Sunday, February 22

Construction Review: MasterBox 3535160 “German Panzer Crew WWII Era”

MasterBox have released another set of German tank men from WWII. This is another set of resting tank men in their casual uniforms at work. What makes them any different to what we have already seen from other model companies or indeed previous Masterbox releases? Let’s put them together and see shall we?
“German Panzer Crew WWII Era”
Kit No: 35160
Kit type: Injection Moulded (1 sprue in grey)
Figures: Five
Scale: 1/35

MasterBox from the Ukraine have released a new set of Germans from WWII at rest. These men are depicted as a tanker or maybe even an assault gun or AFV crew - any vehicle you could have five men in or around.

Now this is not really new ground for model makers is it? We have seen many tank crews in 1/35th scale on the market. Either in the tank looking proud or conducting maintenance on their vehicle. So how these are guys any different or would you want to use them? We thought we would examine them and put them together for you to see what they are made of.
The white box is covered with the usual very nice artwork of Mr A Karaschuk and it depicts the five figures in almost the same stance as they are sculpted by Mr Gagarin. Mr Gagarin has gone from some fairly golem like heads in the past but it I have seen a great  improvement in his work so I was keen to see this new take on a classic dio figure set.

Thirty seven parts of grey plastic with the very slightest of seam marks on each piece and otherwise no flash and minimal attachment parts or blanks to cut off. The figures and details are well sculpted, details like hands and heads look good and fine while clothing is wrinkled where it needs to be and stretched at the shoulders. I was right about Mr Gagarin’s sculpting – again I see an improvement of the last Masterbox set I reviewed mid last year. I can say that the plastic is in great shape and the injection and sculpting is well done.
One sprue with no numbers is on offer – each figure has a “sector” of the sprue so they are easy to put together.
The rear of the box has the sprue map to help you find all the bits. There is also a diagram of each of these figures built and painted with colour keys from Vallejo and Life colour paints. Both are "Family favourites" and good choices but we could do with colour names as well as some people work with them. 
OK we have seen the box and the plastic now let’s have a closer look at these five shall we?? Let’s do on the box art in order of appearance left to right – up to down.

The first man looking to the right listening on the gun barrel:
This panzerman is made from a simple six pieces of plastic. He is seen in short boots, long pants with a belt and a long sleeve service shirt rolled up to the biceps. He carries a box of cigarettes in his left hand and a lit “ciggie” in his right.
This soldier is seen leaning forward listening intently as he looks at the talking figure in this set. You can see his eyes slightly screwed in thought which is pretty good for an injection moulded figure. His flat service cap shows both the national symbol and cockade. 
You can see his shirt rolled up and wrinkly on his arms. You can clearly see the ciggie packet in his hand and the other lit smoke in his right hand.
His shoulders are hunched forward as he listens and his pants and shirt sit loose and wrinkly on his limbs. There is some seam to be removed on either side of his face but it is minimal. This figure has a hollowed out seat so you can use him sitting on the tank’s gun barrel.

The second fellow on the middle of the turret:
This chap is again listening intently to the story being told. He is different slightly in body language to the other tanker in that his leg is raised slightly up onto the gun barrel from the lower turret he is sitting on although his clothing is very similar to the first man.
Again he wars the flat service cap, although this soldier has a longer shock of hair sticking out of the left side of his cap.  This fellow has the longer boots on that signified an early war issue and the split in his baggy trouser legs to accommodate these big boots
Looking from behind you can see this soldier’s hair and the nice way that his shirt wrinkles under his pulled tight bracers. This figure is pretty impressive for a little bit of plastic.

The BIG story teller:
This chap sure knows how to spin a year – and by the look of his crew it is interesting or maybe he is their C.O.? Anyway this tanker is the centre of attention in this set of figures and he is sculpted with some fine details…
You can see that he has his short service Panzerjacke black tunic covering his service shirt and meeting his waist and belt as he leans forwards and points up to the right as he tells the story. 
The long trousers he wears wrinkle at the knees as the jacket does at his sleeves and elbows and you can see that his bottom is flattened out so when he sits on whatever you have him on he sits flat.

The barrel boy:
Well someone around here has to do all the work, and it seems if you aren’t in on the story “rort” well you are doing the work. This panzer crewman has the responsibility of winding the auger to pump the 200 litre/ 44gal drum to fuel the panzer.
The serviceman is dressed alike his hard working comrades – with long pants on with a belt as well as  bracers that push flat his pockets and the wrinkles of his shirt.
He is seen leaning forward on the barrel as he readies himself to pump the fuel up to his comrade. He wears no headwear so he again looks different to his mates.
Along with this is a nicely detailed fuel /water pump and a 200 litre drum which – like all other barrels has a silly seam down the middle you will need to get rid of – we didn’t do that so you can see it as it is..

The petrol attendant:
This man fuels the panzer that these men live and fight in, and he isn’t getting a rest!  Seen in a simple combo of long boots tucked into his service pants and a long sleeve V-necked jumper he is a simple figure but important to this dio.
He is a little gappy at the rear but this can be filled with some fine putty or maybe more of a push from me? Anyway you can see here pretty well that he is nicely sculpted in the face and the details on his hat, his woollen V-neck and the wrinkles it makes as he reaches across to insert the fuel hose. 
You might notice that he isn’t holding a fuel hose? Well like all thin plastic parts that look thin enough to break they sometimes do. We would recommend using some bendable insulated black wire for your fuel hose. Then you can cut it to what you want and bend it however.
Well that is this set. We have seen it all before haven’t we – but then again this early war set is part of the need we all have for a bunch of figures that you can make your own. Something that people are not used to seeing. This is why we can never get enough of “five guys and a panzer” and I do not think we will get bored of seeing more like this soon.
The sculpting is nicely done, the figures go together easily and the end result as you can see is very nice – even without a tank!

As proof of this here is the build that Francois made of these figures that he added to his 1/32nd build of the Dornier Do 335 kit - these figures are not limited to an armoured setting!
Well done again Masterbox in giving us what we all want, more good figures.

Adam Norenberg
Thanks to MasterBox for sending this kit to make and review
nd scaene