Articles

Warriors - WWII SS Winter Tank Crew (72001) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Warriors
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72001
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Small
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1942 – 1945

 

Review 

The inclusion of few highly detailed figures at expensive price characterise perhaps most Braille Scale resin kits. Acknowledged for the remarkable standard of sculpture imposed to their products, no matter the scale, Warriors has issued in 1/72 only several sets, generally depicting a particular subject and grouped on series of two. That is a good approach allowing the manufacturer not only to release more interesting poses, but also to furnish minis in rich diversity o attire. One of the most complex Warriors series in terms of garment comes from that is dedicated to Panzer crews, the two sets on the topic proposing an impressive assortment of clothes, some of them unique in the scale. Treating separately winter and summer attire worn by Panzer crews, both kits fully respect the high level of sculpture of the company but have as drawback the half figure advance, all missing legs but such move towards is often applied by various manufacturers in relation with Panzer crews. The great majority of Warriors 1/72 figures are encompassed by the tall side of the scale while the Panzer crew series diverge from that principle, although in the scale, the minis having a medium or even small appearance.

Largely, WWII German tanks had a crew of five, and Warriors’ version on the winter crew covers just three members and rests in an officer and two crewmen. Marketed in the standard Warriors 1/72 clear plastic box, it possesses as artwork a photo of the painted minis mounted in a Tiger 2 tank. According to the posts occupied in the tank as showed by the artwork, the figs embody the tank commander, the radio operator, and the driver, although any of those from the lower hull hatches can take position in the turret as loader or even gunner.  

A small contradiction is recorded between the title mentioning Waffen SS and the artwork were the radio operator is painted as wearing a Wehrmacht parka. However, parkas were worn by both units, so the modeller has at hand the option of depicting them either in Waffen SS or Wehrmacht camouflage patterns as well as white or mouse gray. Issued with a detachable hood and most of them reversible, at the beginning the parka recorded on one side mouse gray and since 1943 almost all Waffen SS autumn/winter or spring/summer camouflage patterns as well as Wehrmach patterns were available while the other side was always white. The item reached the troops in 1942 which makes impossible the use of the figures in Early War period. As a specialised winter cloth, regulations enforced that parkas had to be returned to depots in spring. However, the provision was often infringed and parkas remained in service throughout the year, so in some extent a warmer environment would not be out of place, particularly in a mountain region or in a cold morning/evening.

Though not including assembly instructions, the figures cannot be put together in a wrong way, because all parts necessary for a figure are supplied on individual slots. In addition, only arms assembly is required, so the process is fast and easy, super glue gel being the ideal adhesive doing a perfect job on resin. For easing the operation, some pins are on the arms but the correspondent holes on the bodies either miss or have been covered by material during casting process. However, those are simply unnecessary, a little care in fitting the arms in normal positions at shoulders will be more than sufficient.

Within the set, both troopers dressed in parkas received M34 overseas caps, and in addition, for underlining the cold weather aspect, one crewman has his head wrapped in toque, an often used item winter. The other one, portrayed here as the driver wears instead of toque headphones, but miss the related wires. Those wanting a more truthful appearance, could add some scratch-built ones, the same super glue gel perfectly linking on resin both metal and plastic materials. On the other hand, in the artwork the two army-men are presented as having five finger gloves, but the thickness of palms allow painting them with or without gloves. The busts come with arms over hatches, a very good point preventing accidental falls in the vehicle. Such a drop might be fatal for the minis, while usually these are added at a later stage, after the vehicle is put together and paint. If the model kit does not permit opening a wider part from where the figure to be recovered, for instance turret removal, then the crewman should be considered lost. Normally, the narrow opening of hatches makes almost impossible the recuperation. In this light, it would be wise taking enhanced care when placing the crew in the vehicle and a drop of glue is very useful to prevent potential disasters.

The incorporated commander definitely sets out as a straight forward and uncommon approach in terms of WWII German Panzer officers. He wears a leather jacket with fur collar, not issued for Panzer units such as the well-known Italian leather jackets received in the Late Stage of war. According to regulations, officers and certain NCOs had to procure their clothes, so a huge diversity emerged in terms of attire. On the head he has the peak cap, authentically folded as well as headphones arranged in position. Again no wires are offered, but the right hand seems to hold the switch of the throat microphone, the parts of the device set around the neck being impossible to be perceived due to the jacket collar while the switch is hidden because of the position of arm. With the left hand the officer seems preparing to search something in the chest pocket, but other interpretations are appropriate, too.

Related to equipment and weapons, those simply miss, the figs having nothing except the belts. Anyway, providing belts it has been given the modeller the chance to arm with pistols in holsters the crew and eventually supply with map case or MP40 ammunition pouches one of the poses. As specialised troops, the Panzer crews mostly possessed pistols as personal firing weapons, but also sometimes MPs were available. Likewise, activating within a vehicle, they did not carry any of the standard infantry equipment such as canteens, mess tins, gas mask containers or similar stuff. Still, binoculars were a common presence at those soldiers and the modeller might consider adding them to one of them, perhaps to the commander although that would be mostly pointless while the figure is great and needs nothing. Concerning pistol holsters and other eventual supplementary gear, base on their size, Caesar are the most advocated, followed by Preiser while Dragon counterpart stuff is not fitting very fine due to lager appearance.   

Of course, figures designed for display in hatches cannot do too much, the interest of sculptor focusing more on the little visible parts like faces, jackets or caps. From this point of view, Warrior’s winter crew does not disappoint at all, attesting one more time the high professionalism of company’s team. Furthermore, when set in positions, they definitely succeed to animate the vehicle in case. If deployed as proposed by the artwork, due to their stances, particularly of the driver, the figs will portray a crew of a stopped vehicle in a peaceful climate. Anyway, a possible solution for showing a crew of a vehicle marching consists in changing the destination of the driver, transforming him into loader and moving him in the turret However, the strategy might be adopted only for Panzers with two hatches in the turret, like Tiger I and II. Considering the crewmen are not dressed in Panzer jackets, item appropriate only for tankers and assault artillery units, they fit not only in tank or assault guns, but also in any vehicle with hatches. Because of that, the value of the kit is much increased, many of the just mentioned vehicles being issued without any personnel.

As it was pointed out, the level of details is very high both in terms of attire and anatomy. The garment items are awesome sculptured, the parkas coming with clear and correct number of buttons, nicely shaped pockets and hoods as well as genuine creases. All of these are valid for the leather jacket plus an extra point for the perfect reproduction of the fur collar. Furthermore, caps stay on heads very natural and include eagles and front insignia, too. While for the M34 caps both the skulls of Waffen SS or the Wehrmacht symbols are hard to identify in the scale, easier is to classify the insignia of the officer’s visor cap. The size and shape makes clear that is about a Waffen SS cap, but if desired, with some extra paint it can be turned into a Wehrmacht emblem. In spite the size, anatomy is simply gorgeous, fully respecting the true proportions of human bodies. The perfect faces feature ideal noses, eyes, eye-brows, mouths and ears which confer to the minis outstanding facial expressions. Furthermore, masterwork has been carried out related to palms, all fingers not only being in place, but also having the normal size. Of course, being just busts differences regarding the overall size are hard to spot, but definitely there is no discrepancy between them, all entirely matching.

Most of the time resin figures miss flash but are covered by a thin film, which is the case also here. However, it is a matter of seconds to get rid of that film, much easier to be removed than flash. Thanks to the multipart solution, excess of material is completely inexistent. The resin used for the set is top quality as well as casting, except a small air bubble found on the crewman with parka. With reference to painting, there is met no problem, resin providing the best base for enamel, acrylics or artistic oils, simply integrating those in the material structure without any modification and keeping them after repeated handling.

Bearing in mind their size characterising the small side of 1/72, as well as their branch, the figs are compatible with those put forward by Retrokit, CMK in “German Armourers for Tiger I” and newer, Caesar in “German Panzer Crews”. Nevertheless, having the same sculptor, clearly they match the best with the minis incorporated in the other Warriors set on the topic, “German Tank Crew”.  Moreover, the clothes worn there, even if labelled as summer ones were commonly dressed by Panzer crews in cold periods as well, plenty of reference images and films underlining this aspect. On the other hand, the tendency in the scale is to portray WWII German tank crews in warm period attire, the largest part of the offer aiming the subject. Still, there exist few figure kits covering the matter, Miniaturas Alemany, MIG Productions and Track and Troops sets representing some of them. However, those crewmen are full figures and belong to the tall side of the scale, so a good combination with Warriors tankers is intricate to attain.   

The half-figure approach, the fragility of the material, the small number of figures as well as the very restrictive price make the set to principally interest diorama builders and some collectors. Nevertheless, mounting them in a wargaming armour is very possible, their presence making that vehicle, and in fact any other, to become truly special. Furthermore, the excellent level of sculpture and the unconventional garment items for a Panzer crew will also get the interest of all hobbyists. Unfortunately, the set is at present out-of- production, but it might be accidentally found in various traditional hobby shops as well as in the offer of different on-line stores and eBay.  

 

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