Articles

ESCI - Jagdtiger (8331) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer ESCI
Scale 1/72
Set Code 8331
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 1
No. of Poses 1
Additional Items 1 JagdTiger
Size Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

Review  

With a fabulous catalogue of figure, cannon, and vehicle kits, ESCI has gained a special place in the history of 1/72 scale and has remained for ever in the modeller’s hearts. Along the years many companies rushed to reissue ESCI creation and the fact that even at present many of their kits are remarketed by some major companies like Italeri and Revell says much about ESCI work and impact in Braille Scale. One of the good customs of the legendary producer was ensuring one to three crewmen for their vehicles, an excellent approach pleasing modellers and directly increasing the value of the kit. Usually the figures are quite common and show their age but sometimes those are really brilliant and can stand without any concern next to similar figures issued after 2010. In terms of WWII Germans Panzer crews, the best ESCI figures are encountered in Tiger II and JagdTiger kits, practically crewmen of the most powerful WWII German armour benefitted by increased attention of the company. While Tiger II kit received one full and two bust figures, the tank hunter version developed on the same chassis got a single crewman, most certain the vehicle commander according to pose and clothes. Ample materials review on many specialised websites the ESCI JagdTiger, so this time its commander is the target of the review. 

The fine details available on this miniature include it in the last generation of ESCI figures, a real delight for fans of WWII German Panzer troopers. Perhaps in an attempt to give to the army-man a Late War appearance the sculptor chose to dress him in an uncommon but extremely interesting item of clothing, almost sure a leather jacket. Furthermore, the attractiveness of the figure is boosted by the model of the jacket, not the common ones encountered at Panzer troops but a little different with a longer opening. Nevertheless, the accuracy of the mini does not suffer at all while officers and certain NCOs were allowed or had to purchase their own clothing either from Army depots or tailor made. That had as direct result a great variation in terms of attire within WWII German Army, augmenting the interest of nowadays hobbyists and collectors. Likewise, especially in the last part of war could be noticed the increment of leather attire at Panzer troops although Germany was confronting with a shortage of that material. A major source of leather used for Panzer and U-Boat clothes was Italy, after the country had left the Axis, the German Army confiscated large stocks of that material. 

The opening of the jacket lets the modeller perceive another jacket that might be the standard Panzer wrapper or another kind of tunic such as M44 peadot, the thin part distinguished, especially its collar, making more appropriate the last assessment. The jacket covers the upper part of the trousers, so recognition is impossible and in this light there are more options for painting those. The figure shoe ankle boots and on the head he put the M34 overseas cap, which was preferred by Panzer troops even after M43 cap was introduced, its large visor perturbing many of the activities carried out inside a vehicle in combat. Though the commander has a belt worn over the jacket, no pistol holster hung. Those wanting to arm him have received the possibility to adjoin a holster in any position, Preiser, Dragon, and Caesar offering plenty on their sprues of separate gear. A special thing is the Iron Cross and the Bar to the Iron Cross clearly displayed on the chest, ESCI emerging as one of the few manufacturers paying attention to such special details. 

Overall, anatomy comes out very fine except the head that looks a little over-scaled in direct comparison with the body. However, taking profit by the hard plastic and that Preiser and Dragon make available lots of spare heads in their kits, replacing the existing head with one of the just mentioned manufacturers is more than facile, a simple cut solving the problem. The intervention is recommended bearing in mind the eye-catching attire and the fine quality of the figure. In supporting the statement, the images accompanying the present review feature the suggested alternative implemented, the ESCI head being replaced by a Preiser one. 

Though cast in one piece and created to be set in a hatch, the army-man emerges quite energetic, even a little theatrical and goes well in a ground position or various locations on a vehicle, too. Pointing the direction with the finger of the right hand, the figure embodies an authoritarian but skilful commander, at least according to his medals.

Highlighted several times along the review, this mini belongs to the last generation of ESCI products and the small details are more than fine, medals, buttons, shoulder boards, and creases really impressing, particularly considering we discuss about a figure issued around 40 years ago. The larger size of the head offered more space for a fine facial expression, so in case the head is removed, it worth keeping for being added to larger figures such as Italeri, Pegasus Hobbies, Imex, Plastic Soldier etc. The rest of body parts are well proportioned and with a new head the figure might be included at the border between medium and tall sides of the 1/72 scale. The palm and the fingers of the right hand are outstanding individualised, completely matching the whole work of the author.

Cast of the figure also impresses and the small mould mark showing from where the mini was kept when it was shaped in plastic can be immediately removed. The same applies with the average amount of flash and though modelled as one piece, excess of material completely miss. Painting this soldier is a pleasure, not only its fine details guiding the brush but also the hard plastic properly accepting enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils and easing the work of the modeller.

With or without head changed, the figure finely mix in terms of size and level of sculpting with Preiser and Dragon Panzer crews as well as with lots of cottage industry products dedicated to the topic. In addition, it should not be forgotten the ESCI quite wide range of Panzer crews comprised by various kits, all their Panzers and armoured vehicles featuring at least one trooper dressed in appropriate attire for Panzer Armee.

No matter the year of production, this figure is a proof of the master work of ESCI sculptors, fully supporting that some products are timeless. It is definitely a most useful one, the special garment items and medals turning him into an extremely useful miniature that might be utilised throughout the entire war in spite its somehow Late War appearance. 

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