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Martello International - Jahre des Sieges II (100/03) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Martello International
Scale 1/72
Set Code 100-03
Year 2009
No. of Figures 5
No. of Poses 5
Additional Items Fence
Size High
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review

WWII German soldiers dressed in the Early War style uniforms are the most often encountered figures within Braille Scale, not only mass production companies, but also various representatives of cottage industry depicting the topic in a large number of sets. Furthermore, probably the widest spread pose, shared by almost all such sets, is the one of the standing soldier firing off his Kar98K from shoulder. Firstly illustrated by Airfix's "German Infantry", this pose received different interpretations inside subsequent 1/72 sets launched by Atlantic, ESCI, Revell, Italeri, Caesar, Pegasus Hobbies, Orion, Odemars, Imex. In addition, this stance is shared by diverse sets produced by small companies. However, with so many variations on the same theme, some may wonder why this pose keeps going to be made. In fact, it is a normal approach, both because represents the classical way of firing off a weapon and a very useful posture either in wargaming or dioramas. Moreover, new minis may have dissimilar or better sculptured equipment and anatomy than its predecessors. A set aiming troops in combat is almost unimaginable without a fighter caught in this action and considering the significant amount of such figures, the pose in case can prove the ability of the sculptor in bringing something innovative in the field and a basic criterion in rating a set. Likewise, Braille Scale knows the crouched version of the pose too, the related sets generally including both stances.

Martello International, as a new company, chose WWII German Army as their inaugural release, tackling a rare subject, the Feldgendarme while their second release is a set grouped in two parts, "Jahre des Sieges I" (Year of Victory Part One) and treating the classic Early War German command group. The third set in Martello International collection titled "Jahre des Sieges II", (Year of Victory Part Two), hereinafter reviewed, has as topic German Soldiers dressed in Early War uniforms and attacking or defending a position. Three of the five figures of the kit fire off their weapons from shoulder and it is a great occasion in seeing the designer Tony Boustead's vision on the most usual pose. The viewer/collector will not be disappointed at all by the work of Mr Boustead's Braille Scale figures, several details of these miniatures having the ability in immediately capture the attention and charm.

Except the standing and crouched poses firing off the Kar98K from shoulder, "Jahre des Sieges II" pushes even further the subject, delivering another standing soldier firing off the weapon also from shoulder, but this time it is a MP40 SMG. Often portrayed by reference images, such stances are pretty atypical in the scale, because manufacturers tend to prefer depicting figures firing off the MP40 from the waist/chest area. Besides, the minis firing off their weapons are completed by other two pretty out of ordinary, one signaling something to the troopers from behind and a dismounting or running fighter, facts that turn the present set into a great choice for those wanting soldiers in the middle of the combat. The affinity of Martello International for completing their kits with an accessory is embodied here by a part of a wooden fence specific to Eastern Europe area.   

In full accordance with the tradition of the company, content is delivered in a small plastic bag without artwork or even title. For visual reference and other related information recommended is visiting Martello International web site. Unlike many other sets launched by this producer (and the sister company TQD castings), no assembly is necessary, all the figures being cast as single piece, so no gluing efforts must be carried out. For the great satisfaction of wargamers and collectors, each and every trooper comes on an individual base of a shape and thickness fully compatible with those of plastic soldiers. Nevertheless, diorama builders desiring to get rid of these stands will have to perform several operations, more or less complicated due to the sturdiness of the present white metal. The easiest method and meanwhile successful, rests in using snippers for cutting the base as close as possible to the boots and then filling around for clearing the area.

As earlier pointed out, these miniature soldiers wear the Early War style M36 uniform, with the classical M36 tunics, regular trousers and marching/jack boots. All are endowed with steel helmets and the one signalling something to the troopers from behind, who might be apprised as the NCO, has his helmet covered by camouflage cloth. Starting with "Y" straps, gear is the regular one, but without shovels and bayonets. Except the NCO who has only the gas mask container, all received bread bags, canteens and gas mask containers with related straps across the bodies. Concerning the awesome mess tins, each featuring very clear both the strap and the wire carrying/suspension handle, must be mentioned that only those firing off their weapons are in possession of such an item. Likewise, it has to be stressed that three army-men have acquired gas cap pouches, rolled and properly attached to the gas mask containers through rubber/leather straps as well as the fact that the sculptor makes us the great pleasure of seeing two types of canteens. Both are M31 models, and the dissimilar one, with small cup, is featured by the standing soldier firing off his Kar98K who was also supplied with the single Zeltbahn of the set. The way his equipment is set up, corroborated with the two straps passing under his armpits stand out as strong reasons for assessing that he wears an "A" frame.

The fire power of the unit is based on three Kar98K and two MP40 (one with shoulder stock opened and one folded) and not only the riflemen, but also the SMG gunners possess the appropriate ammunition pouches for the weapon in use. The two combatants with MP40 have got both ammo pouches assigned to their weapons and the small pouch fixed on the bottom of the left hand ammunition pouch is set in the correct location.

The battle-worn attire makes them suitable especially for warm environment, an idea enhanced by the rolled up sleeves of the NCO. As the title emphasises and making a connection with the accessory as well, there is appreciated that these soldiers ideally evoke a hot summer fighting on the Eastern Front during 1942 or 1943. In the same time, they might be used throughout the entire war and on any front, M36 uniforms continuing to be delivered to troops until the final days of the war. For a precise reproduction of a 1940 clash in France or Lower Countries, it is advisable to file down the camouflage helmet cover of the NCO.

The poses are excellent for their purpose, credible and very dynamic where it is the case, four of them standing and one being crouched. All the troopers firing off the weapons do it from shoulder and in spite the common pose, small details such as their bent on the weapon, the way of holding it or the creases of the boots indicating where it is displayed the weight plus the excellent particulars of their anatomy, uniforms, gear and weapons make them some of the best on the topic. For instance, with the right leg placed under his ass and the elbow propped on the left knee, the crouched figure is presented in a standard and perfect firing position, fully supported by plenty of reference images showing German soldiers putting it in practice either during training sessions or combat.

The jumping rifleman is perfect for dismounting from a vehicle or leaping over an obstacle. In addition, to this figure was given an exciting accessory, namely a pair of spectacles!  These, once measured, are thin and could not be mistaken for motorcycle goggles. With such item we are not spoilt too often in Braille Scale, in this field figures regularly being endowed with motorcycle goggles. Another fighter with pretty clear spectacles can be met inside Pegasus Hobbies' "German in Berlin 1945" while comparable dismounting soldiers are available in Matchbox's "Sdkfz. 251/1 Hanomag" (the figure is clearly 1/72 and not 1/76 as it is the vehicle), Miniaturas Alemany's "StuG III Ausf. B with Assault Troops" as well as in Preiser's "Panzer Grenadiers getting off the tank". An excellent and dynamic stance is attributed to the NCO miniature, very constructive especially because of the lack of similar poses in various 1/72 sets. Holding the MP40 in the left hand, all his attitude turns him into a fantastic pose for being set at the corner of a house, vehicle or fence. Bending in front a little, just to make visible a low part of his head, he takes a peek for observing the enemy location and through gestures of the right hand as well as facial expression put in valour by the opened mouth, he indicates something to the troopers behind him, probably urging them to stay still and remain in the shadow of the cover. At its turn, this pose is exemplified by few photos and documentaries shot during WWII, too and it is exceedingly suitable for illustrating a first line NCO in the 1/72 scale.

We are becoming accustomed to Martello International high design standard and once again, in this set the uniforms and gear are wonderfully sculpted, receiving plenty of tiny details that in the end make a miniature more appealing and accurate. Bearing in mind the scale, an impressive accomplishment is registered related to the "Y" straps, where not only obvious additional leather reinforced of each main "Y" strap, but also the rivets can be easily noticed. Another tiny detail unusual in the scale that we can enjoy on two troopers is the buckle of their gas mask container strap.  Furthermore, the sculptor delights us here with a large amount of "specialities" such as in scale buttons, plausible creases, outstanding collar and shoulder boards as well as helmets where are quickly identified the ventilation openings. The M36 tunics come with accurate pockets and stiches while another striking accomplishment registers as to the flaps that are precisely modelled for fitting and boost the motion (particularly the flaps of the tunic belonging to the jumping trooper). Additionally, Mr Boustead's anatomy is also to be congratulated, fine proportions, palms with clear fingers and brilliantly done facial details combine with the rest for creating few true masterpieces in the hobby. Weapons are well done, matching the sizes adopted by various other manufacturers, for example the MP40s are close to Pegasus Hobbies' size encountered in "Waffen SS Set 1" or Caesar's "German Infantry - Late War" and "German Infantry with Winter Gear" while Kar98Ks have the exact length of Preiser's. However, the dismounting soldier's Kar98K shoulder stock emerges a hair too short, (mine may have been miss-cast?) but the difference is imperceptible.

Flash is extremely low and even if the minis are manufactured in white metal, it is a matter of seconds to fast and painless remove the small existent amount while for excess of metal you should let your tools down because this does not appear at all. In order to achieve great results in terms of painting, the figures have to be firstly primed, white metal requiring such a procedure. Only in this way enamel, acrylics and artistic oils can receive an appropriate base capable to resist at handling and not erase at the first touch.

Size of troopers, weapons and gear are identical for all, and of foremost importance, fit with other similar offers available in the scale. This is not surprising at all while a key objective of Martello International is lining up their products with 1/72 plastic and resin figures. In this light, the sizes do not diverge with those applied by the great majority of 1/72 WWII German Army manufacturers. From the large number of plastic sets portraying WWII German soldiers wearing the M36 uniforms available to the hobbyist, there is now a new white metal 1/72 scale set that best matches with miniatures from Imex "German Troops", Pegasus Hobbies "German Mortar Teams" and even Caesar "German Infantry - Late War" although its soldiers wear the M43 tunics. Nevertheless, if you are expanding your collection, these miniatures will be an useful addition and in relation with other sets delivering similar content through which can be nominated ESCI "German Soldiers"/Italeri "German Infantry", Revell "German Armoured Infantry", Atlantic "German Infantry", Airfix "German Infantry" and most of Preiser sets on the matter.   

For completing a small vignette, the manufacturer supplies within the kit a section of a wooden fence specific to Eastern Europe zones. Either the NCO together with another trooper can be set behind it or the soldier on the move might be fixed for simulating a leap. Composed by palings linked by two laths and a pole in the middle, this is an authentic reproduction of such a fence. A point of interest when placing the fence might be that in the large majority of cases and in compliance with the philosophy of the area, the laths have to face the yard while at the outer side is displayed the "nice" part. However, there can be observed situations when this arrangement is reversed, but these are not so common. This type of fence is employed either to delimit a small yard, in the close proximity of the house no matter its location, or large personal lands such as a meadows, but only in mountains where resources of wood are sufficient.

Despite classic' well known poses, the set "Jahre des Sieges II" represents a great addition to their collections for those who like an abundance of small details and are looking for accurate, animated figures. These minis symbolize some of the ultimate options in the field of WWII Germans in M36 tunics firing off weapons from shoulder. Furthermore, the set is completed by other two not often encountered and extremely useful figures, either their poses or the featured details pleasing the modeller.  All its qualities and strong points make from this product an excellent alternative for wargamers, collectors or diorama builders wishing to replicate a persuasive and realistic war scene.

   

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