Bayonets and Barbed Wire Series 1

One of the new series from Sideshow during 2001 was Bayonets and Barbed Wire, a series based on military figures from World War I.  While WWII and later conflicts have had a huge share of figures produced, WWI and earlier have been often neglected.  

The first two figures in this line are the 6th/7th Battalion "Black Watch" 51st Highland Division, and the 6th Sturmpioneer Battalion "Stosstruppen" 12th Division (the original 'stormtroopers').  Each retail for around $25 -$30 at most on-line stores.

Series two will be French Rifleman, 151st Régiment d' Infantrie and British Lewis Gunner, 1st Batalion Lancashire Fusiliers, 29th Division.  Planned future figures include a U.S. 5th Marine Rifleman and a German 23rd Infantry.

Packaging - ****
I don't have a single complaint on these boxes.  Terrific graphics, with excellent background text on both characters, and collector friendly to boot.  Even if you have no interest in packaging, you have to admit that these are practically a work of art.

Sculpting - ***
These are both sculpted by, who consistently does nice work.  Of the two, I prefer the sculpt on the Scottish fighter, but they are both good in a generic sense.

The down turned mouth and grimace on the German detract a bit from the figure, whereas the Scottish figure has a surprised look.  He looks like there may have been a sudden rush of cold air from below.

But even with those minor quibbles, both are appear German and Scottish, the most important issue.

My only other problem with the sculpting is the hands.  You'll recognize these hands from some of the other figures, and while they work well for the more 'creepy' characters, the fingers are a bit long and unusual for a standard character.

Paint - ****
The major paint ops are on the faces here, and both are nicely done.  There's no slop on the hair line, and their eyes are extremely well done.

The paint ops on the accessories are more basic, since most military figures don't get to wear wild colors, but they are all cleanly done.

Articulation - ****
These use the same body as the rest of the line.  If you loved the articulation before, you won't change our mind here.  Both figures hold tons of poses with no trouble, and I found no need for any sort of stand or assistance.

I had no trouble with loose hips or any other loose joint on these, and I'm really happy to see that Sideshow has completely gotten past that issue.

Uniform - ***1/2
If I had to pick only one of these two figures, it would be the Scottish figure.  His uniform is certainly the more complicated, and also the more interesting.  His costume includes the tunic, Tartan kilt and cover, boots with 'puttees' (the short leg wrappings), and helmet.  The only problem I had with this outfit was related to the helmet strap.  I had to loosen it all the way up to get it to fit his chin, and even then it wouldn't really fit on top of the helmet the way I would have liked.

The German uniform comes with pants with knee patches, boots and "puttees", tunic, belt and 'Stahlhelm' helmet.  The quality on the uniform is great, although I had trouble again with the chin strap.  Even loosened all the way up I couldn't get it to work on his chin.

Accessories - ****
Both these guys are loaded to bare.  The German comes with a haversack (bag), water bottle, bayonet and scabbard that fits on his belt, shovel and cover, assault pack (bedroll), mess tin, hand grenade bag with four stick grenades, gas can, gas mask and MP-18 submachine gun.

The Scot isn't quite as heavily outfitted, but still has his fair share of equipment.   He also has a gas mask, cartridge pouches and belt assembly, haversack, bayonet and scabbard, water bottle, entrenching tool (uh, shovel) with a separate handle that fits on his belt assembly, and a MK III Enfield rifle.

All the accessories are extremely well made, with excellent details and styling.  They certainly rival Dragon and bbi equipment.

Value - ***1/2
If you can pick these up for under $25, you're getting a fantastic value.  At $25-$30 it's still a good deal, particularly if you're looking to add some variety to your military theme.

Overall - ***1/2
This wasn't a series I really intended to pick up, but now that I've been sucked in with this first series, I'm probably stuck for the long haul.  They really are terrific figures, and there aren't that many nice WWI figures on the market these days.

Where to buy -
I don't know of any bricks and mortar stores carrying these, but there are plenty of on-line options.

- Sideshow themselves have them of course. They are $59.90 plus shipping for the pair. (MROTW Affiliate)

- War Toys has them for around $22 plus shipping, on special right now.

- Atlantic Toys has them for $25 each individually, but if you buy the pair they currently have a special for $45 for the two, plus shipping.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour