Articles

ESCI - SdKfz.11 (8349) _________(EXT)

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Manufacturer ESCI
Scale 1/72
Set Code 8349
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
Additional Items 1 Sd.kfz11
Size Medium
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Easy
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 Review 

Trucks and half-tracks without at least driver limit the possibilities of modellers to halted vehicles or require adding related personnel from specialised figure sets. In the field of 1/72 WWII Germans there are few such sets, Preiser’s “WWII German Motorised Infantry” and CMK’s “German Soldiers for FAMO” or “German driver and personnel for FAMO” representing main choices in the field. However, better would be manufacturers to supply within the kit the driver and eventual other army-men, giving the hobbyist the alternative of displaying the vehicle on the move. Few companies like ESCI, Hasegawa, and newer, Caesar took into consideration such things, and offer the chance to depict the vehicle together with the crew.  

One example on the matter puts forward ESCI’s Sd.Kfz.11 where there are available two soldiers, respectively driver and front seat passenger. Both dressed in Afrika Korps, with tunics, shorts, ankle boots, socks, and tropical caps they are clear far from the front line, fact also emphasised by the lack of any weapon or gear, though they wear belts over tunics. Bearing in mind this aspect, hobbyists might add few items of equipment, ammunition pouches, pistol holsters etc. With the same figures the interested parts will meet inside the other ESCI kit comprising the same vehicle, namely “Sd.kfz 11 & PAK40”.

The minis come with separate arms, so driver’s hands can be arranged in the appropriate manner, the left grabbing the steering-wheel and the right resting on the gearshift. In standard approach his comrade keeps his arms little in the air, so he can also be fixed up for driving another vehicle. Obviously, there is the alternative of swapping arms with Preiser ones, but the method is recommended only if the modeller possesses more minis in the same poses. 

Considering that drivers for Afrika Korps are hard to find in 1/72 scale, these figs are extremely useful for the fans of that Army. Likewise, they can be displayed without fear inside a vehicle serving in a Mediterranean country, the same attire being encountered there, too. Because just the upper part is visible when set in position in the great majority of vehicles and that the tropical tunic is almost the same with the continental one in Braille Scale, painting the crewmen in the classic Feldgrau is suitable, too. Furthermore, in case the minis are arranged in a vehicle where legs below knees are impossible to spot, the shorts and legs can be simply painted in Feldgrau, jumping over the effort of sculpting long trousers.

Anatomy is on the good side and facial details are well done but the tropical caps do not make the most pleasant impression. Because of that and taking the opportunity the figs are cast in hard plastic,  heads can be replaced with more qualitative Preiser or Dragon ones and of course, with the desired head-covers, as the images associated to this review show. Palms have proper fingers and the driver’s ones are shaped for holding the objects linked to his task, but as previously stated, his colleague’s palms finely perform the same task, grabbing the steering-wheel.

ESCI’s hard plastic excellent reacts not only to polly-cement, but also to enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, offering the adequate base for long-lasting paintwork. The miniatures arrive with some fast removable flash and round mould marks but excess of material completely miss. There are no differences between the sizes of the two figs and they match well with most of ESCI figures issued in hard or soft plastic as well as with plenty of Afrika Korps units made available by a large number of companies. On the other hand, ESCI’s Sd.kfz 11 might pass as an acceptable half-track in terms of size and level of details, reviews on the matter being accessible on many specialised vehicle websites.

Drivers emerge as a pressing need, an enormous quantity of 1/72 vehicles being marketed without the necessary men. Moreover, drivers enrolled in Afrika Korps are a really scarce presence in the scale, ESCI’s tender remaining almost unique in the field. The average quality of the figures and the suitability to further upgrades with nice results recommend these army-men not only for wargaming, but also for diorama builders.     

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