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Hasegawa - Pilot Figure Set (35008) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Hasegawa
Scale 1/72
Set Code 35008
Year 1998
No. of Figures 4 (12)
No. of Poses 2 (6)
Additional Items None
Size Medium/Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Cream
Flash Level Average
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1940 – 1945

 

Review 

 As a major manufacturer or 1/72 WWII aircraft, Hasegawa has considered the release of a distinct figure set, providing few crewmen for the existing planes in their yard as well as for those made by other manufacturers. The company came with a quite innovative idea for that period, titled “WWII Pilot Figure Set” and gathering inside the same box pilots from three key powers that confronted in the air during WWII, Japan, 3rd Reich, and US/British according to the information supplied in the subtitle. Nevertheless, for a complete depiction Red Army pilots should have been included but unfortunately they miss. Even nowadays similar approach is barely encountered, only few 1/72 sets targeting WWII featuring representatives of different armies in the same place. For each power Hasegawa forwards two pilots, US/UK being treated as a single entity although the uniform worn by those figures characterise just the US fighters. Particularly bearing in mind the impressive range of planes, only two poses for each army sets out as a pretty limited offer, and undeniably, better would have been getting more stances for each power. Anyway, while this website is focused on 1/72 WWII Germans, the present review will stick just with the two Luftwaffe aviators.

The set makes a good impression with its artwork, introducing all pilots thanks to a large photo fitted in the middle of the box. In addition, an excellent incentive is presenting in other six smaller pictures the pilots in possible arrangements next or on aircrafts, each of them benefitting by his own plane. Hence, the modeller can easily get a picture of what these air fighters are intended to do. Moreover, it must be acknowledged the miniatures from the artwork are excellent painted, with correct colours and lots of small details, so at least in terms of Germans, the guidelines can be trusted and followed without reservations. Inside the box two identical sprues are delivered, each accommodating six figures in individual frameworks.     

Getting back to the two Luftwaffe reps, Hasegawa decided to represent them is calm stances, slowly walking or simply standing but clearly prepared to take off or just landed taking into account their attire, flight helmet, and life vest. They are dissimilarly dressed, one of them wearing the two piece “Chanel Uniform”, formed by flight leather jacket and flight trousers, in service since 1940. For a genuine appearance of a pilot ready for action, he has got a flight helmet and shoes Pst3 or Pst4004 flight boots, the upper suede leather look of these 1/72 boots and other details indicating there is the regular pattern. The WWII Germans used over ten types of flight helmets, most of those being based on modified motor car models and the present one might be either for winter or summer. A possible version is LKpS100 according to the integrated communication equipment and chin strap. On the helmet this pilot keeps his flight goggles, but the item is quite under-scaled and poorly sculptured. The thickness and shape of the pants and the two large knee pockets give the impression he put on the electrical heated type. Of course, the specific zippers were not carved, but there is no difficulty in suggesting those by paint.

His comrade also wears a two piece uniform, maintaining the leather jacket but choosing breeches, sometimes such pants being utilised in missions by pilots instead of the specialised flight trousers. In addition, he has a M34 overseas cap and the footwear is different and could be either the electrical heated Pst4004E type or officer boots, but surely, the first alternative is more suitable for a pilot. A piece of attraction represents his life vest, not so many 1/72 WWII German pilots having it, few Preiser, Revell, and CMK fighters proposing similar items. The Luftwaffe regulations enforced that pilots flying over waters had to wear a life vest, during the war several types being issued, both inflatable and Kapok. The inflatable models were designed back-less for fighter pilots and fully backed for aircrew personnel. Most often such vests were made of rubberised canvas and were painted in yellow for increased visibility in waters, maintaining their buoyancy for 24 hours. Considering the shape and details found on the vest, the Hasegawa aviator seems receiving the 10-32-B2 life type, the back-free making it appropriate for a fighter pilot. There are noticeable the vertical manual inflation tube and its bakelite connecting port housing set on the upper left breast bladder as well as the cylindrical pressurised air canister and the related bakelite connecting port housing fit at the bottom of the left breast bladder. Likewise, clearly featured is the two part strap between legs, designed for preventing the vest to slip upwards.  

The initial thought when seeing their clothes and life vest goes to Battle of Britain but absolutely, these pilots work for any front starting with 1940, especially in temperate or warm areas close to the sea. Furthermore, the pilot without vest is appropriate to embody a fighter or bomber pilot while no distinction had been made between the two categories in terms of clothing.

At the first glance, these figs have no many things to say but after painting, they start transforming into pretty nice miniatures. In some extent, the utility might be increased by the life vest, of course for hobbyists intending to depict scenes in the proximity of waters. The details are not so sharp but accurate and small thing visibility can be either enhanced or added by painting, as the zippers on trousers and boots. The proportions of bodies are correct although the head with flight helmet emerges a hair too small. Facial details come out also fair while palms, even if in scale, are not top-notch sculptured, fingers being quite vague.

Manufactured in hard plastic, cast and mould are acceptable, and the existing flash and seam lines will be removed very simple, the material making the operation easier. No excess of plastic or other faults are encountered and enamel, acrylics or artistic oils greatly interact with this material. Cast as single pieces, no assembly is required but in case some upgrades are intended to be added, as better palms and heads or supplementary gear, the standard modelling glue facilitates such interventions in a certain manner. Created more for diorama or directly on aircraft emplacements, no bases are ensured and hobbyists wishing to see them on stands should use bases from their spare parts box, for effortless fixations being recommended hard plastic ones.  

However, it has to be stressed that the specific uniforms make almost impossible the conversion of the non-German Hasegawa pilots into Wehrmacht soldiers. Still, the single miniature that might fit in some extent on the matter is the US pilot in relaxed stance, dressed in flight leather jacket and trousers and with overseas cap on the head. In this light, a forced attempt consists in removing the back pocket flaps and painting the pants as WWII German drill ones, also apprising the jacket was captured and now worn by a Wehrmacht army-man. Occasionally, such practices were encountered not only on the Eastern but also on the Western front, though the reviewer has not seen any WWII photo with a German soldier wearing an US flight leather jacket. The cap can be interpreted and painted as a M34 overseas pattern, but I believe better would be entirely replacing the head with one wearing more specific German headgear such as M43 cap or steel helmet. A proper setting for the resulting figure is the hatch of an armoured vehicle, where the bottom side of the jacket, with its specific pockets, cannot be seen.

From the perspective of interaction with other Luftwaffe personnel, the Hasegawa pilots, belonging to the medium/tall side of the 1/72 scale, greatly match with comrades put forward by Preiser’s ‘”Luftwaffe Pilots and Ground Crew” and “German Paratroopers, Pilots and Ground Crew”, Revell’s “Pilots and Ground Crew: German Air Force”, and CMK’s “German Pilots and Mechanic WWII”.

Based on treated topics and market strategy adopted, Hasegawa’s “WWII Pilot Figure Set” definitely addresses to more groups of modellers, without limiting to a single category. For a considerable period, the set represented an important option for those interested in scenes involving WWII airplanes, its figures being found in lots of private collections. Likewise, the more studied these figures are, the better impression they make and with proper painting, the product can be turned into a very acceptable one. 


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