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Caesar - WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon with Crew (7202) _________(EXT)

 

  

Manufacturer Caesar
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7202
Year 2009
No. of Figures 8
No. of Poses 8
Additional Items 1 leFH18/40 cannon
Size Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

  Review    

Caesar’s 1/72 WWII German Army adventure has started in 2004 with two soft plastic sets released in the tall side of 1/72, then in 2007 came out six pre-painted mini-sets marking the turn to the small side of the scale and since 2008, cast in soft plastic, representatives of various units belonging to the WWII German Army have begun their march in the scale. Furthermore, 2009 registered several premieres for Caesar, recording the appearance of the first vehicles of this manufacturer as well as the first hard plastic figs and cannon in the kit titled “WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon with Crew”.  

Within the long list of Caesar figure sets on the matter, the s.IG33 (schweres Infanterie Geschütz 33) and crew is really special, putting forward not only hard plastic multi-part miniatures, but also providing two sprues of weapons and gear in the famous Preiser style. The amount of extra equipment is remarkable, exceeding with much the needs of the eight crew-men, and the size and quality are harmonised with the previous and following Caesar sets. Definitely, the kit represents a huge step forward, opening the gates for converting the soft plastic figures issued in impressive numbers by this company. It should be highlighted and strongly emphasised a major and perhaps not very well-known feature of the soft plastic deployed by Caesar for their 1/72 WWII Germans, the material is extremely gluable with super glue gel, the adhesive creating a powerful bond between pieces made of soft and hard plastics. Because the great majority of Caesar soft-plastic sets usually take in more copies of the same stance, conversions represent an excellent solution in bringing diversity and for increasing the number of unique poses in collections, often attainable extremely useful and eye-catching toy-soldiers. For instance, few topics are covered in mass-production only by Caesar, good examples emerging the Mountain troops or those dressed in Zeltbahn and SS fur-anorak, so simple conversions as head and weapon replacements or gear completions with the hard plastic pieces from here enriching those units with dissimilar army-men.  

In order all the components to enter in the box, another model, larger than the one adopted for regular figure sets, has been designed by Caesar, the same package being deployed for the vehicle and figure kits. The artwork is duplicated on both box sides and presents an unimpressive drawing of a s.IG33 operated by a six member crew, contradicting the statement written in the upper side of the box stressing the kit forwards eight figures. After opening the package, the customer will find inside next to the assembly sheet, one sprue with the gun parts, one sprue with the figures parts, one spure with heads and a pistol as well as two identical sprues with weapons, gear, and head covers. The printed assembly instructions grant precise guidelines for putting together the cannon but except three small images showing the crewmen near the cannon, no other information on assembling the figures is offered. On the same paper there are ensured two charts with various data for painting the product and a brief history of s.IG33. 

Caesar’s decision to enter in the 1/72 WWII German artillery business with a s.IG33 cannon reiterates the good knowledge of the available tenders, until the present one to materialise, this type of gun has been produced only by ACE but without personnel. Furthermore, Caesar supplies the correct number of soldiers to accompany the cannon, eight crewmen for a s.IG33 fully covering the entire crew, including the driver, fact that is rarely encountered inside specialised 1/72 kits on WWII German artillery, almost always some members missing.  

As the instructions also let us know, 15 cm s.IG33 was manufactured by Rheinmetall and issued for the first time in 1927 and became the standard German infantry regiment support weapon. The gun could be delivered directly to infantry or Panzer Grenadier battalions, especially to those without regimental gun companies and was operated by infantrymen and not by regular artillery-men. The s.IG33 fired high-explosive, smoke, and propaganda shells and could engage targets using high trajectory or direct fire. The gun was horse or motor-drawn (Sd.kfz 10 or light truck-dedicated ones) as well as self-propelled, mounted on a large number of tank chassis, even the first self-propelled artillery vehicle was the 150mm heavy infantry gun s.IG 33 set on the PzKpfw IB chassis. Other famous vehicles endowed with that cannon were Grille (on PzKpfw 38(t) ausf. H) and Bison (on PzKpfw 38(t) ausf. M), Gw. II für 15 cm s.I.G. 33 (on Panzer II), Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B (on Panzer III) etc. Furthermore, various field conversions, sometimes extremely odd, showed s.IG33 mounted on different chassis. 

Concerning personnel, KStN provided for a s.IG33 to be manned by eight crewmen, the chief of section being responsible for seeing that all duties were properly performed, all commands executed, and all safety precautions observed, the gunner operated the sights, no. 1 operated the breech, no. 2 rammed the round home, no. 3 operated the elevating mechanism, nos. 4, and 5 handled the ammunition, and another was the driver of the prime-mover. Likewise, the gunner could operate the traversing mechanism, also reachable for other crewmen, particularly those working on the left of the carriage where the system of gear wheels and shafting were set.  

The guide tells we receive the model with simplified straight shield and iron-tired spoken wheels, but that cannon was issued only in the Late part of the war, meaning the gray colour indicated by the instructions is inappropriate, Dunkelgelb, as shown by the artwork being more suitable. The gun kit proposed by Caesar comes in 31 parts and its overall quality makes a fine impression. If the client has previously seen or got Pegasus Hobbies’ "German 75 mm le IG18 Infantry Gun with Crew", it is impossible not to remark the similitude of material, quality, sculpturing style, display of parts on sprue, way of typing the company’s logo etc. These fact-findings directly lead to the conclusion the two guns were designed by the same team and commissioned to the same factory. 

In terms of details, Caesar’s s.IG33 features plenty small ones as rivets, hand-wheels, as well as a sighting mechanism and a panoramic sight Rundblickfernrohr 16 (Rbl.F.16), with extremely tiny characteristics including the range indicator gear, upper prism micrometer head or main azimuth scale. In fact, this part is identical with the one displayed on Pegasus Hobbies’ le.IG18. The entire cannon arrives extremely clean, nearly without flash and parts finely go in positions. Thanks to the precision mould and relevant guidelines, the gun can be put together pretty fast in spite incorporating quite many pieces. The nicely shaped and detailed barrel, cradle, carriage, and wheels contribute in recreating a good out-of-the-box model, also improvable by replacing/adding some pieces. In addition, two types of projectiles, smoke and high-explosive, are offered on the same sprue, and at least one, in conformity with the delivered images, should be set in the hands of a crew-member. Nevertheless, it would have been nicer to receive more projectiles and ammunition boxes, in this purpose Pegasus Hobbies featuring such items on the figure sprue.   

Caesar delivers weapons, gear, and head covers on a single huge sprue, duplicated one time, making available in a massive amount the most common items of equipment and firing arms used by WWII Germans. The great majority is also available in various Preiser and Dragon figure sets, but the more offers exist, the better for the hobby. The quality of Caesar optional parts is comparable with the one of the just mentioned manufacturers, but several items, particularly the Kar98K and MGs are a little below Preiser and Dragon. On the other hand, the company advances as separate parts binoculars case and pistol for the first time in Braille Scale, such items finally being available and proving again that Caesar has good knowledge of the 1/72 WWII German market.  

The sprue proposes for gear four M30 gas mask containers, four M37 Zeltbahns, four M31 canteens, three M31 mess-tins, seven M31 bread-bags (four with canteens attached and three without), eight shovels (four in case and four without), three bayonets/trench knives, two map cases, one binoculars case, two 6x30 power binoculars, one MG gunner pouch for keeping the MG maintenance tools, and two gas cape pouches. In some extent, due to close similitude in such a small scale, the last item might also be interpreted as a first aid pouch (Verbandpäckchen) or even one for keeping the reading maps tools (M27 Kartenwinkelmesser). As for head gear five steel helmets, two M34 overseas caps, two M43 caps, and one officer peaked cap emerge as the received options.  

Regarding weapons and ammunition pouches, Caesar supplied on the sprue four Kar98K, six MP40 (four with shoulder stocks folded and two with shoulder stocks opened), one MG34, one MG42, two bipods (one folded, one opened) and four grenades StiHg-r24. There are also given ten Kar98K ammunition pouches, six ammo pouches for MP40 (three left hand side pouch having the additional small pocket stitched to the left side and three right hand side pouch without small pocket), one MG ammunition case, one pistol holster for 9 mm P-08 Parabellum/P-38 Walther, and one pistol holster for 7.65 mm Walther. Additionally, on the heads sprue there is attached a 7.65 mm Walther pistol, a very useful item for converting officers and specialised troopers, while it is widely recognized that in the 1/72 scale there are not many army-men firing off their pistols or keeping those in attractive positions. Furthermore, specialised soldiers endowed with pistols as personal weapons and holding those out of the holsters are almost inexistent, so Caesar confers to the modeller the possibility to prepare such an army-man.  

With reference to the figures, each comes with separate torso, limbs, and head, so putting them in one piece together with equipment will take some time and will require patience. On the other hand, diversity is at home here, the results of mixing different body parts and heads being extremely interesting. Of course, while the poses recommended by the manufacturer are fine, conversions would be appropriate for a second set, for modellers that enjoy creating their own figs the kit representing a major source with endless variants for combining body parts, weapons, and gear. In standard approach, the kit proposes five standing figs and three crouched, embodying the commander, gunner, as well as no. 1 to 6, one of those portraying even the driver or another army-man enrolled in a s.IG33 platoon. 

Although there are not given any in-depth hints on how to put together the toy-soldiers, better clues are found on the sprue, the necessary parts for assembling each figure being supplied in individual sections. In order to see how arms should go in sculptor’s vision, besides the three small images, the hobbyist must pay little attention for establishing a natural relation between arms and shoulders. Parts fit in places very well, not remaining any undesired gaps and for heads, no matter the chosen one, any torso works fine. On the sprue dedicated for heads one facial expression comes with open mouth, and certainly matches the best the figure that is going to embody the gun commander, as yelling orders to his crew.   

All the crewmen wear Early War uniforms, respectively M36 tunics, regular trousers, and marching/jack boots. Due to their items of clothing, the figures best fit in a warm or temperate environment, though occasionally they can be deployed even in a colder period, sometimes during a winter combat artillery-men retaining just the tunics when they performed duties implying a lot of physical activity. For head covers, the instructions advices to use steel helmets, but also M34, M43, and officer peaked caps are available on the equipment sprue. In this regard, the hobbyist can customize the figs as he desires, using caps instead of steel helmets, stressing the crew is at a safe distance from the front line. Likewise, he can set on the figures the wished amount of gear, the only restriction imposing four torsos coming with already sculptured gas mask container straps. Because of that, it is suggested to affix the related gas mask containers alone or together with other items of gear such as mess-tins, canteens, entrenching-tools, bayonets, and Zeltbahns. As regards weapons and ammunition pouches, as it was pointed out above, s.IG33 crewmen were endowed with Kar98K except the commander of the section who received MP40. Arranging on the figures such ammunition pouches would be more than fine and in full accordance with regulations. However, modellers get great liberty on the matter, reference images attesting that not all crewmen had rifles as personal weapons, but also pistols were quite often met, just like other specialised WWII German soldiers. Concerning the weapons, those might be glued on the back of figures, but for such cases it is wise scratch-building or at least painting the straps. Still, weapons are not necessary, most of the times artillerists, especially those manning cannons in the second-line, putting down their firing-arms for moving faster and easier. With or without weapons displayed on the back, in front ammo pouches or pistol holsters are almost mandatory.

In spite requiring more time for assembly, separate gear and weapons give the modeller the chance to arrange those in full accordance with reference images and the manufacturer avoids eventual inadvertences or excess of plastic, issues that are repeatedly encountered at figures moulded together with gear. In addition, individual weapons and gear are useful not only for soldiers, but also suitable for being set in vehicles or on various diorama components or on the ground in order to give an authenticity fingerprint to the scene. In case of the present set, rifles, canteens, mess tins, and Zeltbahns spread around the cannon would increase its overall appearance, gaining a plus in terms of realism. 

Generally, most of the poses properly interact with the weapon but in order to settle a proper relation, as conceived by the sculptor, it is advisable assembling the gun first and when putting together a figure that establishes hand contact with the weapon, to check the link before permanently sticking the limbs in position. There are few cases requiring more attention, namely the soldier spinning the elevation hand-wheel, the gunner either operating the sight or the traversing hand-wheel and the soldier holding the T-handle of the trail. Furthermore, heads might be oriented in such a manner for supporting the movements or activities carried out by the army-men. Two of the crouched poses have close homologues within the crew dressed in M36 tunics proposed by Pegasus Hobbies for their le.IG18 gun, supporting the assessment the two sets share some common elements. 

The below description tries focusing on the standard approach of the poses, following the limited guidelines provided by the three small images posted in the instruction sheet showing the assembled crewmen. Nevertheless, it should be strongly pointed out that most of the poses are appropriate to fulfil various tasks inside the crew, not only those here highlighted. One of the clearest poses is the commander which has the right arm up in the air as preparing to order opening fire, and the best matching head is the lone with open mouth. In addition, the small images with the assembled crew feature him with a torso having the container strap, and even if that is not a mistake, perhaps finer would look one without that strap. In manufacturer’s vision, this figure has to wear Kar98K ammunition pouches, but proper would be MP40 ammunition pouches or a pistol holster. The gunner stays crouched and operates either the sight or the traversing wheel and for the orders to be properly understood, the commander has to be set next to the gunner. Moving on the other side of the cannon, no.1 which operated the breech Caesar advices us to arrange him a little further than his normal position and is represented by a standing figure with the right hand at horizontal. No.2 who rammed the round home is not portrayed as fulfilling his duty and for this reason might be embodied either by a standing figure keeping his right hand on Kar98K ammunition pouches or by the crouched figures with nothing in his hands. No.3 is embodied by a standing figure operating the elevation wheel in a pretty credible manner with the right hand while his legs are a little bent for putting in valour the natural stance taken for better reaching the hand-wheel. Concerning nos. 4 and 5 which handled ammunition, one is crouched and has the arms and palms shaped for holding one of the two projectiles offered on the cannon sprue while his comrade has to be set as pressing the T-handle of the trail in an attempt to prevent the recoil. As video and photo references confirm, the maneuver was often adopted, one crewmen weighing upon the rear T-handle of the trail for diminishing the cannon movement while firing. The last position in the crew, the driver of the prime mover might be one of the two figures proposed for no.2 or even by the guy dealing with the T-handle.  

Acknowledged as one of the best manufacturers in terms of attire, and that assessment is done on soft plastic figures, this time, in hard plastic, details on uniforms arrive even sharper, buttons, collar and shoulder boards, authentic creases, pocket flaps, and stitches truly striking. Anatomy comes out quite fine, the bodies being well proportioned except the palms that just like in most Caesar sets, are a little over-scaled. Facial details are impressive, too, the great sculptured eyes, eye-brows, mouths, ears, giving a realistic appearance. One remark aims at several noses which seem quite big, but still possible, men with big noses often being encountered. Palms have got pretty fine sculptured fingers, but as previously pointed out, these are a little too thick and over-scaled, especially in direct comparison with heads. 

Flash is at a low percent not only on the cannon, but also on body-parts while on weapons and gear records an average presence. Almost obviously, as multi-part figures, excess of material completely miss, and the same applies to the equipment sprue. The kit features two kinds of hard-plastics, one for the gun and another for the figures, but both are of good quality, very glue-able with polly-cement and excellent accepting enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils without influencing the properties of those paints as well as retaining hobbyists’ artistic efforts after severe handling.  

Caesar demonstrates that takes into consideration the needs and desires of all target groups such a kit might address, particularly for wargamers and some collectors, and supplies individual bases for each figure. Normally, by basing the figures, the initial report established between the gun and the crewmen holding various components would suffer modifications, but for most such cases, even on the stands, those minis still succeed to set up a plausible contact with hand-wheels, T-handle or sight.         

Nearly all the figures released by Caesar after 2008 belong to the small side of 1/72, and just the same or maybe a little taller are the present ones. They mix very well with both small and medium 1/72 toy-soldiers issued by various manufacturers, and best would be those dressed in the Early War uniforms launched by Airfix, Esci, Revell or Preiser. However, the same manufacturer puts forward ideal companions in several sets targeting army-men in M36 tunics, respectively “German Army”, “WWII German Army Set 1 (Parade Series)” and inside various kits with vehicles.  

Due to the fact they hold nothing in their hands, our s.IG33 crew members can operate almost all WWII German field, anti-tank or anti-aircraft guns. Likewise, they even can be better customised for any of those guns by adding projectiles, ammunition boxes or other specific items accompanying the involved cannon. Moreover, these figs does not obligatory have to handle guns, they might be easily transformed into mortar crew, signal, Pioniere or regular infantry-men.    

WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon with Crew” reiterates the immense potential of the leader in terms of 1/72 WWII German Army figs, the hard plastic figures coming in the same or even better quality of the already praised Caesar’s soft plastic miniatures. In addition, Preiser and then Dragon have become legendary for the extra items of gear and weapons, a golden mine for hobbyist’s spare parts box and with the present reviewed kit, Caesar joins the exclusivist club of manufacturers giving a major helpful-hand to modellers enjoying making conversions. Furthermore, together with Pegasus Hobbies’ le.IG18, there are now covered the light and heavy infantry support guns, which also quite important, are on par at quality and seem getting out through the door of the same factory. Bearing in mind the excellence and adaptability of the figures, corroborated with the already available sprue of equipment and weapons and the gained know-how in working with this material, it is hoped Caesar will bring more multi-part hard-plastic 1/72 toy-soldiers on attractive and difficult to spot topics.             

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