Well MasterBox brought out a set of Motorcycle repair men before. Called “MB 3560 Deutches Afrika Korps, WWII Era” it won a “model of the year” prize at the time, and unfortunately we never got to look at it. The kit included MasterBox’s excellent motorcycle sidecar kit as well. This kit however excludes the motorcycle but keeps the repairmen. If you have no need for this bike and just need German mechanics – you are in luck! We will look at them and build them up so you can see what they are all about…
Kit type: Injection moulded
Sculpted by: A. Gagarin
Artwork/Painted by: A. Karaschuk
Available from: Masterbox distributors
This kit from MasterBox is called simply “Auto-Repair Crew” and simplicity is indeed the word for it. The white box with excellent art work (as usual) by Mr Karaschuk consists of 1 sprue which makes up 5 figures of German vehicle mechanics of World War II. This kit is a new interpretation of old kit MB 3560 “German Motorcycle Repair Crew” so if you missed out the first time this can be used on a few different vehicles and you needn’t buy the accompanying motorcycle to go with it if you do not want to - that’s called maximizing your moulds and also being very nice to the customer.
Earlier this kit was released together with motorcycle, and correspondingly it was very expensive. As these figures were projected initially as universal and they are suited for any type of ground technique well and also in connection with that lately a lot of soft skin vehicles in 1/35 scale MasterBox have released these figures separately in a new box that make them available at a great price and suitable for dioramas with any type of automobile or armour technique.
The sprue on offer - complete with table.
The condition of the tan sprue is pretty good and the plastic is of a regular harness and not too brittle and separates from the sprue as it should. There is not really any flash except just some extra material around the fingers which cleans up as you put the knife to it pretty easily. There is the constant trade off with injection moulding though the seams down each side of each piece. This is just a fact of live with injection moulding in figures it seems - not many manufacturers can get away without it creeping in. I spent just as much time removing the seams as I did affixing the joints on the kit. This is a regular thing and doesn’t really warrant any criticism as it is all a part of modelling figures in plastic. Resin has its own problems and don't even get me started on white metal!
The figure comes with the “instructions” if you like on the rear – you do not really even need these – I didn’t, and I am not the sharpest knife in the draw so to speak. Each figure is sectioned off neatly on his own sector of the sprue and I on purpose didn’t look at any instructions – the kit went together very easily. If you lack discipline and need to follow a plan then the sprue parts are numbered on the back and the pictures of each repairman are there – numbers included as a ready guide. No painting instructions are given but I would think if you follow pretty much what they have set out here on the box art you cannot go wrong. (Grey overwear – white underwear)
The figure detail on the whole is well done. The details are all there and the faces look pretty good – not like “golems” which used to be the case – you can see they are all different – you just have to be careful not to take away that detail whilst cleaning them up or painting as it is there but very fine 9as it should be I suppose)
Going through the soldiers one by one and then notes on the construction. We will look at each of the figures:
The first mechanic - Pumping up the tyre:
This mechanic is in long uniform pants with his “wife beater” or singlet as we call it in Australia. He is leaning over pumping up the tyre that the other soldier looks like he is holding in the picture. The thing is the tyre and the engine pictured in the shots on the back aren’t included – they are never stated to be so no one is being dishonest – you will just have to get him something to pump up
The figure stands up nicely by himself whilst leaning over to pump up the tyres of whatever he is inflating – I would think it is not a car though otherwise he would be at it all day. The T-shaped pump fits in his hands ok.
The mechanic inspecting the inner tube:
Apart from the inner tube it is all there – from the slim soldier in his uniform pants and long sleeve shirt with side cap on his head which was usual barracks wear, the soldier also wears long boots and has a long pipe for his mouth as well.
I think he is the best looking of all of these soldiers – he has a great natural pose while examining whatever you want to place in his hands and the pipe is a nice addition. The only thing I would criticise is his head looks a little big compared to his body.
The mechanic sitting: (smoking it up!)
This lazy little man is sitting having “smoko” with his fat pipe which is of course included. When I made mine I made sure the pipe was just out of his mouth so he could be talking.
He is wearing shorts and a singlet and boots and an M43 feldmütze hat which again was a common thing to have on around the barracks. You can pick out his tag around his neck and the naked shoulders on this man sealed pretty well and didn’t leave any real gaps.
This mechanic is a mime artist until you give him something to work on – I am sure most modellers will have something they can give him to tinker with. He is standing with a very forward body language and is the only soldier here who doesn’t stand without help.
He is wearing long pants with high boots and a long sleeved shirt rolled up at the elbows as he works away at his task. I had to seal the slight gap at his posterior when he bends down by scraping the overlapping plastic into the gap then seal it with liquid glue
True to scale and easy to construct – this table has a slight wood grain effect that will come up well under dry brushing but not look overdone in effect. There are a “wrap” of tools to go on the table
This is a simple set to build. I will say clean up the seams from the injection moulding first because there are lots of them and the parts do not secure over joints or a locking nub to keep them in place. I would suggest as well using some of that thin liquid glue that comes in a jar with a little paint brush as it seals joints well if you put enough of it on – it kind of liquefies the whole joint and this fills the gap. I know that is not what these are made for specifically but handled right it works a treat.
A great idea to make this as a set of it’s own. Although it doesn’t have the equipment just say of a set like it from Tamiya it is basic and cheap – and most people will have something for their mechanics to work on anyway – Like MasterBox's own Mercedes M170V maybe with an opening bonnet and neat looking engine ? Just thinking here…
Well done MasterBox on another well-conceived kit that keeps the modeller in mind when it comes to price and ease of construction - that also looks great once assembled.
This kit is available from MasterBox’s distributors now. Check their website for more on upcoming kits or just keep an eye out here for more as they materialise..