You are here: Home Miscellaneous Various Related Reviews 1/72 Matchbox Allies Converted into WWII Germans

1/72 Matchbox Allies Converted into WWII Germans

While WWII German Army emerges as the best sold topic in the 1/72 hobby, figure sets on the matter seem to be the most numerous and comprehensive, covering a multitude of units, weapons, and attire. Nevertheless, in spite the abundant offer, for many modellers these are not enough or unable to fulfil all their needs or desires. For this reason, conversions represent an in-vogue and proper solution for solving the problems, plenty of manufacturers providing minis extremely suitable for this operation, especially those made of hard-plastic and multi-part. On the other hand, bearing in mind the huge diversity of WWII German clothes as well as the close appearance in Braille Scale of some of those to foe’s ones, several figures available in tenders on subjects other than WWII Germans might set out as sources for enriching the number of related minis.

Of course, if it is about civilians, combatant or not, those are easier to find, harder is to get uniformed people enrolled in army units. Perhaps the most convenient choice in the field puts forward sets targeting Allies army-men dressed in working clothes while these can be effortlessly turned into Luftwaffe, Wehrmacht of Kriegsmarine mechanics, or U-Boot and Panzer crewmen. Over 20 models of working garments have been officially worn by German soldiers, many of them similar with those worn by their opponents.

A couple of figures, fitted, even without any conversion, for being painted as 1/72 WWII Germans in working overalls are encountered in two Matchbox 1/76 vehicle kits, respectively “M19 Tank transporter 45 tons” and “LRGD 30cwt Chevrolet and Willy’s Jeep”. These two figures clearly belong to the 1/72 scale and not the labelled 1/76, in fact it is a well-known fact that many hard plastic toy-soldiers included in 1/76 Matchbox kits were over-scaled and totally inappropriate for the vehicles correctly issued, looking like giants next to true 1/76 miniatures.

The single army-man from “M19 Tank transporter 45 tons” and one of the four figures from “LRGD 30cwt Chevrolet and Willy’s Jeep” wear attire exceedingly suitable for being depicted as WWII German working overalls. In addition, on the heads they have got overseas caps that can easily pass as M34 German overseas caps and also their shoes or ankle boots do not differ to the WWII German ones, particularly in such a small scale. Bearing in mind their appearance, they can be straightly painted as WWII Germans, with overalls in related colours and eagles and other emblems on their caps. However, taking profit the figs are of hard plastic and in order to emphasise their membership to WWII German Army, some items of equipment specific of that army might be effortlessly added. For instance, if they are going to portray Panzer crewmen, pistol holsters, binoculars, map cases are recommended, such items being made available in huge amounts on dedicated sprues by various Preiser, Dragon or Caesar figure sets. Obviously, replacing heads or arms might be a choice and in order to highlight they belong to WWII German army, heads with specific head-covers are suggested, the just mentioned manufacturers offering a multitude of choices in this regard. Anyway, the figures accompanying the present article are painted as Panzer crew-men and are out-of-the-box, except pistol holsters which were added in order to bring something German on them.

The trooper from the M19 tank transporter does not impress by sculpture or pose, also anatomy being quite odd, with thick arms and a big head. In standard approach he depicts an army-men getting in a vehicle and if well emplaced, he can do it quite convincing. On the other hand, the figure incorporated in LRGD 30cwt Chevrolet and Willy’s Jeep” is a valuable add to 1/72 WWII Germans, in a relaxed seated stance and looking in the distance through his binoculars held with the right hand. A nice touch is the scarf tied around the neck, not only Allies, but also German soldiers wearing such stuff. Both minis can be easily mounted in/on a wheeled vehicle or Panzer as well as on the deck of an U-Boot or Kriegsmarine vessel. Likewise, they might find a place on an airfield or elsewhere, their potential being high and adaptable to diverse scenarios.

These two figs belong to the medium/tall side of 1/72 scale, greatly matching in terms of size and attire with plenty of 1/72 WWII German mechanics or Panzer and Kriegsmarine soldiers released both by mass production and cottage industry representatives. In a period when the offer of WWII 1/72 Germans dressed in working overalls was really poor, these two ancient figs represented a major solution for modellers in need.  As being incorporated in two Matchbox legendary kits, the minis are well-known and spread in the scale, popular between middle-age hobbyists. Although not impressing, these toy-soldiers should be appreciated not only due to their sentimental value, but also because they are still pretty nice even after almost 40 years since creation.