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Miniaturas Alemany - StuG III Ausf. B with Assault Troops (FG7209) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Miniaturas Alemany
Scale 1/72
Set Code FG 7209
Year ?
No. of Figures 6
No. of Poses 6
Aspect Medium/Tall
Additional Items StuG III Ausf. B
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Satisfactory (Super-glue Gel)
Convertibility Medium
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945 (except one figure with M43 cap)

 

Review   

In the field of 1/72 WWII Germans a major source for acquiring fresh and catchy poses represent by model kits incorporating a vehicle and several figures. Along the years few companies distinguished through such an tempting characteristic, but probably the best example in the field is Miniaturas Alemany, a company working in white metal both its figures and vehicles. Their related sets deliver in almost all cases a large number of soldiers comparing with similar offers of other manufacturers. Likewise, inside the catalogue of this producer there are included not only model kit sets with vehicles and few troopers, but also several exclusively dedicated to figures. Gathering all their 1/72 WWII Germans, we have the pleasure to discover a wide range of soldiers featured in rarely encountered poses, some unique in the scale as well as addressing unusual subjects. A proper example of what is capable a Minaturas Alemany model kit containing a vehicle and soldiers is "StuG III Ausf. B with Assault Troops", where except the vehicle, there are also coming across six figures. The vehicle is not the subject of the present review which proposes to focus only on the assault troops, suppied in a higher number than the one provided in plenty resin sets, generally including two, three or four combatants. Six poses is a large number of soldiers for a vehicle model kit and its producer should be congratulated for the decision of offering so many humans in such a set.  

Common for this manufacturer is to deliver the figures in pieces, somehow remainding about Preiser, but still not so complicated to put together, Miniaturas Alemany soldiers having sculptured on them the gear. In the hereinafter reviewed set, assembly will be required just at arms as well as at a single torso and legs. Two figures miss legs, but according to their designation, as crew for the assault gun, do not need them here. Our crew has to be set as appearing through the hatches, and in this light the lower part of the body can not be seen. White metal satisfactory responses to super glue gel, this adhesive succeeding to make an acceptable bond. Nevertheless, such material is more difficult to paint than plastic or resin, not only asking for primer, but also care in handling, the paint getting off much faster than on other materials employed by the industry in the field. In addition, white metal is very fragile, so more caution should be granted concerning not dropping the figures on the floor or the carpet monster will take a good bite from them. Aware of fragility, the company took the decision to protect the content wrapping it in bubble foils as well as splitting it within two boxes. Furthermore, another box featuring the artwork and related information was designed to incorporate the other smaller two. Even if we find inside the instruction sheet for the StuG, no indications are given regarding how to complete the figures. Anyway, the operation is facile, each warrior being delivered on a separate sprue fixing all the necessary parts. If it is intended to attach the arms according to manufacturer's will, than it is almost mandatory to pay attention when detaching the arms and figures from the sprues in order to avoid mixing the arms and glue them on other figures. As there were designed, the parts match not impressive, but fine and when a gap appears, this can be filled with putty, white glue, or even more paint for the small ones.

The second part of the title straightly leads to soldiers in the middle of the battle and this is what we obtain when we finalize the assembly stage. Combat poses are surely the most common in a large amount of 1/72 sets dedicated to WWII Germans, but we will not be disappointed by these ones which in fact are very attractive, not only the multi-part approach, but also the way the bodies implement the actions as well as the garment bringing a foremost contribution. After receiving their arms, the figures we will notice some extremely convincing poses, mightily natural in what they carry out. Furthermore, the figure split in torso, legs and palms, the officer in other words, is quite bizzare at the first view. Still, when the parts are joined, it is almost impossible not to be charmed by the general appearance of this figure, one of the best poses ever seen inside Braille Scale and definitely an uncommon, but tremendous realistic one.

Despite offering a pretty low number of figures, the set provides great variation at cloths, three soldiers wearing great coats, one parka and trousers, one M36 tunic and the last being dressed in Panzer wrap tunic (Feldjacke), jacket worn either by Panzer Corps or by Strum Artillery, the difference resting in colour, black for Panzer and gray for Assault Artillery. Not only their main cloths, but also the toques, item wrapping the neck and almost all the head, living uncovered just the face, featured on all of these soldiers, indicate that the primer intention of the sculptor was to create figures for winter or very cold periods. Great diversity is also noticed at head covers, being registered four different types namely three steel helmets, one M43 cap, one M34 cap as well as a visor (officer) cap. Marching boots is the only footwear offered here, both the three infantry men with great coats and the officer with parka shoeing one of German Army emblems during WWII. Though the most appropriate environment is the cold one, in some extent the figures may be used in other seasons, too, a cold summer morning in the mountains probably forcing the troopers to dress like that. Special discussion could be done around the length of the great coats while some may assessed them as too short. During WWII, German Army used over 12 different models of great coats, and of course, the length varied from type to type. The present length is sustained by reference images, so no fault in this case and it is quite interesting and useful to have some diversity in this regard. Not the same thing could be said about Kar98K ammunition pouches, instead of three pockets on each side, we get only two a lack that can be more annoying. However, the issue has a facile and fast solution, just simply cutting a Preiser Kar98K ammunition pocket and adjusting in its place will be enough to get a fair representation of the standard German ammunition pouches on these figures. Superglue gel will be again successful, hard plastic and white metal interacting extremely good to such a liant. Moreover, the exigent critics probably will see another mistake inside the set, one related to entrenching tools, two of them being emplaced on the right hip while the German Army regulations stipulated the left hip as appropriate to hold the entrenching tool. Nevertheless, there can not be denied the proofs brought also by images of the period revealing German troopers having the entrenching tool or shovel on the "forbidden" hip, the right one. Taking into consideration such images, this alteration should not be appraised as a mistake of the producer. The change is again welcome and moreover, another soldier wears the item in its correct place.      

The gear review must be divided in two chapters, according to the role of the figures. While the StuG crew has none except belts, the assault troops received only light equipment. Bearing in mind their role, the gear is strictly the necessary one for combat as well as the most photographed at real soldiers of the period having the same task. The privates from here are endowed with gas mask containers, bread bags, canteens and entrenching tools with or without bayonet attached while the officer's belt sustains only the bread bag and the gas mask container. Furthermore, the officer in case is the single figure with "Y" straps, item appearing not so clear due to more factors such as hood of parka and position of arms. All the infantry privates make use of Kar98K and the officer underline its rank through a MP40. Weaponry of the set is completed by a STIGH grenade and two pistol holsters not so well detailed, one of the officer and one of the figure dressed in Panzer tunic. As it was just stressed, the officer's pistol holster is poorly done and considering that on the whole it is an terrific figure, he certainly deserves a better one. Preiser pistol holsters are an at hand solution, and also a MP40 ammo pouch of this producer may be deployed for improving a spectacular fighter. A weird pistol holster appears at the StuG crewman, in fact we can see only the upper part of it, but the explanation is logical, the figure missing the legs is normal that only the part reproduced by the company to be visible.

As it was earlier pointed out, the poses are extremely vivid, dynamic and able to arouse the interest of the target groups as well as appropriate to accompany a vehicle in battle. One of the main roles of infantry or Panzer Grenadiers was providing close combat support for armoured vehicles, defending them against enemy infantry attacks. It is well-known that StuGs were even more vunerable to such attacks than Panzers, missing both the turret as well as the hull and turret MGs, the main weapons mounted on the large majority of German Panzers for protecting themselves against enemy soldiers. With the same purpose, but also against air attacks, various Ausf. of StuGs received a MG fired off from the roof, but it is not the case of Ausf. B. With or without this MG, StuGs still desperately need close protection, and it is very nice that the manufacturer gave several soldiers to fulfill such a role. If two poses of the three standing troopers dressed in great coats are clear, the last one is quite intrigant in establishing what he is doing. This strange warrior, holding in the right hand with barrel up a Kar98K and the left hand also raised up, could depict soldier jumping from a vehicle or one that just received a bullet in the chest, because for a running/moving pose would be quite strange. A breath-taking figure portraying an advancing soldier is the one provided here, both his gestures and cloths, especially the way the greatcoat stays on him succeeding to create a figure of uttermost credibility caught in a banal action. At his turn, the grenade thrower is also exquesitely compelling, his pose entirely evoking the whole effort put in the action. The figure comes in a classical pose, much frequent in 1/72 sets as well as in reference images, but neither at torsion of body, nor the way of keeping his hands could be found any mistake, Miniaturas Alemany contriving to produce one of the best grenade thrower ever appeared on the market. The muster of these standing warriors may not end until few words are said about the gas mask containers and their linked straps, all hanging extremely artless and toning up to the motion idea in such a manner that we almost can hear the rattle produced by the container while hitting other items around.

While standing poses and doing analogous actions are rifer, the main attraction of the set might be represented by the crouched officer. Even crouched privates or officers are often encountered, here we run into an incredible one, the way our officer stays, supervising the enemy movements while trying to maintain a low profile and ready to open fire with his MP40 at will being both almost unique and enthralling. He is the only figure of the set wearing his toque around his neck and the sort he is dressed, with parka and trousers confers more painting options, mouse gray, white or various camouflage schemes being appropriate for the parka and Feldgrau or once again white or camouflage for the trousers, their thickness allowing such interpretation. If the earlier specified upgradations are brought to the figure, respectively a better pistol holster and eventually a MP40 ammunition pouch, than we create of the best poses of the scale.

At their turn, the StuG crewmen are suitable for their designation and may be used either to Panzers or other armoured vehicles. Because the manufacturer decided to deliver them without legs, their allocation to opened top vehicles is impossible, the usage being restricted merely at armour with hatches. Similar approach is often encountered at diverse manufacturers, but in order to enlarge the number of options for vehicles, armour crewmen with legs are better. One problem is passing the legs through the hatches, but Preiser solution on the topic, of tankers with legs at attention is probably the best and the most adjuvant. The poses of the two crewmen are not something unseen in the scale, more charming being their garment details. The one with Strumartillerie Feldblouse wears his cap in an interesting manner, with the back and side panels fold down, like those were worn in cold environments. It is an extremely rare aspect in the scale, also seldom met at other manufacturers to find figures dressed in Panzer/Strumartillerie jackets attiring toques. The soldier holds binoculars in the left hand, item not so well reproduced, as well as the upper half of a pistol holster that probably represents an attempt of the sculptor to underline the fact of having knowledge concerning personal weapons of such specialised soldiers. Furthermore, his comrade is outmost exciting too, wearing instead of the standard jacket a M36 tunic, like an infantryman. Images of the period show either Panzer or Strumartillerie troopers dressing the common German Army tunic, but we do not have the opportunity to ordinarily run into a similar crewman within the tender of various Braille Scale manufacturers. Like his mate, he wears toque, but lacks the pistol holster while on his head he received a steel helmet, head cover found many times at StuG crews, ours wearing it in an appealing style. The absence of the pistol should not annoy anybody, plenty of materials illustrating Panzer/Strumartillerie personnel without their own weapon. Both these crewmen can bring life to a vehicle, being suitable not only for the included StuG Ausf. B, but also for many others from the huge list of WWII German armoury reproduced in the scale. More adequate for cold period, they will look stunning on a vehicle that had already received its white winter wash.           

At the first glance, due to its shine, white metal makes difficult to be noticed the small details and the same situation registers here as well. But when figures start receiving the paint, tiny fine points come into sight and we are able to see quite nice faces with eyes, eyebrows and lips, buttons, shoulder and collar boards as well as an impressive breast eagle on the M36 tunic and the list can be much longer. Still, it has to be stressed that the greatcoats miss buttons, but those may be suggested through paint. Anatomy is absolutely in scale, a small difference being noticed at height of the one dressed in greatcoat and with M34 cap, which is a little taller than the rest. It is a normal thing, people are not the same and what it should be appreciated is that the size of his weapon and gear do not diverge than the rest of the troopers. Another issue has to be highlighted at anatomy of these figures and refers to the hands. Fingers are not so well sculptured at those dressed in greatcoats, but taking into account the rest of their garment, a good explanation could rest in the fact they are intended to wear gloves. Bearing in mind that all these fighters require assembly as well as the proper results conferred super glue gel either with white metal or hard plastic, not only conversions, but also betterments are easily implemented,  Preiser body parts, gear or weapons being highly recommended for such purposes. Furthermore, Preiser and Miniaturas Alemany figures measure almost the same, so there is no problem concerning size discrepancies. Diorama builders might be one of the main target groups of the company, and probably for this reason all the figures miss bases. In general, such mix of cloths can not be discovered in mass production sets, but except Miniaturas Alemany and Preiser's impressive range, there are also plenty of sets coming from sundry manufacturers where we should look for useful comrades, wearing either Panzer/Strumartillerie jackets or great coats and parkas.

In spite not being a set of figures in the true sense of the word, thanks to its qualities the just accounted assortment may tantalize even persons that exclusively collect small soldiers, the high price of the box not keeping away a large number of potential customers from buying several uncommon and appealing poses. The policy of the manufacturer is pretty good in this regard and implemented in almost all their sets on the matter, aiming to attract not only the armour fans, but also figure collectors as well as some diorama builders. A similar approach to the one of Miniaturas Alemany would be great to retrieve at representative companies of mass production vehicle model kits, Revell or Trumpeter constituting just few examples. Dragon, another major producer of vehicle model kits, probably the most important, during the last period seems to finally acknowledge the importance of figures inside a vehicle model kit. One Maus/E100 with two soldiers, two King Tigers accompanied by several troopers already launched on the market as well as other two boxes, each containing a tank and its crew under development, constitute reliable proofs concerning the attention granted by Dragon to 1/72 figures, an initiative that would be great to continue and to be followed by other producers, too.      

 

Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 10
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 8
Sculpture 8
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 8