Articles

Atalntic - Panzer Grenadieren (81) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Atlantic
Scale 1/72
Set Code 81
Year 1975
No. of Figures Varying
No. of Poses 8
Additional Items None
Aspect Tall
Material Soft Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Poor (Super-glue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 

Review 

Within the rich offer of WWII Germans, Atlantic's "Panzer Grenadieren" clearly distinguishes from the rest, being probably the funnies set ever manufactured. Full of mistakes and inaccuracies such as "Y" straps passing under the chest pockets of the tunics, much more buttons for some tunics, pistol holsters for all figures, unfair and weird emplaced ammo pouches, soldier admiring his back-head, gas mask container or grenade strangely hanging and mould marks on every figure are just several issues that will provoke at least a smile to somebody having not necessary strong knowledge about figures in general, and WWII German Army in particular. Nonetheless, this set, one of the oldest depicting 1/72 WWII German soldiers, possess a couple of good things that will counterbalance the negative elements and please a little the owner.  For a long time, the only offers on the market in the field came from Airfix and Atlantic, so both sets are extremely popular. Appeared after the famous Airfix "German Infantry", from where the present set was deeply inspired, most of Atlantic's Panzer Grenadiers are modified copies of Airfix's infantry-men. Diverging form the model set, where nine poses are in the 1/76 scale and six in the 1/72 scale, the presently reviewed set includes only figures in the 1/72 scale. Moreover, there were copied only the six 1/72 poses from the Airfix set, but bringing also two new figures. It should be underlined that all the soldiers from here are not perfect copies of Airfix ones, existing visible differences between them. The artwork of the box as well proves its age, a drawing similar with those from comics, in vogue at that time. Furthermore, while the number of poses remains always the same, the number of figures might vary from box to box.   

In spite of being entitled "Panzer Grenadieren", the featured uniform is specific to the Early part of WWII, but definitely there were hundred thousands soldiers belonging to this legendary army dressed in this way, the M36 tunics continuing to be send to troops till 1945. Thanks to its thickness, the figures may be used either in warm or cold environments, but there is not highly recommended to emplace them on a diorama full of snow. Except M36 tunics, the troopers wear regular trousers, marching boots and steel helmets while the officer diverges from its soldiers through M34 officer trousers, officer riding boots and officer cap. Without the officer, all the rest have "Y" straps and are quite light equipped, with gas mask containers and canteens. Some of them were endowed with bayonets that due to the absence of shovels could also be trench knives. Only one figure, the advancing pose with Kar98K received a bread bag, exactly like its model from Airfix. A strange feature of the set, of course not the only one, is represented by the inclusion of pistol holsters for all the soldiers. Such weapons were specific to officers and specialised troopers like MG gunners, tankers, paratroopers and others. In Panzer Grenadier units there could be met some specialised units, but absolutely sure most of them were regular soldiers, the equivalent of infantry and for this reason, according to regulations, missing pistols. Nevertheless, regulations are made to be encroached, and many reference images show German soldiers that had not the right to possess such a weapon, but granting to all troopers pistols in a set related to infantry, that is definitely a mistake.

Regarding the ammunition pouches, even if all have those appropriate to the weapon in use, the items feature bizarre characteristics here. Firstly, the Kar98K pouches are wrong, instead of having three pockets on each side, the sculptor did a single one. In addition, those with MP40 wear the ammo pouch on their back, a place where probably such an item was worn extremely rare or most probably, never. We could imagine a soldier in the middle of the battle looking for another magazine at his back, and loosing important seconds to finally extract it from the pouch. The weaponry encloses, along the eight pistols!!! five Kar98K, two MP40 and three grenades, being quite poor from this point of view, especially in a mass production set where in majority of cases, at least one MG is provided.

Except the pose of the figure that sees his back-head, despite their flatness and bearing in mind their age, the rest may be assessed as quite acceptable, relative dynamic and similar with others encountered in plenty sets. Six figures stands, one is crouched and one is prone, while as mentioned before, most of them are inspired from Airfix „German Infantry" set, including the officer who fires off his pistol. His gear is composed by map case, pistol holster, canteen and gas mask case, but diverging from the original model, this one misses the binoculars. The other five poses replicated after Airfix are variations on the same subject, still benefiting by slight modifications or additional components. For instance, the soldier firing off the MP40, without his ammo pouch arranged on the back, he also received at the belt a grenade sustained by a device known only by it. For this reason, the item looks closer to a trinket than to a grenade and either reference photos or the WWII German gear characteristics prohibit the appearance of a grenade in that position. Regardless its right representation, this weapon gives the impression that is glued on the belt and not held by a field conversion made by the fighter. Concerning the soldier staring at his back-head, the fault may be adjusted through soaking his head into boiled water, switching then in a better and human possible position. In addition, the way he holds his weapon corresponds to something new, it would have been terrible difficult and completely incommode for a soldier to do it so.  Both figures firing off their Kar98Ks and the standing grenade thrower, despite their flatness, are a little better, but the poses that they copy are a lot more successful. Furthermore, in the absence of gas mask container strap, the crouched army-man wears his gas mask container in a position contradicting the laws of physics. The two new poses put forward by Atlantic through this set consist in a soldier running with his MP40 in the right hand and a prone grenade thrower. Concerning the one with MP, his pose is quite successful, enhanced as well by a very good facial expression, with a wide opened mouth. On the other hand, although having the same mouth, the grenade thrower does not carry out his job very convincing, requiring a suitable emplacement like a bomb crater or a trench for being more persuasive.

With reference to the uniforms, these are not impressive at all, some having more buttons than necessary and receiving collars in a quite bizarre shape. Several tunics present here a lot of buttons, closer to the number found on Waffenrock than on the well-known M36 tunics. Nevertheless, the biggest oddity, the funniest thing ever encountered on 1/72 figures is the fact that the "Y" straps were sculptured as passing under the chest pockets of the tunic, the present figures featuring a new type of "Y" straps, namely straps with pockets!!! Fashion designers creating straps have in this set a reliable source of inspiration for an unseen model. For unidentified reasons, but probably affected by a creative virus, the sculptor took the decision to portray like this the "Y" straps, remaining in this way in the history of comedy. For sure this amazing fault can be easily remediated during the painting process, depicting the "Y" straps like they should be, over the pockets!  Apart from Airfix, here all the bodies are at the same size, even having the height of the figures manufactured after 2000. Facial details are satisfactory at all the figures, but highlighted are those of the two new poses offered by the company, with open mouths. On the one hand, these two faces attest the great potential of the sculptor and on the other hand brought an innovative approach in the field. The highly detailed palms, with clearly recognized fingers demonstrate once again the sculptor's capacity for fine work. There are not differences between the size of weapons and gear from pose to pose, but these are a little bigger than their correspondents coming from other producers. The bigger it is, the greater details we get, and here the MP40 are truly eye-catching, either because their huge over-scaled size or by the large number of small details.  Flash is present in normal limits, excess of plastic completely miss, but for counterbalancing these good things, the figures are stigmatized by a small circle, the mould mark where the plastic entered the mould. The material reasonable sustains enamel, without affecting the original proprieties, but the most exposed areas such as boots and barrels edges are predisposed to lose paint. With the exception of the prone figure, all the rest come on huge bases, the thickest ever seen on 1/72 WWII Germans. In order to escape of these "fat" devices, there are not imposed many operations, a simple and fast cut, facilitated by the softness of the material, will be enough to say good-bye to them.  

Bearing in mind the size of bodies, heads, weapons and gear, these Atlantic figures greatly match with those produced after 2001, from which Imex's "German Troops" is the best because they are dressed almost the same. Good companions for them according to size are the soldiers from Hasegawa's „German Attack Group", while figures wearing the same uniform could be encountered in sets like Esci "German Soldiers"/ Italeri "German Infantry", Revell "German Armoured Infantry", "WWII German Army" (Parade Series) and a lot of Preiser sets treating the WWII German Infantry, and obviously, the inspiration model, Airfix "German Infantry".

In spite of being a quite poor set, with many mistakes and funny things, showing his age and a toy aspect, along with the nostalgic and collection values, it still can bring diversity to dioramas, increasing the number of poses of 1/72 WWII German Infantry. Additionally, some nice faces and good details on over-scaled MP40s may be points of attraction and a justification for investing some money in these figures.

Historical Accuracy 3
Anatomy 8
Poses Quality 5
Details Quality 6
Mould Quality 6
Sculpture 4
Recommendation/Utility 6
Reviewer’s Opinion 5