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Miniaturas Alemany - Tiger Maintenance Group (FG7217) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Miniaturas Alemany
Scale 1/72
Set Code FG 7217
Year ?
No. of Figures 11
No. of Poses 11
Aspect Medium/Tall
Additional Items StuG III Ausf. B
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Satisfactory (Super-glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review 

Sets made of white metal represent a reliable solution for improving 1/72 WWII German Army figure collections with very interesting poses, the majority of them pretty uncommon. There are more companies working with this material and one, having a large range related to WWII German Army, is Minaturas Alemany. Except regular sets with figures, this producer has also a rich assortment of kits including not only a vehicle or a gun, but also several extremely interesting army-men. Unfortunately, probably due to commercial purposes, with few exceptions, the poses incorporated in such a kit are not duplicated in sets referred only to figures.

As title emphasizes, the set tries grabbing the attention of the huge number of Tiger fans, one of the most popular vehicle in the scale, present in almost all collections of German ground vehicles admirers. On the other hand, almost all representative manufacturers like Revell, Dragon and Trumpeter rushed to launch on the market at least a version of this famous vehicle, being probably one of the most produced Panzer in the scale. Such things imply a large target group for a set dedicated to soldiers working around it, being also known the fact that Tigers were some of the most exposed tanks to maintenance due to often breakdowns, so plenty of diorama options here, the reference materials abounding in this regard.

Furthermore, the included poses not only are addressed to somebody who has such a tank, but also to those needing to cover topics such as maintenance for various vehicles, crews for 88 guns and the list may go further continue. Maintenance represents a quite attractive subject, especially for non-combat diorama fans, but it is good to know that some of the figures presented here may take part in combat as gunners or crew of a vehicle in the middle of a battle.

Likewise, in spite of the existence of several dedicated sets or even kits including troopers suitable for maintenance activities, released by different manufacturers such as Preiser, CMK, Revell, or Miniaturas Alemany, all of these are not far enough for covering the huge request on the matter. Another interesting and nice advantage recognized at minis enclosed in sets addressed to maintenance, due to their cloths similitude, these are in most of the cases suitable not only for vehicles, but also may be enrolled in Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine for carrying out similar activities, so once again, the list of options provided by such a set is boosted.

Though first impression when reading "metal" goes to something tough, white metal is quite fragile, not like resin, but still breakable and for this reason Miniaturas Alemany delivers most of their sets in two boxes, one having sponge as protective layers. The artwork of the box illustrates the painted version of the figures contained inside it. This is a good approach for several reasons, in this way the artwork serves both as assembly guide and painting instructions. If the last mentioned one has not a paramount importance, putting together instructions may sometimes be quite necessary. Even if in general the figures come on a short sprue, comprising the body and the parts, there were several cases, in different sets, when a piece is really missing from the box. Fortunately, the problem has a basic solution, the missing piece can be replaced with a Preiser or Dragon one. Furthermore, hard plastic and white metal response extremely good to superglue gel which fix them in an extremely strong bond. For such cases, the artwork is very important, showing us how the absent element should appear, but this is necessary only if the modeller intends to preserve the sculptor's desire. For instance, inside my box which will be bellow presented, it was missing the bare head, which of course, I replaced with a Preiser looking pretty close to the one appearing in the artwork. Regardless such inconvenient, the sets from this manufacturer have a great valor, filling important gaps in the scale, offering a lot of opportunities for conversions and enrich any figure collection with interesting components. 

The maintenance group for Tiger proposed to us by this Spanish manufacturer is formed by eleven figures dressed in diverse ways, adapted for the implemented activity. Moreover, the set also contains three accessories for them, respectively one barrel, and two 88 mm ammo boxes.

With the exception of a figure who keeps his M36 tunic unbuttoned and one wearing a mesh T-shirt, the rest of figures are dressed in various types of shirts, the M43 model, easily recognized after the pleats on the pockets, being worn by a single trooper. There are also featured two types of trousers, the regular one-not so well detailed in order to be established the type, as well as another model that could be represented as tank or assault gun pants, camouflage over pants or service trousers. Besides, all figures with regular trousers have long marching boots while those with the other model of pants shoe ankle boots. Most of the soldiers possess the M43 cap, but there is one with steel helmet, two with M34 overseas cap and another wearing nothing on his head.

No personal gear or weapons are presented on the minis, with the exception of the suspenders with braided ends or the famous "Y" straps. A single figure dressed in shirt did not receive either straps or suspenders. In fact, the set offers the great opportunity to its owner to paint these uniform accessories in different colours. Nevertheless, if it is taken the decision to paint the suspenders as "Y" straps, in such cases it is advisable to remove the braided ends appearing on several figures or not to paint them in a specific colour.

In addition, perhaps from moulding, a couple of figures seem to wear gloves and their palms may be painted in this way, fact which corresponds with reality, maintenance personnel often using gloves for better protection. Taking into account their cloths, the set definitely addresses to warm periods, and if the correct pants are painted in camouflage schemes, both Waffen SS and Wehrmacht patterns are possible.

The poses in the group were not designed for carrying out repairing activities, they look like being caught in preparing the tank for battle, refilling it with ammo, petroleum and even a painting action. Except one crouched trooper, the rest are standing and most of figures hold a related object in their hands, in fact needing items for a tank. Just two figures have nothing in their hands, and for being more precisely, it should be said that one of them was designed to roll the spare barrel, a very uncommon but extremely useful approach to a mini.

As it is normal, except petroleum, ammunition was the thing a tank consumed the most, if the crew had the luck to survive more hours on the battle-field. In this regard there are given four figures holding 88 mm projectiles and another one pushing a similar ammo box. These figures are extremely suitable as crew for the 88 mm Flak gun, well spread in the scale especially thanks to Hasegawa, Revell and Italeri, the first arriving with ugly crewmen and the next with none. Furthermore, using the same gun, ACE Pak 43/41, offered without personnel or other 88 mm cannons set out as excellent pieces to be manned by the present minis.

The projectile holders are nice poses, keeping the ammo in a quite natural manner and we have here the occasion to paint their ends in the appropriate colors for showing which type of projectile is, black for armor piercing, yellow for defrag and white for heat. The Tiger tanks had some machineguns, so a special pose was created for bringing the necessary ammo. It is the figure dressed in T-shirt with helmet and around his neck he has a MG ammo belt. Moreover, this pose is interesting due to the way he wears his suspenders, flowing around his hips.  

The refilling with petroleum and oil is ensured by three figures, including here and the one who rolls the barrel. They carry their items quite fine, but maybe a little strange is the one with the gas container, namely the way he holds it with the opening down. Judging him after his pose, it could be assessed that either the container is empty or he is lifting it in order to fix it on the vehicle. Both the roller and the one with the pail are extremely nice figures, in eye-catching poses which are rarely encountered in the scale.

Probably the most exciting figure of the set is the "artist" who is right in the middle of painting the vehicle. It is a hardly ever seen pose in 1/72, but a more than useful one, implementing an activity very often done by Germans. It is well known that especially in the late part of war, Germans were painting or changing the camouflage schemes and even the color of their vehicles according to the environment or season, and it is Minaturas Alemany great merit to bring us such a soldier.

The last figure, with nothing in his hands can be asked to do a lot of jobs, separately or in connection with his comrades, as an assistant for the one who rolls the barrel, some tasks with the spare ammo boxes or preparing to give a helpful hand for loading the ammo inside the vehicle. As it was earlier emphasized, these army-men may be used not only in a large number of purposes, but also in other units like Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine. Another good and imperative role, at least for a part of them, is as crew members for the opened top vehicles carrying 88 mm guns, like Nashorns, these figures fitting very well in the fighting compartment of such a vehicle.

Regarding the accuracy of uniforms, these are well done, but sculpture and molding are not astonishing, although more than acceptable. Several small details, like buttons, are easily seen as well as an infrequent in scale left shoulder board found on the M36 tunic, which is unbuttoned and hangs down. Definitely, the suspenders with braided ends are one of the attractions of the set, the item does not appear so frequent in 1/72 and the ones here included are excellent. 

When it comes to the anatomy of these soldiers, it must be stressed that on the one hand, there are several differences between the sizes of some figures, but on the other hand, the variation is extremely small and borders in normal limits of human beings. Likewise, facial expressions are fair and there are several alternations between fine palms or fingers with some not so well detailed.

Thanks to multi-part approach, excess of plastic was avoided, but flash is more than present on each figure and in spite of being metal flash, its removal is unproblematic. A really and truly operation of paramount importance is to primer with adequate substances these figures before starting painting with enamel. If it is not done, than the painting effort will be ruined, the paint will be taken away after several touches. Tamya primer for metal provides fair results and for better sealing, it can be used matt varnish after the painting process is finalized.

Several soldiers require assembly and super glue gel gives great results. Furthermore, it is good to keep in mind that the same glue gives amazing results for fixing white metal with hard plastic parts. This thing opens the gates for endless conversions and improvements, Dragon and Preiser body parts, gear or weapons being greatly recommended for using in this regard, particularly due to the fact that Dragon, Preiser and Miniaturas Alemany minis have almost the same size. All troopers miss bases, thing pleasing the diorama fans which are absolved from removing them, but may annoy the wargamers, which in general prefer soldiers with bases. 

As it was mentioned before, there are several sets or kits with similar troopers coming from other manufacturers and the present maintenance group fits extremely good from the point of view of size, uniform and gear with those included in Preiser's "German Air and Ground Crew" and "German Tank Crew" (fitting perfect), CMK's "German Mechanics", or even Revell's "German Navy" (a little bit taller). To all these should be added as well as figures from kits like "88 mm Flak 36/37 with crew" or "Panzer 38 (T) with German Mechanic Team", also released by Miniaturas Alemany. In the same purpose of Tiger maintenance, CMK propose a three figure kit titled "German Armourers for Tiger I", and even its figures emerge slighter smaller than the here reviewed ones, with some extra care in arranging them, both sets might be deployed on the dame diorama.

Through its multiple uses and interesting poses, the "Tiger Maintenance Group" is a set that can capture the attention of all 1/72 German Army diorama builders, collectors or wargamers. Furthermore, even if when opening the box, the first impression may not have a powerful impact, after painting them, these soldiers disclose really nice appearances. Lastly, the conversion alternatives, both with pieces from the same manufacturer or with Dragon and Preiser parts should be taken into consideration, representing a reliable alternative for enriching the number of figures in any collection.

 

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