In 1939 Germany was a world leader in the use of tanks in battle. Thanks to such men as Heinz Guderian the blitzkrieg years saw much success for Germany's armoured forces, and the men that crewed those vehicles became an elite and proud body. With so many kits of German AFVs in existence, it is surprising that this is the first full set of 1/72 plastic Panzertruppen made.
The above pictures show 20 figures in various poses, but in truth this is a set made up predominantly of parts which allow all manner of different poses to be made. Some of the above are suggestions made on the packaging, and some are inventions of ourselves, but all were made from the parts in one set, and at least give an idea of the parts on offer. A look at the full sprue shows just how many arms, legs, bodies and heads are on offer. In fact the limiting factor in this set is the legs, of which there are 20 pairs plus one extra. In making the above figures we were left with several alternative bodies, arms and quite an array of extra heads - not to mention extra helmets and items of kit, so there is a lot of choice on offer.
The set offers a variety of clothing as well as poses. Most wear the double-breasted short jacket that was standard issue to panzer crews from 1934, though none seem to be the lightweight summer version with external pocket. Two men wear boiler suits, used when messy work such as maintenance was carried out. Headgear on offer includes berets (only seen in the early months of the war), field caps, the peaked ski cap Einheitsfeldmutze and the steel helmet. Many of the heads also wear headsets. Personal equipment is limited to a pistol, but both uniform and kit is correctly done.
We found the various parts were generally easy to mix and match and everything went together pretty well. While some may wish to fill small gaps or file some areas, for most this is quite unnecessary. The parts are excellently detailed and there is absolutely no flash. Being made in a hard plastic these figures take glue very well, and only require to be trimmed off the sprue. Even the instructions on suggested poses, which are printed on the inside of the box, are clear and easy to follow. The range of limbs - particularly legs - is very good, and allows some very interesting poses that could be used for crew sitting on or working around their vehicle.
So we have a very accurate set of figures that have been very well sculpted and offer an almost limitless range of possible poses and uses. A converters dream, this is surely about as good a selection of tank crewmen as you could reasonably hope for, and the time taken to assemble them is itself a pleasure rather than a chore. An elite set for an elite unit.