Articles

ACE - Kfz.21 with "Desert Fox's" (72289) _________(EXT)



Manufacturer ACE
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72289
Year 2010
No. of Figures 1
No. of Poses 1
Additional Items Sd.kfz.21
Size Medium
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review 

In a certain manner, WWII German commanders emerges as a more than attractive topic in the hobby, some remarkable personalities or key figures of that period being available in the 1/72 scale, too. Apart of Odemars’ “WW2 German Commanders”, a soft plastic set specially dedicated and including fourteen major personalities from all units, various vehicle kits or figure sets, although not expressly declaring it in the title, put forward important WW2 German characters. Of course, in the absence of clear mentions, different clues such as stance inspired by a famous historical photo or other particular details added by the sculptor serve in precisely identify the celebrity.

On the other hand, in the early days of Braille Scale, the tendency was to include inside a vehicle kit one or more crewmen for bringing a human touch to the machine, Matchbox, Airfix, ESCI, and Hasegawa distinguishing on the matter, most of their kits featuring such characteristic. Unfortunately, that good custom barely has been followed by nowadays manufacturers, Revell, Dragon, ACE, Roden, UM, Mirrage Hobby etc never or extremely rare adding to their kit one or two figures.  

One vehicle kit introducing a well-known personality, also referring to him in the title, is ACE’s “Desert Fox’s Kfz.21 with Rommel figure”. As title reveals, ACE proposes a Kfz.21, one of Rommel’s most used staff cars during the campaign in Africa, many reference images showing him next or in that vehicle. Likewise, this kit constitutes a premiere for the Russian manufacturer, the incorporated Rommel representing the single figure released by ACE until now. Obviously, this is not the single transposition in the 1/72 scale of the legendary commander, other Rommels being reachable inside Pegasus Hobbies’ “World War II, the War Game”, Odemars’ “German Commanders”, Extratech’s “Rommel and staff”,and TQD Castings’ “Erwin Rommel” or Matchbox’s “Sd.Kfz. 232 Radio Car” and “Sd.Kfz 124 Wespe”. Considering the just mentioned tenders, it can be easily appreciated that Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel is the most replicated WWII German commander in Braille Scale. Moreover, another famous vehicle often utilized by Rommel in Africa, his Sd.Kfz.250/3 “GREIF”, was previously supplied by ESCI but without a figure to embody the legendary leader.

It is widely acknowledged that ACE is one of the most prolific plastic kit manufacturers, their catalogue encompassing lots of armoured vehicles, trucks, cars, and cannons of WWII German Army. In addition, an aspect of foremost relevance is that ACE tries covering the existing gaps within the impressive range of 1/72 kits targeting the topic. The company’s offer often comes out as the single option on the market of a particular vehicle or cannon, fact that much increases the value of ACE’s products even if these are listed as short-runs. 

Information on Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, nicknamed “the Desert Fox” are plentiful available, hundreds of books and articles on internet analyzing in full detail the life and career of one of the most prominent and popular WWII German commanders. The present review will limit only to the figure, also leaving aside the vehicle, several reviews of ACE’s Kfz.21, both the version with and without figure being accessible on various websites.

Concerning the fig, for the first attempt, the manufacturer proves sufficient skills, knowledge, and technical resources, the miniature arriving with a fair number of details, accurate attire, and good anatomy. Furthermore, the pose successfully reproduces a stance adopted by Rommel in a renowned photo shot in Africa, showing the great commander and behind him the staff car and some of his subordinates.

The kit lands in shops packed in ACE’s classical cardboard box and rests in four sprues for the car parts, one dedicated sprue for the figure, and a decal with license plates and markings. While the figure is cast as single piece, a complex assembly guide is given for the vehicle. However, inside the four pages guide, bearing in mind there is a premiere for ACE, the figure receives an ample treatment, comprehensive painting instructions being supplied on a large version of the commander. These indications complete with the artwork, featuring an excellent Rommel and in the background his Kfz.21.

In full accordance with the reference image, ACE’s Rommel comes dressed in his legendary tropical tunic and breeches, leather officer boots, and peaked cap. For further references, Rommel’s tunic and visor cap, through other items, are on display at Deutsches Panzermuseum Munster, and a simple internet search might be useful in case the modeller wishes to paint the figure with top accuracy. Anyway, the guide tells us how to correctly paint the mini, including the ornamentation on the collar tabs and shoulder boards, information also displayed by the artwork. Still, the image from the box shows the boots clean and shiny while in the original photo, Rommel’s footwear is very dusty, as I have strived to reproduce on the painted figure subject-matter of the present review.

He has on him binoculars and the sculptor emplaced those exactly like in the historical image as well as the Afrika Korps sand goggles, successfully succeeding to catch the appearance of the item, although their representation is rather difficult than of the general purpose model. At the shirt collar shines the Iron Cross, also very visible in the original picture. No weapons, not even a belt are on the figure, but these features characterized Rommel, lots of photos taken in Africa as well as in other areas, showing him just like that. Not only the attire, but also the whole stance adopted by Rommel in the referred image is reproduced by the figure, standing with the hands crossed at the back and perhaps only the head should have been twisted a hair to the right. Of course, the hobbyists not interested in a Rommel, can easily paint the miniature as a regular officer, dressed either in a tropical uniform or in a continental one, the two models of tunics being very similar. Moreover, according to regulations, officers and certain NCOs of the WWII German Army had to purchase their uniformsfrom military depots or tailor-made, the result being a large variation in materials, colours, and cut, a feature that confers a special charm to that army from the modelling perspective. 

As regards the level of detail, these are mostly quite nice, the tunic featuring correct collar and pocket flaps, buttons in scale, breast eagle, collar tabs, and shoulder boards as well as a fair amount of creases. Likewise, on the peak cap are clearly seen the goggles and the eagle while the breeches finely evoke that model of trousers. Anatomy is well-balanced, the palms matching the human proportions and the facial details make a link with the illustrious WWII German commander, the eyes, cheeks, and ears being properly sculptured.

Made of hard plastic, as the whole kit, the cast is fair in front but at the back, a big hole is immediately spotted. The same mistake can be encountered on figs released by more prestigious makers such as Airfix, ESCI or Hasegawa, so considering it is the first ACE try in the figure domain, the fault is excusable. The hole appearing in the middle of the back might be effortlessly filled with various materials, without affecting the miniature look while no small details are located there except some potential creases of the tunic. Flash and seam lines are in an average amount and no excess of material emerges. Enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils wonderfully react on this hard plastic, preserving the painting effort even if exposed to heavy handling.

Situated in the middle side of the 1/72 scale, this Rommel finds lots of troopers to command, not only from Afrika Korps, but also from the continent. Good matches are achieved with Revell’s “Africa Corps”, ESCI’s “Africa Corps Soldiers” and “German Soldiers”, Airfix’s “Afrika Korps” and "German Infantry" as well as with lots of others including Preiser releases. Moreover, he appropriately matches with Pegasus Hobbies’ Rommel, both in terms of size and attire. Arriving without a base, the miniature still possesses an excellent balance facilitated by the adopted stance, with the legs quite close and both soles on the ground. Nevertheless, those wanting to have the fig on a special stand can immediately glue the Rommel on a hard plastic standard or scratch-built base, but obviously, by using super-glue the figure might be stuck on stands made of other materials.

If aiming at purchasing solely the officer, buying the entire kit comes out as an eccentricity and only the most avid figure collectors or Rommel fans will pay the considerable amount of money, fairly charged by the company for the vehicle. Still, a Rommel remains a Rommel and ACE’s endeavor should be praised and encouraged. Despite few imperfections, the manufacturer proves real potential in the field of 1/72 figures and most surely, similar incentives are anxiously waited by all their customers. Having in mind all these things, maybe it is high time ACE to consider producing several figure kits for their cannons and vehicles. For instance, on account their gun kits supply enough projectiles, few universal crews, without shells but with palms shaped to hold the rounds would be of much value while certainly, drivers would be of general application, too.   

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 10
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 7
Sculpture 9
Recommendation/Utility 8
Reviewer’s Opinion 8