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TQD Castings - Heer 1936-45 Summer Infantry Marching 2 (TQD-GH10) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer TQD Casting
Scale 1/72
Set Code TQD-GH10
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 5
No. of Poses 5
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Good (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 Review 

Within TQD Castings catalogue on 1/72 WWII Germans, perhaps the best and most comprehensive concerning white metal figs, there can be found not only extremely interesting subjects, often uncovered by mass-production sets, but also topics benefiting by manufacturer’s special attention which allocates two sets to it. Nevertheless, a theme might be depicted with the support of more sets, an excellent example in the filed putting forward those targeting summer marching soldiers, four sets being at customer’s disposal. Likewise, the merchandise issued under TQD logo impress through lifelike poses, often inspired by reference images, similar proportions for all figs, and impressive historical accuracy achieved thanks to a marvellous sculpture able to depict even the smallest details as well as brilliant knowledge in terms of WWII German soldier uniform, equipment, and weapons. 

With reference to “Heer 1936-45 Summer Infantry Marching”, a topic split in two parts, of note is company’s intention to make available the appropriate resources for illustrating a complete rifle squad, the smallest official unit within WWII German Army, and with soldiers armed according to KStN regulations. If Part 1 contains five soldiers endowed with rifles and MPs, Part 2, the subject matter of the present review, proposes the  other five troopers of the squad associated to the MG section, respectively MG gunner, assistant, ammunition bearer, and two riflemen transporting ammunition for the MG. Based on the content, though the title does not reveal, the set aims portraying a light/medium MG team and the soldiers which carried the ammunition for the weapon, in this way the manufacturer succeeding to give an absolute image on troopers inter-linked to a MG.

It is well-known that WII German strategists conferred an extraordinary importance to the MG, and in addition to the MG companies, platoons, and groups attached to battalions, each infantry rifle squad was endowed with at least one MG, that weapon representing its main strength, the riflemen having just backup or protection tasks. More models of machine guns were produced by Germany during WWII, the most notorious being MG34 and its intended replacement MG42, which, in a slightly modified variant, is in use even nowadays. Issued in 354,020 copies till the end of war and active on all fronts, MG34 was the most spread WWII German machine gun. Deployed in attack or defence and engaged in light/medium or heavy duties as well as mounted in vehicles and aircraft, MG34 set out as the first general purpose MG. In heavy role, the MG was fired off from a Lafette tripod and had a maximum range of 3,500 meters while in light/medium role, the MG was fired off from a bipod attached to the weapon, close to the end of the barrel and had an 1,200 meters effective range.

On account of the significant MG34 rate of fire, between 800-900 rounds per minute, depending on the skills of the crew, a considerable quantity of ammunition was necessary, KStN stipulating 1150 rounds per gun for a light/medium MG and 2,150 for a heavy one. Allowing magazine-fed and belt-fed ammunition, there were available various containers for transporting the necessary ammo, the 50 rounds drum magazine and the metal container comprising 250 or 300 rounds being the widest spread. Each belt had 50 rounds but considering the impressive rate of fire, those would have flown immediately. In order to exempt the loader to repeat the operation over and over again and to lose precious moments in combat, the German engineers provided to belts the link and length option, for making a much longer single belt.

For a long part of WWII, a MG team belonging to a standard rifle squad was formed by three, namely gunner, loader, and ammunition bearer, the very Late Period recording the deletion of the latter, his load being transferred to the riflemen. However, till that happened, the ammo repartition inside the squad using a light/medium MG endowed with the official 1,150 rounds was 50 rounds in the drum magazine for the gunner, usually attached to the weapon, four more 50 rounds drum magazines and 300 boxed rounds for the loader and other two ammunition boxes for the ammunition bearer. Nevertheless, both the way of transporting ammunition in drum magazines or containers and the number of rounds per gun were in theory, practice often recording dissimilarities, including more or less ammunition, sometimes the related belts being carried in a more spectacular manner, rolled around the neck.   

TQD Castings succeeds to admirable introduce not only the two most common means to storage ammunition, specifically the drum magazine and the 250/300 rounds metal container, but also the ways of carrying ammo, both classic and unconventional but totally covered by photos and film documentaries shot during WWII. Practically, the present figure set makes the most inclusive description at hand in 1/72 scale on the way WWII German infantrymen used to transport the MG ammunition burden. Likewise, the sculptor equipped the five figures with an amount of ammunition exceeding the regulated number, assessing each metal container takes in 300 rounds, we get 1,800 bullets to which should be added other 50 of the drum magazine fixed on the MG.    

As usual for TQD Casting products, the set misses both box and artwork, the figs being packed in a small transparent plastic box. Nevertheless, considering the sturdiness of the material, the kit travels and reaches the customer in safe conditions. For the title of the set and painting instructions the interested parties should search the web-site of the producer, where images and information are uploaded.  

Taking into account the period highlighted by “Heer 1936-45 Summer Infantry Marching Set 2”, here the manufacturer depicts a MG34 and considering it is about a regular riflemen unit, we receive a light/medium MG. The MG34 gunner carries the weapon in a often photographed stance, on the left shoulder and holding the bipod. To the weapon is fixed the 50 rounds drum magazine and in order to stress his role, he is armed with pistol in a holster on the left hip and he received on the right the MG ammunition pouch where there were kept the maintenance tools for the weapon.

Most certain, the loader is embodied by the soldier carrying an ammunition container in the left hand and on the back a MG spare single barrel container, establishing tight connection between him and the weapon. Due to the impressive rate of fire, and in spite the cooling vents, MG34 barrel overheated and the crew had to replace it quite often for maintaining the MG functional. The guy is armed with Kar98K, in conformity with KStN rules for light/medium MG loaders, by regulations pistols as personal weapons being allocated only to heavy MG ones while they had to transport the Lafette tripod.

Concerning ammunition bearer, this role might be fulfilled by any of the remained three figs, all armed with Kar98K as it should be and carrying in most interesting manners ammunition containers for the MG. One of them transports on his back two containers better kept in position by a rope or belt while his comrade preferred for a similar burden a different repartition, on the front and back left hand side, linking the containers with a strap worn on the shoulder. The third soldier passed through the handle of the container the muzzle of his Kar98K, transporting it in an unorthodox style, but reflected by many reference images. Still, the first two modalities are ample reflected by photos, being kind of standardised ones.       

All troopers put on M36 tunics, trousers, marching/jack boots and on the heads wear steel helmets, exactly as their comrades from Part 1. In addition, the hot season is revealed by the rolled up sleeves and unbuttoned up tunics. It should be stressed that one of them has only the left sleeve rolled-up and the MG gunner rolled his sleeves less times than his comrades, minor details with great impact and bringing a plus of realism to the entire set. Supplied until the end of WWII, M36 uniforms could be seen even in 1945 on Wehrmacht or Waffen SS troopers and while, with a couple of exceptions, the breast eagles are hidden by different straps, to the present minis it would be easy to add on the shoulder the eagle for embodying a Waffen SS unit, too.

On these army-men is identified the standard equipment formed by bread bag, canteen, mess-tin, gas mask container, gas-cape pouch and shovel/entrenching tool, just the one carrying the two containers on the shoulder missing the shovel. In addition, only the MG loader received a bayonet attached to his entrenching tool, the rest featuring the folding shovels but missing bayonets. Webbing is perfect, with brilliantly carved “Y” straps (to the ones of the MG gunner there can be noticed even in-scale adjusting holes) gas mask container straps, and excellent belts with nice buckles and genuine Kar98K ammunition pouches for those armed with rifles. Nevertheless, the presence of "Y" straps contradicts a little the title due to the fact the accessory entered in service in late 1939, so for the interval 1936-1940 the minis are not appropriate. Still, a key feature of the kit highlighting the impressively lifelike appearance of these toy-soldiers rests in the way of keeping the gas cape pouches. Two of them have got it rolled around the gas mask container, the other three wearing it on the chest, adjusted to the gas mask strap. A nice touch, fully accurate, is the fact the loader keeps it switched and we have the possibility of noticing the two underside straps used for fixation.

Most of TQD poses are based on reference photos and the five marching figures from here impeccably achieve what is intended to do, not only the gear and clothes naturally hanging and folding, but also the manners of keeping weapons and movement of limbs being extremely authentic and more than credible. The full arsenal of the figs consists in four Kar98K, one MG34, one pistol, and one grenade worn in front under the belt by a rifleman. 

The sculptor did not refrain in making all efforts, in spite the small scale, in order to provide the customers a complex and completely detailed guide on WWII German uniforms, gear, and weapons. Moulding and casting set out excellent as well, succeeding not only to retain and reproduce the entire work of the sculptor, but also to supply a product almost flash-less and with an insignificant amount of excess of material in the contact area of shovel handle with the leg, an often encountered problem at miniatures moulded together with gear. Anatomy is in line with the rest of TQD figs, with correct proportions and finely carved facial details, noses, eyes, mouths, and ears clearly appearing and conferring realistic expressions. Arms and palms emerge also very nice, with crisp and not over-scaled fingers. Attire is greatly worked, with genuine creases and exceeding in small details, shoulder and collar boards, pockets and flaps, stitches, and buttons coming out tremendously clear and exact. The steel helmets impress with their right shape, rivet heads, and vent holes. As previously highlighted, the creator did not ignore or leave aside any detail on gear, emphasising the perfect awareness on it and the impressive ability of managing tiny spaces. On the other hand, though wonderfully shaped, from casting reasons, TQD weapons are done slightly thicker but accurate in length, and there is no worrying discrepancy in relation with rifles and MGs issued by Preiser, Dragon or other well-known companies.

Painting these army-men involves priming as second step, obviously after cleaning them of the insignificant amount of flash if assessed necessary. Without metal primer, enamel, acrylics or artistic oils cannot properly fix and will be endangered by minor handling. However, after a proper treatment, no matter the employed colours, it will be a pleasure working on these top miniatures. The work might be, eventually but not mandatory, finalised with a matt varnish for better protection, especially if the figures will be used in wargaming, the product addressing either to collectors and static modeller builders or to gamers. For the same reason, each figure is set on a slot tang that must be snapped and glued, preferably with super glue gel, in a plastic round base, commonly encountered at TQD Castings figures. The ones which want to put the figs on other bases or in dioramas should remove the slot tangs with snippers due to the sturdiness of this white metal, getting rid by the rest of material with a file or modelling knife.  

In the tall side of 1/72 scale, the present MG34 team members find plenty of comrades alike dressed and with weapons and gear similar in size and level of sculpture. Premium comrades marching as well are put forward by Preiser in their outstanding “Advancing Grenadiers with MG 1939-1945” and “WWII German Infantry Advancing” as well as by Extratech  in “German Machine Gun Crew” and Mirrage Hobby in “German Infantry Marching 1940”. Furthermore, in the just quoted sets are found MG crewmen as well, so more options for depicting a long column of marching soldiers, practically one of the most depicted images of WWII, a huge amount of filmed and photographed materials being available on the topic. Nonetheless, corroborated with Part 1, these figures are ideal for hobbyists wishing to recreate a rifle squad armed and geared in complete conformity with KStN rules, including those regarding the number of rounds granted to the light/medium MG. Additionally, other two TQD Castings sets on summer marching infantry are on the market, practically those embarking almost the same figures but bare-headed and with helmets kept on the waist. Combining all these four sets and with the support of figures issued by other companies, a modeller might achieve a full company marching in a hot summer day. 

The perfect compliance of  this TQD Castings product not only with their own offer, but also with the one coming from other famous figure producers, the top notch accuracy, natural stances and brilliant sculpture, abounding in small details, turn “Heer 1936-45 Summer Infantry Marching 2” into a tender capable to satisfy even the innermost desires of the most exigent hobbyist. In addition, proposing one of the most interesting and inclusive image on the crew and accompanying riflemen carrying the related ammunition of a light/medium MG make the set a must have for any MG34 fan whishing to reproduce such a team on the move. 

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