Articles

Hecker&Goros - U-Boot Crew f Revell U-Boot VIIC (KSHG 200) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Hecker&Goros
Scale 1/72
Set Code (KSHG 200)
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Pewter (Zinn)
Colour Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 

Review 

History of collecting toy-soldiers perhaps goes back hundreds or thousands years back, and certainly it has started to become popular when pewter figures appeared in large numbers issued by German manufacturers more than a century ago. Nowadays pewter or zinn in German has been replaced with plastic, resin or white metal by almost all the industry representatives. Still, there is a German company releasing miniatures in the old material, Hecker&Goros coming out as the single supplier proposing 1/72 WWII Germans in the old material. Assessed as dangerous for children due to the lead composition, it is nothing to be scared of if you do not have the “hobby” to chew your figures. Nevertheless, price of these sets make them addressing to experienced modellers and collectors and doubtless not for young children.

The initial zinn figures did not respect a particular scale, having various sizes and sadly for 1/72 collectors, the same situation is encountered in Hecker&Goros catalogue. In terms of WWII Germans, even if the company lists more sets as 1/72, practically there are only two or three truly in the labelled scale, the rest being clearly much over-scaled, perhaps 1/70 or bigger would have been more appropriate to be tagged in the artwork. “U-Boot Crew f. Revell U-Boot VIIC (KSHG200)” and “U-Boot Crew (KSHG202)” are between the few genuine 1/72 products of the company, the figures perfectly interacting and matching the rest of the sets forwarded by other manufacturers on Kriegsmarine.

Since Revell has begun to issue their excellent 1/72 U-Boat and Schnell-boat, the Kriegsmarine subject has become popular, attracting more and more hobbyists. The answer of aftermarket companies like CMK, Warriors, Andrea, and Hecker&Goros has been a prompt one, materialised in 1/72 figure sets targeting a large array of activities carried out on a U-Boat or Kriegsmarine vessel. Quite normal, under the name “German Navy”, Revell issued the first and until now single mass-production tender on the matter, synchronised in an excellent market strategy with the apparition of Silent Hunter III computer-game - perhaps even today the best U-Boat simulator.

The package selected by the manufacturer for commercialising the product is one of the simplest encountered in the business, respectively a sealed plastic bag stapled on a piece of paper featuring the artwork, logo, and emblem of producer proudly emphasising “Zinnfiguren”, name of the set as well as few relevant information for a garage manufacturer like contact data and phone number. The plastic bag allows perceiving from the store-shelf the outstanding level of sculpture and details of the three figures, immediately tempting the client. The title points out Hecker&Goros has crafted this U-Boot crew specially for Revell’s U-Boat VIIC 1/72 kit, but surely the set works for any U-Boat or Kriegsmarine vessel. Artwork consists in an image of the painted figures and despite being a little blurred, provides proper guidelines for painting the attire and their niceties. The toy-soldiers are cast as single pieces and being made of metal, without sensitive parts, enhanced protection was not very necessary for arriving to customers in good conditions.

The huge variety and mix of garment items encountered on a U-Boat are superbly illustrated, all these Kriegsmarine reps coming in dissimilar attire. According to clothes and standing poses, they target the conning tower or deck of a U-Boat or vessel navigating in the Atlantic Ocean or in other cold waters. One of the figures has got the reefer blue tunic and trousers that could be regular or made of leather. Under the jacket it received a pullover or a scarf, on head has the officer peaked cap and shoe ankle or sea-boots. This officer holds on his chest the powerful 10X50 binoculars, specific to specialised units needing stronger optics like Kriegsmarine, identical equipment being used through others by ground artillery, searchlight or reconnaissance units. Particular notes give the medals displayed on the tunic, perhaps a War Badge and a U-Boat Frontspange, and the amazingly sculptured full beard. With the left hand in the trousers pocket and the left on binoculars, the officer looks worried by nothing and due to his attitude and attire he can easily embody an expert U-Boat commander.

The second figure below analysed portrays an officer or NCO dressed in leather deck clothing consisting in double–breasted three-quarter-length reefer jacket and matching trousers. He wears under jacket a jumper and a scarf, on the head the M34 overseas cap and shoe ankle or sea boots. With both hands stuck deep in the jacket pockets he poses very relaxed, too. Extremely attractive details represent his trimmed beard that might be only a goattee and the knot of the scarf, ideally shaped and carved by company’s skilful sculptor.

The last figure proposes either a look-out or watch officer on duty on the bridge wearing the foul-weather waterproof gear, namely cape with large collar that could be turned up and buttoned for extra protection, trousers, sea-boots, toque, and sou’wester hat. The cape was cut large for allowing wearing over the leather jacket and indeed, all these waterproof items were mandatory for properly perform duties on the bridge while sailing in cold waters. Regulations enforced each Kriegsmarine vessel or U-Boat to have on board such specialised items of clothing. Great variation in terms of colours and models could be met because of the large number of contracted suppliers, generally manufacturing for civil market, too. Additionally to the 10X50 binoculars hanging on the chest, this Hecker&Goros figure proposes another eye-catching item, the special safety belt which was clipped onto mounts on the bridge, preventing the look-out to be swept overboard in heavy waters. The sculptor caught him in the very moment of arranging the waterproof toque around the neck, perhaps disturbed by how he initially put it on. Maybe this miniature embodies one of the best look-outs of the 1/72 scale, extremely natural in gestures and high accurate in terms of garment and gear.

Definitely not all figures included in sets aiming at army-men of a branch with specialised items of clothing, as Kreigsmarine can be easily moved to land units. Nonetheless, there is often the situation the attire worn by them to be suitable for ground units, too. Practically Kriegsmarine sets constitute a reliable source for figs dressed in items of clothing impossible to be found in the classic kits on land soldiers, but often worn by them. Sometimes Navy sets raise the beard issue but not all modellers are disturbed while faces with facial hair were occasionally met in WWII German land troops as well. Furthermore, hobbyists have at hand the option to change heads with beards with shaved ones made available in resin or hard plastic by Preiser, Dragon or CMK in different kits, materials excellent fixing to pewter with super glue gel.

Anyway, if it is wished to turn these Hecker&Goros figures into land army-men, the manouvre is achieved pretty easy for the officer and the man wearing M34 cap, although both have facial hair. In this respect, officer’s reefer tunic can be painted as a leather one and his trousers as feld-grau or black regular trousers or camouflaged type, according to the unit the modeller intends to enrol him. The breast eagle from the jacket could be either replaced or considered an “upgrade” brought by the man. As regards his full beard, the head can be either maintained or replaced, Luftwaffe, Gebirgsjager or Infantry being the most recommended units if choosing keeping the head, though isolated cases of Panzer troops with full beard are illustrated by reference images. Concerning the transformation of the miniature with M34 cap, here it seems even less painless, not only his attire, but also the trimmed beard/goatee making him a perfect choice for portraying a Gebirgsjager, but other units like Infantry or Luftwaffe are suitable, too. Due to its classic model, worn in Kaiser’s time and in great fashion even nowadays, his jacket can be painted as made of leather, wool or as a tailor-made wind jacket while his trousers look fine as regular not just made of leather. Moreover, as it has just been pointed out, for ground uses these heads can be changed, but due to their remarkable sculpture, recommended would be keeping them for conversion projects aiming at exceptions within Wehrmacht or Luftwaffe. Plenty of motion or still pictures show such army-men with full beards or goattees, so occasionally these heads would fit more than fine adjusted on bodies dressed in M36/43 tunics, Fallschirmjager smocks, parkas, wind-jackets or other items of clothing specific to mainland army-men. The hobbyist can identify various roles for these two figures as ground soldiers, but definitely in front of the third with foul-weather gear, solutions are inexistent. Even if changing the head with sou’wester hat and modifying the safety belt, the foul-weather cape is hard to be altered into an item of clothing encountered at land troopers. For this reason, best is to let this figure unmodified and get him a place on a Kriegsmarine vessel or U-Boat.             

Of course, poses staying still and doing nothing might look a little flat, but this time the inconvenient is counterbalanced by poses and the incredibly volume and realistic way clothes stay on these men. Not only the genuine shape, but also sculptor’s skills in carving an incredible number of small details on uniforms, gear, and bodies put Hecker and Goros on a leading position. Anatomy is gorgeous, without any over/under scaled parts and exceptional faces details featuring perfect sculptured eyes, eye-brows, ears, noses, mouths, and hair, including facial one extremely naturally modelled. Likewise, attire put forward genuine cuts and sizes as well as an enormous sum of small details such as buttons, pocket flaps, stitches, creases, straps, insignia, and medals. A special note should be given to the safety belt, where apart from the striking carved clips and buckle, we able to perceive the adjusting holes specific for this item.     

When the hobby ancestors took the decision to cast their miniatures in pewte they definitely had the knowledge that the material allow a perfect cast, able to crisply reproduce all the details brought by the sculptor after an intense work. In line with the ancient artists and artisans work, Hecker&Goros has succeeded to cast beautiful miniatures, with an extremely low level of flash and free of any excess of material. Cleaning the thin amount of flash imposes no special tools than those normally displayed for metal figures and obviously, for proper achievements at painting, figures have to be primed, of course the operation having to be carried out after removing the flash. With primed minis painting will go fine, enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils staying on pewter better than on white metal, resisting at touches, although in excess those are not recommended. Bearing in mind the figures are designed for being added on a U-Boat, bases are not included. Even without stands, they have a great balance and can stay up without additional support, an important feature for checking how to arrange them for best appearance in the desired locations. Anyway, after deciding their final settings, permanent fixation with superglue gel would be wise especially if diorama or vessel is repeatedly moved.      

Crafted in the tall side of 1/72, “U-Boot Crew f. Revell U-Boot VIIC is more than fine while nearly all sets targeting Kriegsmarine crews available on the market are like that, figures launched by Revell, Warriors, CMK, Andrea and few Hecker&Goros sets perfectly matching from anatomy and gear sizes point of view. Likewise, sculpture of those minis is at a high level, not only the ones issued by cottage industry representatives, but also those included in the single mass-production set, Revell’s “German Navy”. If the characters with beards from here, with or without head-replacements, are chosen for portraying land units, they would work fine with troopers in non-combat stances dressed for temperate or winter, good ranges in the field submitting Juweela and Miniaturas Alemany.  

Hecker&Goros blends tradition of casting toy-soldiers with remarkable historical accuracy and awesome sculpture, values that have imposed their products on a top position in the list of best detailed 1/72 miniatures. The ancient pewter has been replaced by industry, but this company emerges as the one and only 1/72 WWII German Army manufacturer still working with the primordial material. It is awesome to have this opportunity while in spite depicting a “modern” subject, with a Hecker&Goros miniature in palms it feels like holding history of the hobby in hands. 

 

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