Master Box Limited of the Ukraine has brought us another fine figure set, this time depicting the early armored infantry -- the Panzergrenadier --in 1/35 scale. MBLtd., as a model manufacturing company have steadily produced interesting and unique figure sets. While others have covered this subject matter, it is new to Master Box.
The box, and what’s inside
Coming to the modeler in a medium-weight, open-end-style cardboard box, the front cover box art depicts the four figures in a battle scene while the rear of the box includes numbered assembly diagrams. Box art is very colorful and clear, but unfortunately this set does not include a suggested paint scheme for the figures (as with some of MBLtd’s early kits) but if the modeler is willing to do a little research of the uniform of the time, matching the colors accurately really is not much of a problem.
Inside the box you will find one sprue of plastic kit parts sealed in a plastic bag to prevent loss along with a small baggie containing a decal sheet for insignias. Fifty-three parts make up the four-figure set that is complete with equipment and firearms. The sprue in my kit was super clean, very clearly and crisply molded, with no flash at all apparent even on the smallest parts. The medium gray plastic is molded with nice lines, poses, and expressions…so far a positive looking set.
The kit represents a time frame between 1939-1942, which seems to be accurate judging from the figures uniform design, color, and equipment represented. Clearly by looking at the box art, and actual uniforms on the figures the builder is given three enlisted men and one officer.
A closer look
Figure #1, the commanding officer, is molded in a walking position -- as are the other three. His facial expression has an open mouth, apparently barking out orders to his squad. This figure is wearing the early M1935 field gray service tunic with four patch pockets, box pleats, and three point flaps on each. There are five buttons down the front and one on each side of the collar for attaching shoulder straps. This tunic had a dark green stand and fall type collar with a patch of dark green cloth on each side of the collar bearing double litzen (the traditional Prussian “collar bars”, or “Guards Braid”) in light gray cloth with a dark gray line down the center of each. The appearance of the German soldier in 1939 represented the final stage of evolution of the field gray uniform that first appeared in 1907. Although this design was new, the cut wasn’t much different than the earlier models, and always, was meant to be both smart looking and functional.
Above the right breast pocket is sewn the national emblem, a straight winged eagle with a wreathed swastika in it’s talons, woven in white on a dark green back background, slightly larger than the emblem. Shoulder straps, worn by all ranks, were also made of a dark green cloth with the sides and rounded ends piped in Waffenfarbe, or branch service color. From the look of the shoulder straps on the box art of this kit, these soldiers Waffenfarbe is white, which signifies the Infantry Branch.
This figure also sports the stone gray flared riding breeches, often worn by officers, tucked into the high black leather riding boots. Around his waist is the M1934 officers belt, worn with Y-style support straps, securing his sidearm holster, and map case to the front, all in reddish-brown leather (which later was ordered to be stained black to make the officers less conspicuous). One set of beige canvas MP40 magazine pouches finishes this figures equipment list, besides the MP40 machine gun that he carries, finger on the trigger.
Figures # 2, 3, and 4, are all dressed in the standard field uniform, which is the M1935 field tunic with straight legged stone gray (later changed to field gray) trousers, and leather marching boots. All three figures also wear the broad black leather belt with dull white metal buckle and M1939 black leather Y-support straps. All figures are wearing the standard M1935 Stahlhelm (or steel helmet) of the familiar “coal scuttle” shape with chinstraps.
Additional equipment provided for these men are M1909 ammo pouches, folding field shovels, gas mask canisters, bread bags and M1931 canteens. Two men carry the standard Karabiner 98 rifles, while the third carries the formidable IMG 34 with bipod.
Some assembly required
I put one of the figures together to test for fit, and honestly speaking, the entire figures went together easily and cleanly. I chose the officer figure to assemble for the review, as his body position is the most challenging for the molding process, and most likely would have the common fit problems. But as stated, there were none at all. Pieces separated cleanly and easily from the sprue and all in all it was a very enjoyable assembly process. Check out the pictures to see more details.
Really the only downfall that I came across with this new figure set from Master Box Limited, Ukraine, is that the subject matter has been done before. But with the unique poses of this set, I’m sure that they would make a great looking addition to an early war diorama or vignette. Clean, crisp molds with nice lines and minimal cleanup make this a definite recommendation from this modelers point of view.
The overall quality and look of figures from Master Box Limited seems to increase with each of their new figure set releases. I gave this set an overall high score of 9, in comparison to like sets of figures from other manufacturers, in the same average price range (1/35 scale, injection molded plastic).
Many thanks to Mr. Alex Surzhenko, Director of Master Box Limited, Ukraine, for providing this review sample.
While it’s a subject that’s been done a number of times before, clean, crisp molds with nice lines and minimal cleanup make this a nice set of plastic figures representing early war Germans.
About Mark R. Smith (Gunny) FROM: PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...