Articles

Martello International - Halt! Feldgendarme (100/01) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Martello International
Scale 1/72
Set Code 100-01
Year 2009
No. of Figures 5
No. of Poses 5
Additional Items dog, pole, sack
Size High
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review 

The larger the number of companies are active in the field of 1/72 scale, the more comprehensive area of products are available for continuously increased target groups. A particular place in Braille Scale occupies WWII Germans, the topic being not only the most popular, but also the best sold, two strong reasons for small and mass production companies to rush depicting various subjects on the matter. Nevertheless, all offers corroborated are far from covering the huge variety of uniforms and weapons provided by German Army along WWII. Regularly, interesting and rare themes or unusual poses as well as high accuracy in terms of uniforms, gear and weapons are in focus of cottage industry. One of the newest arrivals dealing with modern & WWII subjects is Martello International, a bright new name hiding a team with long tradition and experience in this domain. Furthermore, the company benefits by the impressive sculpture of Tony Boustead, the designer of the outstanding range of TQD Castings, (now available from Sgt Mess UK)

This set selected by Martello International as spearhead for piercing the market is "Halt! Feldgendarme", a kit distinguished both through accuracy and fine sculpture as well as through a pretty rare depicted subject. In mass production offers, Feldgendarme are available only inside few more or less correct sets such as Preiser's "Military Police. Guards" and "Home leave", Odemars' "Defenders/The Last Defenders of Berlin", Armourfast's "WWII German Zundapp Motorcycle" and "WWII German BMW with Sidecar".  

However, this reviewed kit also delivers several extra things, bringing a great surprise and delight for those searching 1/72 dogs, due to the fact that inside we get a proper reproduction of a German shepherd. Likewise, the set does not only please us with its attractive topic or extra accessories, another satisfaction offering its awesome sculpture that might be assessed as one of the most imposing in Braille Scale. For fruitfully accessing the market, small companies have to develop tenders capable to create a powerful impact on the target groups, one approach resting in significant realisations in terms of sculpture and accuracy or undisclosed or hardly revealed themes, filling gaps left by mass production manufacturers. Within the present kit, all these features blissfully interlinked for creating an eye-catching work of art. Manufactured in white metal, these figures will astonish the owner through first-rate anatomy and irreproachable accuracy enhanced by the grand number of small details, proving not only strong knowledge and research carried out in the field, but also an extraordinary aptitude of the sculptor in correctly replicating minuscule characteristics. In this regard, the set possesses the extraordinary ability in reserving the immense pleasure of discovering at each and every look a new tiny detail on the figures. Furthermore, it should be highly appreciated the admirable compatibility with figures made of plastic and resin from the point of view of size, in fact an idea set out as major goal of the producer. 

At present, the kit comes in a small plastic bag, missing any artwork, but brief information concerning the content and its title, as well as how the figures can be painted are available on the new Martello International web site. The soldiers are delivered on bases and just two require some assembly, a pretty facile operation, just three arms needing to be glued as well as a sign designed for the pole. It is unlikely to confuse arms with the wrong model, it is really impossible to fix the arm dressed in tunic to the soldier wearing Motorcycle coat and vice versa.

As title eloquently stressed, the content clearly aims to recreate a unit of Feldgendarme, both the poses and the accessories being dedicated on the matter. Mainly, this unit's attributions consisted in military traffic control, maintaining discipline and obedience of orders of the troops, the apprehension of stragglers and deserters, escorting POW's, control of the civilian population, protection of communication and supply lines, anti-partisan actions, and this is what we get, true representatives of the German Army, Feldgendarme carrying out few of their most important activities. From the total of five poses, one is a Kreigsmarine sailor on leave and four are Feldgendarme on patrol. Likewise, the reps of the last mentioned unit might be grouped on pairs according either to the way are dressed or employed actions.

The first pair of miniatures wear the Kradmantel (or motorcyclist's protective coat), an item of garment launched in 1934 especially for motorcycle troops. However, this mantel, as plenty of information sources attest, became trendy among other units and intensively worn despite regulations forbidding that. With soldiers dressed in Kradmantel we meet only in few mass production sets such as Armourfast's "WWII German Zundapp Motorcycle" and "WWII German BMW with Sidecar", Hasegawa's "Schwimmwagen & Kettenkrad" and Preiser's "Military Police. Guards".

Taking into consideration the scale, the here presented mantels should be appreciated as an impressive realisation, most of the characteristic features of this item of clothing being more than visible, remarking through others the correct shape of cuffs, the location of the buttons and the shoulder boards as the only thing allowed by rules to be visible on Kradmantel. Except the mantel, these figures wear marching/jack boots and steel helmets while on their chest shine the gorgets, the fearful symbol of Feldgendarme. The half-moon shaped gorget was characterised by an eagle in the middle, two buttons to both the upper tips, a banner to the bottom where was written "Feldgendarmerie" as well as a suspension chain. Despite the minuscule size of gorgets, the sculptor managed to depict on them all these characteristic features. In addition, probably it is good to know that in general, in order to be visible during the night, the eagle, buttons and logo were painted with luminous paint.

The duty of this team is traffic coordination, one with a traffic wand guiding the passage while the other is pinning a sign. The whole attitude of the traffic agent with the round traffic wand, enhanced by the facial details, suggests that he is just to stop a vehicle for controlling, blocking the road with his arms wide opened. On his back hung a Kar98K and at belt we get the opportunity to witness something rarely met in the scale. On the front right side he has the ammo pouches while on the left he wears the map case/dispatch pouch in an assortment fully revealed by reference images of the period for motorcycle units. Furthermore, a finely sculptured flash light, one of the best reproductions available in Braille Scale, suspends from left collar board, in a manner often appearing in materials of the period. Being dismounted, the gas mask is on the back and not in front, and besides that, it has to be pointed out this is again a top creation in the field of 1/72 gas mask container/gas cap pouch assemble. The referred pouch is excellent illustrated, not only the way it stays, but also the two small snaps and the two pull-tabs regularly featured by the respective item as well as the single rubber band generally used by troopers for fixing it to the gas mask container being truly irreproachable. Within mass production sets, ordinarily is finding gas cap pouches fastened by two straps, but the large amount of photos illustrate that soldiers rather use a single strap in this purpose, as we acquire here.      

Although the first described pose is more common, the other soldier wearing a Kradmantel, is driving a nail with the back of an axe, a really unique pose in the scale. In order to avoid any excess of material and to catch a vivid pose, both arms of the figure are separately delivered. This is a very welcome advance due to more options for the modeller in positioning the arms as well as because the multipart approach grants a plus of realism and dynamism for a pretty still activity. In standard manner, the left hand should be glued as holding the sign and the position of his very fine sculptured fingers emphasises this idea. Diverging from his colleague, he was endowed with a MP40 realistically slinging, a single right arm ammunition pouch and a map case/dispatch pouch in front while on the back he wears nothing.

The last pair of Feldgendarme are dressed in tunics and consists in an officer and a military police NCO, to the last one being added a key accessory of the set, a German shepherd. The dog is more than eye-catching, looking like barking to somebody and ready to attack at his master's order. There are more types of German shepherd and based on shape, with the classical slope to the back as well as the way of holding his ears and tail it is proved the 100% pure breed of the present dog which is also the version with long hair. The animal is a little tall, taller than you would normally expect, but with a correct length. However, the fault is not something upsetting, together with his handler sets up a striking duo. An impressive accomplishment is the facial expression of the dog, inside his opened mouth clearly being seen teeth and tongue while his eyes fix the potential target. This German shepherd might be used not only in conjunction with the handler, but also without soldier, simply as a watch dog guarding various objectives. Such utilisation is even better, with no human next to him the size of the dog appearing normal. The dog handler is a NCO featuring many symbols attesting his membership to this unit, not only the classical gorget, but also cloth insignia such as cuff-title and specific emblem sewn on the left arm accentuating the idea. The pose is in full compliance with his role as a dog handler, holding the leash in the left hand while his right index is on the trigger of his MP40, prepared to open fire if something goes wrong. His whole attitude effuses authority and determination, enhanced by his amazing facial details, while his opened mouth might express an order to the dog or a shout to an interrogated trooper. This Feldgendarmen, an NCO on account of his tailored M36 tunic diverging a little from the depot ones, received also regular trousers, marching boots and steel helmet. His light gear is composed only by left hand ammunition pouch for MP40 with correctly located additional small pouch and under his belt he stuck a traffic wand. 

Neither the rank nor the pose is uncommon, but the present officer is a figure of particular interest because of his tunic and other few petite details extremely rare met inside Braille Scale. Generally, officers did not wear a Feldgendarme gorget and this officer is depicted wearing a police badge, which may be removed if the modeller wants him to perform as a Wehrmacht officer. As previously stated, very exciting is his tunic, that is not a regular M36, but an officer service tunic according to the turned up French cuffs, also being one of the rarest WWII German officer's service tunics offered in the 1/72 scale. During the Third Reich era, officer's service tunic had the basic design of the EM/NCO tunics, but except insignia, the most visible difference was the turned up French cuffs. Such tunics were used during the entire period of WWII, and due to the fact that officers had to pay their uniforms, a large majority of such tunics were purchased from private tailors and not ordinary army depots. The attire of this figure is completed by unmounted officer breeches, visor cap and officer jack boots while his equipment consists in map case and pistol holster. Nicely achieved are the buckle and the pistol holster, its size pointing out that he makes uses of the favourite pistol of German officers, namely the 7.65 mm Walther. To this figure has to be glued the right arm for attaining a tremendously persuasive pose evocating a Feldgendarme officer requesting the Wehrpass or Soldbuch, the opened mouth showing that he has something to comment upon. 

This time, the soldier being stopped and asked for his documents is performed by a representative of Kreigsmarine, who stands at attention. The soldier wears the classical Pea jacket which followed, as other Kreigsmarine cloths, the design launched by Prussian Navy in 1848, also adopted by Imperial and Reichsmarine. His garment continues with standard Kreigsmarine trousers and ankle boots or shoes and on the head he wears the "Donald Duck" cap featuring the classical insignia and the long extended tails on the back for creating the unique "swallow tail" effect. Like for the others, his cloth insignia are fully accurate and easily identified, breast and cap eagles, left arm combined career and rank insignia as well as greatly shaped buttons definitely increasing the general aspect of the sailor. His amazing facial expression is ideal for portraying a soldier a little bit scared while is controlled by unmerciful Feldgendarme. For him, the set grants an accessory embodying the sack used for carrying personal belongings. The two Feldgendarme dressed in tunics as well as the sailor and the provided accessories have the capacity to genuinely reveal a scene repeated for millions of times during WWII and this can be completed by the other two figures wearing Kradmantels.

As previously highlighted, cloths and gear are superbly replicated, abounding in small details that increase the charm and accuracy of a figure. Correctly shaped tunics and motorcycle protective coats featuring credible creases, buttons and collar boards, tiny insignia and armbands, French cuffs and cuff-title bands, all are really impressive sculptured and emplaced in the right places. A special comment should refer to the steel helmets where we can clearly see the ventilation openings thanks to sculptor's efforts and skill. The look of these troopers is completed by a proper anatomy put in valour by incredible facial expressions perfectly matching the implemented activities. Superbly sculptured eyes, eyebrows, noses, ears and mouths as well as clearly identified fingers are common elements shared by each figure here. Size of figures, weapons and gear are the same for all and because a major objective of Martello International is lining up their products with 1/72 plastic and resin figures, the sizes encountered here do not diverge with those applied by the great majority of 1/72 German Army manufacturers. The only reproach to figures addresses to the hair too large MP40 muzzle, (casting in metal necessitates this), but the minor fault does not influence at all their marvellous general appearance. Likewise, the size of the German shepherd (item not designed by Mr Boustead)  is a source for further comments, but the dog is still exploitable in the 1/72 scale. 

These soldiers are almost flash-less while the existing one can be immediately removed. For the great joy of fans of bases both figures and accessories are delivered on individual supports, in a shape often encountered at soft plastic troopers. On the other hand, those wanting to remove the bases will find that the issue represents the most complicated and time consuming part of the kit. The sturdiness of the white metal used for manufacturing the present product will require extra efforts, but luckily it is not impossible to get rid of the undesired supports. The method mainly consists in using snippers for cutting the base very close to the boots and then filing around the feet in order to eliminate the rest of unwanted surplus of material.

For best results at painting white metal demands first of all priming, only in this way enamel, artistic oils or acrylics would appropriate adhere on the material and resist at handling. If such operation is forgotten, then it should not be a surprise seeing how the paint will erase when touching a little harder the figures, so once again, it is reiterated the obligation of priming white metal products before painting. Inside this set several parts involve assembly, and for easing the process, the pin and hole system was adopted. These parts, only four here, must be fixed with super glue gel, an adhesive of great success on white metal that also permits further re-positioning of parts before getting dry.

Bearing in mind that the present soldiers are lined up with the regular size of the wide range of 1/72 WWII Germans agreed by mass production industry as well as by most companies working in resin and white metal, they can be emplaced in the same scenario imagined by the modeller. 

Considering its awesome sculpture and accuracy put in valour by a large number of small details as well as the excellent compatibility with 1/72 figures listed in the catalogues of other companies, "Halt! Feldgendarme" stands out as an impressive realisation fulfilling all the expectations of the beneficiaries. Moreover, thanks to its support, it is announced the presence on the market of a company that continuing in the same manner will definitely represent something important in the field. Benefitting by bonus accessories fruitfully blended with great figures, the set sets out a new standard of quality in the field of WWII Germans. It is not often the case having the chance to review the first set of a new company at a couple of months after its official launch, and looking forward to seeing their offer growing, we take the opportunity whishing them all success in each and every implemented activity for the benefit of the scale and delight of the target groups.

 

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