Saturday, October 20

Construction Review: Bundeswehr German Military Men Present Day in 1/35th scale from Masterbox Models

Masterbox has a new set of figures to suit your modern day Bundeswehr German Military men. These soldiers are in 35th scale and can be depicted on or around vehicles Present day. We put each of them together in our review to show you how they build up and just what is in the box in our review...

Construction Review: Bundeswehr German Military men Present day
From: Masterbox Models
Kit No: #35195
1/35th scale
Available from Masterbox' Distributors Worldwide
This new kit from Masterbox is a 1/35th scale plastic injection moulded kit consisting of one sprue in a medium grey coloured plastic. There are five figures included inside the kit, and they depict the soldiers of the modern Bundeswehr in what looks like a hot or warm setting as they are all wearing tropical or moderate temperature clothing. "Bundeswehr" is German for “Federal Defense,” and it was founded in 1955 and still in operation today. Consisting of more than 178,000 active duty soldiers, it is one of the top 30 forces in the world, as well as the second largest military force in the European Union.

Bundeswehr soldiers are currently in active operation in Afghanistan with several other coalition forces.
This kit captures the fighters the period of Modern Warfare from Europe or desert climes such as Afghanistan and consists of five figures - three members of the armoured vehicle crew and two Infantrymen.  There are several very good vehicles on the market in model form to match it with - a Dingo, or like in the boxart and the picture below a Fennec AFV would be nice.
The box is an end opening affair, with excellent artwork on the front from Mr I Varavin. It is very evocative and a little poster heroic but very nice.
The rear of the box has a lot of information for the modeller and serves as both a construction and a painting guide along with a sprue map. The sprue map coincides with the construction of each soldier shown on the left-hand side of the box here below. The painting guide is also here, with a few angles of each of the soldiers showing their equipment and their camouflage patterns. 
This complicated camouflage is shown in both the European style Flecktarn and desert/ tropical Tropentarn colours that the Bundeswehr currently uses.
Flecktarn (German pronunciation: [ˈflɛktaʁn]; "mottled camouflage"; also known as Flecktarnmuster or Fleckentarn) is a family of 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-color disruptive camouflage patterns, the most common being the five-colour pattern, consisting of dark green, light green, black, red-brown and green brown or tan depending on the manufacturer. The original German 5-colour pattern was designed for use in European temperate woodland terrain. A 3-colour variation called Tropentarn (formerly Wüstentarn) is intended for arid and desert conditions: the German Bundeswehr wore it in Afghanistan.
In Germany, the Flecktarn camouflage pattern is used by all Bundeswehr service branches, the Heer (army), the Luftwaffe (air force), some Marine (navy) units and even the Sanitätsdienst (medical service). Its official name is 5 Farben-Tarndruck der Bundeswehr (5-color camouflage print of the Bundeswehr). This temperate Flecktarn 5-color scheme consists of 15% light green, 20% light olive, 35% dark green, 20% brown and 10% black. It is also used by snipers of the Österreichisches Bundesheer (Federal Army of Austria) and Belgian Air Force ground personnel and airborne infantry. 

Some shared elements of the soldiers in this kit are the camouflage pattern, the beret and the G36 assault rifle.
Albania used 5-color German flecktarn while participating in IFOR in Bosnia in 1996. France tested Flecktarn for use, but rejected it; the Dutch army also tested and rejected it, allegedly because it was "too aggressive"😂. Flecktarn was seen as controversial because of its resemblance to the Waffen-SS "peas" and "oak leaves" patterns, which also used dots in various colours.

This uniform is also used in cold/ snow conditions
You can also show these soldiers in the Tropentarn colours, formerly also called Wüstentarn (German armed forces tropical or desert camouflage), it is a camouflage pattern used by the Bundeswehr in arid and semi-arid regions, the desert variant of the Flecktarn 5-color temperate climate camouflage print of the Bundeswehr.

Tropentarn's official name is 3 Farben-Tarndruck der Bundeswehr (3-color camouflage print of the Bundeswehr) – Instead of the 5-colour scheme of greens, brown, and black of temperate Flecktarn, Tropentarn uses only three colours: a base colour of 70% khaki tan with 20% medium brown and 10% dark green spots.
The plastic:
There is one sprue in the kit, moulded in a medium grey, the plastic parts of the five figures are sculpted by Mr A Gagarin, who has been taking care of their releases for a long time. I noted not too many seam lines to remove on the figures which is always a bonus. Here is the sprue below.
The other side of the sprue showing the hollowed out torso at the legs, as well as other parts of the kit to save on plastic and less so weight.
OK, now we have looked at the box and the plastic let us put together each of the figures. I will start with each of them noting them in order as you see them on the rear of the box, from Figure A thru figureFigure E I will call them...
Figure A: Infantryman calling out
This soldier is an infantryman with a light pack only, reaching out to gesture to people as you can see with his hand outstretched int he picture below. Of note is the flat brimmed "Boonie Hat" he wears on his head and the HK AG36 rifle/ grenade launcher combo weapon across his chest.
Here are the sprue parts for the figure and his clothing and equipment. Note the shorter barreled G36 with AG 36 grenade launcher.
The Heckler & Koch AG36 is the first weapon in the AG series and was designed for the Heckler & Koch G36, although it can also mount to the Heckler & Koch G36K if an adapter is fitted to the barrel ahead of the gas block. Although it is actually marked as the "AG G36" the second G is always omitted when referring to the weapon.
The pose of this soldier is dynamic if a little reminiscent of the figure from the zombie release (from Masterbox a while ago) which I feel he is based on.
He is leaning back slightly as he gestures ahead - either at people or at something - I think at people. His pack and radio and P8 pistol and various other packs. There is plenty of depth to this figure with all of the layers of clothing and packs he carries. Before painting him I would probably even carve these details a little sharper. I have only removed any seams from them as they are.

Figure B:  Man having a rummage in his Rucksack
This soldier of the infantry is seen looking for something in his Bundeswehr Kampfrucksack, while his comrades go about their business. This would also be coloured - like the soldier's uniform, in the Flecktarn or Tropentarn camouflage depending on where in the world you place him and in what season, however, the flat-brimmed hat places him in a tropical or arid setting I would think. He also carries the "vanilla" version of the HK G36 rifle without the grenade launcher and the longer, standard barrel of the gun.
The parts of the sprue that make this soldier are all grouped in one bunch (like the other figures here - easy to find the arts that way) Apart from the hat the parts of the figure are sensibly attached to the sprues without the need for a scary removal process.
A feature of this figure that is different from the others is his Bundeswehr Kampfrucksack, which he is accessing down on his keens in this kit. You cannot see what he is accessing because his bad is moulded closed. a serious sculptor might want to open the top of the bag with some evergreen sculpting materials to show him inside the bag.

The rucksack and a Bundeswehr soldier in the same uniform on his knees as a visual reference.
The soldier from the back showing his uniform, radio and packs. Note - you need to leave his back clear so he can put his backpack back on.

Figure C: Tank commander standing & smoking.
This tanker/ AFV crewman is seen standing upright, looking off to the side and smoking ("that will kill you, you know") with the darker version of the camouflage on in the colouring guide but it can be anything you like as he spends most of his time inside the vehicle.
The ten parts that make this figure here on the sprue - again grouped together for ease of construction. The crewman has his uniform and small combat vest on his torso, with the P8 pistol in its holster and a few other ammo and packs. You do not want to bulk this tanker up too much as these guys had to get in and out of small hatches all the time.
You can see this soldier here constructed, it only took a few minutes to clean him up, and the end result was a figure that looks good, in context to having a rest outside his vehicle and a figure that fits together well also.
A Bundeswehr AFV crewman in a similar looking uniform
You can see these tankers have a slightly more temperate uniform set up on, with hoods on their jackets rather than just the field blouse of the infantrymen in this same kit.

Figure D: Crewman leaning over smoking.
This soldier is seen in much the same uniform as his commander, with the same beret and vest with a few accessory packs in the kit. The ever-present ciggie is seen in his right hand.
The six parts of this figure are a pretty clean figure, with a limited amount of flash if any and nearly no real seam lines to remove. Nice moulding on these figures from Masterbox I say.
Leaning over the edge of the side of the vehicle, or a hatch, he strikes a pretty relaxed pose as he watches what is going on in the distance - probably wondering what the shouting infantryman s going on about! The tanker/ AFV crew are so relaxed they are in conflict almost with the body language of the active infantrymen in this kit. You can use them wherever you like, however...
These two crewmen here in a similar, relaxed pose. The soldier in the lower part of the picture is very much in the same stance as the crewman we are looking at...

Figure E: Sitting crewman
This man is even more relaxed  - he isn't even smoking! the face on this figure looks quite young and he is well sculpted (as are all of these figures) in what is a natural pose with his knee raised as he looks on to the scene in front of him.
Ten simple and very clean parts of this kit (again) are grouped together on the sprue and again take little time to clean up any extra plastic in the seams. He is wearing very much the same uniform as his two other AFV compadres in this kit with a beret, the P8 pistol, ammo and a few other pouches.
Here he is put together after only about ten minutes of construction, not a lot of extra to clean up and his parts fit together personally.
A real soldier of the Bundeswehr below. He is adorned in much the same gear as our figure and funnily enough, he is in a very similar pose. The only real difference is the right arm that is raised to talk on his radio. This is the only real change I would make, the addition of the radios/ cans for the crewmen.
Here again - he looks happy, doesn't he?
A view of the instruction/ painting/ sprue map showing you in a closer detail how they go together.
Here are all of these figures made up and grouped together. Although I did not have a German modern AFV to show them in you get the idea...
Soooo - what do I think?

I liked these figures. They are well sculpted, not overly filled with flash or seams to remove and all of them fit perfectly together. Although they do look like the figure calling out into the distance (Figure A) is from a different scenario unless he is talking to the AFV crew, but they do fit together in a scene for the most part.

A very nice set of figures in a different, but emerging larger modern force from Masterbox that many will like to use in their own dioramas.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Masterbox for sending these figures to us to build and review for you. This set is available from their Distributors Worldwide.
Here are the figures as shown with a Fennek AFV on the Masterbox Website... This shows a little more how the fellow shouting can be used in the scene to be directing the AFV crew - I get it now...