Articles

FBMinis - Inspectors & Engineer (FBM72011) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer FB Minis
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72011
Year 2010
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Medium
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1920 – Present

 

Review 

Civilians represent another important side of WWII, excellent to depict not only population in a war region, but also serving in various purposes tangential to military duties such as secret police, political organisations activists, inspectors or even soldiers on leave. Likewise, their attire imposes no restriction in membership to a particular country, any citizenship being possible for them. Resin manufacturers often cover unusual or rarely portrayed aspects, a good example in the field putting forward FB Minis' "Engineer and Inspectors", a set aiming an inspection at a factory or similar place carried out by two inspectors briefed by an engineer. According to the artwork the producer had in mind WWII German people, but due to their cloths, the minis might be easily utilised for any nation and for a period starting from 1920 till almost present.

The idea is not only out of ordinary, but also very useful, numerous reference images portraying similar stuff. Strictly on the topic, WWII German war industry represented a milestone for the progress of new technologies and scientific discoveries involving famous scientist and engineers such as Ferdinand Porsche, Wernher von Braun, Hermann Oberth, Walter Gerlach, and Ernst Heinkel, for giving just few examples. Research and development of new weapons was often controlled by German High Commandment or even by Hitler and other highly ranked officials, inspections at factories being a daily routine.

Consisting in three figures delivered on individual slots in a small sealed plastic bag, the kit has as artwork a printed black and white photo shot in the period featuring two persons dressed in civil cloths in a Kubelwagen, perhaps two inspectors. A couple of minis require little assembly, respectively the two inspectors have separate left arms supplied on a special slot. No instructions or other hints in terms of putting together the figs are available, but the arms might work quite well on any of them. Still, on the paper serving as artwork there is mentioned the website of the manufacturer where could be accessed further useful information and images with the assembled and painted product. Visiting it, we learn that the straight arm is for the civilian with the hat on the head while the other goes to the inspector holding his hat in the right arm. Super glue gel is the ideal adhesive for resin, making an almost indestructible bond between the parts. Likewise, for best fit, here it is recommendable before assembly thinning a little both arms in the upper inner area, the surgery leaving no marks and ensuring a more natural appearance.

The two inspectors are fancy dressed, wearing suits, shirts and ties, and according to the fashion of the period, both of them have hats. The one holding his hat in the right hand seems wearing a vest under the jacket while the other has a handkerchief in the jacket upper pocket. Nevertheless, their attire recommends them for warm or temperate climates, but also their deployment in colder areas would not appear ridiculous. In conformity with their role, the poses are static, only one making a move with the left hand, maybe signalling something either to the engineer or to his colleague. The second inspector stays really still and the same does the engineer.

Definitely, the most interesting figure of the set proposes the engineer, dressed in a long working jumper. With the hands deep in the front pockets, he looks like finishing his presentation and now waiting for inspectors opinion. This is a very useful mini while figures in jumpers are extremely rare in the 1/72 scale, another dressed almost the same being available in CMKs German Hospital Staff.

Because of his jumper he can be transformed from an engineer into a doctor, a simple change of the jumper colour from gray or blue to white being sufficient in this purpose. Not only engineers, but also doctors are hard to find in the scale, the hobbyist having at hand the interpretation he wants to give to this figure in order to cover his needs.

Although not full of dynamism, when arranged in the same place the poses succeed to evoke in an excellent manner an inspection scene. Anyway, as previously stated, the figs are suitable for a large number of purposes, not just the designed ones.

The sculpture is fine, putting forward some good details both on clothes and faces while no difference is registered in terms of sizes within the set. Attire comes with accurate folds, buttons and other small niceties are quite visible such as ties, hat bands, and pocket handkerchief. At its turn, anatomy is more than satisfactory, the proportions of limbs, bodies, and heads respecting the human nature. Heads comes fully detailed with exquisite facial expressions and the engineers haircut is also accurate and appropriate for the referred period. Not the most impressive palms, these are quite well executed, with all fingers in place and matching in size the bodies.

The quality of resin as well as the casing procedure is satisfactory, though few small air bubbles could be discovered in various places. Flash and a thin film accompany the figures but both are immediately removed, resin making easy these operations. Furthermore, it is a real pleasure painting resin figures, the material perfectly accepting enamel, acrylics or artistic oils for a durable and long lasing work, maintained even after severe handling. The multi-part approach facilitated the lack of any excess of material and the assembly is fast and easy. Adding extra items to the figures is possible but quite hard bearing in mind their roles, attire, and poses, only the left hands of the two inspectors being free for accommodating a briefcase, document or even weapon in case of using them as secret police or Volksstrum during Berlin battle, for giving just two military tasks for these minis. Preiser weapons and accessories perfectly match in size the minis and super glue gel makes a trully durable bond between hard plastic and resin. Furthermore, Preiser limbs or heads are also highly recommendable for conversion purposes, particularly in case of having two or more sets of "Engineer and Inspectors".

Happily the figures are issued in the medium side of 1/72, so totally compatible with the products released by Preiser, the company which manufacture the largest number of sets aiming civilians. Furthermore, some of those such as “Civil airline personnel, travelers and ground crew” or even “Modern Passers-by, standing & walking” incorporate similarly dressed figures. Another Preiser set on civilians is “Refugees”, the FB Mins inspectors finding a place also between those figures. Likewise, various kits comprise civilians or Volksstrum, in some extent the here reviewed minis interacting quite fine with figures from Pegasus Hobbies’ “Germans in Berlin 1945”, Odemars’ “Defenders of Berlin” and ‘The Last Defenders of Berlin” as well as TQD Castings’ “WWII Era Kriminalpolezei” although minor size or garment differences might occur.  Both the price and fragility of the material recommend the product to diorama builders and collectors. Still, wargamers might find in it appropriate resources, Battle of Berlin or various scenarios involving civilians perfectly fitting.

Covering an interesting and atypical topic, giving the modellers plenty of options for usage along various periods as well as due to proper sculpture and casting, FB Minis' "Engineer and Inspectors" sets out as a nice effort in offering a special product. As previously pointed out, if several sets on civilians are available, the engineer emerges as an unique piece, exceedingly functional not only in its standard role, but also appropriate for filling in serious gaps in the 1/72 scale such as medical personnel or veterinary. 

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