Thursday, February 26

Review: 51 Studio’s new 1/16th Erwin Rommel Figure.

Erwin Rommel - A legendary General in the annals of military history and a German Hero. This legend was mostly known for his deeds with the Afrika Korps and he is often replicated. We take a look to see if new figure maker 51 Studio’s 1/16th figure is a good representation or not…

Construction Review:
“Erwin Rommel 1942

From 51 Studio
Sculped by: Jeremy Wong.
Boxart by: Jessica Lee.
Limited edition of 600.
This figure is available through 51 Studio’s Distributors Worldwide.

51 Studio is a new figure company that has two 1/16th figures already on the market. Today we are looking at their release figure issue – no 23 of 600 in a limited run – It is a miniature of “The Desert Fox” Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel.
Although Rommel was a soldier in the First World War  and for his leadership in the Second world War in 1940’s Blitzkrieg and the defence of the Normandy beachheads, it is as a General and Field Marshall in the Western Desert that he is perhaps best known. Rommel instructed his commands to fight gallantly and within the rules of war, and he was always preferred to be near the front lines with his men and the action.

Later in the war Rommel was implicated in the attempted assassination of Hitler. Mainly because of his service in the western Desert and in Europe, his standing as a national Rommel was given the chance to escape punishment by firing squad by committing suicide with a cyanide pill. Rommel was reflecting on this in his diary – The writing is shown rather fittingly on the side of this figure’s box.
On the side of the box…

"I will be dead in a quarter. To be killed in the hands of my people is dreadful. But the house is being surrounded, and Hitler has charged me with treason. It is, after all, his mercy to me for my deeds in the battle of Africa that I have been offered the choice to commit suicide." Rommel was compelled to take a potassium cyanide pill at 12 o'clock, 14 October 1944.
…Written by Rommel just before he took his own life – this poniard reflection on his own mortality ties in with this figure and base set pretty well. Some nice thought has gone into this figure and setting which is the first in a series of what looks like being a 1/16th scale series by 51 Studio in china.

The box is a small-ish sized white box that simply slides apart to show the figure inside a Zip-Loc bag sandwiched in two pieces of foam to protect it. It looks like a nicely packaged product so far..
The figure is made from a duck egg blue almost colour resin. Easy to work, the parts came off their moulding sprues without any collateral damage and most of these were in sensible places for removal.

There is two choices of headgear – well not exactly – as you are given two versions of the same headgear as was typically worn by Rommel. One with the captured British goggles he wore on his officer’s helmet and one without. Post war collectors often called this visor “Rommel Goggles,” and he has indeed made them more famous that the allied soldiers ever did.
When capturing someone so well known – and hugely familiar to figure collectors you have to do a good job on the face. I think that 51 Studio has done a good but-not-astounding job of replicating Rommel. (I mean no one seems to capture him with the cold sore on his lip do they?) His jaw is a little heavy to be an exact likeness but the slight cleft in his chin and cheekbones are representative of the real thing. Properly painted to de-emphasize thee points a shade he will come out just fine.

The torso of the figure wears the Field Marshal’s tunic with collar open to reveal his Iron Cross and braid on his epaulets and collars. The pockets of the tunic are flappy at the tabs and there is plenty of wrinkling going on to suggest the sculptor is a keen examiner of the human form in clothing.
The tunic sits loose and a little flappy over the General-staff breeches that Rommel is wearing and you can see the two stalks which fit into the feet with sided holes to ensure he isn’t wrong-footed.
Left and right high jack boots are well sculpted with lots of loose leather bagging around the ankles and toes. These fit snugly in to the leg stalks without glue but I glued mine of course to avoid future embarrassment. The fit is snug and at a natural join so seamless.
The arms fit behind Rommel’s back and join at the wrists of the two hands. 
The hands are cupping each other and fit neatly into the hollowed cuffs on end of the arms.
Putting it all together…

The engineering on this kit was smartly thought out – the legs simply slip into the shaped holes provided with small storks attached to the legs so the boots fit at a joint and fit tightly

The arms of Rommel are held behind his back as he walks forward in the “inspection” mode. He is slowly walking forward as he looks ahead of him – maybe pondering. When fitting these arms behind the torso there is a small bit of trimming to be done. I would say measure twice and cut once – as it is almost impossible to get both arms to join the wrists of the hands at the right point without getting a slight miss on a fit somewhere. I secured my arms with the hands in the cuffs in a dry fit to aid the location and limitation of any gaps...And here he is all together – It took about 15 minutes of work to get him all made up and ready to prime. You can see here Rommel with both slightly different choices of headgear.

It looks grave for this soldier! The addition of a German steel helmet on a long rocky flat base of a grave is what can or cannot be added to this figure of Rommel.  A cross of wood is added to the scene to give further thought to the scene. The rocky grave is textured and nicely uneven to capture a rough and ready desert structure.
The base that Rommel stands upon is a little textured piece of resin, there is a heel mark where his boot slips into on this base part so you can sue him with or without this part or the grave.
I think that the grave really adds to the ponderous body language of our subject.
Well that is the first model from 51 Studio. A solid start and a well-conceived figure – the only way is slightly up for these guys as the figure is already pretty good. A few changes here and there and it will be a bright future for this company.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to 51 Studio for sending this figure to us to review -
This figure is available through 51 Studio’s Distributors Worldwide. 

As an aside – you can see the potential of this sculpt after the 51 Studio box art painter Jessica Lee has done her work.