by: Jim Rae [ ]
Introduction - about this preview The last few months have seen a series of reviews of the new releases from the Ukrainian manufacturer, Masterbox Ltd.. What has been notable has been several areas - firstly, the substantial increase in the quality of their range and secondly, the incredibly imaginative approach they are taking with their new products.
The Kitmaker Network has been very fortunate in not only getting samples of all the new products from the company, but, in cases like this, ADVANCE samples.
Now, as this is NOT a 'production sample' of 'Checkpoint', it wouldn't be entirely fair to review it in the conventional manner, rather, i'll try to give my impressions of it and with the aid of the images of the parts give the Site-User an idea of what to expect when it reaches the shelves....
The kit 3527 - Checkpoint consists (unusually enough for Masterbox)) of two largish sprues in dark-grey plastic. The set contains six figures, two German Shepherd dogs, a sentry box and a a pole-barrier. Breaking it down even furher, there are three (greatcoated) German Military Police - Officer and two soldiers and three civilians (man, woman and small girl) .
The PRODUCTION version will differ in that a 'Hedgehog' A/T barrier will also be included in the set.
Impressions As mentioned earlier, I don't want to go into a detailed account of the set, but rather talk in general terms about the (first) impressions of the set.I'll do this by looking at each element in turn:
German Military Police
Bearing in mind that German sets outnumber Allied ones around 500 to 1, it's a little surprising that the German greatcoat has not figured too much in manufacturers' products. The three figures provided in this set are greatcoated and come with some very finely-sculpted detail for the MP 'Gorgets'.
Three civilian figures are provided (first in styrene?) and initial impressions are very good . Nice additional details like the suitcase and the woman clutching her handbag along with good details on clothing and faces.
Two German Shepherds (Alsatians) are provided which, will doubtless be another selling point for this set. Proprtions and anatomy look good and the fur is nicely textured.
Barrier and Sentry-Box.
Beginning with the latter, this is a simple, six-piece construction. As most of these were of wood, the sculptor has given it a good, 'wood-texture'. The Road-Barrier comes very well-designed with weights and all the usual fulcrum parts. Once again, real thought has gone into the design of a surprisingly complex construction.
Conclusions Initial impressions are very favorable indeed, with every indication that a LOT of thought has gone into this set. The possibilities are also considerable and diorama builders will inevitable buy several sets to include various elements. The most useful part will undoubtedly be the civilians - a lot of modelers will buy this set simply for the fact of getting good, inexpensive civilians along with some other useful elements. It's a very ambitious set from Masterbox and shows that they really are a force to be reckoned with. It'd also be remiss not to mention the impressive artwork - it, like the sets themselves, seems to be getting better all the time.
Once again, my thanks to Masterbox Ltd. for giving the Site-Users of Kitmaker Network the opportunity (once again) to see their products long-before they become available...