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MIR - GI’s & German Prisoners WW2 (K20) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer MIR
Scale 1/72
Set Code K20
Year -
No. of Figures 2 (5)
No. of Poses 2 (5)
Additional Items Trailer, Canisters
Size Medium
Material Resin
Colour White
Flash Level High
Glue-ability Excellent (Superglue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review

MIR has represented a niche company from Russia targeting 1/72 WWII German issues within several sets, not all the time a kit limiting itself to that Army. The ideas put forward by the manufacturer have been really great but unfortunately, not supported by proper sculpture and cast. MIR figures can be immediately recognized after poor cast and details as well as awful anatomy and hideous facial expressions. In addition, for reducing the costs, figures are sculptured directly on some larger bases, occasionally incorporating accessories like canisters, wheels, barrels etc.  The sides facing the bases are not crafted, fact that cannot be criticized too much while the parts in case would not be visible anyway. Because of those devices, if a modeller wishes to detach the minis from the bases, then plenty of cutting out work would be necessary. An identical approach to figs is encountered inside Ykreol “Mini-Box” series, possibly the two companies sharing the same sculptor and plant, especially on account MIR is out of production from some years. Furthermore, the plastic has the same consistence, kind of a combination between soft and hard plastic, glue-able with polly-cement and easy cleaned of flash while it produces no fluffs.  

As its title emphasizes, a set mixing both Allies and German subjects is “GI’s & German Prisoners WWII”, the kit proposing nine pieces, respectively seven figures, one trailer, and few canisters. Cheaply packed, in a plastic bag, the set has got as artwork a printed piece of paper with the head of a GI, the same paper providing the title, name of the series (“Hero”), set code, and a couple of information on the manufacturer, namely its name and country of origin. 

The Germans are represented by two prisoners, tied in more than interesting positions. One of them is seated and has his hands tied at the back in a normal way although the position of the right arm is modelled quite unnatural. Dressed in the Late War style, appropriate for summer, with shirt, trousers, ankle boots with gaiters and M43 cap, the soldier has no items of gear except “Y” straps and the ropes tiding him. His head is repugnant, the peak of the cap arriving seriously damaged by a cast mistake and also the facial details are hideous. In this light, it is much better completely changing the head with a finer one, eventually with M43 cap or other head covers, the painted version of this figure featuring a Caesar hard plastic head.   

An out of ordinary manner of keeping a prisoner proposes the second German, laid down on the back and tied with arms in cross by a log. Such modality is not only extremely spectacular, but also commonly applied in all wars. The trooper puts on the Early War attire, with M36 uniform, M34 overseas cap and shoe marching/jack boots. In addition, he still retains the right hand side MP38/40 ammunition pouch as well as another item on the left hand side that is impossible to be precisely determined due to a meager sculpture. According to its size shape and location, the item can be a map case, a cloth MP38/40 ammunition pouch or even the standard pouch for the just mentioned weapon, but very poorly represented. It might look little bizarre a prisoner to still have ammunition pouches on him, but in this way the sculptor highlights that the soldier has just been captured, the rudimentary manner of tiding him, enhancing such idea, too. Although the right side of the face is crossed by a seam line, his facial details are quite satisfactory and the figure might keep its original head. Reasonable carved is also the log, without exaggerated ditches of the bark as well as the ropes tiding the army-man, one end prolonging on the base and has to be carefully removed together with the fig and log if detaching the assemble from its initial location. 

Of course a hobbyist passionate in WWII Germans might wonder what to do with two prisoners of the same army. On the matter, a destination for these two figs might be deserters that were captured and now wait for their punishment. 

At their turn, the GIs can be grouped in three distinct categories, two poses depicting drunken soldiers with liquid recipients in hands, two handling ammunition belts for a M1919 Browning .30 machine-gun, and one linked to the trailer, portraying a soldier trying to put back the wheel, perhaps after an accident while the vehicle is upside down. A separate piece rests in five canisters and a bag, maybe a part of the cargo. Likewise, two barrels are connected with the GIs so at least two alternatives are again available, either the trailer transported fuel in barrels and canisters and had an accident on the way, its load being spread around, or all are in a base close to the front line, the vehicle being under reparation. The second alternative is more plausible considering the drinkers and the German prisoners. Some may wonder what is so heroic at these GIs, none of them adopting a heroic attitude and furthermore, two very drunk. However, “Hero” does not belong to the title, it is just the name of the series issued by MIR in 1/72 scale.

While this website is focused on WWII Germans, corroborated with the fact the kit already incorporates two Wehrmacht soldiers, it was strived to transform the GIs forwarded by MIR into veritable WWII German troopers. The advance is supported by various factors such as undefined details on uniforms due to poor sculpture and poses adopted, lack of many items of gear, no weapons in hands, many bare heads or with overseas cap etc. Nevertheless, several things should be removed and in order to emphasise the membership to WWII German army or to hide the marks of the detached items, adding equipment and weapons defining that army supports the conversion process. The review shall continues with an attempt on describing how to change the destinations of these GIs, but since the beginning it should be acknowledged these are basic proposals, hobbyists having at hand lots of other choices.

The prone drunken GI holding a bottle in the right hand can be easily turned into a Panzer or Assault Artillery crewman because of tunic reaches only the waist, the cut of the trousers is large, and he has got an overseas cap. The way of holding the bottle fully covers the front details of the tunic, so no problem in painting it as a Panzer wrapper. The right front pocket visible on the trousers must be eliminated and in the same location can be glued a pistol holster.  With this figure perhaps the sculptor wanted to show the “ugly face” of alcohol while the facial details are rather closer to a monkey or Neanderthal than a Homo sapiens. Still, in the just mentioned purpose, the head might be kept on and not replaced by a superiorly sculptured one. In addition, a standing and not prone setting is possible with the condition that his back, missing all details, to face a wall, fence or something similar, able to completely hide that side.  

As regards the second dizzy GI, this lays his back against a barrel and holds in the left hand a canteen emerging identical with the WWII German model, maybe a captture and the soldier has started emptying the content. The pose clearly states it is about a very drunken man. Between the back of the army-man and the barrel there is a metal case, similar in shape with a motorcycle pannier as well as other small items of gear. The attire is undefined both because of the pose and deprived sculpture, but there are slightly visible the chest pockets and “Y” straps, so in order to become a Wehrmacht soldier, he can be easily dressed in M43 tunic with matching or other kind of trousers. The approach is facilitated by the lack of any weapon or item of gear except a small pouch in front on the right hand side that can be interpreted as a MG oneas well as by the bare-head and ankle boots.

The third GI is crouched and tries fixing the wheel to the trailer, holding it in front. All details on his uniform are hidden, consequently, no problems in painting it in Feldgrau or WWII German camouflage colours. On the back are noticeable the US model of straps and certainly those must be covered, adding diverse items of gear worn by WWII German soldiers being an effective method. Zeltbahn, gas mask container and mess tin emerge as proper ways out and Preiser, Dragon, and Caesar hard plastic pieces of equipment can be effortlessly glued in position. This soldier has an overseas cap on the head, a cover extremely easy to be depicted as the M34 German model, especially in Braille Scale.

The last two GIs are linked to a M1919 Browning .30 machine-gun and the one with helmet on the head sets out as the most difficult to be transformed while he wears the US model and many items of gear on his back. He stays crouched and the front details on the uniform are covered again, the soldier handling an ammunition belt for a M1919 Browning .30 machine-gun provided on the same base at a couple of centimeters distance. In order to enroll him in WWII German Army, the same steps as for his colleague with the wheel have to be followed but first both his back gear and head must be removed, the head also being swapped with one wearing a WWII German head cover, the here presented model getting an Italeri head. Furthermore, the ammunition pouches and shovel placed on the left hand side have to be eliminated and replaced with ones defining the WWII German Army. The pistol holster on the right hand side might be preserved because it is partially covered and the remaining part does not clearly state it is an US one. Concerning the MG belt, there is no dilemma in painting it as a German one and while his trousers are cut large, maybe representing those as made of camouflage would be wiser.

The other crewman of the M1919 Browning .30 machine-gun is simpler to be turned into a WW2 German soldier because he props his back against a barrel, so no details are visible there apart his personal weapon that could be taken as an MP38/40 without magazine and with the shoulder stock unfolded. Moreover, the front details are almost entirely hidden by an ammunition belt kept around the neck and one held in hands. On the left hand side there is a pouch that can be eliminated and in its place glued a pistol holster or shovel. Likewise, it is good the soldier wears nothing on the head and his hair cut looks very German. The helmet kept on the right hand side might be removed, replaced or kept and simply paint as a German one, two sides of it being concealed by the body and barrel. This soldier, together with his comrade with MG belt and eventually the drinker attached to the other barrel can personalize a complete heavy MG34 or MG42 team, such weapons on tripods being incorporated in Armourfast’s “German Machine Gun Team” and Revell’s “Africa Corps”.

The trailer certainly aims an upside-down display and in the close proximity of the missing wheel there are several unidentified objects due to poor sculpture, perhaps tools and screws necessary for fixing back the wheel. In addition, an US pattern pouch and something else, either a rag or mud in excess, are visible. Obviously, in case of a German vehicle, the pouch must disappear and replaced with an other item such as a tool box featured within a couple of Preiser sets or complete with nothing, scratches on that side would not come out of place. The vehicle is clearly not German but bearing in mind that army rushed into their service all that could move, painting it in colours belonging to WWII German Army would be fine. With a smooth removal from its base, the other side might be taken as canvas  and painted accordingly, also allowing a display on the other side. Concerning the five canister group,  these suit to a WWII German interpretation as well, and even if not astonishing with their sculpture, those might be an useful asset for various dios, especially if these are placed in the background.          

Anatomy proposed by the set is one of the ugliest ever encountered in 1/72 WWII German sets, with few big heads, disgusting facial expressions, poor palms, and chunky poses. Moreover, both faces and palms are seriously damaged by cast errors, flash and excess of material being everywhere. One palm completely disappeared after casting and should be completely replaced or the hole filled with white putty or other materials. At their turn, not only the small details on uniforms and gear but also the larger ones are very unattractive and affected by poor mould and cast. Occasionally, few fine details succeeded to survive the manufacturing process such as the buttons and parts of the chest pockets from the prisoner’s shirt. 

On the other hand, a special paragraph should be dedicated to the plastic utilised for creating the kit, at the first glance looking like a soft plastic, having its propensities, flexible and capable to support any shock. Still, it is extremely glue-able with standard modelling glue, polly-cement making a durable and reliable bond. A recommendation of foremost importance is avoiding powerful heat sources because this plastic starts melting pretty fast. For instance, during the photo session for the present review, one figure suffered, the material becoming quite soft even if the images were taken from the same distance far from the lights, all other plastics and resin are not affected. The manufacturer clearly could advertise in the artwork the glue-ability, not like Italeri’s SSM “Let’s glue it” which can be glued only with super glue. Likewise, painting goes smooth and easy, the material finely accepting enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils. The closest to this material, except that employed by Ykreol inside the Mini-Box series,is the one exploited by Zvezda for the hard plastic figures populating their own Mini-Box series, maybe the two Russian manufacturers collaborated on the matter or with the same chemists. Nevertheless, there are some differences between the two plastics, MIR’s emerging more bendable but undoubtedly Zvezda’s allows a superior cast and it is not influenced by heat, supporting it exceptionally well.

Though there are several discrepancies in terms of size between them, some released in the small and others in the medium side of the scale, these figures have the possibility to acceptable work both with tall and small figures, most heads being quite big but the lengths of the bodies arriving in the medium side of the scale.  Due to out of ordinary advance to WWII Germans, hobbyists might wish to upgrade the Germans or to turn the GIs into Wehrmacht soldiers, a proper method relying on head and gear replacements. The original ones can be easily removed and swapped with better Preiser, Dragon or Caesar pieces, polly-cement creating a permanent bond between all these hard plastics and MIR’s one. Of course, being cast directly on the bases, particular modellers would prefer displaying without and have to remove the figures and eventually the accessories spread around. A thin blade like a razor gives fine results, ideally sneaking between the piece and the base, the sturdiness of the plastic not hampering at all such operation. 

In the 1/72 scale, WWII German prisoners are extremely difficult to find, MIR’s intention having to be applauded and appreciated. However, the meager sculpture makes customers think twice before acquiring the kit although its initial price was really cheap. Nowadays, bearing in mind that MIR is not on the market anymore, their sets might reach quite high peaks, unjustified for the quality proposed. The ideas put forward by MIR prove an immense potential and it is good that Ykreol from France continues in an improved manner the work initiated by the Russian manufacturer. The last mention of this review refers to the scores granted to the present set that took into consideration only the German soldiers. 

Historical Accuracy 7
Anatomy 5
Poses Quality 8
Details Quality 4
Mould Quality 4
Sculpture 4
Recommendation/Utility 6
Reviewer’s Opinion 4