Articles

Warriors - U-Boat Crew Set2 (Main Gun Crew) (WA72007) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Warriors
Scale 1/72
Set Code WA72008
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour White
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Easy
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 

Review 

After the great success of Set 1 targeting army-men for the U-Boat conning tower, Warriors appealed again to the outstanding sculptor Bill Chilstrom, the author of all 1/72 products of the company, asking him to create few more masterpieces on the matter. Fortunately, the sculptor accepted the challenge despite that working in the Braille Scale involves the same amount of work like in upper scales, but much less paid. Following this collaboration, Warriors succeeded to bring in the scale, not one but two sets dedicated to U-Boat crews, most exactly to the deck main and AA guns, the second one on the more powerful cannon being here reviewed.

Most of WWII U-Boat types were endowed with an 88 mm naval cannon, different from its famous ground version, or an 105 mm gun, while type II costal U-Boat completely missed deck secondary weapon. As a reliable alternative to spare the most important torpedoes, attacks from surface were ordinary procedure when situation permitted, for finishing damaged vessels or to engage smaller ships and various objectives on the shore. Likewise, due to its 30 elevation angle, the 88 mm gun cold not fire airplanes although some counterexamples are available, for instance on 10 October 1944 U-242 succeeded to hit a Russian aircraft with their 88 mm deck gun. Generally, the main cannon of a U-boat was manned by a crew of three to five, commanded by the second watch officer. Bearing in mind the key role of the main gun, a set aiming at crew for operating it was very important and would have represented an excellent completion for the first set dedicated by the manufacturer to conning tower personnel. However, it is not Warriors the single company providing such crew, at its turn, CMK, the company with the most comprehensive tender in the field, listing under the name “U-VII 88 mm cannon crew in action” a similar set, but with gunners wearing foul-weather attire, so the two offers do not overlap.

The manufacturer took the decision to supply the minimum number of soldiers for the main gun, but with full respect of historical accuracy. The three figures are packed in the Warriors large clear plastic box and in a sealed plastic bag for holding the content in place. As usual, arms and heads are delivered separately from the bodies and since there are no instructions or numbered parts, the hobbyist has to study the artwork for getting the idea how to assemble the figures. Fortunately, the artwork draws clear guidelines, showing from the right angle the three crewmen and how arms should go. Moreover, the same image gives hints on painting and displaying the figures around cannon. As for the other Warriors sets, product is cast in a high-quality resin but a little fragile, so special measures for avoiding breaking sensitive parts as wrists and feet have to be taken when removing them from the slots. Concerning putting together the content, the pieces go well in positions, but it is advisable to pay little attention to the relation arms-shoulders in order to achieve a natural perspective and to catch the great moves the sculptor has recreated. Obviously, the ideal adhesive would be superglue gel, not only because it realise an extremely strong liaison between parts, but also provides few more seconds for further readjustments.    

All the three crewmen come dressed in the same way, each wearing battledress formed by blouse and trousers as well as shirt, and ankle boots. For head covers one has got M34 overseas cap, another Pudelmutze cap, and the third is bare headed. They wear the blouse in trousers and painting the belt as made of leather, their attire can be transformed into overalls worn also by land units. The sculptor who also painted the figures appearing in the artwork, depicted them in the often encountered gray-green battledress, but also other colours were available such as various shades of light green. By selecting an overall approach, the large diversity of models and colours overalls were delivered gives the modeller the opportunity to finish these army-men in different shades of gray, green, blue and black. Battledresses are here kept unbuttoned up, so except giving a good perspective on the shirts worn below, those also restrict the use of the figures to warm or temperate environments. However, these pieces of garment and the head covers do not impose a particular period of time in WWII, the product being useful for the entire duration of WWII.

The three crewmen are caught in the mist of preparing the gun to fire, extremely dynamic and persuasive, one holding a projectile, another opening the breech and the third perhaps operating a hand wheel or other device. The loader holds the projectile very natural and it is a little bent in front as preparing to fit it into the loading-tray. This standing guy wears M34 cap and is the single seaman of the kit having a full beard, a pretty common detail on U-Boats, but quite infrequent in other WWIII German units although exceptions could be encountered. The second standing guy has nothing on the head and his pose permits settings in various locations near gun as well as in plenty new places. His arms are carved as manning a hand-wheel, handle, lever or similar things though he can stay very fine as keeping his hands on a railing or vehicle. The last gun crewman has Pudelmutze and seems working on the breech mechanism, doing it in an admirable manner, extremely convincing. Let on the back in an awesome pose, he puts in all effort to fulfill his duty as fast as he can. Due to its stance, the figure is tricky to be used in dissimilar purposes, but as an alternative, it would ideally embody a soldier pulling a rope or a cable. The three minis outstanding interact with the cannon, flawlessly depicting the crew carrying out related activities in the middle of the battle. In real life well-trained U-Boat gunners could fire between 15 to 18 rounds per minute with their main cannon and the Warriors 1/72 figures give the impression that we get such crew.  

On the other hand, if painting their garment items as overalls, these seamen can be moved to the shore as maintenance personnel within Luftwaffe, Panzer or other armies or even as crewmen in an opened top armoured vehicle, overalls being intensively worn by those soldiers in combat. Furthermore, because of the beard of one trooper and attire, corroborated with the destination of the crew, maybe the best ground use would be operating a Luftwaffe FLAK, such troopers often fighting in overalls and beard benefited by a not so restrictive regime, facial hair appearing in reference images of those troops. Of course, for such uses, it might be necessary replacing the projectile with one suitable for the ground or vehicle cannon but the intervention is uncomplicated. For an enhanced membership to armoured vehicle unit, to their belts can be easily added pistol holsters, Dragon or Preiser putting forward numerous options in hard plastic sets, a material glue-able on resin with the same super glue gel. Nevertheless, as ground personnel, perhaps many modellers would rather change the head with beard and the one with knit cap with others shaved and without so particular head-gear, parts offered again by Preiser and Dragon in different figure sets and working very fine on Warriors bodies. Likewise, there are several resin figure sets such as CMK’s  “German tankers WW II”  featuring optional heads, so more options for replacing heads with beard and Pudelmutze.

Mr. Bill Chilstrom’s sculpture turns out again faultless, anatomy and clothes emerging simply perfect. Human proportions are fully respected while palms and faces details come out extremely clear carved, with very realistic facial expressions. In spite simplicity, the garment items look very fine, with buttons, pockets, and flaps finely carved as well as genuine creases. Excellent appearances are some shirt collars coming out from blouses, increasing the authenticity and the humanity of these figures. The product arrives with an amount of thin film specific to resin casts but flash almost miss while the multi-part approach prevented the apparition of any excess of material. Furthermore, just an air-bubble was discovered in the reviewed set, but even that was so small that was effortless covered with a small extra-quantity of paint. Like any resin model, painting is a true pleasure, Warriors’ material, though more fragile, or perhaps because of that, simply absorbing enamel, acrylics or artistic oils and exposed to handling, it will durable retain the artistic effort.

Many times pointed out, perhaps the best mix of figures issued by different companies is achieved with Kriegsmarine sets, almost all releasing their products in the tall side of 1/72. Additionally, these sets complete each other in an admirable manner, except the two Warriors sets on the topic, Revell, CMK, and Hecker & Goros offering marvellous companions, excellent fact simply for gathering a commander and more crewmen near the gun albeit those are not mandatory. Furthermore, if moved to ground units, Preiser, Extratech, CMK, and Miniaturas Alemany allocate suitable comrades, too.   

Commercialised at a pretty restrictive price, the impressive sculpture and well mould and cast fully justify the money paid. Anyway, not only this, but also the sensitivity of resin and the assembly requirements make the product not very attractive for wargaming table. Mainly targeting diorama builders and collectors, the Warriors main gun crew will bring a plus of at activity and authenticity to any U-Boat, properly fitting to ground locations with or without slight modifications.

 

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