Tuesday, April 28

That cougar Frau Müller is out on her "town" bike again - let's see how she shapes up in our review...

Often nowadays modellers are seemingly making more and more non-military and crossover kits. Now I am not suggesting many people will buy this kit of an 1/35th scale German woman “Frau Muller” from Masterbox that includes not just the Frau but her bike, umbrella and handbag as well – ideal for a European WWII era dio. We put them together to see what they are like..

Construction Review:
"Frau Müller. Woman & Women's Bicycle, Europe, WWII Era"
1/35th scale.
Kit no: 35166
Kit contains one bicycle and one figure
Two sprues grey plastic & 2 small photo etch sheets.
Available from Masterbox's  Distributors Worldwide.

Masterbox have a nice short history behind them already with a bunch of kits from all genres from the civil war to WWI, WWII to modern warfare. We go to World War II wit this release of a vehicle and a woman.  What makes this kit a little different is that the vehicle is a pushbike – a ladies one at that – and an elderly woman who is pushing it along. The set is in 35th scale and it is called "Frau Müller. Woman & Women's Bicycle, Europe, WWII Era." 
This kit is looks to be a good addition to civilian dioramas with most various stories and it can be the basis for creating an independent miniature of an older woman by herself. Masterbox actually plan a similar diorama with an elderly gentleman in nearly the same pose so you could us him or put the two of these together.

The box art for this one leaves me thinking the Frau Müller looks a little like Pat Wilson - the drummer from Weezer?

Where to start at this kit? Let’s look at the outside of the box, and then the lady in question and then the bike. We will put them both together so you can see how the woman, bike and photo etch combine.

The kit comes in the usual black and white box, with artwork of the “woman” on the front and the  rear of the box has a merge of pictures of the painted figure with colour call  (Vallejo & Life color) & a sprue map with numbers for the woman’s construction – not that you really need it. 
Black and white instructions are a novelty for Masterbox kits - and these are a help
Also included is a few close up shots of the bike the woman is pushing. This is really helpful because the PE is quite intricate and you could do with a hand in securing it all.
Frau Muller herself comes in ten parts of medium grey plastic. She is typical of a frumpy old maid. With not a so attractive face (sorry Pat Wilson) for a lady but showing maybe her age. The plastic is in good shape with not too much of a side injection seam to deal with. The skit fits around her two legs and a little seam sanding must be done there.

The bike is made from one medium grey sprue which, like the figure only feature the slightest of seams to scrape from the often quite small and delicate bike parts.
The Bike sprue shows the separate pedals, handle bars, seat springs for the ladies bike and the added details of a pump and bent ladies frame on this bike which separate it from the many men’s bikes on the market in the same scale. It only needs a basket really.
This plastic it is added too with some photo etch provided by Northstar Models who make some great model kits and additions of their own.  The large fret has the wheel spokes, the chain in two parts and the chain guard as well as the mudguard frame and brake lever.
The smaller fret is the thin latticed frame for the woman’s bikes back wheel. This again gives the bike a uniquely ladies bike feel.

Putting it all together..

Well Frau Muller went together so fast I forgot to take a picture of her. Quite and easy construction really. The bike was a little more difficult.
The bike itself was again an easy build. The photo etch wheels however could do with a plastic cone to shape them in a curved manner. Also the rear chain is very nice but you need thin glue to make it secure to the other identical part without mess.

Indeed you need thin glue to secure the rear wheel guard as well. I bent mine to fit flush to the mud guard as I would image it did not sit off the bike. I didn’t mind if this bike looked a little bit battered in this detail and so I bent the rear guard completely flush to keep it all as narrow as possible. I am sure then it is all painted up it will look nice and flush. 

Well that is Frau Muller all together with handbag and umbrella draped over the handlebars.. Add her handbag and umbrella and this elderly woman looks very Mary Poppins indeed. Or indeed like any other elderly woman from 1906 (when these bikes were becoming more common) – onwards to about 1945..  

The nice bike and figure are added to very well with the Photo etch from Northstar Models. This is a great pairing and I hope we see a little more from them combining in the future if this is what to expect. 

A handy kit to have to pad out your dio or to with some skill of the imagination from the modeller to make a quiet scene by itself ..

Adam Norenberg
This new kit and all of their other great stuff can be seen on the Masterbox Website