Articles

Matchbox - SdKfz. 251/1 Hanomag (PK83) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Matchbox
Scale 1/72
Set Code PK83
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
Additional Items 1 Sdkfz 251/1 (1/76) and diorama base
Size Medium
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Brown
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

Review 

For many years mounting/dismounting infantry had missed from catalogue of 1/72 WWII Germans in spite the huge number of vehicles available and the numerous reference materials either depicting infantrymen riding the vehicles or even more dynamic, jumping from those for entering in combat. For all those years, until Preiser has issued the brilliant set “WWII German Infantry Dismounting” supplemented also by “WWII German Motorised Infantry” the only choice in the field was one figure put forward by Matchbox “Sd.kfz 251/1 Hanomag”.

Together with this soldier, the kit also includes another comrade as well as one 1/76 Sd.kfz 251/1, some brick walls, and a large diorama base where all content has to be gathered. Diverging from other Matchbox kits, the figures were specially created for this kit and cannot be found inside the two soft plastic sets produced by Matchbox from where the company extracted some poses for accompanying the vehicles. However, even if newly sculptured the mini depicting a soldier jumping from the vehicle arrive in purely 1/72 scale while the other infantryman, assigned to operate the MG is a hybrid, the body more belonging to the 1/76 scale but his head clearly being in the1/72 one. Nevertheless, scale mistakes in terms of figures were often encountered in Matchbox vehicle kits, so a delight for the 1/72 supporters and disappointment for 1/76 collectors, particularly when they had to set on the 1/76 vehicle a totally inappropriate figure.

Sdkfz 251 was one of the standard armoured vehicles accompanying Panzers in combat, intensively used by Panzers Grenadiers and motorised infantry, so these army-men might be assessed as belonging to such units. Dressed in the Early War style, with M36 uniform, marching/jack boots and steel helmets they are lightly equipped, with gas mask containers and shovels, just as most Matchbox toy-soldiers. The larger size of the helmets can be disguised by painting those as covered by camouflage cloth. As armament the dismounting soldier received a Kar98K but not ammunition pouches. His comrade has neither ammunition pouches nor pistol holster, and absolutely it would have been more correct him to wear a pistol as personal weapon. Hobbyists can with no trouble add a pistol holster from Dragon, Preiser or Caesar as well as other items of gear but overall the figure does not deserve the effort, not only because he belongs more to the 1/76 scale but also considering its flat stance. His pose is closer to a karate figure than an MG gunner, in fact he has nothing to do with the weapon while his hands cannot normally grab it.  If not dropped in a box forever, perhaps the ideal location for this miniature is a place where only his head can be perceived. Due to his general look, he might be considered one of the predecessors of some white metal wargaming figures which also come with over-scaled heads and huge but simplified weapons.

The soldier just leaving the vehicle is definitely much above, his pose might pass as satisfactory, even dynamic while he was caught in the very moment of jumping over the vehicle wall and run into combat. The legs and hands are pretty finely set, the right holding the rifle and the left just prepared to let go the armoured wall being shaped in a manner ensuring a good grasp and fixation. Of course, proper would be modellers to endow him with ammunition pouches from the spare parts box, such items abounding in the 1/72 scale. Moreover, he can also receive better items of gear and even a nicer sculptured weapon, Preiser and Dragon pieces being more than indicated.

In terms of details, uniforms put forward sufficient small ones such as buttons, creases, shoulder boards but the shovels are more suggested than a close to reality illustration of that item of equipment. Anatomy is fair on the jumping soldier, with a good facial expression and well defined fingers. As previously stated, the other mini has got a bizarre anatomy with a 1/72 head over a 1/76 body, though the palms are in the 1/72 scale, too. Likewise, the single weapon on display, the Kar98K arrives merely shaped and it would be better replaced with one from Preiser or Dragon.

No plastic in excess and a manageable level of flash accompany the figures, on hard plastic its removal being an uncomplicated operation. Obviously, the material wonderfully accepts enamel, acrylics or artistic oils and records the artistic effort both in time and after heavily handling. No bases are insured while those would have been useless, the figs being linked to a vehicle. In addition, for particular scenes the brick walls are useful and can be deployed in the 1/72 scale without fear. Proper companions for the jumping soldier have already been pointed out in the first part of the review, the miniature also matching lots of other figs similarly dressed produced by a multitude of companies.

Despite having quite a toy look, the two figures, especially the jumping soldier, were extremely helpful at a moment but definitely now they show their venerable age.    

Historical Accuracy 8
Anatomy 8
Poses Quality 7
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 9
Sculpture 7
Recommendation/Utility 7
Reviewer’s Opinion 7