Articles

Revell - German Infantry (02502)_________(EXT)

Manufacturer Revell
Scale 1/72
Set Code 02502
Year 1990
No. of Figures 48
No. of Poses 12
Additional Items None
Size Medium
Material Soft Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Average
Glue-ability Medium (Cyanoacrylate)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943  - 1945

Review

In the early days of 1/72 scale WWII German soldiers were available in a limited number and generally oriented either to the “classic” look of that army in the Early Period of war, in M36 uniforms and marching/jack boots, or to Africa Korps, obviously wearing specific attire. Until modellers had at their disposal WWII Germans performing in a cold area such as the Eastern Front or Ardennes had to past over 20 years when finally the first 1/72 soft plastic set on the topic reached the market. In 1990 Revell came with an extraordinary offer under a very simple title, “German Infantry”, and this emerges as one of the most important sets in the history of 1/72 WWII Germans, not only because lastly the hobbyists wishing to depict that army in a cold environment had the possibility to do it, but also on account the impressive variety of items of garment and weapons encountered. Nevertheless, in spite its age, due to the just mentioned qualities, corroborated with the fine sculpture, the set might be appraised as a good one even after nowadays standards. For more than 15 years, it had remained the single mass-production choice in the field, especially in terms of soldiers in greatcoats and M43 uniforms worn in winter, but also the M42 winter suit and Zeltbahn should not be ignored as well. Previously, in late 70's Esci created a famous hard plastic 1/72 kit “German Soldiers Smoke Units”, reissued by Italeri in 2014, with all team members in M42 winter suits, but the miniatures were multi-part and not featured within a standard figure set. Luckily, after 2005 the 1/72 winter WWII Germans have received more and more attention from different mass-production and cottage industry reps, modellers benefitting by a generous range these days. 

With this tender it seems the manufacturer aimed at the well-known Battle of the Bulge, also issuing the opponents inside the noteworthy “US Infantry WWII”. In addition, Revell manifested a certain preference for their “German Infantry WWII”, the same miniatures being included inside combination sets as “Tiger I Ausf. E and German Infantry” and the larger packs “Sherman with US Infantry & Stug IV with German Infantry” and “Stalingrad Battle”. 

As an individual figure set, it was commercialized in the box adopted by Revell for all their Braille Scale toy-soldier offers, the 48 soft plastic troopers being emplaced on a folded sprue together with two larger bases necessary for setting the MG gunners and loaders. The original twelve poses are multiplied at least one time and maximum six figures from a stance are met. The front artwork presents eleven soldiers in very close attitudes with those of the troopers available inside, the only one missing being the grenade thrower. However, that miniature can be seen twice in the back artwork, one time in a bigger format used as a sample for the painting guide and another for exemplifying the true size of the figurines. The painting guide makes reference just to Revell colours and except the referred grenade thrower wearing camouflage trousers and feldgrau tunic, the producer supplies painting instructions for the army-men in greatcoats, too. Additionally, a black and white drawing reveals how the MG42 team should be displayed on the designated base.

In order to fit in the main topic, Battle of the Bulge, most of the clothes these army-men put on are specific to Late War period, namely M42 winter suits and M43 tunics. Nevertheless, there are several in the old greatcoat but films and photos taken at that moment sustain this aspect as well as the mixture of attire inside the same platoon. Footwear is formed by ankle boots with or without gaiters, marching/jack boots, and two pairs of leather and felt winter long boots worn by the MG team. Helmets record a great diversity, regular or covered by camouflage cloth as well as two with net for foliage and another with band for fixing camo cover or foliage being identified. According to the size of palms and in compliance with the garments, it seems the troopers have got five finger gloves that could be either the knitted or leather types. The standard WWII German winter equipment also included the toque, wrapping the face and neck, but none of the here reviewed soldiers have got that useful item. Nevertheless, if really wanting toques for their unit, hobbyists can represent those through a ticker layer of paint. It should not constitute a surprise seeing some wearing M43 tunics but activating in a cold season, before an assault WWII German soldiers often took off the heavy clothes for more liberty of movement. In addition, some of the M43 camouflage tunics were cut larger and utilized by troopers for better concealment, dressed even over greatcoat, exactly like a camouflage smock. Since the first glance it is spotted the miniatures address to winter, although they can be utilised in various periods, including those in greatcoats. There are lots of references showing WWII Germans wearing thick clothes in warmer environments and vice-versa, as previously stated. Regulations enforced the winter garment to be issued on September 15 until April 15, following to be returned to depots for cleaning and reparations and redelivered the next autumn, but the procedure was often encroached. Anyway, the proper location for these troopers would be a Late War winter front, not only on the Western, but also on the Eastern one. The figures can embody both Werhmacht and Waffen SS, the painting options being countless, virtually all camo patterns belonging to those units might be suggested on the featured items of clothing as well as white and different shades of gray, feldgrau, and green. As regards camouflage, it would be appropriate trying to paint the inner side of the hoods of the reversible M42 winter suit, with white if the outer side is camouflage or mouse-gray and vice-versa if the worn side is the white one. Likewise, in terms of the Zeltbahn, Waffen SS pea dot and leibermuster and Wehrmacht tan-water patterns should not be painted while Zeltbahns in those schemes had never existed. The greatest liberty regarding camouflage record the M42 suits, the pants and M43 tunics, those can be finished in any desired pattern.

Practically, from the twelve poses the Revell set accommodates, three soldiers are in greatcoats, three in M43 tunics and five in M42 winter suits, formed by parkas and matching trousers, and one in Zeltbahn over the tunic. In addition, there is proposed a fairly rare 1/72 figure in WWII Germans sets, namely a soldier with hood over the helmet. Another miniature with helmet covered by hood was released only after 15 years by Caesar in “German Infantry with Winter Gear”. Apart the officer and sniper, the rest wear the famous “Y” straps, adjusted even over the greatcoats and Zeltbahn. Equipment is randomly distributed, in general composed by gas mask containers, canteens, bread-bags, shovels with or without bayonets attached, and Zeltbahns, a single miniature also receiving the mess-tin. The twelve poses impress through the diversity of weapons they carry, more precisely three Kar98K (one with scope), one Gewehr43, three MP38/40, one StG44, one MG42, oneRPzB54 rocket launcher, one Flammenwerfer34, one Panzerfaust as well as four pistols in holsters. One soldier makes use of a Geballte Ladun, other two have Stielhandgranate 24 (StiHg-r 24) stuck under the belts and one of them is caught right in the moment when he prepares to throw a grenade. Within a good set the figs always must receive appropriate ammunition pouches for the handled firing arms, and such thing happens here, too.

All stances are realistic, lifelike, and fairly done, seven standing, four crouched and one prone, many of those introducing new aspects for the period when the set was launched and also at present can be apprised as extremely attractive. Likewise, the set finely combines the light and heavy weapons, the anti-tank aspect being more than clearly emphasized. 

Through the troopers with light arms distinguish the one with shovel stuck in front under belt and firing off his Kar98k from a crouched position as well as his standing comrade preparing to prime the Geballte Ladung, a device formed by six Handgranate 43 tied around one StiHg-r 24. Though a semi-official weapon, it was produced in significant quantities and figs with such chargers are still a rarity in Braille Scale, another being distributed by Revell in the subsequent “German Engineers”. A second thrower, this time handling a regular StiHg-r 24 performs the action in a fairly credible way, launching the grenade with the right hand while in the left he holds and maybe sweeps the enemy position with an MP38/40 that has the shoulder stock unfolded. In addition, the troopers with StG44 and Gewehr43, although in common stances, merit to be mentioned while at their first issue, such firing weapons constituted a scarcity in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans. The same situation was valid for the sniper armed with Kar98K with scope, similar specialized army-men barely being encountered in Braille Scale even now. Bering in mind he fires off the weapon from a standing position, ideal locations for this sniper would be behind a wall or tree or in a fox-whole or trench.

Often mass-production sets propose officers in rather flat or theatrical stances, but Revell modelled something different, striving to ideally portray a first-line officer. He is crouched in an attractive pose, with the left arm straight in the air and the right hand holding the binoculars. If the figure had stood, it could be considered quite dull, but in the way it comes, nothing is disturbing. Except the pistol and binoculars, this officer has got a MP38/40, left hand side ammunition pouch, and because he wears the classical peak cap but activates in a dangerous environment, he did not forget the steel-helmet, keeping at the reverse, hung by the belt. That was a more than useful item when situation on the front had become tougher, although it should be acknowledged sometimes officers rushed into combat without helmets, maybe as a sign of pride and for encouraging the subordinates. Even today this miniature proudly stands as one of the most truthful 1/72 illustrations of a first-line WWII German officer, equipped and armed in compliance with KStN which provided MP38/40 for such army-men. Additionally, it should be much appreciated the presence of steel helmet and the lack of “Y” straps, officers generally not wearing that item. When portraying their officers, many companies have made this small mistake, trustful manufacturers such as Caesar, Zvezda, and Preiser often showing officers with “Y” straps.

At its turn, the assembly formed by gunner and loader is really special and spectacular, practically Revell manifesting within their sets a clear predilection for unusual poses for such specialised soldiers. The gunner fires off the weapon fed by a 50 round ammo belt from crouched, propping the machinegun on loader’s shoulder who holds in the right hand the MG42 bipod for a more precise fire. Notable is that the bipod finely fits in the palm which credibly grabs it. More difficult and certainly unpleasant considering the noise produced by a machinegun fired near the ear, WWII German MG crewmen applied that modality of firing, both from crouched and standing positions, when various situations in the field required. During the years, in the hobby such stances have raised many controversies, but there are too many films and photos of the period, taken during combat and not for propaganda reasons, as well reenactors’ demonstrations clearly attesting it. The gunner was endowed with a pistol but a little odd is the sculptor allocated the MG tool kit to the loader, usually that item being carried by gunner. The loader, wearing Zeltbahn, has extra ammunition, a 50 round MG belt around his neck but no weapon or ammo pouches, his only gear resting in the MG tool pouch and a canteen. At a MG in light/medium role, the loader was armed with Kar98K and had to carry, according to KStN, four 50 round drum magazines and 300 rounds on ammo belts stored in a container. Evidently, on the frontline the reality was different and is more than welcome Revell’s incentive for enhancing the loader position in the team by adding a MG ammo belt around the neck. 

Nonetheless, the other poses in greatcoats should not be disregarded, most of them making use of not so commonly met weapons in Braille Scale such as Flammenwerfer 34 (FmW34), Panzerfaust, and Panzershreck. Of note is that all these soldiers with specialized weapons are dressed in greatcoats, maybe sculptor’s attempt for showing they belong to another unit like Pioniere although they could be regular infantry as well. 

In greatcoat, with ankle boots and helmet with foliage, pistol in holster as side-arm, the flamethrower looks on the move and ready to perform his frightfully duty, hated both by enemy and user due to weight and because they had to come close to the target in order to fire, the maximum range of the weapon being 25 to 30 meters, obviously depending by weather conditions. Among flamethrower teams the rate of casualties was high and those weapons were carried by Pioniere troops and employed with predilection versus static objectives, for clearing tranches, pillboxes, fox-holes, buildings, bunkers as well as against light armour. The fuel lasted tenseconds in multiple shots or single fire mode and according to regulations, a two men team was allocated to a FmW34 with the aim to support an infantry platoon. If needed, more such weapons could be brought in, the strategy requesting the flamethrowers to assault the targets while the infantry launched smoke grenades for better concealment and executed covering fire. FmW34, weighting 35.8 kilograms and holding 11.8 liters of flaming oil (Flammöl 19), was an updated version of the 1918 German flamethrower, with the fuel container shaped as a cylinder and vertically worn on the back with dedicated webbing. The production ceased in 1941, when FmW41 entered in service, but as many other WWII German weapons, FmW34 had remained in service. In the 1/72 scale the flamethrower is a rare weapon, Preiser, Caesar, and Zvezda putting forward few such weapons but none on a winter dressed soldier. The Revell version is fairly good, the shape of the FmW34 container, the hose, gun, and harness looking acceptable on the advancing soldier, although he is dressed in greatcoat and not in the protective items of clothing, specially issued for soldiers equipped with flamethrowers but only occasionally worn.

Produced in millions of copies, the Panzerfaust series, respectively Panzerfaust 30, 60, 100, (and final 1945 versions 150 and 250) m, was the most spread antitank infantry weapon, proving to be efficient even against thick armour and allowing the user to fruitfully engage the enemy vehicle for a distance that could vary according to the type of Panzerfaust. Tank-hunters had a preference for Panzerfausts due to the light weight, ability of penetrating armour and possibility to be fired from a quite secure distance and even from the interior of buildings. Firing off the weapon was extremely simple and implied just lifting the sighting lever, removing the safety plug at the warhead and the weapon was ready for launching. Suitable not only for regular soldiers, but also for civilians after a very brief training, thousands of copies had been distributed to old-men, women and children during the fight for Berlin and the heavy losses suffered by the Red Army reemphasise the Panzerfaust efficiency.At the time when the Revell set arrived on the market, Panzerfausts were almost inexistent in mass-production tender, modellers passionately wanting those recoilless rocket launchers having to purchase Preiser’s “German Paratroopers, Pilots and Ground Crew” in order to get two such weapons. Nonetheless, situation is completely different nowadays, various models of Panzerfausts and Panzerfaust Klein 30 m being allocated to 1/72 figs. Revell displayed the trooper carrying and not firing his Panzerfaust, advancing with the antitank weapon on the left shoulder and in the right holding the Kar98K. Based on the size of warhead, this Panzerfaust looks like a 30 or 60 m, a weapon that entered in service in 1944. 

Within the set the manufacturer introduced another specialized antitank weapon, the Raketenpanzerbüchse (RPzB), nicknamed Panzerschreck (Tank Terror) or Ofenrohr (Stovepipe) due to its effectiveness, shape and smoke produced when fired. The huge flash and blast emerged as the main draw-backs of the weapon, both revealing the emplacement and making difficult firing it from closed spaces, the room being immediately filled by toxic smoke. The Panzershreck was a copy of the American M9A1 Bazooka, but with an increased caliber to 8.8cm. The first German version received the name Raketenpanzerbüchse 43 (RPzB43) followed quite soon by RPzB54 and later by a shorter barrel version, RPzB 54/1. Those rocket launchers were almost the same, the difference resting in the front shield of RPzB54, installed for protecting the firer from the escaping propellant gases which could cause serious burns, previous the RPzB43 not being standardly equipped with shield.  Weighting 11 kg  and with a 1.64 m length barrel, it fired 3.3 kg rocket projectiles that could penetrate up to 160mm armour. Although developed in the Late War stage, its performances and cheap production costs allowed to be issued 289,151 Panzershrecks. Generally, a RPzB section was formed by two men, no. 1 firing the launcher and no. 2 loading the weapon, but occasionally, a second-in-command and a runner could be encountered, the runner bringing ammunition from the rear, and both replacing the casualties and engaging the crews evacuating the damaged tanks. The gunner had pistol as personal weapon and the loader Kar98K albeit he had to transport the ammunition. Due to its shield, Revell’s Panzershreck wants to replicate a RPzB54 or a RPzB43 with a field-converted protection and the pose of the guy firing it is distinct, prone and in an unusual but more than genuine stance. The accuracy is further completed by the pistol he has, the correct side weapon of a Panzerschrek gunner. Even if the rocket launcher emerges quite simplified and the tube requires drilling, the miniature remains a valuable one especially on account it still stands as the single mass-production figure in greatcoat operating a Panzershreck. It is pity Revell did not envisage the other crewmember of the rocket launcher because it would have been excellent receiving the loader as in the case of the MG42 team.

The clothes are correct and small details acceptably reproduced, featuring proper creases, collar and shoulder boards, pocket flaps but most miss the buttons that can be easily suggested by paint. However, the greatcoats are modelled full at the bottom, such method being habitually encountered in Braille Scale even nowadays, when technology developments are certainly superior to year 1990. If assessing the hands covered by five finger knitted or leather gloves and depicting those appropriately, then the palms might look less oversized. Except these parts of the bodies, the rest of the anatomy matches reality. Facial details do not impress with too crisp details, but may pass as fair and eyes, eye-brows and mouths can be further enhanced during painting. Between the poses there are no differences in terms of weapons and gear sizes and in general match the proportions encountered in the scale at other producers. It must be highlighted the set thrills with the variation and quality of weapons, all being properly done, especially the MG42, still nowadays one of the best soft plastic models in the scale. Regardless the Panzershreck and flamethrower look little simplified, these still succeed to look nice and acceptably reproduce the real models in 1/72 scale.

Mould and cast are average for a soft plastic set, and although in large quantities, flash can be satisfactory removed with some efforts, extra attention having to be granted at the face areas in order to avoid potential mutilations. Excess of plastic is omnipresent as well, most of the miniatures featuring unwanted material in various places. Some of those excesses can be removed, others are impossible due to the way the poses were envisaged and cast. Hobbyists should allocate much time for reasonable cleaning these figs and in spite all good efforts, several fluffs might remain. Anyway, enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils excellent collaborates with this soft plastic even without previously washing or priming and the artistic effort will stay in place along the years no matter how heavy the figurines are handled. Apart the prone Panzersherck gunner, all the rest received stands, including the MG42 crewmen which must be snapped together on a larger common base. For a durable fixation, proper would be gluing the miniatures while the provided pin and hole system does not offer an ideal connection in case of often moves. Cyanoacrylate is the perfect adhesive in that purpose as well as for making eventual conversions on the standard poses, a recommended intervention particularly on account the set supplies lots of identical toy-soldiers. Most of the poses are suitable for receiving extra gear and weapons or different heads and limbs, super glue gel being able to create a long lasting and resistant bond between the Revell material and hard plastic or resin pieces. Tested on some conversions carried out more than 20 years ago and although employing cheap superglue, the liaison between the parts is impeccably working even today. Those not wanting bases can effortlessly remove the troopers from the stands, the crouched and some of the standing ones having a good balance without a designated support, too.

For almost 15 years holding the exclusivity in terms of soft plastic 1/72 WWII Germans for winter and even more concerning those in greatcoats, nowadays the Revell unit have got lots of comrades. In the medium side of the scale, thanks to the dimensions of weapons and equipment, these soldiers are perfectly compatible with figurines of same size or taller. From the garment point of view, they excellent collaborate with a huge number of army-men delivered in plastic by various manufacturers in sets such as Caesar’s “German Infantry with Winter Gear”, Italeri’s “German Elite Troops”, Esci’s “German Soldiers Smoke Units”, Pegasus Hobbies’ “Germans in Berlin 1945”, Strelet’s “WWII German Army (Staingrad)”, Zvezda’s series on winter Germans etc. At its turn, the cottage industry proposes a multitude of resin and white metal WWII Germans wearing cold weather clothes. Moreover, it should be pointed out minis in camouflage smocks are all-weather and the attire can be painted in a lot of camouflage patterns or white. Because of that, troopers featured by sets as Preiser’s “WW2 German Pak40 Crew” and “Mortar in combat”, Pegasus Hobbies Waffen SS - Set 1 and Set 2 can be brought in, too. Caesar proposes a huge amount of winter WWII Germans a little smaller than Revell’s and though there might emerge slight dissimilarities concerning the sizes, the figs present in all just mentioned sets and more others can be installed without hesitations in the same place, of course paying little attention to identify locations where potential slight discrepancies would be harder observed.

As a true road-opener, “German Infantry” has got a special place in the hobby as well as in the hearts of collectors, gamers, and diorama builders, the set definitely bringing a major contribution to the increment of Revell’s popularity. It also might be apprised as one of the best own releases of the company, its importance being highlighted as well by the fact this true mile-stone in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans is encountered in almost all older collections, being one of the most beloved mass-production sets on the topic even today.

Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 8
Sculpture 8
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 9