Articles

ESCI - Afrika Korps (8018) _________(BRF)

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Manufacturer ESCI
Scale 1/72
Set Code 8018
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 20
No. of Poses 9
Additional Items 81mm Granatwerfer34, ammunition boxes, projectiles
Size Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Light Brown
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Easy
Optimal Period 1943 – 1945

 

Review 

In the 1/72 scale ESCI represented and still represents, thanks to the reissues, a special name, supplying for many generations the necessary toy soldiers for their armies. In spite a venerable age, most ESCI figs are of good quality, compatible to nowadays standards. Likewise, the company established some premiers in the field, one of the most important and beloved by modellers emerging casting of few figure sets in hard plastic and with multi-part pieces. It should be underlined the ESCI hard plastic figure sets have not been reissued for a long period, those belonging to the famous theory of “ESCI lost moulds”. Concerning WWII Germans, the most well-known is the Nebelwerfer kit, but next to it stands Afrika Korps, practically the two sets being some of the most desired and wanted by collectors, reaching astronomical prices on eBay.

ESCI dedicated two sets to Afrika Korps, except the classical soft plastic “Africa Corps Soldiers”, at present marketed by Italeri under the name, “German Afrikakorps”, existed the other “Afrika Korps” made of hard plastic. Practically, this set might be assessed as the first multi-part figure set in hard plastic, getting a special place in the history of the scale.

Of course, the set shows its age, some figures having a bizarre appearance, quite funny, conferred by helmets over eyes, a real soldier having no chance to see something if wearing his helmet like that. Furthermore, anatomy is poor, bodies a little too tall and heads really over-scaled, as well as with not so pleasant facial expressions.

However, ESCI brought in an innovative approach, with figures requiring assembly exactly like a vehicle kit as well as multi-part mortars and MGs. Furthermore, wargamers have nothing to complain while bases had been insured for all twenty minis, including the prone ones, fact that is quite odd. The set rests in two spures taking in twenty figures in nine poses, two 81 mm mortars as well as various ammunition boxes and projectiles. The artwork closely reveals all the poses available and a piece of paper shows how the five figures needing assembly should turn out. Putting together the minis is not complicated but involves some time and it can be perfect done with any standard modelling glue.  

The soldiers are dressed pretty appropriately for Afrika Korps in combat, most of them having long trousers and just two crouched figures received shorts. All of them wear tunics, ankle boots and steel helmets, their attire making suitable for European fronts as well, obviously with the exception of those wearing shorts. Various items of gear are displayed but the ammunition pouches of those endowed with Kar98K are wrong, featuring just two pouches on each side instead of three. Armament is formed by four Kar98K, two MP40, one MG34, and one 81 mm Granatwerfer34. Likewise, one figure with binoculars, perhaps the commander, does not carry any weapon, also pistol holsters missing to both the MG gunner and mortar crewman.   Concerning poses, since the beginning the modeller will be struck by the close similitude of four poses with those previously put forward by the brilliant Airfix’ “Afrika Korps”. Certainly those minis served as model of inspiration for the ESCI sculptor, his figures being little modified copies. Definitely, it is about the soldiers firing off their weapons, respectively the two with Kar98K, the standing one with MP40 and the MG gunner. Duplication of the fault of Kar98K ammunition pouches comes to support this assessment and unfortunately resulted some funny figures, those being the ones seeing nothing due to the way their helmets were shaped. Nonetheless, the ESCI set proposed five new stances and at its turn, it seems that the running/jumping trooper with Kar98K was tried to be copied by Hasegawa in “German Infantry Attack Group”.

Small details are not the strong point of the set and also weapons and gear do not impress at all, being quite heavy. Still, the multi-part move towards had as direct result the lack of excess of plastic, but the minis hold a sufficient quantity of flash as well as mould marks as circles in various places on the back. Painting goes smooth like on any hard plastic, enamels, acrylics and artistic oils finding a very good host in it.

In the tall side of 1/72 scale, these figures finds plenty of Afrika Korps and continental troops to accompany, perhaps some of the best being the new Italeri related products. The set is definitely one requiring the spare box of the hobbyist and being made of hard plastic the figs may easily receive improvements, new heads emerging as almost mandatory. Dragon and Preiser are highly recommended, as well as the much better sculptured items of gear and weapons of the two companies for replacing the unattractive old ESCI ones.

Anyway, it is easy to criticise after almost fifty years since its first launch, the hobby and technology recording impressive progress during the period. In spite its draw-backs, ESCI’s “Afrika Korps” certainly remains a milestone in the 1/72 field and a real road opener for the hard plastic multi-part figures.  

 

Historical Accuracy 6
Anatomy 6
Poses Quality 6
Details Quality 7
Mould Quality 7
Sculpture 6
Recommendation/Utility 6
Reviewer’s Opinion 6