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IMEX - German Troops (528) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer Imex
Scale 1/72
Set Code 528
Year 2007
No. of Figures 50
No. of Poses 15
Additional Items None
Size High
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Excellent (standard model kit glue)
Convertibility Medium
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945 (without several exceptions)

 

Review 

Within the industry of Braille Scale figures it is sometimes the case that a set appears two or three years after it was promoted for the first time by the manufacturer. The long linger is difficult for all those interested in, and not always the final product rewards the ordeal endured by the target groups during the waiting period. The same goes for the Imex's "German Troops" too, a set that has reached the shelves of the model shops after a long period since its announcement, but luckily, its figures constitutes a nice surprise. It often happens that before launching 1/72 sets on topic of large interest to benefit by previews, showing if not all, at least a part of the future content. The Imex set missed such previews, the company presenting before only the artwork of the box, fact that contributed to an increased anxiousness between the future customers. In spite depicting probably the most exploited topic related to Germans in WWII such as soldiers dressed in Early War style, the present reviewed set has incorporated not only elements belonging to Late War period, but also several items brought for the first time into Braille Scale. Moreover, "German Troops" reflects a major effort made by Imex on identifying the needs of new poses as well as the gaps related to German equipment. Thanks to this attempt, we find inside the same set along with standard poses, figures portraying casualties, radio operator or prisoner while on the other hand, finally we can enjoy for the first time in the 1/72 scale the famous M39 egg grenade, as well as a Mauser C96 pistol gun, an interesting backpack infantry radio and a complex array of equipment on the back of some figures.

Noticing such details, it can be easily assessed the struggle of the manufacturer for coming on the market with something bright new, capable to attract the customers, a target that it was mostly fulfilled. In addition, since opening the box we are surprised by the similarity of many poses with some encountered in various Pegasus Hobbies sets. In fact, there are more clues indicating a close relation with Pegasus Hobbies such as hobnails in the soles of some poses, strap to Kar98K as well as various tiny details specific to the just mentioned company. The identicalness of different poses with real soldiers appearing in reference images specifies once more an approach similar with the one of Pegasus Hobbies. Furthermore, not only the size of bodies, equipment and uniforms are comparable with those encountered in Pegasus Hobbies' "German Mortar Teams", but also the material, almost an alike hard plastic being deployed for both sets that greatly complete. Thanks to hard plastic, plenty of conversions are facilitated despite the fact that the large majority of these warriors are cast as single pieces. However, some assembly is required, several heads as well as one arm and a figure furnished in two halves need to be glued, an easy task due to a material similar with the one encountered at vehicle model kits. The set offers fifteen poses, but we do not have to restrict only to them, the hard plastic giving us great opportunities for bringing diversity and increasing the collection with innovative poses. It is more than facile to acquire fresh poses through simply mixing heads or arms of the included figures, while taking profit of the Preiser sprues with equipment and weapons, the conversion possibilities are noticeable boosted. Not only these items, but also Preiser arms and heads may be used in the same purpose, for enriching the variety. Furthermore, opportunities for customisation should be searched both in Preiser sets and in other sets manufactured in hard plastic, Pegasus Hobbies's "German Mortar Teams" as well as Hasegawa's "German Attack Group" featuring great resources in the field. The artwork of the box does not impress too much, but the content is eye-catching, the producer trying within 15 poses to cover a lot of topics and fill the gaps related to the 1/72 WWII Germans. Diverging from other boxes, the present one delivers on the other side a good painting guide. Of course, it was chosen a figure without intricate items, but the colour selection is proper, at least for wargaming.  

Though entitled "German Troops", we get only figures suitable for infantry and other units incorporating soldiers dressed in tunics. All troopers wear M36 tunics and regular trousers at the same time as some variation is brought at shoes and head covers. Most of them have marching boots while just few wear ankle boots with gaiters. Likewise, steel helmets are much more encountered, ten fighters having such head covers, but the set also proposes three M43 caps, a visor cap and a bare headed figure. Ankle boots, gaiters and M43 caps are items defining the Late War German uniform that categorically do not enter in conflict with the M36 tunics. The combination between Early and Late War elements is often seen in reference images, to this contributing the fact that the M36 tunics continued to be delivered till the end of war. Moreover, plenty of images from the period show German soldiers looking like belonging to the same platoon and being dressed in different ways, combining Late and Early elements. Taking into consideration these facts, there is no reason for assessing as wrong and unsuitable a figure with mixed uniform or using a Late War weapon while he is dressed in the Early style. The thickness of the garment allow the employment of these combatants either in warm or cold environments, but still they better fit in the first one.

The gear is quite difficult to be described, and it can be generally grouped in three categories, some figures being heavy endowed, some standard and others having just several or even none equipment pieces on them. Before examining these categories, it must be pointed out that without three exceptions the rest have "Y" straps and all of them possess the appropriate ammo pouches for the weapon in use. In addition, the sculptor took the decision to add to all warriors possessing gas mask containers the gas cap pouch, and because of this it may result an uncommon appearance of the familiar gas mask container. The pouch comes rolled around the container and fixed with two straps, a detail perfectly matching the reality based on the fact that the German soldiers often wore like that the gas cap pouch. According to regulations, it was forbidden to wear fixed on the container the gas cap pouch for fear that the two straps, in general made of leather or rubber, not damaging the cap. The same regulations mentioned as suitable places for this pouch the chest, being attached to the gas mask container strap and secured with the back loops, but a lot of photos present troopers wearing the pouch reversed on the back or even fixed to the belt. Nevertheless, despite all efforts made by German High Command to restrict the soldiers from wearing attached to the gas mask container the gas cap pouch, such thing was never achieved and in 1942 it was recognised as suitable that place for the pouch, but it had to be fixed to the free end of the sling that was extended for this purpose. The fact attests once again that not all the time the German soldiers paid attention to regulations and wore their equipment in the most comfortable way for them. Images of the period featuring the back gear of the German soldiers show a complete mess, gear randomly hanging all around, with many of items fixed anyhow, but not regulated. Returning to the three categories of figures established based on their gear, the heavy equipped one encloses four poses, with a kit consisting in bread bag, mess tin, canteen, shovel, bayonet, Zeltbahn, gas mask container, gas cap, blanket and another box fixed above the back pack. There is a lot of gear on a single figure, and practically we can enjoy here almost all the pieces of equipment currently carried by a German soldier. None of other mass production set reveals this aspect, and once more, it should be appreciated Imex's effort in bringing something new on the market. The second category, with standard equipment, refers to soldiers having the common gear frequently portrayed, not only by reference photos, but also in the Braille Scale. In such an arrangement enters eight figs with brad bag, mess tin, canteen, shovel and bayonet, their positioning, size and sculpture reminding again of Pegasus Hobbies. The last category, formed by soldiers endowed with several or even none equipment pieces, includes four figures featuring only a part of the gear above reviewed or other pieces such as map case or binoculars holster. Before ending the gear description, it must be stressed that several poses have on their chests a pouch similar with the gas cap one. Due to the fact that the gas cap pouch is rolled around the gas mask container like at the rest of the troopers, the pouch from the chest can be either first aid pouch (Verbandpäckchen) or pouch for keeping the reading maps tools (Kartenwinkelmesser 27), these being pretty close with the better known gas cap pouch (Gasplane Beutel).    

The arsenal of the set is quite rich, covering not only a large array of standard infantry weapons commonly encountered in all the sets related to German soldiers, but also several points of attraction rarely or even not reproduced in diverse mass production sets. Furthermore, there are illustrated two of the most representative infantry weapons developed in the Late part of War for fighting against enemy armour, RPzB54 and Panzerfaust 60 m. However, it should be remarked that in spite the presence of an ammo box, the MG associated with the box is completely missing. This is more surprising bearing in mind that inside the great majority of sets addressing the topic the MG is a must have, almost all of them integrating either a MG34 or a MG42. Except one RPzB54 and one Panzerfaust 60m, inside the Imex set we find two Kar98K, three MP40 (two with shoulder stock opened), one StG44, one Mauser C96 and two pistols in holsters. These firing weapons are supplemented by many grenades, both the StiHg-r 24 and the M39 egg grenades being depicted. If the StiHg-r 24 type is ultra common in the scale, within the present set we have the great pleasure of finding for the very first time the reproduction of the M39 egg grenade, intensively used by German troops throughout the war, an aspect highlighted by the often appearance of the weapon in reference images. Three figures use StiHg-r 24 while other three have attached to their belts M39 egg grenades. The German soldiers had the possibility to fix to their belts through loops with rings, the so called "belt loops with "D" rings" a rich variety of items as well as grenades. Plenty of images show the M39 egg grenades appearing exactly in the same manner as we find them in the Imex set. A small regret is that none of the poses portrays a soldier throwing such a grenade, it would have been an interesting subject, but at least we can enjoy this weapon. Moreover, although four soldiers possess ammunition pouches for Kar98K, they lack the weapons. The absence is fully justified and it might be considered that they let the weapons down for developing the actions they started such as throwing grenades, talking on the radio or protecting the ears against the noise and were the rifle would have been a disturbing factor.        

The set proposes us nine standing, four crouched and two prone figures while none standing pose received gaiters, only one prone and three crouched have got these accessories. Moreover, it should be appreciated that just figures handling Late War weapons like Panzerfaust or Panzershreck received gaiters. The single exception in this regard is the figure with the Feld Fu radio, but even this does not contradict the reality, such radio being used throughout the whole war. More or less inspired after real soldiers portrayed in reference images, having also several closely linked connections to Pegasus Hobbies figures, the poses from here may be appreciated as dynamic and suitable for the implemented activities. Likewise, there is a rich offer of soldiers that are not encountered in other sets addressing the topic, and corroborated those with the rare weapons and equipment items, we get the picture of a very attractive set. As it was earlier mentioned, the highlights are the M39 egg grenades, the Mauser C96 pistol gun, the interesting Feld Fu backpack infantry radio and the complex array of equipment on the back of some figures, described few lines above.

Most of the poses are linked to combat and aim to cover plenty of associated actions. In this regard, there are identified not only firing and advancing poses, but also several doing something else and more important than these, there are provided casualties. Clearly advancing is the figure holding in one hand the Kar98K while in the left hand he holds a MG ammo box. Moreover, this trooper was endowed with heavy equipment as well as with three M39 egg grenades. Besides this advancing pose there are other two, one with MP40 and another with StG44 that except moving forwards could be firing poses, as well. Evidently firing personal weapons there are two other poses, one standing and firing off a Kar98K and another crouched that fires off a Mauser C96. Standing figures aiming with Kar98K are probably the most encountered pose in various sets on WWII Germans, but this is one of the best due to more factors. It is obviously inspired by a reference photo and has a M39 egg grenade, pouch on the chest and strap to his weapon. The strap of the rifle lays very natural on the soldier arm while taking the position. Meanwhile, for mould reasons, it is the single pose coming with a separate arm, the left one holding the gun while the right palm is sculptured on the weapon and will further match the arm cast on the figure. A similar system was for the first time implemented by Pegasus Hobbies on a large scale inside their sets, the approach facilitating both an exact appearance and avoiding flash and excess of plastic. The review reached one of the most interesting and useful poses of the set, namely the soldier firing off the C96 Mauser. It is a crouched figure that fires off the pistol in a pretty attractive and realistic manner. He received heavy equipment and pouch on the chest as well as pistol holster on the left hip and ammunition pouch on the right. Because his pose, the ammunition pouch cannot be clearly identified and it could be either for C96 pistol or for Kar98K, each version being acknowledged and sustained by images taken in that period. According to his gear, most probably this soldier is not an officer, but a private. In general, a figure with pistol in hand is perceived as officer, but it should be taken into consideration that there were a lot of specialised privates endowed with pistols by KStN. In such category could enter for example the MG gunners, some MG loaders or mortar crews. This pose comes in six copies and because of this and thanks to hard plastic, the palm holding the pistol can be removed and easily attached to other hard plastic figures. Such a method is capable to improve the collections with an uncommon weapon at 1/72 that is here incredibly good sculptured. Nevertheless, a set with such a topic could not miss the officer, whose pose reveals again the permanent search for new. The pose could be classified without any error as an officer due to precise elements like visor cap, pistol holster and map case. Additionally, on his chest he has binoculars, and instead the common version of 6 X 30 power binoculars, we get here the 7 X 50 type, a model used in general by Kriegsmarine, but also repeatedly encountered at land forces, too. An interesting aspect is that the back lenses are protected like in reality by a leather case, a tiny detail that is met only inside Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS Set 1". The officer stands in an unusual pose, looking at a piece of paper held in the left hand while pointing with the right the direction to follow by his squad. The figure is definitely eye-catching, especially due to the fact that there is no other similar or at least close to this one in the Braille Scale sets. In a diorama or war game can be established a link between the officer and the radio operator, which is another reference point of the set. The soldier received a Feld Fu backpack infantry radio, intensively used by Germans during WWII, but till now this remains the only mass production sets representation in the scale of such a radio. The Feld Fu radio in case is extremely well done and includes a lot of small details defining this communication device. The only problem can be its antenna, appearing a little too thick and placed in a position that is not reflected by photos of the period. Such references show the antenna located in the middle of the Feld Fu radio and not on the right side, as we have got it here. However, the most exigent ones may speedy solve the problem, removing, making thinner and re-emplacing the antenna in the correct position, hard plastic reiterating its advantages. The equipment of the radio operator is completed by canteen, bayonet and binoculars holster. On his head he wears M43 cap and over it the sculptor added the speakers of the radio. No cable connecting the radio with the speakers is provided, but this can be either painted or scratch built, an analogous operation being necessary for reproducing the microphone. In the left hand this crouched pose was endowed with a 7 X 50 power binoculars while with the right one presses the speakers, probably in an attempt to better hear the broadcasted message. Doubtless, the right hand should have looked better delivered as separate part, like for the figure with Kar98K because there is not any gap between the arm and forearm, the mould showing a limit in this case. As it was previously stated, the Imex Germans set puts forward two of the main infantry weapons in fighting against enemy armour, the Panzershreck and Panzerfaust. The models that we can enjoy here are RPzB54, the late version of Panzershreck that has a shield attached for granting improved protection for the gunner and the Panzerfaust 60 m. Both weapons entered in service in 1944 and all figures of the set using them have ankle boots and gaiters, foot wear becoming available for troops since 1943. The RpzB54 had a crew of two, and Imex offers the complete team, a prone gunner and a crouched loader. They wear M43 caps and the gunner has only a pistol holster while his assistant possess the standard back kit as well as ammunition pouches for Kar98K and a M39 egg grenade. Of course, the gunner is in a familiar pose, preparing to fire off the weapon while the loader is quite exciting, covering his ears with the palms in a similar position like that encountered at two figures from Pegasus Hobbies' "German Mortar Teams". The way of holding the Panzershreck indicates the gunner is under preparation and not firing it off, because if he does it, then the blast will burn his back and legs. At first impression the gunner is too lightly kitted, but there are a lot of images portraying real soldiers similarly equipped, having on them only the pistol. It should be also mentioned that the gunner requires assembly, being provided in halves. The pieces do not impressively match, remaining a small gap that must be filled with putty, clear glue or even more paint may provide adequate results. Likewise, the barrel of the weapon is quite bended, a mistake difficult to correct. For a better look of the weapon, recommendable is to make a hole in the shield aiming to reproduce the visor, as well as drilling holes in the front and end of the barrel, in fact necessary details that can be added pretty fast. The other figure making use of an antitank weapon is the crouched soldier firing off a Panzerfaust and according to its warhead it may be assessed as Panzerfaust 60 m. Though at the first view the way of holding the weapon was criticised on different media, it should be emphasised that the pose, including the positions of the palms on the weapon, exactly reproduce probably the most famous colour reference photo of a real soldier firing off this weapon. Diverging from the image, our figure has got ankle boots and gaiters while the original one had marching boots, proving once again the idea of German troopers dressed in the Early style and using Late War weapons. Furthermore, the pose received standard equipment and even if he does not have any personal weapon on him, the Kar98K ammunition pouches attest that probably he dropped down the rifle in order to fire the Panzerfaust. Benefiting by three grenade throwers, the present set is in a leading position comparing with other sets in the field. One of them, standing, is right in the moment of priming the grenade, soldiers doing the same thing being encountered in Revell's "Africa Corps" and "German Armoured Infantry", Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS Set 2" and Casear's "WWII German Panzergrenadiers set 3" (Parade Series). Except the gas mask container he has as well another one, problably the primary intention of the sculptor was to add to him a weapon, but lately it was given up the idea. However, a figure pretty close to this one, even if it does not do the same thing is enclosed in Pegasus Hobbies' "German Mortar Teams". We also get here a prone grenade thrower wearing goggles and in a common pose that emerges quite twisted, but still realistic. The last pose of a soldier holding a grenade is definitely one of the most interesting ever seen, practically reproducing a soldier that was just hit by an enemy bullet. The pose is dramatically convincing, the move being enhanced by the positions of arms and head which is pushed back by the shock produced by the bullet. Some could be disappointed that the trooper holds a grenade in the right hand, but this is pretty normal, in many cases a soldier throwing a grenade being more exposed to enemy fire. Likewise, StiHg-r 24s was intensively used and a soldier could be hit by a bullet before succeeding to throw the grenade, a situation that could emerge pretty often. Moreover, there are several touching photos portraying exactly this case, of a soldier during attack and holding a grenade, which was just hit before getting rid of the deadly weapon from his hand. Close to him there are several comrades and if the grenade was primed, and most surely it was, their faith would have been tragic. Almost certainly such an image our figure try to reproduce, our soldier, except the grenade in the right hand holding in the left a MP40 with shoulder stock opened and at the belt he had stuck other two StiHg-r 24 grenades. That was the most common place used by Germans combatants for keeping the StiHg-r 24 grenades, but the enemy fire does not give him any chance to use them. For those that do not want a pose of a casualty holding a grenade, they have at hand an easy solution, simply removing the grenade from the hand or replacing the entire palm with one from other manufacturer of hard plastic figures.  Nevertheless, it should be highly appreciated the courage of the company for doing such a spectacular pose. A strong point of the set is that it brings to customers not a single casualty, but two. Except the hit grenade thrower, we also get a laying figure, a soldier that was earlier hit. He was sculptured in a very natural position, with the helmet moved to the left side probably after reaching the ground. An out of the ordinary approach is that he has next to him the MP40 with shoulder stock opened and its gear, including the gas mask container strap hung as these should at such a pose. For a better appearance of the pose, the ammo pouches were omitted, but these could not have been seen, the figure lying with the face to the ground. The last described soldier is a multi-functional one. Perhaps the primary intention is to reproduce a prisoner, taking into consideration not only the position of his arms, but also the lack of equipment, belt and even a head cover. Nevertheless, many customers do not have what to do with such a pose, but the soldier is suitable to play other roles, too, artillery gunner, maintenance or an infantryman at rest representing just few suggestions.

The endeavour of the manufacturer to produce a striking set is immediately perceived on account of great variety of poses gear and weapons. In addition, the effort continued as well in relation with flash and excess of plastic, first being kept at reasonable levels, easy to remove, while excess of plastic is hardly encountered. Furthermore, uniforms are accurately done and include small details like shoulder and collar boards, authentic creases or buttons. In addition, tiny niceties are discovered all over the set, representative being hobnails in the soles of some boots and remarkable pouches on the chest, to those sculptor adding the two small snaps and more important, the two pull-tabs often featured by the items in case. At their turn, weapons and gear are authentically depicted, with distinctive elements and in scale. Gorgeous reproduced and attractive are both the M39 egg grenades and the C96 Mauser pistol. The anatomy is also great, with in scale heads, clearly distinguished fingers, proper facial expressions and bodies matching the dimension of figures applied by other manufacturers. Not only the size of bodies, but also the one of weapons and gear as well as the type of uniform, confer a perfect match of our troopers with the fighters from Hasegawa's "German Attack Group" as well as Esci "German Soldiers"/Italeri "German Infantry", Revell "German Armoured Infantry", Atlantic "German Infantry", Airfix "German Infantry" and the large majority of Preiser sets related to WWII Germans. In addition, the Imex army-men are ideal to be mixed with those from Pegasus Hobbies' "German Mortar Teams", a set from where the here reviewed one has got some reliable sources of inspiration. With the exception of prone soldiers, all the rest were cast with bases, for the great satisfaction of those yearning after such objects. On the other side, the modellers who have nothing to do with bases can painless remove them thanks to the hard plastic, while extremely important, the mould did not affect the boots of the soldiers when adding the standing device. The material accepts enamel very good and does not add any negative influence to the initial properties of the paint. Another quality of it is conferring the adequate base for the enamel, making it capable to resist at intense handling.   

Long period awaited, the Imex "German Troops" has brought into attention not only original and fascinating poses, but also several intensively used weapons, appeared for the first time in the scale on this occasion. The contribution brought to the development of the WWII Germans dressed in M36 tunics is enhanced by uncommon and complex gear as well as by Feld Fu radio, that were several other gaps in the 1/72 mass production sets filled by Imex's interpretation over the German soldiers. On the other hand, even through it provides only fifteen poses and despite several common elements with Pegasus Hobbies ones, the figures here analysed cover plenty of topics. The small details encountered all over these warriors confer a particular charm, increasing the value of the adequate selection of poses. Greatly welcome has to be also received the decision of manufacturing the troopers in hard plastic and in size with other tenders, in this way the producer opening the gates to numerous conversions and customisation. Balancing out qualities and imperfections it might be stressed that "German Troops" by Imex is one of the best, or even the best ever manufactured set related to 1/72 WWII Germans dressed in M36 tunics. Most likely, quite soon it will lose this honourable position in the favour of a set coming from Pegasus Hobbies, "German Army Infantry 1939", whose figures encountered several problems and ended in the 1/76 scale, but their producer's intention is to release them in the 1/72 too. Moreover, the first test shots attest both the 1/72 size and the perfect match with Imex's soldiers, so after a little while all collectors, diorama builders and wargamers will enjoy a large number of high quality figures suitable for both Early and Late stages of WWII.  

 

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