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Built Review
135
German Tank Crew
German Tank Crew 1943-1945
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by: Karel K. [ FUSSBALL ]

introduction

Zvezdaís older figure set releases havenít been the best ones on the market. The details on them have been soft and crude. Fortunately, the quality of their newer sets has become a lot better. This recent release from Zvezda depicts a five man crew for a German tank during the era of 1943-1945.

Contents

The set comes packaged in the usual Zvezda cardboard box with a very nice box-art showing five crewmen apparently from a Tiger I, a picture of the finished figures on the back and colour codes for Model Master and Zvezda paints on the side.

The box includes one sprue of parts containing 44 pieces in light grey styrene, and an instruction sheet. The parts are nicely molded with good details, but have some light flash and mold-lines on almost all the parts. The parts on the sprue are not numbered.

The instructions are basic, with five steps showing the assembly of every figure. Fortunately, here we have a picture of the sprue with numbered parts for easier assembly. The instructions also give you a painting guide for three figures, but not for the two other ones.

the figures

As I mentioned earlier, the box-art depicts five crewmen in different poses while on a break from action. Sadly, when you open the box, not all the figures are in the same pose as shown on the box-art. For the review, I built the figures straight from the box to show how they really look. I did not glue on the heads and personal gear for easier painting in the future. The faces in this set are a big improvement from the older Zvezda figure sets, with sharp features. The only downside with the heads are the awkward ears they all have.

Figure 1:
The first figure, holding binoculars, consists of 10 parts if you include the headphones and pistol holster that are shown as optional in the instructions. The figureís legs, arms and torso all have mould-lines that have to be removed. When the two legs are glued together, a gap will be present that will require some filler. Also getting the arms in the right position for holding the binoculars is a bit tricky. As you can see from the photo, I did not do the greatest job on it, so I was left with a gap between the torso and right arm. Other than those items mentioned, the figure has a nice impression of cloth folds and details.

Figure 2:
The second figure, buttoning his sleeve, consists of 8 parts with an optional pistol holster. After gluing this figure together some filling is needed where the parts join. The detailing on this figure is good, but it also has mould-lines on all the parts. This is the one figure whose pose doesnít even remotely resemble any of the figures shown on the box-art. The figures hands are a bit poorly moulded, with the left hand having no recognizable thumb.

Figure 3:
The third figure, holding a map case, consists of 10 parts with optional headphones and pistol holster. Some filling is also needed on this figure. The hand on the right arm resting on the hip looks slightly weird as the fingers look to be bent outwards in an unnatural way. The cloth folds on it look natural, but it also has mould-lines on all the parts.

Figure 4:
The fourth figure, lighting his pipe, consists of 8 parts. He has a MP40 hanging on his back. The details on him are a bit soft but nothing serious except for the hands, which are a bit blob-like. As with all the other figures, it also has mould-lines on all the parts. Some filling between the torso and legs is also needed.

Figure 5:
The last figure, kneeling and pointing with a stick, consists of 8 parts. As already usual with these figures, all the parts have mould-lines to be cleaned away and some gaps to be filled. Out of the five figures in this set this pose is, for me, the most interesting.

Conclusion

Iím a bit let down by the fact that not all the figure poses match the ones shown on the box-art. With a bit of work (cleaning the mould lines and filling the gaps) and some good figure painting, you could get a nice set of tank crew to stand beside your model. Recommended.
SUMMARY
Highs: Good poses. Nice figures to go along with a tank on a diorama.
Lows: Not all the poses match the ones on the box-art. Mould lines to be cleaned on all the parts and gaps to be filled.
Verdict: Some work on these figures is needed, but in the end they should look pretty good. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3614
  Suggested Retail: $11.00 MSRP
  PUBLISHED: Jun 14, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 78.20%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.86%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Karel K. (fussball)
FROM: HARJU, ESTONIA

Copyright ©2019 text by Karel K. [ FUSSBALL ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Judging from the anemic response I'd say Zvezda fell short on this one. As you say, the poses don't match up to the artwork, which is a pet peeve of mine. Also this is familiar ground more adeptly covered by other manufacturers. Although Zvezda's figure quality is getting better, they aren't yet as good as MiniArt, MasterBox or DML. If they had released a more imiganitive set, I am sure people would overlook the quality issue and buy them. This set, though is just another bunch of tankers standing around. An excellent review though, hopefully Zvezda will be a little more daring next time around. They could still be useful, but many will pass on this, I think.
JUN 15, 2010 - 10:46 AM
Two problems I see here: Masterbox is KILLING everyone with its figure sets. Zvezda has relatively poor distribution, at least in the States. So if I was tempted to buy this set, I would have to hunt around to find it (please, no messages with your favorite Internet retailer who happens to have Zvezda). So unless I want to pay for shipping, it's harder to bundle it up with other purchases. But the review is excellent, Karel!
JUN 16, 2010 - 05:47 AM
Hi Thanks for the review. I love the box art on this kit and was hoping the inside would match the excitement created by the outside. Sadly it appears not so. Although I do think the figures have a Miniart look about them. Maybe done by the same sculptor. The production methods may not be up to the same level, with all the mould lines, flash etc to clean up but I reckon its either the same sculptor or a fan of his style, especially the faces, these look very Miniart of a couple of years ago in my opinion. Alan
JUL 08, 2010 - 03:41 AM
Hmm shame the figures arent as good as the epic box artwork. Zvezda still seem really hit and miss, their modern Russian tank crew I reviewed was a very good set. I still refuse to buy into some of the masterbox hype though, their sets are imaginative no doubt, but I find the quality is still lacking and I would say far off these guys. Masterbox figures have terrible heads, tons of flash and incredibly dodgy fit. The only company in my opinion that used to be crap but has really improved is mini art.
JUL 08, 2010 - 12:29 PM
Totally agree Rob, I don't get the love of Masterbox - I have a few of their sets and feel early dragon (albeit a bit on the large side) are still streets ahead of anyhting from the masterbox camp. I much prefer dragon and minart for figures. The masterbox poses are great and the boxtops look inviting, but I always feel let down when i see the plastic - everything seems a bit 2 dimensional(if that makes any sense!) with them. Back to topic: Zvezda do seem a bit hit and miss and I for one wont be rushing out for this set. John
JUL 09, 2010 - 06:12 AM
   

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