Articles

Dragon - Maus or E-100 Crew (7255) _________(EXT)

 

  

Manufacturer Dragon Models Limited
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7255/7256
Year 2004
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
Additional Items 1 Maus or 1 E-100 Crew
Aspect Medium
Material Soft Plastic
Colour Light Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super-glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review 

As it is well-known, on the market there are numerous Braille Scale plastic, resin or metal kits from different manufacturers related to WWII German Army including along the vehicle several figures, too. Such companies must be highly appreciated due to the fact that satisfies clients who do not want depicting vehicles without crew. Definitely, this kind of kits represents a major source for the increment of WWII German soldiers and it must be seriously taken into consideration by collectors or wargamers.  In most cases, there are one or two soldiers, but there still exist good examples of sets having three, four or even eight minis within a vehicle kit, exceeding from this point of view a regular resin figure set containing only few troopers.

Unfortunately, the percentage of kits without versus those including figures is by far in the favor of the first ones, important producers deciding not to complicate their life with this issue. On the list should be also enclosed Dragon, which with the exception of the hereinafter reviewed crew, it does not provide within their regular kits other ones. The thing is really annoying, bearing in mind that Dragon is one of the main German vehicles provider, not only their amazing quality, but also the large number of models featured in their catalogue enhancing this feeling. If it is also corroborated with the fact that the same company is one of the most prolific creator of 1/35 scale WWII Germans, the exasperation reach maximum heights. Rumors that the issue of moving the 1/35 scale vehicles into 1/72 would happen and with the figures range were hardly waited to become true and after few years, Dragon succeeded to launch under Figure Pro Series some of the best 1/72 WWII Germans in hard plastic, enclosed in kits where the vehicle is offered simply as a bonus.  

In spite of existing several mass production sets dedicated to Panzer troops such as Caesar’s “WWII German Panzer Crews” Preiser's “German Tank Crew 1939-45"  and “German Tank Crew", and Dragon’s “Achtung-Jabo! Frace 1944” “German Panzer Crew + Panther G Early Production w/Zimmerit”, the offer in plastic is extremely limited, especially comparing with the large number of tanks, assault guns and other vehicles requiring soldiers dressed in the specific Panzer attire. This could represent a main advantage of kits with figures, giving some answers on the topic, Hasegawa and Esci excelling from this point of view. As it was stressed above, the only figures included in Dragon vehicle kits are two crew members, the same ones being integrated in two boxes, respectively Mouse and E100 sets. Nevertheless, cottage industry’s answer is very prompt and comprehensive, plenty resin and white metal figure sets covering the Panzer troops matter.

In most cases, tank crews are made of hard plastic, white metal or resin, but here we have a premiere in the scale, surprisingly these troops are made of soft plastic, but obviously, the accompanying vehicle was cast in hard one. Not only the interesting and glue-able combination of rubber and plastic, strongly reminding about Pegasus Hobbies' soft plastic sets, but also the quality of figures and the same country of manufacturing (China) emerge as other common points. Furthermore, after several years since the appearance of the kit, Caesar has launched “WWII German Panzer Crews” in soft plastic, too.  

According to their destination, these two minis dressed in Panzer wrap tunics (Feldjacke) over nicely seen shirts, Panzer trousers and ankle boots, with heads covered by officer visor cap and overseas cap, they are appropriate for any period of WWII. Likewise, they match any season, on the one hand taking into account that there are lots of reference pictures featuring these units in winter wearing only the tunic and on the other hand, another key detail is that Panzer uniforms were inspired by a 1934 en-vogue skiing outfit.

In the same time, they may be used as Waffen SS or Wehrmacht troops, the garment being suitable for painting in various ways such as black for Panzer, feldgrau for Assault Artillery or in camouflage patterns with pea dot as the most often seen in photos after 1943 when it was for the first time introduced (lighter shades while the 1944 pea dot pattern was darker). 

Both figures have belts, and a draw-back of the set is the lack of pistol holsters, pistols being in the standard endowment of any Panzer soldier, as a specialized unit. If it is desired, the deficiency may be easily solved through gluing a Dragon or Preiser pistol holster, this soft plastic accepting extremely well super glue gel. 

The poses have nothing special, quite common for 1/72 Panzer crews, but realistic and very well done, specially designed for being emplaced on an armored vehicle though they match and other types of means of transportation.  While the officer stands with the hands holding hips, the trooper is in a sat pose and can be placed in various spaces on a vehicle. Both figures enter without modifications in a German heavy tank turret, but this location is not very recommended due to the lack of headphones.    

The accuracy of uniforms is simply perfect, with lots of specific small details like badges, eagles, collar and shoulder boards, a great merit of Dragon sculptors, showing their great skill in the field of 1/72 figures. Anatomy is terrific, with expressively faces and there are no disparities between the sizes of bodies at these poses. Flash is almost inexistent, easy to remove while excess of plastic does not exist at all. The material accepts very well the paint, though it is advisable to use primer first particularly on this soft plastic, in order to prevent any tendency of gloss aspect of the paint. As it is normal for their role, the soldiers come without bases, neither needed by the sat one nor by the commander which has a great balance, effortlessly standing with no supplementary device.

In the medium/tall side of 1/72 scale, the present reviewed minis match very good with other offers in the field, except the above mentioned sets from Preiser and other figures enclosed in various kits coming from Orion and CMK, the list can be completed, through others, by different white metal products like Miniatures Alemany “German Tank Crew” and El Viejo Dragon “German Panzer Crew”. In addition, several poses dressed in Panzer wrap tunic are comprised in Odemars's German Commanders set, also manufactured in soft plastic. Moreover, as earlier highlighted, after few years Dragon released a perfect completition for these crewmen in “Achtung-Jabo! Frace 1944” “German Panzer Crew + Panther G Early Production w/Zimmerit”, troopers there wearing the M42 HBT Panzer uniform.

For first try, Dragon Models Limited Maus/E100 crew demonstrates the full potential of the company in the field of 1/72 soldiers and we are looking forward to seeing released not only vehicles, but also figure sets, their 1/35 catalogue constituting a real source of inspiration for its sculptors as well as aspiration for Braille Scale fans.    

 

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