Articles

Caesar - WWII German Sd.kfz 10 Demag – D7 Crew (7206) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer Caesar
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7204
Year 2010
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items 1 Sd. Kfz 10 Demag – D7
Aspect Small
Material Hard and Soft Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent
Conversion-ability Difficult

 

Review 

Carried out both by mass production and cottage industry reps, making available 1/72 copies of WWII German vehicles sets out as one of the most prolific and profitable activity. According to market data and manufacturers’ product catalogues, definitely the topic is the most popular among hobbyists and thanks to their efforts, a large number of WWII German vehicles, including variants, have succeeded to appear in Braille Scale. Nevertheless, the huge diversity of standard and captured vehicles as well as the creativity of soldiers in developing field conversions provide an immense source of inspiration and perhaps the entire amount of vehicles employed in WWII by Germans will never be covered.  

Despite the impressive number of companies offering such vehicles, there are only a few integrating in the same box the crew or interrelated army-men. Not supplying figures in vehicle kits emerges as a regrettable approach while the human replicas have the propensity to animate any scene, conferring to it a more palpable sense. Sometimes, due to general characteristics of vehicle, the presence of personnel is mandatory, otherwise parked or abandoned ones are the sole destinations for it. In the early days of the hobby, Matchbox distributed within their kits few figures and diorama accessories, perfect to recreate proper environments for displaying and even nowadays, those tenders are regarded as benchmarks in the field. In terms of figures, Matchbox’ incentive was continued by Esci and Hasegawa and newer by Caesar, while on the side of cottage industry, Miniaturas Alemany vehicle kit provides the richest number of 1/72 soldiers.

Years ago announced, the 1/72 vehicle range of Caesar have finally started marching to the store shelves in 2010. Launched in the same moment, the first wheels of the long promised and awaited series have consisted in “Krupp Protze Kfz 69 Towing Truck”, “WWII German SWS Halftrack”, and “WWII German Sd.kfz 10 Demag – D7” as well as the valuable “WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon”, a kit delivering not only the gun, but also eight crewmen and two special sprues abounding in gear and weapons.

With reference to WWII German Army figure sets, for sure Caesar comes out as the most prolific manufacturer, their catalogue enclosing a notable number of products, covering both unusual topics and depicting the largest variety pertaining to attire. Bearing in mind this unquestionable fact-finding, it would have been a sin avoiding the figures matter and fortunately, Caesar vehicle range received at least one crewman. From the first three vehicle kits, the “WWII German Sd.kfz 10 Demag – D7” incorporates the greatest amount, namely three troopers that are able to bring a human touch to one of the most utilised WWII German light trucks, with 14,700 copies thrown into action.  

Although the present review limits itself to the three figures, it should be pointed out that the Demag – D7 gives the impression of an accurate and crispy detailed one, and along with ACE’s and MPK’s interpretations, stands for an option that must be considered when deciding to acquire such vehicle. The Demag proposed by Caesar comes in its standard variant, but its body was used as a platform for light anti-tank and anti-aircraft cannons as well as chemical vehicles.

On the other hand, reminiscence emerge concerning the figs, while the other Caesar vehicles seem to receive a specially designed driver, here the granted poses induce the sensation that the company is going to use them in upcoming figure sets, too. It is well-known that Caesar has already promoted its intention to issue an individual set targeting WWII German tank riders.

The three soldiers put forward by the kit are shaped in a multi-media hard and soft plastic selection, two troopers designed to enter in the vehicle being done in hard plastic and another, based, in soft material for outside truck exploitation. This is quite a strange alternative strengthening the opinion that Caesar might plan to use again the present minis within future figure sets. It would not be surprising seeing that just some of them receive such destination and the remaining one/ones stay unduplicated. In this regard, exceptions have already been registered, a good example providing the Parade Series where, normally, almost all the pre-painted warriors were later incorporated in regular unpainted figure sets. Still, in Parade Series’ WWII German Panzergrenadiers set 2 as well as set 4, one figure from each set hung around un-allocated to a regular figure set. Besides, the entire content of Parade Series “WWII German Panzergrenadiers set 1” has not been transposed in an unpainted edition. Furthermore, Caesar’s Military Series inventory highlights a future “WWII German Panzer Infantry” and most probably, the two seated figures from here will be part and parcel of that set. Such opinion is further enhanced by the fact that both them and Military Series products are issued in hard plastic. Likewise, Parade Series’ “WWII German Army set 1” takes in a figure not imported, as its other four colleagues, to the unpainted WWII German Army”. The fighter is dressed in the Early War garment and it would not be a revelation Caesar to join the officer here proposed with that pose and together with some bright novel sculpted minis to form a new set on the topic. Nevertheless, all the above mentioned combinations are merely suppositions and only time and manufacturer’s wish will elucidate the enigmas.

Even if no army-men are featured in the artwork, on the box the producer took care and clearly stated that there are supplied three figures. Diverging from the other Caesar vehicle kits where the trooper is provided on the same sprue with vehicle parts, here these are separately delivered, in a thin plastic bag. Being cast in single pieces, no putting together guidelines are necessary and the instruction sheet also does not make even the smallest reference to their existence.

The soldiers wear the Early War attire, namely M36 tunic and jack/marching boots while as trousers, the officer put on him service breeches and the soldiers have regular pants. For headgear, the subordinates received steel helmets and the officer got a visor cap. The thickness of garment consent to use all over the year, but the unbuttoned up tunics suggests temperate or warm weather.

At its turn, gear is appropriate for each rank, the soldiers wearing “Y” straps, canteens, bread-bags, gas mask containers while the officer has just pistol holster, map case, and canteen. All items are correctly and nicely emplaced and additionally, it is great noticing the absence of “Y” straps on the officer, generally higher ranks not wearing them. As weapons, the officer was endowed with a Luger P08 pistol, one soldier with MP40, and the other with a most interesting rifle, perhaps a captured Torkaev SVT40 semi-automatic rifle. This comes out as an attractive and extremely rare approach, making use of captured weapons characterizes an atypical advance in Braille Scale, in spite the impressive number of enemy arsenal in German use. Hundred thousands Torkaev SVT40 that received in German registers the identification name SIG.259(r) were exploited against former owners, the wide presence of the rifle within Wehrmacht and Waffen SS being stressed by the publishment of a German version of the operating manual for that rifle.

Both soldiers benefit by appropriate ammunition pouches for their weapons, though the ones of the guy with Torkaev SVT40 are harder to spot due to the position of arms and rifle. Anyway, the visible parts indicate that he maintained Gewehr43 pouches, which is very fine and in conformity with reality.

Adequately illustrating an activity implying almost doing nothing, with the legs and arms dissimilarly kept, the two seated poses are excellent to furnish not only the Demag – D7 allocated by Caesar, but also they can easily be emplaced either in/on various tanks, trucks, cars, horse-drawn carts or even motorcycles. With the support of various objects such as chairs, stairs, rocks, fences, ammunition boxes, trenches or similar stuff, seated poses prove the key ability of fitting in different locations on the ground. Emplaced one near other, the facial expressions, the open mouth and the twist of a head give the impression that they are in the middle of a chat. Although holding the weapons in their hands, the whole attitude adopted by these two soldiers points towards a calm atmosphere and totally contradicts the one of the officer. With his P08 in the right hand in an aiming position, he definitely fires off the weapon, so his single match is the first line. When depicting the left hand very rigid and pushed much too back, as well as with the palm awfully straight, certainly the sculptor did not select the best position. Nobody firing off a pistol would adopt such stance, and one of the sole possible explanations for the location of the left arm is that the officer was caught right in the moment of raising the arm for signalling something to his unit. Moreover, this is not the single problem drawing the attention on the mini, the present officer received a pair of very short legs, the breeches and his quite long tunic just enhancing the impression. Fortunately, the human nature and its diversity offers enough examples for covering this approach, but that still does not fit too much on 1/72 minis. Somehow, the officer reminds about the one issued years before by Airfix within “German Infantry”, a milestone in the field, which at least from the anatomical perspective, is superior to the here reviewed one. In spite the pointed out drawbacks, considering the shortage of 1/72 figures really firing off pistols and not simply holding them, Caesar’s officer sets out as a positive figure. Likewise, the excellent detailed pistol and accessories as well as the fact that at least at this time, he is one of the two Caesar figures wearing visor caps, bring an important contribution to the utility and need of such a mini.

In an endeavour to connect all the three figures in the same scene, perhaps the fitting scenario would be one behind the lines, with the officer practicing his aiming skills on bottles, tin cans, birds, scarecrows or other targets while his subordinates assess, bet or even make jokes related to their commander shooting abilities. 

Caesar sculptors are renowned for their talent to brilliant manage tiny spaces, trying to depict even the uttermost details and these figures do not make any exception from the rule. Uniforms are crisply portrayed, featuring normal creases and small particularities such as collar and shoulder boards, buttons, insignia, and even stiches. Likewise, “Y” straps are adequately modelled as well as various gear components and weapons, a plus point receiving both the P08 pistol for its fine characteristics and Torkaev SVT40 for its unicity on a single part casted 1/72 German. There are not recorded any discrepancies related to size of gear, weapons and body parts, either among the figures of the kit or between them and Caesar interlinked sets issued after 2008. As regards anatomy, the minis possess pleasantly carved faces, with easily identified eyes, noses and mouths, including an opened one. Body and limbs are fine, except the legs of the commander, emerging quite short, and the palms of all troopers which are a hair over-scaled but with all fingers in correct locations.        

The medium amount of flash is fast removable, particularly on the hard plastic figures and also the excess of plastic encountered on the trooper with Torkaev SVT40, at the junction of rifle with shoulder. Plastic in excess registers the other seated figure as well, in the contact area between body and weapon. Coincidentally, the amount is quite low and somehow hidden by the position of arms and weapon, so nothing much disturbing. The hard and soft materials have almost the same colour, although the hard one is in a slightly darker shade. Enamel and artistic oils adhere and maintain well on both plastics, even at intense handling. On the bases of their premier designation, only the officer comes on a base that might be immediately taken off and with a lucky cut, he can benefit by a good balance, too.

The size of bodies, weapons and gear make them appropriate for the small side of 1/72 and it is fully compatible with the one encountered at all the other Caesar sets made available starting with 2008. However, considering their attire, from the impressive sum of Caesar minis, the present ones match the best with those from “WWII German Army” and the “WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon” crewmen. Other figures with a pretty close size are offered by Airfix “German Infantry" (the 1/72 poses in that set), but with a little care in terms of arranging, Caesar soldiers can accompany in the same display Revell “German Armoured Infantry", Esci/Italeri “ , Zvezda “German Infantry 1939-1942” and “German Machinegun MG34 with Crew 1939 – 1942”, Esci "German Soldiers"/Italeri "German Infantry" as well as various Preiser sets dedicated to this subject.

However, no matter these figures will or will not be incorporated in future Caesar figure sets, the hobbyists should not be disturbed to have more copies of them while conversions are easy achieved. Such aspect is crystal clear as regards the hard plastic ones, especially taking profit by the new launched separated sprues of gear and weapons put forward by “WWII German SIG 33 Infantry Heavy Field Cannon”. However, the same applies even to the soft plastic figures, the material utilised by Cesar being extraordinarily glue-able, a bond done with super glue gel emerging similar or even stronger than one achieved with standard modelling adhesive on hard plastic products.       

Except the intrinsic value of the Demag D-7, also the figures bring a major contribution to the general significance and charm of the whole kit. The two seated army-men might stand out as spearhead of the expected Caesar’s “WWII German Panzer Infantry” and their high quality details and nice stances with multiple usages promise a striking tender. Certainly, the enormous number of WWII German vehicles hardly waits such suitable troopers for taking place or simply riding them. Likewise, although not the best figure of the manufacturer, the officer emerge as an interesting mini, due to its pose and rarely featured items in Caesar’s comprehensive list of WWII Germans, respectively P08 pistol and visor cap. Moreover, the same officer represents a provocation in terms of guessing if it is going or not to be integrated in a forthcoming Caesar regular figure set. In case that it will stay unduplicated, obviously its rate would be augmented, predominantly the countless fans and collectors of Caesar WWII German Army figures wishing to add up this officer to their collections.   

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