Articles

Airfix - German Infantry Type 2 (01705) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Airfix
Scale 1/72 and some 1/76
Set Code 01705
Year ?
No. of Figures 48
No. of Poses 15 (6/9)
Additional Items None
Aspect Small
Material Soft Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level High
Glue-ability Poor (Super-glue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 

Review   

When Airfix took the decision to scale down their 1/32 German Infantry, probably they had not even the smallest guess regarding what they were about to start. With that, a new star scale was born, one that shines very bright, especially after 1990. Appeared in the 60's Airfix's German Infantry fought alone for almost a decade, in the 70's got sporadic support, but starting with 80's, reinforcements have arrived, succeeding that at present, the German Army in WWII to be the best represented in the 1/72 scale, overwhelming all the other nations involved in WWII. Not only because its venerable age and great distribution network that Airfix had, but also due to the fact that it was the first in the scale, the here reviewed figures are considered as some of the most popular 1/72 WWII German soldiers. When another set manufactured by the same company and having nearly the same title, "German Infantry - Type 1", (launched in 1961 and including only 1/76 poses, quite poor and with rough and simplified details, the figures having, per total, a toy look) was out of production, "Type 2" emerged on the market, for the great joy of the future fans of the scale. However, BUM from Spain reissues nowadays "Type 1", but due to its quality, it mainly addresses to collectors or nostalgics. Though in most cases "Type 2" is mentioned as 1/72, not all the poses are in the scale, from 15 poses, nine being in 1/76. Considering the difference between the number of figures from the two scales, maybe it should be better evaluated as 1/76, idea sustained as well as by the fact that the 1/72 figures could be enclosed in the small figures category of this scale. Below there will be reviewed only the six 1/72 poses, these being "classical" in the field, and represented along the time a reliable source of inspiration for the next figures released, either by famous companies or "no name" producers. Nevertheless, several words on the 1/76 poses should be said, pointing out their nice stance. Diverging from their 1/72 comrades, the smaller figures are also focused on other kind of poses, not only on combat ones. The two kind of figures seem to be sculptured by different persons, but the one who did the smaller ones, repeated the mistakes met on the larger fighters, especially those concerning the ammunition pouches, Most of these 1/76 army-men are interesting even at present standards, and it would be a real pleasure to encounter them in 1/72 scale, thanks to their uniqueness. Here there can be mentioned the soldier with MG34 on his shoulders, the wounded soldier and even the crouched NCO. Furthermore, the MG team is in a pose taken from a reference photo, this assembly becoming legendary and in spite of its often presence in the scale, none is similar with them. During the years the box and its artwork registered many changes, but the included content always remained the same, even if it has been produced and in 2000's.  

Being the first set including 1/72 German soldiers, it was almost normal to proceed with the first uniform, the so called "Early War" or "smart" consisting in M36 tunic, marching boots, regular trousers and steel helmet. The set features an officer dressed a little bit different than the privates, respectively M36 tunic, M34 officer trousers, officer riding boots and officer cap.  Except this figure, all the others have "Y" straps and are light equipped, canteens and gas mask containers being specific to all, while only some have bread bags, shovels with bayonets attached and a single one possess a not awsome mess tin. The unstopped deliver of M36 tunics make the figures suitable for the entire period of WWII, but they better fit with the Early Part of WWII, while the thickness of their garment sends them in warm climates. Nevertheless, it is not impossible to emplace these fighters in colder environments, especially in an Early War diorama on the Eastern front. The arsenal consists in four Kar98K, a strange MP, a StiHg-r 24 grenade which an end a little too round here, and the officer has in his hand a P-08 Parabellum. Those armed with Kar98K have instead three ammo pouches on each side, only one while the soldier with MP38 completely miss the ammo pouches for his weapon.

The poses are realistic, traditional in the field, with five figures standing and one being crouched. These poses are not amazing, but quite dynamic and sufficient well realized, being common for plenty of sets, but for sure, Airifix was the first who sculptured them. The advancing soldier with Kar98k holds his weapon in an uncomfortable position, but still feasible at a moment. One of the most encountered poses in sets having as topic WWII Germans implied in direct combat is the standing soldier aiming from shoulder with his weapon. For sure, also in real war troopers would fire off their weapons from a similar pose, and the one included in this set is well done. A pose constantly generating troubles, because credibility is harder to be achieved, is the grenade thrower. In spite the fact that when it was sculptured there were not many similar figures, even in other scales, to serve as an inspiration model, the present grenade thrower remains one of the best, his move being quite impressive, fully emphasizing the effort put in for throwing as far as the soldier can. An interesting pose is the one of the crouching soldier aiming with his Kar98K, the way he stays is attractive and rarely comes across, although similar figures are a common presence in subsequent sets. Perhaps an NCO, the figure with MP is in an extremely common position, but has something that immediately captures the attention of collectors. It is his weapon featuring an exciting detail, namely a handle emplaced under the barrel. Through this bizarre MP, who started many polemics in the field, probably the sculptor tried to depict an MP.E or a Volksgewer, these being a couple of German MPs featuring a handle in the close area of the barrel. None is accurate represented here, but also this MP could be a captured weapon, Germans being recognized for the custom of using each weapon they could get from their opponents. In general, in a mass production sets, the officer's pose is the hardiest waited when opening the box, receiving increased attention from the customers. Officers are obviously in smaller numbers than troopers, in plenty sets their poses not being replicated like in the case of privates, when we get 3, 4 or more figures depicting the same pose. The officer portrayed here is probably the most famous in the scale, when imagining an officer pose, the first taught will go to this one. His details are very well done and furthermore, he is the single figure of the set featuring no mistake regarding gear. His equipment is composed by map case, pistol holster and binoculars on the chest. In addition, he possesses gas mask container and canteen, not often encountered items at an officer, but still not impossible. Commanders firing off their pistol are extremely rare in sets, and even if they hold a pistol in their hand, aiming with it is still infrequent in the rich offer of 1/72 WWII Germans, no matter if they are made in soft and hard plastic, white metal or resin. Both the quality of the figure and the inexistence of serious competitors, make this Airfix officer a highly appreciated one, a standard of this pose.   

Without showing astonishing creases, uniforms are well done and the level of details on them and gear is satisfactory, including shoulder and collar boards, buttons and straps. The boots look a little longer than normal, but it is an unimportant aspect, not affecting the general appearance of the figures. The bodies are proportional, fingers in almost all cases are at their place, but faces do not excel in sculpture quality, in several situations being marked by a mould line. A small discrepancy between the sizes of soldiers registers at the NCO who is thinner than the rest and also has a smaller head. However, he may be used in the close proximity with his comrades, the disparity not disturbing too much. The Kar98Ks are pretty thin at the end of the barrel and for this reason some of them come bent. The issue can be solved, or at least improved, through soaking in hot water the barrel and immediately after readjusting it in the correct position. Also too thin is the barrel of the pistol, but during the painting operation, this becomes thicker and closely matching the original size. Nonetheless, in some boxes mould showed its limits and this barrel might miss. Flash is encountered on all poses and it will require some work to get rid of them, while excess of plastic is not so evident and arrives in small amounts only at the two figures firing off their weapons from shoulder, in the contact area between bodies and palms. The plastic reasonable accepts enamel, as well as not influencing its properties even if at hard handling the paint may disappear from the most exposed areas such as boots, shoulders or weapons. All figures received bases, but the plastic is very soft and those who do not want the support, will remove it extremely fast. After almost a decade when this set was launched, many others treating exactly the same subject found their place on the market, the infantry representing one of the most popular subjects related to German Army in WWII. The great majority is compatible and allows the mix of figures on the same diorama. Bearing in mind the garment, namely M36 tunics, as well as the size of bodies, gear and weapons, the figures from this set greatly match with Esci „German Soldiers"/ Italeri „German Infantry", Revell „German Armoured Infantry" and plenty of Preiser sets treating the WWII German Infantry as well as with Imex "German Troops" and Hasegawa "German Attack Group", sets with figures a little taller, but dressed almost the same. According to the just pointed out criteria, the here reviewed figures fit the best with Caesar's "WWII German Army" (Parade Series) a set appeared at more than forty years distance. In the history of 1/72 German Infantry, the second set came from Atlantic in 1975 and with two exceptions, all its poses are not just inspired by the Airfix set, but even more, there were practical copies with several modifications. The Atlantic troopers are enclosed in the tall side of 1/72 soldiers and for this reason, they are not the best companion for Airfix's infantry.   

Comprising practically two sets, one at 1/76 and 1/72 the here reviewed soldiers address to both scales fans, stressing the fact that wargamers will not be disturbed at all by the scale difference. For being the first 1/72 set related to German Army and a reliable source of inspiration for plenty figures released by other manufacturers, Airfix's "German Infantry" occupies a special place in the galaxy of 1/72 sets. In the role of father, the set managed simply great, producing a whole bunch of kids, a genuine road opener in a field benefiting by a lot of attention and in a continuous development. In fact, it seems that is the most spread and well-known set, in possession of ether diorama builders, collectors or wargamers from Asia to Africa. It is rarely met the situation that somebody who is found of 1/72 modelling at least not to know this set if he does not possess it in one or more copies. Sold along the years in millions, the set enchanted the childhood of many present modellers, representing their first contact with the scale, and most certainly, will do the same for their kids, continuing the advance of 1/72 German Infantry in time. Besides the sentimental and collection value, besides the fact that the 1/72 poses represent the fundament for many other figures made by various producers, it should be emphasized the idea that the soldiers presented here, despite several inadvertences, are pretty qualitative, not only their poses, but also their details comparing to some sets released after 2000, and even occasionally exceeding them.  

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