Austrian model railroad giant Roco released set Z-302 US Infantry Group 2 as part of their expansive HO (1/87) Minitanks series. Later Minitanks are known for detailing, scale and precision in the model world. Modeling subjects from WWII through the Cold War, the small inexpensive models were even used by militaries for sand table planning and scenarios; they became favorites of wargamers. While simple and toy-like early, Minitanks increased in quality and detail, many now comparing favorably to 1/72 and 1/76 offerings.
Roco's early series of Minitanks are considered those numbered Z-97 through Z-300. There were some with earlier numbers but these were mainly non-Minitank (civilian and construction) models. Around the 300-series, Roco began improving the detail and quality of molding, plus adding more separate parts and detail sets.
Z-302 US Infantry Group 2
Roco packed this set in a plastic bag secured shut with their orange and blue card label. Sixteen injection molded styrene figures in eight different poses are in the set. They are strikingly similar to the 1/35 Tamiya set 35048 US Infantry European Theater. Roco released at least three other miniaturized Tamiya doppelgangers: Z-301 British Gun Crew (similar to Kit No. 35005, British 6-Pounder Anti-tank Gun); Z-310S Afrika Korps Infantry (combination of both 35008 German Afrika Korps and 35010 German Army Officers).
Quality of the pieces is typical of the late 1970s with some flash and seam lines. The seams would be minor but on such a small scale they will need cleaning. There are no sinks but ejector marks are pronounced. Several are indentions which should be easy to hide under paint or filler, but there are a few that are low tabs jutting out from backpacks.
Otherwise, detail is good. Scale thickness is unimpressive but better, I believe, than contemporary 1/72 -1/76 figures although, if I recall, most figure sets of that time were soft plastic (Fujimi and Hasegawa not withstanding). The upright figure is 13/16th-inch high, which is 5'8" tall in HO.
Several of the figures are spraying lead in combat. Others are shambling along. Like the Tamiya set, they are in a mix of uniforms. Unlike the Tamiya set, the squatting recoiling BAR gunner is blasting away with a M1928A1 45-caliber Thompson submachine gun; one soldier carries an M1918 BAR and M1 Garands and M1 carbines round out the weapons.
Roco molded these figures with one or both arms separate.
These are adequate HO scale WWII American troops. Eight make a reduced WWII squad and two of each afford one the potential of modifying them. They have good detail but will need cleaning up.
Minitank modelers should have a set or two of these in their collection.
Minitanks is known for detailing, scale and precision in the model building world ever since introduction in the early 1960s. Roco was forced into reorganization in the mid-2000s, and the Minitanks series is now distributed by Herpa. Yet, for brand recognition, I refer to the series simply as Minitanks. Herpa's website states,”On October 1, 2007, Herpa has taken on the worldwide distribution of the military series Minitanks. In cooperation with the Modelleisenbahn GmbH (Roco), the line will be continuously advanced and extended.”
Highs: Good detail for the scale and separate body parts. Dynamic combat poses.Lows: Flash, seam lines, and ejection / expansion marks.Verdict: These are adequate HO scale WWII American troops.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...