by: Al LaFleche [ ]
Frank Miniatures, a German company introduced its interpretation of this iconic Western image at Euro Militaire last fall. I found this kit at the Red Lancer booth at this springís MFCA.
The kit was well packed in a sturdy cardboard box with a black and white photo of the assembled model on the cover. Parts are kept together in pieces of bubble wrap. I had no breakage in my box but a friend bought one with a missing ear on the horse. The dealer offered to replace that part for him. There is a painting guide that essentially says look up the cattle and paint the cowboy anyway you want.
The main kit is cast in about 13 nice, solid creamy white resin parts with another 15 parts in white metal with a strip of white metal foil for the reins. The foil looks to be a little short for the application.
The rider is a one piece casting with white metal arms/hands. He has a .44 navy style Colt in his right hand. My example was cleanly cast with nice clothing folds and great facial detail. There is a small seam line to be addressed on his back, other than that, the only significant clean up is the pour plugs under the feet. He also has two white metal spurs. There is an additional brass rod. You will need to drill a hole in the riderís left leg (look for the missing conch on the chap) to secure him between the middle steer and his horse. This will also need to be bent slightly. (pictures 1-6)
His horse has a head/neck assembly with the body cast is two halves. He is completed with a resin pommel and blanket roll and white metal canteen, lariat, and bits. There are locator holes on the left side for the plugs emanating from the central steer. The general fit is quite good, though a little putty might be needed on his haunch. There are ridges on both sides of the seam that will need sanding. The pictures show the belly will need a bit of sanding as well. (pictures 8-15)
The two steers are similar in assembly. Both have white metal tails and horns. The rest of either steer consists of head and torso halves. They are anatomically correct males. The outer steer has a plug to attach the center one and the center has receptacles for the plug and a plug to attach to the horse. A piece of brass completes the second steer. The body haves for both dry fit very nicely though, as with the horse, there are ridges on the haunch that will need sanding. One side of each steer has a pour plug at the neck. Sawing this off should be done very carefully to avoid increasing the gap and subsequent need for filling. One ear has a small air hole at the tip which should be easily corrected with some gap filling super glue. Both tails needed to be blended into the haunches. (pictures 16 -30)
The anatomy of the steers is quite extreme, almost gaunt, but when painted, this should make for a more dramatic presentation. Of note is that two of the support legs on the steers have brass rods as reinforcement. You will need to figure where on the base to drill locator holes. It took me three tries to get the two holes correctly aligned.
The horse and cattle required a bit more than I had expected in filling and clean up. Assembling and priming them showed seams and gaps teat were not very evident in the raw resin.
The base is a stylized raised triangle of sorts with good texture and a bit of deadfall for interest. It was poured in an open mold and the bottom will likely need to be sanded flat. This took only a couple minutes. (pictures 31-32).