Short review: Ultima Ratio’s 1:72 scale Chindits

Posted on July 24, 2017

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The Ultima Ratio chindits

Summary: They do the job, at the right scale and look, but could be so much better.

 

For 1:72 wargamers of the Burma WWII theatre (or roleplayers wanting some pretty cheap, sturdy tabletop accessories) Ultima Ratio offers a fresh option. Previously, for portraying allied forces, Australian infantry from Airfix was your best option. Chindits were specialised in their role, but the gear found in this set is not out of place. Add these lads to say, Strelets’ Indians, Airfix/HaT Gurkhas, and perhaps a few Australians and 8th Army lads, and you have your Burma Force.

PlasticSoldierReview.com offers this fine review which you should read before buying. This review is really just my take on the minis and offer in general.

The set is pricey (10 UK pounds before shipping) and for that money, 11 individual sculpts (repeated three times for the total of 33 minis) is not great. Two of the sculpts (the auxiliary tribesman, and the spotter) are only of use as one-offs though the spotter can be trimmed to look like an ammo feeder for the Vickers.

The good: they look the part!

The not-so-good: some individual minis have their mould line right down the face and I found the risk of removing too much detail to outweigh the benefit, so left them as is. There are too many lazy undercuts, which again are not really worth carving away for normal tabletop duty. The Vickers is only of Matchbox quality – poor – and you could consider substituting the 8th army Vickers, if you have that set. Other weaponry is OK. The Sten is one of the better versions of this weapon I have seen. There’s only one ‘in action’ and that is not a very active pose. The Tommy guns look too chunky, but that’s in keeping with the figures and better than too fragile. Since fragile weapons is a major problem of “realistic” scale minis, you can take that as a positive! In terms of “gear” there is a convincing mass of pack and bedroll on most, though grenades are not in evidence at all – the chap hurling one does not even have a spare!

Appearance: They fit Strelets’ rather chunky style and will look a little out of place against Airfix minis. Strelet’s Indians will look right against them, though in terms of weapon depiction, not so. They are “normal” 1:72 scale as opposed to tiny Airfix Australians and huge Airfix 8th Army.

 

My finish: I treated these as Wargame Standard, so I base-coated them with a sturdy deep brown varnish/paint mix and dry-brushed a couple of yellow-greenish layers over that. Then I mixed up a pinkish flesh for the visible skin, and a mid brown for wood. Weapon metal was cold grey. There is a weird lack of agreement on the slouch hat’s colour. Despite what other modellers have done, my own observation in museums and period pictures is that they were pretty much olive green with a lighter band, and much weathered and faded.

Other than the hats, all pigment was then washed over with Vallejo Strong (weaponry) Vallejo Green (uniform) or Vallejo Flesh (skin). This is a very quick and easy way to add depth and shading.

Basing is on obsolete coins (though the Vickers is on a perfectly good 1-Euro) using grouting latex, varnish with green-coloured varnish and whimsical ground cover of mixed rubbed sage and thyme.

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