many angles and sloping armor plates, presumably to help it deflect direct shots. The Dingo's front armor was 30mm, which was fairly decent for when it was introduced. For comparison, the German Panzer III only had 15mm of armor on its initial models, so considering that the Dingo was 'just' a scout car, it was well equipped for its task, and it did not come at the expense of speed, which is very important for a recon vehicle.

Britains Deetail British 8th Army Vickers Machine Gun Team
This is a very nice set. Hard to find and a bit on the expensive side. The MG actually works. It comes with about 9 little ammo balls which you can fire using its spring mechanism, visible on the side of the gun. It rounds up the collection nicely. To see the other British 8th Army figures look at the upcoming post with the DSG sets.
Britains Deetail German Infantry - Part I
 These are the figures with more than 6 poses that I am aware of. It is likely that it was released as multiple sets. I am not sure why they gave them blue uniforms though, but I still like them. These are the 6 poses that are being produced by First Gear today.

Britains Deetail German Infantry - Part II
Here are the other poses. Note that some of these guys were manufactured in two parts, with arms that can move up and down, but can also come apart. That can sometimes be a problem and some of the guys that you can buy second-hand are sometimes missing arms. Note that a few of these guys still retain some of the stickers on the side of their helmets. A couple of rare poses are the guy with the flamethrower and the guy marching.

Britains Deetail German Infantry - A few modifications
Now, here is a more common pose. Unfortunately most of the guys I have in this pose are missing their weapon, which in the original seems to be an anti-tank rifle. So I have given these guys a variety of weapons/accessories and tried to make something good out of the situation.

Britains Deetail German Infantry - Mortar Set
Here is another nice set. The mortar can actually 'fire' mortar shells, just like its British counterpart. Unfortunately I do not have any of the shells that came with it, but you can improvise your own kind of shells and have some fun lobbing some shells at the opposing army.

Britains Deetail German BMW w/sidecar
There are several German motorcycles from Britains Deetail. This is one of them. It is supposed to be a BMW. The driver normally has a rifle across his back, but this one came without it. The other model is a standalone bike.

Britains Deetail German BMW - Part I
Here is the motorcycle by itself. It took me a while to find one that was in good shape and fairly priced, but it was worth the wait. The only funny thing is that the factory paint gave the rider a silver nose!

Britains Deetail German BMW - Part II
Here is another view. You can see the rifle on the back and how it is attached. Most models nowadays are missing it as it comes off relatively easily.

 Britains Deetail German Motorcycle - Early model
I recently ran across this version of the Deetail German BMW bike. According to the seller, this was an earlier and apparently less common version than the dark grey model. There are a few other differences in the design of the bike, like the muffler for instance and the fact that the engine is a different color. The rider seems to be the same.

Britains Deetail German Kettenkrad
This one was an elusive one to get. They are usually priced beyond what I want to pay for something this size, or they have some damage. In this case I got lucky and was able to pick up the Kettenkrad with a towed PAK 40 for a bit less than what a good Kettenkrad usually sells for. 

Britains Deetail German PAK40 towed by Kettenkrad
The Kettenkrad comes with a hook where you can attach the PAK40. I've actually seen real pictures of Kettenkrads being used for this purpose.

Britains Deetail German PAK40 deployed with CTS crew
Unfortunately I do not have the crew to go with it, so I had to enlist some of the new CTS guys to man the gun. One nice feature of this PAK is that it can actually fire. It has a small lever that you can pull to compress a spring and when released it could fire a round. I don't have the ammo that came with it either, but it should not be hard to improvise some rounds. 

Britains Deetail German Kubelwagen - Part I
This is another nice model by Britains. It's not so easy to come by so it took me a while to find one. As you can see, the vehicle comes with a driver and a machine gunner. The only thing that I don't quite like is that they chose to paint the fenders and the tire rims green.

Britains Deetail German Kubelwagen - Part II
From this angle you can see the mounted machine gun a bit better. Also note the corrugated detail on the body of the car. Gives it a nice, realistic look. Also, depending on the condition of the vehicle, they might still have the Wehrmacht stickers on the doors.

Britains Deetail Japanese Infantry
The uniform colors are too light and green compared to the real ones, but the poses reflect a good degree of action and I like the bits of cammo on their helmets.

Britains Deetail Japanese Infantry - Recoilless Rifle
Aside from the infantrymen, Britains produced extra sets with heavy weapons. They were part of their special Combat Weapons series. Not sure if the Japanese Army actually had this weapon in the field, but nonetheless it makes a good addition to the army and provides some welcome firepower if you are wargaming with these figures.

 Britains Deetail US Infantry - Part I
The two men on the sides belong to the first series of GIs released by Britains. Aside from infantrymen, Britains also released a recoilless rifle. I've also seen it referred to as a 75mm gun. It is a nice addition to the collection, which can provide some indirect fire support at critical times.

Britains Deetail US Infantry - Part II
These are the rest of the poses in the Series 1 set. Note that the right arm is made separately and attached to the figure. As a result of this, the arms often move up and down and can sometimes come off. The later series 2 figures were cast as one whole piece. Also, these guys have a tan base. The later figures came with green bases. 

Britains Deetail US Willys Jeep
A bit beaten up through the years, but still remains a good set. Note how the man in the back is leaning back to shoot at the Stuka dive bomber coming at them!

Britains Deetail US Dispatch Rider
This guy is probably more of a messenger than a scout, but hey, you could still send him ahead if you needed to take a quick look up the road. Like the other Deetail motorcycles, it is a nice, well made vehicle. Will need to look into the make of the actual bike that it represents.

Britains Deetail US Motor Boat
Here is a simple two man team with a boat ready to attempt an amphibious crossing. The boat does not look like much, but having an engine it provides a big advantage over having to row while dodging bullets. On the downside, with that engine it would not be of much use for a surprise/stealth crossing. Coming to think of it, I think the figures are quite a bit nicer than the actual boat.

Britains Deetail 105 mm Pack Howitzer - Part I
From what I have researched, this looks like the Post-WWII Oto Melara 105 mm Pack Howitzer. Developed in the mid 1950's for the Italian Alpine troops. It could be disassembled into 12 separate components which could then be put on mules capable of dealing with the mountainous terrain. This version of the Deetail Howitzer comes with a movable trail which can be pulled apart when deployed.

Britains Deetail 105 mm Pack Howitzer - Part II
Here is another version of the 105 Pack Howitzer. This one comes with a collapsed, non-movable trail. It also has a spring-based firing mechanism. This howitzer could also be transported by having a small vehicle tow it. The Oto Melara became quite popular, being used by over 30 countries, with 20+  nations still using it today.

Britains Super Deetail British Paratroops - Set 1
These guys are actually modern Paratroops, but I like the poses quite a bit and the antitank weapon could come in handy so I've decided to recruit them into the WWII unit. The original Super Deetail figures were made of multi-color plastic fused together. There are an additional 4 poses which were made but not manufactured in large scale and are really hard to come by these days.

Britains Super Deetail British Paratroops - Set 2 - Part I
This is one of the other four super rare poses that collectors refer to as the 'Holy Grail' set. Unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on one of them, even though all four of them were up for auction. But as expected, they were highly sought after. In terms of the figure, I really liked the pose and sculpting of the figure. The manufacturing left a bit of a defect on the neck. My understanding is that the Super deetail figures were made by casting the parts separately and then putting them together with heat, which might explain the neck. Anyhow, it is still a great piece and I am glad I have at least one of them. Maybe I get lucky again and manage to find the rest of his unit at some point. 

Britains Super Deetail British Paratroops - Set 2 - Part II
Another angle, in which you can appreciate his movement a bit better.

Britains Super Deetail British SAS (Special Air Service) troops
These are the same four poses as before, with grey berets and bases and a browner shade of uniform. They were also released with green berets representing commandos. Those have a uniform in a similar color scheme as the paras.

Britains Deetail British manned torpedo- Part I
This is an interesting find. Not sure if it is post WWII or not. The Italian military developed and used manned torpedoes similar to this one during WWII. There were usually employed on Special Operations missions against enemy port facilities. 

Britains Deetail British manned torpedo - Part II
Here is a view from the other side. Going on these missions was very dangerous. Getting into an enemy port and close to enemy ships undetected was difficult enough. Getting our and making it back to friendly territory was even more challenging. 


  1. I have a ton of these guys, that I am willing to get rid of, if the price is fair.

    1. Hi , I m Edward of Argentina, i want all the lot, but I am from Farawayland (Argentina) . tell me what you have in your box, and how much you want, with the shipping included?

      my email is

  2. I'm collecting

  3. Hi, do you mind if we reprint your photo of the 2 man chariot submarine in March 2016 Barnacle Bill Magazine? We are printing several articles on the use of such submarines in WW2 by the Italians and the British. I would be happy to arrange free digital subscription in exchange.