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Caesar - WWII Panzergrenadiers Set 1 (H052) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Caesar
Scale 1/72
Set Code H52
Year 2008
No. of Figures 43
No. of Poses 13
Additional Items None
Size Small
Material Soft Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Satisfactory (super glue gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review   

As it was expected, after more than six months since the launch of the Parade Series sets featuring pre-painted figures, Caesar has started to come on the market with the unpainted version of the soldiers incorporated in the just mentioned Series. Two regular sets, Panzergreandiers Set 1 and Panzergrenadiers Set 2 were announced on the internet site of the producer before the appearance of Parade Series, but priority has been granted to the pre-painted products, somehow a normal marketing decision. For Panzer Grenadiers topic, Parade Series has allocated four sets with a total amount of 21 figures and the question was, if appropriate, how the manufacturer would gather the figures in the two sets, bearing in mind also the fact that previous Caesar sets on WWII German issues included only ten poses. The assumption that identical soldiers from the Parade Series will constitute the base for future unpainted sets proved to be right and inside Panzergreandiers Set 1 we have the opportunity to discover figures taken from three Parade Series sets, more precisely three from Set 1, five (all) from Set 3 and four from Set 4. On the one hand aware about the fact that those figures were known and possibly already owned by many representatives of the target group, and on the other hand, in order to increase the attraction of the set as well for those possessing the pre-painted troopers, Caesar has mixed in a bright new pose, not revealed by any Parade Series set. Despite various comments regarding the high level of excess of plastic registered on the pre-painted figures, no adjustments has been added for improving the mould, the company adopting the easiest solution and simply incorporating the Parade' poses within an unpainted set. Anyway, through the inclusion of 13 poses the set institute a premiere for Caesar, from 10, as included in the previous sets on WWII Germans, to 13 is a good jump and it would be great such policy to perpetuate. 

The general perception of  Panzer Grenadiers, at least in the 1/72 scale, is that they were mostly dressed in camouflage cloths, which is a fine approach due to the fact that such units were established in 1941, and in short time after, camouflage items became quite common for all German soldiers. Nevertheless, Panzer Grenadiers could be dressed and in M36 or M43 tunics, mouse gray/white parkas or greatcoats, so any kind of uniforms are suitable for depicting such units. Smocks are some of the most common camouflage garment worn by the German soldiers and could include both Wehrmacht or Waffen SS patterns or even white, some featuring this colour on one side for taking profit by the snow. Worn over tunics or even great coats, the German camouflage smock had two major versions, M38 and M42, the difference between them at 1/72 being established just through the flaps of the two waist pockets of the M42 smock, a tinny detail that in many cases is unseen because the pose or gear of the figure hamper the appearance. As it can be noticed from the name of the smocks, where 38 and 42 represent the year when the item entered in service, the German army was endowed with camouflage smocks since the beginning of war, in 1939, but in the early period of war these were mostly delivered to Waffen SS troops. Tones of reference materials show Waffen SS troops dressed in smocks and between 1939 and 1942, when it became frequent for Wehrmacht, too.

Figures come in the standard way of the manufacturer, the box containing a plastic bag with 43 soldiers removed from sprues. The artwork of the box is wrong, featuring soldiers dressed in tunics while all Caesar's Panzer Grenadiers from Set 1 wear camouflage smocks, the model being assessed as M38 on the basis of the footwear. The combination marching boots/camouflage smocks is noticed especially in the Early and Middle Stage of WWII at Waffen SS troopers, but nevertheless, it continue to be used till the end of war, therefore the present figures are suitable for Late stage, as well. Regular trousers and helmets covered by camouflage cloth complete the attire of the soldiers and their gear mostly consists in "Y" straps, gas mask containers, bread bags, canteens and folding combat shovels, while mess tins and bayonets are items appearing only at some figures. Either the model of the uniform or its thickness allows usage in all seasons, but the unbuttoned collar of the tunic of most warriors recommends them for warm or temperate environments.

Without any exception, these soldiers have the appropriate ammunition pouches for the weapon in use, seven Kar98K and six MP40 representing the firepower of the set completed by two StiHg-r 24 grenades. Worth noticing the almost equal percentage of the two types of firing weapons, in fact when choosing the poses of the present set, the manufacturer took six figures with Kar98K and six with MP40 from the Parade Series, the difference in favour of rifles establishing the new figure endowed with a Kar98K. It could be quite surprising the absence of heavy weapons, because MG 34 or MG42 are elementary items in almost all mass production sets. However, such weapons might appear inside Panzergrandiers Set 2, especially taking into account that from Parade Series has remained unused nine figures and to complete a set of twelve or thirteen poses there are still needed several new figures, hopefully holding in their hands one of the most reliable and extensively used WWII German weapon.   

The set succeeds to induce the atmosphere of the combat thanks to several very attractive poses for serving such an appalling purpose. Some poses, like the action they depict, are frequently encountered in various mass production sets, but the set has the merit of bringing few innovative and eye-catching ones. Figures come in ten standing and three crouched poses while the lack of any prone soldier should not wonder anybody due to the fact that none of Caesar sets dedicated to WWII Germans has included such a pose. If a crouched soldier firing off the Kar98k from shoulder is one of the most exhausted pose in the scale, the other two stances of the duck soldiers are rarely seen and definitely extremely interesting. First one shows a warrior with MP40 that could be in search of a target or simply staring at a vehicle or units passing near him. The second one, the new add to the set comparing with Parade Series, depicts a trooper holding his Kar98K in an attractive style, ready to rise from the bottom of a trench, bomb crater or other covers and charge the enemy. Furthermore, even at standing poses the set brings some charming poses, rarely disclosed by the rich offer of 1/72 WWII Germans. The advancing figure holding a Kar98K close to his waist, in a position often seen in reference materials represents a main point of attraction of the set. At 1/72 such a stance is not frequently encountered, but a related figure can be found in Pegasus Hobbies' Waffen SS Set 2". Captivating pose was granted to a soldier apparently searching a potential target, holding his weapon in a convincing position and ready to quickly lift the rifle to the shoulder and fire it off. This pose is more than great, allowing various emplacements on a diorama such as behind a window or in a trench, another task that it may be appointed to him being guarding a column of prisoners. At its turn, this sort of pose is merely reproduced in the Braille scale, but many times reflected by images of the period. A not identical, but similar pose may be identified in Revell's "German Armoured Infantry" released in collaboration with Preiser. In an innovative posture, quite strange but possible, comes a soldier with MP40, bent in front and probably yelling to a prone colleague too frightened to advance in the battle field. Though no heavy weapon is given, the manufacturer enriches the gallery of grenade throwers with two extremely credible and dynamic poses, able to capture the feeling of handling the deadly weapons. The first one was not sculptured in a throwing image, but preparing to prime the grenade, the position of his hands clearly indicating this. He is just pulling the string that was not added, perhaps due to moulding difficulties, and carries his Kar98k on the back, but also the necessary sting to sustain the weapon misses. Nevertheless, both strings are easy to suggest during the painting process. Priming the grenade is an action that could be identified at fighters enlisted in Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS Set 2", Revell's "Africa Corps" and Imex's "German Troops". The next grenade thrower is in a very successful and reliable movement, preparing to throw a StiHg-r 24 with the right hand while holding in the left his Kar98K. In addition to the uncommon poses there are also delivered several promoted by a large amount of 1/72 sets. Two soldiers firing off their weapons from shoulders and other two with MP40 close to their waist consist the offer in this regard. Even if these are average poses, and here there are a couple of aspects that should be highlighted such as the importance of the soldiers with MP40 shooting from shoulder, a pose that despite the large presence in the scale of figures firing off MP40s, in such a stance they are quite rare at 1/72 as well as the fact that the advancing figure with MP40 could either fire off or not his weapon. Nothing new under the sun concerning the commander of the unit which in fact is closer to an NCO than an officer, being without any specific items to a high rank fighter like pistol, binoculars or map case. He was portrayed in an usual stance for such a role, with the left hand pointing to something, probably a target or a direction to advance in the battle field, while in the right hand he holds his MP40.

Because of the paint added on the Parade Series figures, covering or blotting out the details, the sculpture could not be appreciated at its truthful value. Still, the unpainted versions do justice to the impressive work of the sculptor, which tried hard to catch even extremely tiny details on various items, in fact a praised characteristic feature of Caesar's products treating WWII Germans. In this regard we can not pass indifferent when seeing on these figures the buckles and even the holes of the "Y" straps". Of course, the paint will cover in part these minuscule adds, but once more the producer's effort should be highly appreciated. Smocks are awesome carved, abounding in small fine points such as strings on the chest, authentic creases and excellent collars of the tunics where Waffen SS or Wehrmacht emblems hardly wait to emerge. The only critic that might be brought to these superior smocks refers to their tight, these should be a little larger as created for wearing over tunics. Weapons and gear are depicted with high accuracy with plenty of elements and perfectly corresponding from the size point of view the offer of other companies. Furthermore, bread bags, canteens and mess tins almost look exactly like Preiser, so the present set brings with it first-class items. Even if these soldiers enter in the small/medium circle of 1/72 figures, they benefit by a well done anatomy with fine proportions of bodies and clear delimitated fingers, but with palms appearing little too big. Nonetheless, the most striking fact concerning anatomy are their faces, with outstanding mouths, eyes and noses conferring nice facial expressions. Flash comes in limited proportions, but excess of plastic is huge at the figures firing off their MP40s, mostly in the in the contact zone between the weapon and chest. For getting rid of the undesired excess of plastic, there are required many operations such as heating a pin and making space for inserting a modelling knife, then cleaning the area with a file. This soft plastic looks pretty rough, but accepts enamel and artist oils quite well, not influencing the initial qualities of the paint and sustaining it at intense handling. Both standing and crouched soldiers received bases, and those not wanting such devices may remove them very fast without affecting the footwear. Because of the small size and according with the uniforms worn, the best companions for these figures are encountered in Armourfast's "WWII German Mortar Team" and "WWII German Machine Gun Team", Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS - Set 2" and CMK's "Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry". The contents of these sets greatly match and the fans of large dioramas will be very happy to bring in the same place a lot of fighters compatible from all points of view. Not only the size, but also the combination smocks/marching boots make Caesar's Panzer Grenadiers an excellent supplement for the troopers contained by the amazing Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS - Set 2". Moreover, the perfect compatibility is enhanced by the close relationship of few poses of the here reviewed set with several belonging to the just named Pegasus Hobbies set, being somehow inspired by that set.  

Anticipated when Parade Series appeared in stores, finally Caesar has begun to issue for the market the un-painted versions of the figures, "Panzergrenadiers Set 1" marking this hardly awaited moment. The modellers who had patience and did not rush to buy the painted soldiers lost nothing and even succeeded to save some important money, bearing in mind the high price of the Parade Series sets. An appreciated move is the inclusion of a pose not featured in Parade Series, making this set attractive for the possessors of the pre-painted figures as well. Caesar's Panzer Grenadiers are a pleasant completion for troops dressed in camouflage smocks, with attacking poses capable to provide close fire support for armoured vehicles, as a fulfilment of the main role of the troopers that these figures try to represent. Being un-painted, they are addressed to all the target groups, not only to wargamers and collectors like the sets were these figures could be seen for the first time. All regular Caesar sets dedicated to WWII German Army subjects have incorporated in the title "Set 1" but diverging from the rest, Panzer Grenadiers will surely receive "Set 2", not only being already announced on the official site, but also the producer having ready nine poses. We look forward to spotting the new poses enclosed in the future Set 2, poses that still constitute a surprise, hopefully pleasant.

 

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