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Matchbox - SdKfz. 124 Wespe (PK77) _________(EXT)

  

Manufacturer Matchbox
Scale 1/72
Set Code PK77
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
Additional Items 1 Sdkfz 124 Wespe (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 1941 – 1945

Review   

Matchbox accustomed the modellers with the perfect advance of a vehicle kit, the box incorporating not only the vehicle, but also a diorama base and accessories as well as a couple or several figures which many times arrived in the 1/72 scale even if the vehicle was in the true 1/76 scale, as printed on the box. Sometimes these toy-soldiers were hard-plastic copies of poses encountered in the two soft-plastic figure sets produced by the company, sometimes the army-men were original stances, specially sculptured for the kit in case.

A couple of figures of particular interest propose “Sd.Kfz 124 Wespe”, the minis representing a commander and a soldier carrying out a mechanic task. Until now nothing unusual, but practically the officer raise some questions. In fact this figure might be assessed as one of the first mass-production conversions, the original being found in the soft plastic set “German Infantry” as well as duplicated in “Sd.kfz 232 Armoured Radio Car”. The one and only change made for the figure consists in reshaping the position of the left leg, the original miniature staying with both legs straight while the new has the leg bent as resting on a ammunition box, barrel, tree-trunk, rock etc. At first glance it might appear little odd his inclusion in a set aiming at Afrika Korps, the officer being dressed in M36 uniform, with visor-cap and officer leather long boots. However, his look is appropriate for Afrika Korps, too while the continental uniform has a similar appearance with the tropical one in 1/72 scale, and of course the same applies for the head gear. On the other hand, even if it seems uncomfortable for the Africa climate, many WWII German officers kept wearing their continental leather boots as a distinctive sign of their rank. The converted figure inherits from the original the binoculars, belt and pistol holster as well as the goggles on the cap and the Iron Cross worn at the last button of the shirt. Likewise, for this conversion is applicable the interpretation referring that we get another Feldmarchal Erwin Rommel in plastic but in a slightly modified stance than the previous one.  

Concerning his subordinate, this figure is clearly sculptured having in mind Afrika Korps due to the shorts he wears. In addition, he has got tunic, tropical peaked cap, socks rolled down and ankle boots as well as belt, but no item of gear or weapon. In a crouched pose, he holds in the right hand a tool and the back artwork advice to set him as fixing something at a wheel or track. Nonetheless, modellers can ask this mechanic to fix the same or something else at a 1/72 vehicle, airplane etc. The pose is pretty flat, but the mini is usable, particularly considering that mechanics clearly enrolled in Afrika Korps are quite hard to spot in the 1/72 scale. While the officer fits both continental and African fronts, because of his attire the mechanic can be deployed just in Africa or in a Mediterranean country. Anyway, hobbyists not interested in those fronts shall model for the figure a pair of long trousers, getting in this way a proper soldier for continental areas in the Late War stage. Likewise, by removing the tool from the right hand, the miniature can receive various other tasks such as heavy MG gunner, cannon and mortar crewman.

Uniforms incorporate numerous details, just to mention buttons, creases, pocket flaps, and Iron Cross. In terms of facial details, both figs have got quite fine ones and the heads do not emerge over-scaled. The bodies are well-balanced even if the palms are with a hair too big, their overall proportions send these army-men in the medium side of 1/72 scale. Because of size, they find plenty of companions inside numerous 1/72 sets targeting Afrika Korps and continental infantry. In addition, a major source for companions represents the figures included in vehicle kits produced by Hasegawa, ESCI, and obviously, Matchbox.

Made of hard plastic, the figs confer an excellent base for adding supplementary items of gear and weapons from Preiser, Dragon or Caesar. The material brilliant accepts not only polly-cement but also enamel, acrylics and artistic oils, properly accommodating those both in time and after repeated touches. The minis turned up without excess of material and an average amount of flash, immediately removed with any tool. 

Miniatures come without stands but they can be glued on the large base provided which is able to accommodate an 1/72 vehicle as well. Moreover, the palm tree included in the box is a good accessory for wargamers and diorama builders, important for depicting a scene taking place in Africa, especially considering that in the period the kit came on the market such trees were very hard to find. Definitely, the tree works great either for 1/76 or 1/72 scale, for this kind of accessories being not significant the labelled scale.

Matchbox’s “Sd.kfz 124 Wespe” occupies a special place in Braille Scale while puts forward an alternative for a similar pose and perhaps gave to many modelles the idea conversions are possible, showing how new and interesting poses can be achieved by simply changing something to a figure. A true road-opener in the field of conversions, the kit also made available an important mechanic due to its garment, for many years one of the few choices for Afrika Korps, a unit which often confronted with problems at their vehicles due to the special environment they had to fight in.    

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