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CMK - German armourers for Tiger I (F72157) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer CMK
Scale 1/72
Set Code F72157
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items 3 Projectiles
Size Medium
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1941 – 1945

 

 Review 

Acknowledged as a company trying covering many gaps within 1/72 WWII German Army, CMK could not loose the opportunity of depicting one of the most famous unit, the legendary Panzer troops. Nothing unusual at this manufacturer, the subject benefitted by three sets, two aiming a more “classical” appearance and the third targeting a hard to spot topic in the scale, respectively Panzer troops loading projectiles in the vehicle. The kit received the title “German armourers for Tiger I”, but surely aims the crew of the vehicle performing a loading activity, figures being appropriate for maintenance troops, too.

Bearing in mind a Tiger I could take a limited number of projectiles fired in a very short period in the mistof the battle, supplying the vehicle with the necessary number of shells for keep fighting was an extremely common operation for the crew, repeated many times, even during combat and under enemy fire. Considering these facts, it was of foremost importance the appearance of a special set dedicated to one key activity of Panzer troops, the stances adopted here by the crewmen certainly matching other armoured vehicles not only Tiger 1. Of course, in this regard is would be compulsory replacing the projectiles with those suitable to the gun mounted in the vehicle under preparation.

Generally, 1/72 WWII German figures released by CMK, no matter membership to a particular unit, greatly match, being issued in the tall side of 1/72. Anyway, few exceptions encompassed by the middle 1/72 are recorded such as “Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry”, “German soldiers with Panzerschreck”, and the present reviewed set. For that reason, these crewmen do not perfectly fit with their colleagues from the other two CMK kits targeting Panzer units, “Waffen SS tankers WW II” and “German tankers WW II”.

The set is marketed in the standard CMK 1/72 small box, the buyer clearly sees inside the slots, four taking in parts necessary for assembling the figures and a separate one with projectiles. As artwork comes a drawing presenting the exact poses performing the activity on a blurred Tiger I tank in the close proximity of a forest based on the few fir-trees in the background. There are no instructions for putting together the minis, but the artwork grants enough information on how those should finally appear.

However, not only the important activity the crew fulfil makes set special, but also the attire they dress, two army-men wearing the M41 HBT Panzer tunic and regular or first pattern HBT Panzer trousers, another preferring to put on him an overall. Such items of garment are more than appropriate for the implemented action while working or repairing activities were extremely often carried out, Panzer crews adopting those outfits, created for protecting the fancy black uniforms, as well. There were two possibilities of wearing both HBT Panzer uniforms and overalls, just those in summer or over the black standard uniform. Moreover, delivering such outfit for Tiger personnel, CMK took an excellent decision because of frequently breakage, particularly the medium and heavy tanks crews preferred wearing even in combat working clothes than the black Panzer uniform.

As its name highlights, the M41 HBT Panzer tunic was made of herringbone twill (HBT) and was supplied for the first time in May 1941 for swapping the previous version of the same attire, very close to the standard Panzer wrapper. The second version, here presented, was characterized by a large front pocket on the left side, but also other differences were recorded. For instance, the tunic had two rows of buttons, one for a tight fit in summer and the other letting enough space if it was worn over the black Panzer wrapper. Likewise, the back of the tunic was made from two panels with a middle guide tunnel for the back ties to give a snug fit on the trooper. While the black colour was not very appropriate on the front line where soldiers were often forced to leave the vehicle, the HBT Panzer clothes were issued in reed green and mouse gray as well as feldgrau for Sturm Artillery. For better concealment, tailor made uniforms with the same cut often appeared in both Wehrmacht and Waffen SS patterns. Although supplied only to Wehrmacht units at the beginning, the 1941 HBT Panzer uniform was extremely popular in Waffen SS and in some extent in other units than Panzer or Sturm Artillery.

Work garment was issued in various shapes, cuts, and colours and together with the uniform the German soldiers generally received either a work or fatigue suit. Obviously, those fulfilling heavy tasks like maintenance received the first one. For Panzer troopers, overalls were a common presence and could be worn simply or over the standard uniform. Various shades of gray, green, and black were the most encountered ones, but also Waffen SS camouflage patterns were also wide spread. The model proposed by CMK here is the one with two chest pockets and all the just mentioned colours, including camouflage patterns are appropriate for it.  

Reverting to the artwork where all the figures are painted as wearing black uniforms, sometimes the Panzer overall could be issued in black or even more uncommon colours such as blue. So not quite an inaccuracy for this item of garment as it is recorded for the HBT Panzer uniform, never produced in black although some bizarre colours, like white, were also seen on the front line.  

The CMK figures succeed to catch in the scale the general appearance of the cloths they wear, particularly the front chest pocket of the M41 HBT Panzer wrapper being reasonable detailed. The M41 HBT Panzer trousers had a large pocket on the left thigh, very similar with the one on the tunic, two asymmetrical flapped pockets in front and two flapped rear pockets. Clearly missing the left thigh pocket, the trousers dressed by the minis in tunics might be appraised only as regular or HBT first pattern Panzer trousers. Below outfits appear quite clear the shirts they wear and all of them shoe ankle boots. Two preferred the M43 cap while the other went for M34 cap and none wears belt and implicitly pistol holster. Considering the activity they carry out, it is quite normal to be unarmed, especially if they do it behind the front line, before entering into battle.

Two of them stand and one is crouched, the poses being exceedingly realistic and highly suitable for their purpose, to this definitely bringing a major contribution the multi-part approach. Figures come with separate heads, arms and projectiles and in order to achieve the proper fit, it would be wise testing first how the projectile is held, to know at which angle to glue the arms. Nevertheless, a clue on the matter provides also the natural fit at the shoulders area, but double checking with the shell is highly recommended. Superglue gel is the ideal adhesive while it creates a strong bond on resin and offers few moments to the modeller for some readjustments if those are necessary.

Holding projectiles in hands, the crewmen can be disposed as forming kind of a chain for speeding up the loading process. Practically, the poses are with this aim created, one on the ground  forwarding a projectile to another staying couch on the vehicle while the last one, standing and bent hands over the projectile to a comrade that is inside the tank and arranges the rounds in their places, who, obviously, cannot be seen from outside. In fact inside the vehicle can be two crewmen, so providing three crewmen can be assessed as a satisfactory number for the job they perform. Nevertheless, in a diorama, the modeller might wish add another figure, perhaps the tank commander supervising the activity. Excellent full figures in this purpose put forward Caesar’s “WWII German Panzer Crews”, Retrokit’s German tank crew travelling on their vehicle” and some ESCI kits with figures. Delivering only busts, Warrior’s “German Tank Crew” proposes great options for a crewman in the role of driver but then the tank commander most certainly should be considered one of the troopers loading the vehicle. Nonetheless, Panzer commanders often did not refrain giving a helpful hand to their crew in various activities imposed by tank maintenance, especially when situation in the field required urgency or its abilities in terms of a mechanical breakdown.

All poses are tremendously realistic, perhaps the sculptor finding inspiration in some of the still and motion pictures featuring Panzer crews or maintenance units carrying out such task. However, the most interesting and unusual stance is the one leaning in front over the hatch and handing over the projectile to the comrade found inside the tank. It is an awesome and unique pose, really useful as the last veriga of the loading chain. It represents also a great achievement in terms of sculpting and moulding, the multi-part solution certainly bringing a foremost input. Anyway, according to the modeller’s needs, the projectiles might be easily replaced with other items loaded in a tank such as MG ammunition belts, gear, various boxes etc. Furthermore, with some inspired arms and heads mixing or replacement, the crew can remain with bare hands and perform other duties than the designed one or simply relax. In this purpose, Preiser body parts available in large numbers within various sets appear the most suitable due to their size. In addition, modellers might consider as a second option removing some body parts form the Panzer crews supplied by various old ESCI kits.

The projectiles are provided on a distinct fourth slot, and though accurate in shape, these seem a little under-scaled, particularly in comparison with similar items made available by other manufacturers. The impression is even increased bearing in mind the calibre of the huge 88mm KwK 36 L/56 cannon equipping the Tiger I tank. Still, the rounds go quite fine in the figures hands, also well matching the size of handlers.

Except the realistic stances, the kit forwards also something appealing in terms of Panzer attire, respectively theM41 HBT Panzer uniform, worn here by the two full figures. Entered in service in 1941 as a substitute of the first version of HBT Panzer uniform, the tunic was easily recognized after its large front pocket on the left side. Provided in reed green or mouse gray colours for Panzer units and feldgrau for Sturm Artillery, both trousers and tunic could record various camouflage patterns, belonging both to Wehrmacht and Waffen SS. Created for summer as a replacement of the classical black wool Panzer wrapper as well as for working purposes, the attire was sometimes worn in cold periods, over the standard Panzer uniform. Delivered at the beginning only to Wehrmacht units, due to its advantages, the M41 HBT Panzer uniform was valued by Waffen SS and saw service together with those soldiers, too.

Sculptor’s work is good but not impressive like other CMK sets, details on uniforms and anatomy might have been better.  Anyway, attire shows sufficient details such as buttons, pockets and enough creases as well as the not so recommended shoulder boards on M41 HBT Panzer tunics. Anatomy is fair and respects human proportions while palms and facial expressions are pretty nicely finished, particularly bearing in mind that these figs belongs to the medium side of 1/72 scale.

Just small amounts of thin film and flash have to be removed by modeller, the minis escaping of excess of resin. The material used is pretty good but fragile, so taking care when detaching the parts from the slots is really necessary.  Perfectly accepting enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, sustaining these after long handlings, resin also greatly receives super glue gel.  

In the medium side of 1/72, the size and garment of the crew recommends them to be used best together with Caesar’s “WWII German Panzer Crews”, Retrokit’s German tank crew travelling on their vehicle”, and ESCI’s “Panzer IV” crew, but soldiers wearing M41 HBT Panzer uniforms are also available in Dragon’s “German Panzer crew & Panther G Early – “Achtung Jabo” France 1944” and Orion’s “German Panzer Crew - Set 4”. On the other hand, Preiser catalogue lists several figure sets with troopers dressed in overalls, perfectly matching CMK’s proposal from here.

The so necessary activity they carry out and its scarce depiction in 1/72 scale make this set extremely useful both for diorama builders and wargamers even if, like any resin kit, the first ones are the main target group. In addition, the attractive garment, proper sculpture, and realistic poses, which with some modifications might be used near any WWII German armoured vehicle, simply increase the value of CMK’s German armourers for Tiger I”. 

 

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