Articles

Juweela - WW2 German 17/21 cm gun crew (JUW27127) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Juweela
Scale 1/72
Set Code JUW27127
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Medium
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Medium (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review 

Within the 1/72 scale there exist several companies worldwide acknowledged and appreciated for the comprehensive list of products on WWII German cannons. Regrettably, many of those kits, particularly the ones launched by ACE and Revell, come without a key factor, namely crewmen capable to operate the weapons. Lacking personnel, the out-of-the-box models cannot depict guns in action, in other words the main role of those artillery pieces is impossible to be achieved. Taking into consideration this serious gap, several manufacturers, especially cottage industry representatives, have strived covering the deficiency, issuing special figure sets aiming crewmen for particular cannon. In spite being designed for a specific gun, generally the minis might be utilised in connection with other artillery pieces, sometimes the only necessary change resting in replacing the eventual given projectile by one appropriate for the cannon in case. Nevertheless, such sets are by far insufficient in comparison with the immense number of artillery sets missing crew. A company having few offers in the field is Juwella, the German white metal producer concentrating on WWII Germans dressed for winter.

As its subtitle emphasises, Juwellas Feuerüberfall aims providing crewmen for the 21 cm Mrs 18 or its replacement, the 17 cm Kanone 18 in Mörserlafette and comprise four white metal minis. Obviously, the weapon exists in the scale, manufactured by Revell and ACE but both kits, although highly detailed, miss personnel. While Revell and ACEs interpretations proved to be very popular among hobbyists, it makes the here reviewed set a valuable asset for those wanting to bring life to either of the two immense artillery pieces. In service since the beginning till the end of war, the enormous 21 cm Mrs 18 was intended to be substituted by the 17 cm Kanone 18 which started to launch its deadly projectiles since 1941. Both weapons were manufactured by Krupp and share the same Mörserlafette (Heavy Howitzer Carriage). Designed to be motor transported in two parts, barrel and carriage, sometimes the 18 Ton half-track Sd.Kfz.9 Famo towed the 17 cm Kanone 18 in a single piece.  

The standard silver coloured box deployed by Juwella for their figure kits accommodates the four member crew on a really thick sponge cushion. The title, content, set code and other related information are offered on a sticker rolled around the box, also excellent for sealing the box, but again no artwork is available. For visualising the content, a customer should inform on-line, producer or vendors sites and normally, the present review, providing images of what is inside.

Cast as single pieces, all minis are standing and in full accordance with the tradition of the manufacturer, they come dressed for winter, three wearing great coats and one receiving a long coat whose model is closer to the famous leather coat worn by officers and secret police. As emphasised on the box, the minis might be deployed in any period of the war since the beginning till the end, their cloths and gear imposing no restriction in this regard. No projectile or another item linking the figures with a particular gun is delivered and in the absence of the title, nothing would have given any clue that schwerer Mörser (17 cm/21 cm) are the targeted weapons. However, that does not represent an inconvenient but an advantage, the modeller easier utilising the crew together with different cannons or in broad purposes not connected with artillery topics.

Four army-men are by far insufficient for portraying the whole 21 cm Mrs 18 or 17 cm Kanone 18 crews, but surely they succeed to animate the place around the weapon. For those wanting to bring reinforcements and complete the crew, 1/72 figure sets issued by various manufacturers offer solutions in the field, especially with minor changes or adds such as 17 or 21 cm projectiles.

The selected poses depict two privates manning hand-wheels or other mechanisms, a potential NCO speaking at a microphone and a gun commander doing nothing special. The two soldiers operating the hand-wheels wear greatcoats, marching boots and steel helmets. In spite looking pretty similar, at a closer analyse there are identified few dissimilarities between, not only the way of keeping the arms and the folds of greatcoats, but also the belt of one trooper and the facial details setting up clear distinctions. Not in the proximity of the cannon, the two poses might appear quite weird, but when occupying their positions, the situation completely changes. At both figures the hands and arms come in front, coupled in the effort of operating the mechanisms, normal positions bearing in mind the weight that those have to move. Likewise, the size and modality of holding the hands give the modeller the possibility to paint them as either having or not gloves.

Another figure dressed in greatcoat, marching boots and M43 cap is immediately recognised after the head phones, throat microphone and an extra microphone kept on the chest by special harness. The pose can easily illustrate a NCO talking to the firing coordination centre and then transmitting to the unit the received data. The greatcoat is not the standard M36 or its variants, but a different one, perhaps a tailor made one which is a very fine approach while both officers and some NCOs had to purchase and were allowed to wear private made uniforms, close to the regular ones. Even at standard greatcoats dissimilarities were large, over thirteen versions being recognised. As long range heavy artillery pieces, 21 cm Mrs 18 or 17 cm Kanone 18 batteries were emplaced far behind the front line and the need of permanently keeping radio communication with the firing coordination centre or advanced artillery observers was mandatory. The presence of the mini with microphone is a strong point of the set, especially taking into consideration that not many sets on artillery crews include such specialised army-men. Moreover, the type of the microphone held on the chest and its harness is unique in the 1/72 scale. Across NCOs body passes the wire connecting the microphone to the radio, but unfortunately no radio is provided within the kit. It would have been ideal the manufacturer to separately include a radio, exempting the hobbyist to search such a rare item in his spare box. Proper radios are extremely hard to find in the scale, perhaps with heavy modifications, the radio comprised by Preisers Luftwaffe Pilots and Ground Crew would be useful in this purpose. Except the microphone, the NCO possesses another important item for artillery, a notebook or manual with related data held in the left hand. Unclear at this army-man are the two wires coming out of the great coat and continuing along the boots. These could be either wires of the headphones, not connected to the radio or simply mould lines although their thickness is larger than the mould seams featured in other parts by the figure. Taking them as mould lines impose removal and after that, in order to create a realistic appearance, the modeller should fix two thin wires on the headphones, super glue gel attaining more than pleasant results

In case of using the figures in standard approach, the standing mini doing nothing might depict the gun commander, but somewhere else, he can perfectly describe a classic WWII German officer, too. Standing still and with the left hand close but not all in the pocket and the left perhaps resting it on a cannon component or table or simply in the air, he received marching boots, M43 cap, motorcycle goggles and a most interesting tailored long-coat made of leather. The model presented here by Juwella is the full length greatcoat with fold back lapels and a lay down collar, without buttons and held closed by the waist belt. Officers were allowed to wear a leather version of the standard greatcoat and had to buy their own uniforms from army depots or private sources, both civilian and military models of the leather greatcoat being seen on the front line. This figure is the only one of the kit armed with a pistol in its holster. The thickness of the palms gives the impression that he does not wear gloves, but it is feasible to paint him as having five-finger gloves made of wool or leather. A figure dressed in leather long-coat is put forward by TQD in WWII Era Kriminalpolezei but more other minis of the scale might be painted as wearing such item of clothing. 

Attire arrives finely carved, with some correct creases, buttons and other niceties. No insignia or shoulder boards are featured on the greatcoats, but this is an extremely realistic approach, such items often missing those marks. Anyway, adding them is very easy, some lines drawn with paint immediately solving the problem. Though the heads wearing M43 caps emerge a hair over-scaled, anatomy is pretty exact, respecting the natural proportions, including that of palms. At their turn, facial characteristics are immediately perceived, noses, mouths, eyes and eye-brows being more than satisfactory sculptured. A thin difference between the sizes of the troopers with helmets and the ones with M43 caps can be noticed, but nothing annoying or contradicting the human nature.

The very low percent of flash and the small excess of metal appearing between the arm and body of the commander are instantly removed with any tool used for resin or plastic. After cleaning the minis and before starting painting, it is compulsory priming them with special primers for metal. If skipping the operation, then painters efforts will be endangered even by smooth touches, white metal being incapable to proper sustains enamel, acrylics or artistic oils without previous particular treatment. Figures are sculptured on bases and the sturdiness of Juwellas white metal imposes extra efforts for removing the stands. In this light, best would be snippers for hacking the base as close as possible to the boots and then getting rid of the rest of material with a file.

Taking profit by the belts worn by a couple of  army-men and in case of wanting to supplement the items, those are obtainable from the impressive spare sprues of equipment proposed by Preiser and DML in a huge number of sets. Perhaps it is good to know that super glue gel achieves a strong bond between hard plastic and white metal.

The size of minis is encompassed by the tall side of 1/72, proper matching Preiser, DML and Zvezda similar products as well as Miniaturas Alemany and El Viejo Dragon troopers that are issued in white metal, too. Based on attire and size, Juwellas schwerer Mörser crew might set without fear near artillery-men dressed in winter such as Italeris WWII PAK 40 AT Gun with Servants and Escis Nebelwerfer 41. Likewise, compatible figures dressed in winter attire are available in Revells German Infantry, Italeris German Elite Troops and Warriors German Grenadiers Walking Set 1 & Set 2 as well as German Tank Riders Set 1 & Set 2, Miniatures Alemanys German Assault Gun Crew, Tracks&Troops WW2 German Nashorn SPG crew  winter and Stug III Ausf.B with Assault Troops Moreover, excellent completions are put forward by the comprehensive list of WWII Germans prepared for cold periods released by Juwella. On the matter, both the officer and NCO are ideal for joining the figures enclosed in WWII German winter officers for perfectly depicting a briefing session carried out by high-ranked commanders.

Including a huge number of parts, both ACE and Revell versions of 21 cm Mrs 18 or 17 cm Kanone 18 weapons mostly targets diorama builders and the same group is aimed by Juwellas interlinked set, the small amount of minis and their price making the tender quite unattractive  for wargmers. However, the versatility of figs, able to take position at different artillery pieces and in other purposes as well as the provided bases might represent points of interest for wargamers and collectors as well. In addition, some garment items and accessories such as the leather long-coat and microphone as well as the fine sculpture turn the product into an out of ordinary and useful proposal. 

 

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