Articles

Hasegawa - SdKfz 234/2 8-rad Schwere Panzerwagen Puma (31153) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Hasegawa
Scale 1/72
Set Code 31152
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 1
No. of Poses 1
Additional Items 1 SdKfz 234/2 “Puma”
Size Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level High
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1943 – 1945

 

Review 

Renown manufacturer of 1/72 WWII German vehicle kits, fortunately Hasegawa joins the short list of companies providing crew inside boxes. The most numerous such figures of this company are encountered in various trucks and guns kits, their armour either missing or benefitting by the support of one or two soldiers. A kit featuring a single trooper is “SdKfz 234/2 8-rad Schwere Panzerwagen "Puma”, but in fact the same miniature is duplicated in the other 1/72 Hasegawa kits targeting Sd.Kfz 234 chassis, namely SdKfz 234/1 (2 cm) and Sd.Kfz 234/3 "Stummel". Reviews of Hasegawa’s just mentioned kits are accessible on various websites, so here will touch only the figure.

A crewman appears in all artworks of Hasegawa’s Sd.Kfz 234 range, but perhaps the closest look to the mini included inside offers the artwork of Sd.Kfz 234/3 "Stummel" kit. Nevertheless, the assembly sheets of the three Sd.Kfz 234 vehicles issued by Hasegawa provide the same guidelines for putting together and painting the fighter. The Sd.Kfz 234 line generally had a crew of four and especially in the open top compartment of “Stummel” or in the “Puma” turret at least two army-men might be visible, so supplying at least an extra mini would have been much better.  Belonging to the newer generation of kits launched by Hasegawa, this soldier although not impressing, is definitely above most of company’s vehicle related figs, acknowledged many times as unattractive, with accuracy, sculpture, and mould problems. 

Coming with a separate right arm holding binoculars, a second option for that arm is delivered, but bizarre is both are almost identical, the really insignificant distinction being given by how binoculars is held in the right hand. Due to scale and pose, the difference is hard to spot when the parts are on the sprue and even when any is fixed in place, the disparity remains totally irrelevant. Much better would have been the inclusion of an arm holding nothing or other items than binoculars or at least to be shaped in dissimilar angles.

The soldier is appropriately dressed in Panzer wrapper, shirt, trousers, ankle boots, and the connection to a Late War vehicle like Sd.Kfz 234 is highlighted by the M43 cap. The army-men also received headphones and a pistol in holster, both objects matching his role as an armoured vehicle crewman. Because those and worn garment, the uniform of the figure is suitable to be painted in black as a Panzer or feldgrau as an Assault Artillery or Reconnaissance trooper. Furthermore, not only Wehrmacht or Waffen SS camouflage patterns are appropriate but also various shades of reed green or gray could be tried, as wearing HBT Panzer first pattern uniform, the thicker appearance of his attire allowing the interpretation that HBT uniform is worn over the standard one. Of course, the same garment and headphones, although missing wires, turn the figure into a proper combatant for turret or hatch emplacements. Likewise, the adopted stance facilitates occupying such location no matter the chosen right arm, the figure also sneaking pretty good through larger hatch openings. With the exception of hatches, because of his position, the mini can be set outside leaning against a turret, wall, chair or similar things. 

As a later Hasegawa product, sculpture is better and also anatomy even if the figure has got a pretty small head with a quite indistinct facial expression. Palms and fingers do not impress too much as well as the M43 cap. Likewise, headphones are the single radio communication item featured here, the trooper missing not only the related wires, but also key elements such as throat microphone and activation switch housing. Still, the way of keeping the arms hides in some extent the absence of the rest of communication devices. Clothes come acceptably carved, with several nice details like trousers pocket flaps but without notable creases, stitches, insignia or other stuff “embellishing” a 1/72 miniature while binoculars and pistol holster integrate in this general medium appearance. However, taking profit by the material the product is made of and on which polly-cement achieves great results, upgrades might be easily implemented, Preiser, Dragon or Caesar body and gear pieces finding here an excellent territory for saving missions. Head, pistol holster, binoculars and even palms could be substituted by similar pieces put forward in large amounts by sets of the above mentioned producers. Apart from part replacements, there can be brought few completions like binoculars or map cases or other items suitable to be worn by a soldier in wrapper. Casting emerges slightly better, but the figure still records a notable quantity of flash as well as a small mould mark in the shape of a circle on the back. However, the multi-part advance avoided the apparition of excess of plastic and both the mould mark and flash are fast eliminated. Painting requires no special procedures, enamel, acrylics and artistic oils being properly hosted by the material.

As regards compatibility with crewmen wearing the same uniform, this soldier in the tall side of 1/72 greatly fits near Panzer troopers offered by Hasegawa in different vehicle kits as well as with most figures launched on the topic by mass-production and garage industry representatives such as Preiser, Warriors, Dragon, Orion, Esci, Retrokit, CMK, El Viejo Dragon etc.

Diorama builders certainly will not be extremely pleased by a product passing as satisfactory, but for sure it is useful in wargaming and some collectors might be interested in it, too. Additionally, with several pieces from modeller’s spare box, the figure can be fast transformed for properly taking position in a vehicle displayed in a vignette or diorama. Likewise, it should be acknowledged manufacturer’s effort in providing a crewman for the vehicle and it is a pity the incentive introduced and promoted by Airfix, Matchbox, and Esci has not been continued by nowadays prolific companies in the field of 1/72 WW2 German vehicle kits like Revell and Dragon. 

 

Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 8
Poses Quality 8
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 8
Sculpture 8
Recommendation/Utility 7
Reviewer’s Opinion 8