by: Tim Reynaga [ ]
Model Cellar is well-known for military figurines and WWI model kits, as well as WWI figures from a variety of other manufacturers. They do indeed make some very nice World War One figuresĖ some of the best around, in fact. They make other figures, too, among them a set of World War Two German tank crew and riders in 1/25th scale. I came across them at a model show recently, and was delighted to find some inspiration to bring my stalled Tamiya 1/25 scale Jagdpanther project back to life.
1/25th scale is for armor models a bit like 1/32: it had a great start in the 1970s, but has since been almost completely overshadowed by the far more-popular 1/35. Thatís too bad, since many of us like the larger size, and there are still some pretty cool vehicles out there in 1/25. Unfortunately, other than the rather stiff ones that come with a few of the older kits, there are almost no 1/25th scale figure choices. So any additional figures in this scale are most welcome!
The entire group comes in item #MC25FS1 WWII German Tank Riders in Winter Uniforms, or can be purchased individually:
MC25001 German Tank Rider Seated on Panther Mantlet
MC25002 German Tank Rider Seated on Turret Top
MC25003 German Tank Rider Standing with Machine Gun
MC25004 German Tank Rider Standing Pointing in Field Cap
MC25005 Panther Tank Commander (half figure for Academy Panther kit)
The set consists of four 1/25 scale tank riders and one half-figure tank commander. The figures are cast in tan resin with separate heads, arms, legs, feet, and gear. A piece of foil sheet is provided from which to cut weapon straps. The figures are all dressed in standard issue Wehrmacht reversible snowsuits with heavy gloves, and the full figures wear Parzergrenadier assault harnesses and standard web gear, including canteens, mess kits, gas masks, and extra ammunition.
Two of them are armed with Karabiner 98k Mauser rifles, and two with Schmeisser MP40 sub-machine guns. The tank commander half figure holds binoculars. Little insignia is visible, so the figures can readily be used to depict either Wehrmacht or SS troops. The tank commander wears the peaked cap with what appears to be SS insignia, but this could be easily altered to Army. He also wears the Iron Cross at his throat.
The figures add a human dimension to the tank: apparently during a lull in the action, four Panzergrenadiers perch on the vehicle. The tank commander leans back with one ear of the headphones up to hear an excited report from the Grenadier in the field cap, who is pointing and shouting above the roar of the idling engine. A second, helmeted, soldier stands grimly beside, listening. Two others, looking decidedly tired, sit on the tank close by. The whole creates a scene which, while subdued, is full of implied tension.
I think the figures look great, but the sculpting is a little different than the 1/35 scale precision weíve become used to from the likes of Dragon, MiniArt, Tank, Hornet, Alpine, and many others. Although larger in 1/25 scale, these figures are sculpted in a somewhat impressionistic style, with more emphasis on pose and feeling than on smoothness of detail (think Auguste Rodin vs. Michelangelo). It is a style which works very well, I think, with the Old School 1970s 1/25 scale Bandai, Tamiya (or Academy clone) armor with their relatively less-precise design. It doesn't compare as well to the the more recent 1/35 scale super-kits.
The multi-part figures require more assembly than with most aftermarket resin ones, but things fit well and they go together quickly. The figures are designed specifically to go with the Academy 1/25 scale Panther, and are customized to that kit, but they can also be used elsewhere without major modification. In my case, the multi-part construction proved useful, as I needed to make some minor adjustments to fit them to my Jagdpanther kit. The most substantial change was to the tank rider figure intended to be seated on the Panther mantlet: his backside was reshaped with Milliput putty to enable him to sit on the engine deck instead (when I test fit him on the mantlet of my Panther, he fit there perfectly right out of the box). In the end, assembly proved straightforward and the figures fit naturally on the Jagdpanther as if they had been designed for it.
Beautifully sculpted in candid poses, Model Cellarís 1/25 scale German tank riders are a great way to enliven your large scale Panzers. Designed for the Panther, they can easily be adapted to other late war German armor as well. Kudos to Model Cellar for bringing these most welcome additions in the largely neglected realm of 1/25 scale armor!
I also want to add a note about Model Cellarís outstanding customer service. The one glitch I had during construction was when I managed to mangle the head of one of the figures. When I e-mailed Model Cellar about buying a replacement head, they immediately sent me not only the head but an entirely new figure Ė free of charge. Well done Model Cellar, and thanks again!