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El Viejo Dragon - German Panzer Crew (C72/2) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer El Viejo Dragon
Scale 1/72
Set Code C72/2
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 12
No. of Poses 12
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review 

 Garage makers play a key role within the model figure industry, covering gaps let by mass-production companies and generally proposing in resin or white metal finely sculptured miniatures. In the field of 1/72 Germans, an important representative of the sector is El Viejo Dragon (EVD), a label that has been making available a number of white metal sets along the years. A bizarre aspect of this Spanish producer is its decision of cancelling few sets proposing attractive topics as motorcyclists or Panzer crews. However, at least in terms of Panzer army-men, EVD issued another set bearing the same name but differently packed and accommodating less number of poses. It should also be stressed that the new offer commercialised nowadays duplicates three miniatures encountered inside the first edition, one identical, one with head position slightly alternated and another featuring the addition of radio communication gear.

The present review aims at analyising the initial set “German Panzer Crew (C72/2)”, out-of-production these days and putting forward twelve figures in distinct stances. Housed by a nice box, usually utilised for larger scale white metal figurines, the content is wrapped in a plastic bag for further protection. The artwork introduces five soldiers, two wearing Waffen SS pea-dot items of clothing and three in feldgrau Panzer uniforms, specific to Assault Artillery units. Indeed, the same attire was shared by Panzer and Assault Artillery troops, the colour, black for Panzer and feldgrau for the others making the difference. Still, between the wrappers of Wehrmacht and Waffen SS there were some dissimilarities, easily spotted not only in reality, but also on 1/72 miniatures. In this regard, the collar shape, larger and with pointed ends for Wehrmacht and smaller and with rounded tips for Waffen SS as well as the seam down the middle of the back for Wehrmacht and none for the other unit wrappers being the most visible. Furthermore, the Wehrmacht version wrapped more and the front edge was cut back diagonally while the Waffen-SS model didn't wrap so much and was cut straight down.  

In spite presenting a couple of troopers in pea-dot uniforms, in reality inside this set all soldiers have got the Wehrmacht model, so better would be ignoring the painting guidelines granted by the manufacturer and finishing the figs in either black or feldgrau uniforms. Furthermore, it is well known Wehrmacht troops have breast eagles while Waffen SS wore those on the left arm, this representing a clear and immediately spotted criterion for distinguishing the two units. On the wrappers of all soldiers submitted by EVD the breast eagle is nicely sculpted and visible, so the pea dot camouflage has nothing to do here albeit the breast eagles are removed and repainted on the left sleeves. 

From the total amount of twelve figures, three are supplied with separate busts and legs, so little assembly will be required. The manufacturer does not offer any guidelines for putting together the poses and the parts arrive mixed in the bag, so at the first glance, no idea how to combine the pieces. Anyway, after little study there can be noticed that one bust misses the left and another the right palms. The missing hands will be found on the legs, in this manner the producer giving indications on how to put together the miniatures. Obviously, the last pair of legs featuring no palms will go to the bust that received both hands. The assembly clues supplied emerge ingenious and totally suitable for how the content is commercialised, letting no error to interfere during the process. The pieces fit fine, requiring just some attention when matching the palms from the legs to the wrists. As a white metal product, the recommended adhesive is super glue, the gel formula assuring a very strong bond and allowing few seconds for eventual readjustments.

What makes this set interesting is not only the large number of miniatures, but also the similitude of three poses with those from Tamiya’s 1/35 “German Tank Crew at Rest”. Indeed, various manufacturers, including CMK and Caesar seem to manifest a certain preference for that Japanese set, both companies and EVD trying to interpret in 1/72 scale those particular figures released by Tamiya. Even if it might appear quite a large number of miniatures, none is identical and certainly none is a direct scale-down, sculptors of all the three Braille Scale companies just finding inspiration and trying to deliver their own versions over those 1/35 troopers. According to the year of issue, EVD comes out as the first that introduced those minis within 1/72 scale. In addition, Tamiya’s 1/35 set proposes five full figs and a bust, EVD refraining to duplicate the half-miniature and the two seated poses while CMK and Caesar recreated the entire set. In order to complete the twelve figurines of the set, EVD came with nine new creations, unique in 1/72 scale, though three of those have been duplicated inside their new version of “German Panzer Crew”. It should be also stressed out that for the new set, no miniature having roots in Tamiya’s “German Tank Crew at Rest” was reproduced.

As the artwork indicates and despite the title Panzer crew, the set might host at least two Assault Artillery troopers, one important hint in this regard representing the steel helmets worn by two men, accessory generally characterizing those units, even if helmets were standard for Panzer men, too. Nevertheless, if desired, all troopers here provided can be transformed into Assault Artillery crewmen by simply painting the uniforms in feldgrau, In some extent vice-versa is valid, the uniforms of those with helmets can be painted in black if the modeller intends to use them in some open top vehicles allocated to Panzer Army. There are reference images featuring, through others, Flak or supply vehicles operated by men in black uniforms and with steel helmets, so definitely possible and accurate destinations for these fighters.

In terms of head-gear, apart the two with steel helmets, three received M43 caps, six got M34 overseas caps, and one shows off with an officer cap. Footwear registers little diversity, the troopers wearing marching/jack or ankle boots. While the jacket is clear the famous Panzer wrapper, the matching trousers are controversial because no characteristic pockets or buttons of the Panzer pants are visible. Thus, the item can be finished not only in black, but also in various shades of gray and green, as part of drill uniform. Moreover, both jacket and trousers might be painted in camouflage schemes, but only those belonging to Wehrmacht due to the breast eagles and cut restricting the Waffen SS ones. As lots of films and images reveal, Panzer soldiers often mixed components of various uniforms, so here might be a good opportunity for hobbyists wanting to emphasise that particular diversity. Below the unbuttoned wrappers there can be noticed the shirts, being quite obvious these army-men address warm or temperate climates. Considering the fairly numerous presence of M43 caps, it seems the set aims at Late War troops, but the ones not wearing that cap are suitable for utilisations throughout the whole war, since 1939 to 1945. The pistol was the side weapon of Panzer soldiers and with a single exception, the troopers from here have got it in holsters housing various types as 9 mm P-08 Parabellum/P-38 Walther or 7.65 mm Walther. Apart one pair of headphones kept around the neck, no other items of communication are shown this time. 

From the total amount of twelve poses, four are seated or crouched, the rest standing, many being designed for hatch emplacements although if wanted, modellers might find for those proper locations outside the vehicles. One of the figures with helmets stands with both hands down, great for holding his balance inside the hatch of a StuG. His comrade wearing steel helmet sits in a nice positon and it is one of the miniatures requiring assembly. If these two troopers are allocated to an Assault Artillery vehicle, remains ten figs, exactly the number necessary to cover the full crewmen for two medium or heavy WWII German Panzers.

The set puts forward one officer, immediately spotted after the specific cap and he can command a vehicle, both from inside or outside the hatch. The miniature is replicated in the following set, but in an upgraded manner, featuring complete communication gear and wires as well as some medals. This time the officer arrives without, but the stance is attractive, keeping with the right hand the hatch and the left on the hip. He looks relaxed, perhaps supervising the crew how they fulfil some tasks outside the vehicle or scrutinizing the horizon from the turret. In some extent, this miniature might be assessed as a reinterpretation of the bust included in Tamiya’s 1/35 set, though differences are quite much.

A great diversity of stances is registered in terms of crewmen, designed either for occupying hatches or carrying out tasks around the vehicle. Three of them are crouched and only two involve assembly, the result revealing excellent poses, one crouched with right hand on the knee, while the other sits with the left hand propped in the waist, being also the single medalled soldier of the set. The last crouched miniature is perhaps one of the most interesting stances, even if cast as single piece. He belongs strictly to this set and lies in a very attractive position, propped in the right hand and in the left holding the binoculars close to the chest. The fig that might embody an NCO is extremely versatile and will look wonderful either on the vehicle or on the ground.

Unique in EVD catalogue and mainly designed for hatch or similar places is the standing figure with M43 cap, keeping his hand crossed on the chest but with palms down oriented. This is the single crewman of the set unarmed, wearing just belt and hobbyists can find for this trooper interesting spots to rest his arms, such as the wall of an open top vehicle, fence, window etc. 

Likewise, an original creation emerges the soldier holding in the left hand a canister, reminding in Braille Scale one of the most usual activities of such units. Normally, the ideal location for the mini is on the ground but it can find a place on a vehicle as well. Appreciated by EVD while it was repeated inside the second set, if owning both and in order to introduce some diversity, proper would be painting one in black and the other in feldgrau uniforms. However, it worth be mentioned the sculptor worked a little on the second similar fig, modifying and adding flaps in order to better represent Panzer trousers.

A duplicated pose that collectors have the occasion to see again inside the second set on Panzer crew released by EVD is the one with M43 cap, headphones around the neck, and arms crossed on the chest. Slight changes are encountered here again, the head is set in little dissimilar positions and trousers are also modified. Still, for further increased diversity, the solution above highlighted for painting in different colours the attire perfectly applies here, too. 

The remaining three standing poses, in tranquil attitudes, are those having a direct connection with Tamiya’s “German Tank Crew at Rest”, respectively the soldier resting his right leg on the something as an ammo box, fence, rock or vehicle part, the tanker keeping legs crossed and hands deep in the pockets, and the trooper with hands on hips. Even if Tamiya’s artwork shows only this last mentioned stance with M34 cap and the others with M43 cap and bare-headed, EVD delivers all of them with M34 caps. Moreover, the heads are arranged in unlike positions than presented by Tamiya but the 1/35 miniatures are multi-part and hobbyists can choose which and how to arrange the heads, not necessary respecting the artwork. 

Though the second EVD set on Panzer soldiers features slightly improved sculpture, also the first one was good from this point of view. The miniatures in the first set are a hair taller than their followers, but overall the anatomy is fair, with fine proportions of bodies and proper faces, with crisply carved eyes, eye-brows, moths, noses, ears, and hair. The palms could be a hair smaller and with better sculptured fingers, but this aspect has been improved inside the second set. The wrappers are excellent done, including the breast eagles, but in terms of trousers, these are quite controversial, a correct identification being virtually impossible while the pockets and flaps specific to Panzer pants are not visible. From this perspective, the trousers may be finished not only in black or feldgrau, but also in camouflage or in colours related to fatigue clothes, as reed green or gray. 

No matter the miniatures were cast as single or multipart, they arrive with a minimal level of flash and excess of material. The surpluses can be easily removed with any modelling tool, the metal utilised by the manufacturer being perfect, neither soft, nor sturdy. Bearing in mind a white metal product is in discussion, priming is a mandatory operation before starting painting and normally, should take place after cleaning the miniatures. If not respecting this key step, enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils will not properly integrate and the painting effort would be almost useless while it can be affected even by minor touches. The white metal is also very glue-able and not only the provided bodies parts, but also eventual supplementary gear suitable for tankers and produced in hard plastic by different companies might be effortlessly added. Obviously, stands would have been mostly useless for these tankers and are not supplied, but the miniatures can be permanently fixed in positions with superglue on bases, vehicles or inside the diorama.

Belonging to the tall side of 1/72 scale as the great majority of Panzer crews issued by mass-production or cottage industry labels, these EVD crewmen find lots of partners, first-rate matches being provided by Orion, Dragon, Preiser etc. Likewise, perfect comrades are the troopers enclosed by EVD within the second set on the topic, the two offers sharing the same sculptor and the second content being half based on the figures here reviewed. 

Unfortunately out-of-production and hard to find nowadays, EVD’s “German Panzer Crew (C72/2)” brought on the market some lifelike stances in a period when the offer was fairly limited considering the huge number of vehicles delivered without crews. Addressed to static model builders and collectors, these figs might emerge interesting for gamers as well, although the hard to find status and the higher price hamper such employments. On the other hand, the set conferred the first interpretation in 1/72 scale of Tamya’s 1/35 “German Tank Crew at Rest”, similar figures based on that set being included by CMK and Caesar within their catalogues. Making a comparison between these miniatures as well as between the similar poses shared by the two sets proposed by EVD during the years might appear interesting and exciting if owing all of the tenders.  


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