by: Keith Middleton [ ]
With this offering, Dragon has brought to market a very interesting set of five figures of German soldiers gearing up to go into action in the early years of World War II. More specifically, the set includes three infantry and two AFV crew figures.
The set is packaged in the traditional side opening box. The cover art by Ukrainian artist Dmytro Zgonnik is very well done and it compares favorably to the work of Ron Volstad, which is so closely associated with Dragon figure sets. The back of the box has both the assembly instructions as well as the painting guide. Paint references are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints.
Upon opening the box, one finds four sprues wrapped in plastic. While it was not damaged, I discovered one figureís torso had broken off the sprue while in transit to my home. One sprue holds Figure E, the AFV crewman buckling his belt. The second sprue holds the parts for the remaining four figures. On both of these sprues, the detail on the parts is excellent, however, there is a small amount of flash on some parts. The faces on these figures are superb and without the complexity of the Generation 2 multiple parts.
There are also substantial sprue attachment points and mold seams. While Dragon did its best to run the mold seams in natural locations, they are so large that the modeler will have no choice but to remove them. Because both the attachment points and seams are so large and noticeable, they may prove troublesome to remove without damaging surrounding detail.
Next comes Sprue G, which contains various items of equipment including canteens, ammunition pouches, grenades, helmets, etc. There will be plenty of extras to go into the spares box. While nicely detailed, I found small amounts of flash on some of the parts.
Finally, Sprue W holds the weapons: three MP40 submachine guns and four KAR 98k rifles.
The set includes an assortment of figures, including both Wehrmacht and Waffen SS. This puzzles me as, in my opinion, it limits the ability to use the figures in the same scene.
Figure A is the infantryman putting on his tunic with his cartridge belt and Y-straps at his feet. This figure is a Wehrmacht soldier as he has the eagle emblem on his right breast. Despite this, on his website, Mr. Zgonnik identifies him as a member of the Der Fuhrer regiment of the Das Reich Division.
Figure B is the infantryman holding his cartridge belt and y-straps. The boxart shows this figure as wearing the M1935 tunic with the bluish green collars and the M1935 gray pants. Figure B is a Wehrmacht soldier as the eagle emblem is on his right breast.
Figure C is the infantryman ready to go, carrying an MP40. He is also wearing the M1935 tunic and the M1935 gray pants. However, unlike Figure B, this figure belongs to the Waffen SS. I reached this conclusion even though any distinctive badges have been removed from the cover art because, on the figure itself, he has the eagle emblem on his left sleeve and has the SS rune on his collar.
Figure D is an AFV crewman strapping on his helmet and carrying an MP40. Figure D wears the standard black tankerís uniform. On his website, Mr. Zgonnik identifies this figure as an SdKFZ 222 crewman from the reconnaissance battalion of the Das Reich Division. That version of the picture clearly shows the SS collar rune which is missing from the boxart version. However, the actual figure has the SS collar rune.
Figure E is the second AFV crewman who is buckling his belt. This figure is a member of the Wehrmacht as he wears the eagle emblem on his right breast.
For purposes of this review, I assembled Figures A and E. The assembly process took considerably longer than it took me to build the MasterBox figures I recently reviewed. This was due in large part to the need to remove flash, the mold seams, and the sprue attachment points.
The engineering for Figure A is well thought out as the tunic comes in three parts that go together quite well. There is a noticeable seam on the tunic but I think that is more the result of operator error as I was rushing through the assembly process for this review. Figure E also assembles well, although there are some small gaps that will need to be filled.
In terms of height, both figures measure out at just under two inches, which translates to about five feet eight inches. Also, in terms of height, as can be seen from the last photograph, the Dragon figures compare favorably to the size of the previously mentioned MasterBox figures, but they are dwarfed by a Tank figure.
While some may complain this is just another set of Germans, in my opinion, this set is a welcome addition to Dragonís line as they fill a gap: soldiers getting ready for imminent action. In addition, none are pointing! Yes, there were some unpleasant surprises in this set, flash, large mold seams, and thick sprue attachments, however, they build into nicely detailed figures for a very reasonable price.