by: Peter Ganchev [ ]
Previous kitsLuftwaffe ground crews have previously been kitted in 1/72 by
- Preiser – a mixed set of air and ground crew, mostly at rest. Being molded in hard plastic made the offering suitable for conversions. It was later reissued by Revell with some changes.
- Airfix (also reboxed by Heller). A soft plastic set that also includes a few pilot figures, but more importantly several figures in refuelling poses that would be well suited for bomber diorama.
Both sets are over 30 years old.
ContentsThe kit comes in the standard “small” infantry squad box. While it retains the unit “flag” there is no war game card included – you can download it off the game’s website. The two sprue’s also hold multiple bases, one of which can support the entire unit along with the materiel they are responsible from.
The instructions are printed on one side of the paper sheet, and are 1) a bit crowded, 2) confusing, as they’d often have you add the hands of the figures at the step where you add the torso and legs to the base.
As opposed to most mainstream figures in the scale all 5 guys are multipart. The parts will only fit one way, so conversion work will not be for the faint of heart.
The good news: the figures are well detailed; each has a unique pose and facial expression. Despite complaints that heads are too big – I would not say figures are disproportionate in any way. You will notice that the entire figures are nicely animated, and moulding is following the logic of the pose instead of the other way around.
As a result we have 5 pretty live looking figures that were not readily available before. They are easy to assemble, overall fit rather well, and all have something to work on included in the set so you do not have to improvise.
The bad news: as you can see when primed figures will display mould parting lines and will require careful cleanup, e.g. on the nose, chin and neck, as well as the bodies of the 2 guys with the bomb trolley. Collar, breast pockets and other uniform features especially in the upper body does appear a bit soft.
The add-ons: I am very keen on the small toolbox included in the set – a nice touch. Both jerry cans are also well moulded, despite their presence in the set being somewhat questionable as I am sure 20l vessels are hardly any good at refuelling an aircraft. I am very disappointed with the fuel drum which has sinkholes at either end and halves on the side don’t match well at all. I would recommend replacing it with an aftermarket item.
The bomb trolley requires additional detailing – starting with the wheels which are moulded solid with the frame, and up to the bomb support, as well as the SC250 it supports.
I used the bases as supports for priming the figures and other items in the set. In the process of painting most of the figures’ locating pins were broken off hence the blobs of UHU Tac supporting the completed soldiers in the gallery.
This is the second time I’ve finished a figure after the deck crew of the Dragon F6F-3 built earlier this year, and the first time I built any. I claim no expertise in uniform knowledge either. I simply painted uniforms Revell enamel 56, used Revell 35 as my flesh tone, and black gloss for the boots. Figures then were gloss-coated using Mr.Color GX Super Clear III, and then I used oil paints to try and pick some of the detail out. After a semi-mat coat I used powders to highlight raised detail and add some dust to the shoes and wear to the clothing.
Since my main focus were the figures themselves, tools and implements have only received a basic coat of paint, and the bases are all still in Mr. Surfaces as I do not intend to use them.
ConclusionsAs an actual first-timer in the figure field I am pleased with this set. It will certainly bring life to any ground scene featuring a Luftwaffe aircraft with the interesting, natural poses of the crewmen hard at work. Despite weighing-in a bit more in terms of per-figure price I would whole-heartedly recommend it to any aircraft guy.
While on the subject I must note that three of the crewmembers could easily be enlisted in the Panzerwaffe.