by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Master Box from Ukraine has done it once more.
They have made a habit lately of releasing some very well done figures in some superbly animated poses. This set, “Cold Wind,” German Infantry from the hellish winter of 1941-42 on the Eastern Front, continues in that same vein— you can almost hear the wind whipping up the snow with this one.
The box is the typical end-opening style that seems to be favored by Master Box for their kits. The artwork on the front is nothing short of fantastic. I’m going to guess that Andrey Karaschuk, the box cover artist, is going to sell a lot of kits. The box art, as can be seen at the right, shows a group of four well-bundled soldiers wearily trudging through the snowy landscape while the fifth figure, presumably an NCO, is looking back urging the group forward. It is one of the better box art offerings you will ever see.
Besides the exceptional box art you do get some styrene plastic as well! Two sprues of flash-free yellow-tan plastic with 108 parts to assemble the five figures will be awaiting you inside.
The plastic is a bit on the soft side, but not so soft that it is any real issue. There are no decals, nor any assembly/painting instructions inside. The instructions, such as they are, are on the back of the box, however no painting guide is included, though I don’t think that is going to be much of a problem for any of us that might be reading this. The parts are not numbered on the sprue: in order to determine which is which, you will need to refer to the back of the box for the parts schematic which does have the numbering indicated.
All five of the figures are wearing the German M1940 wool greatcoat, as well as the marching boot (jackboots). Two of the figures wear the soft “campaign” cap, while the other three wear nicely-done helmets. Two of the figures wear a snow smock of some local-type manufacture, which looks a bit like the smocks made from sheets. One of the smock-clad figures carries either an MG-34or MG-42, you get both in the box, whilst the other smocked Landser is saddled with the task of humping the MG ammunition in a fore and aft harness. The machine gunner also has the M1934 gunner’s tool kit on his belt, besides the normal “kit” that all figures carry: namely the bread bag, entrenching tool, and water bottle cup combination.
Okay, the NCO doesn’t carry an entrenching tool; you didn’t really expect him to did you?
While the equipment is decently-done it does not quite have the fidelity that more recent Gen2 equipment from Dragon does, so you might want to replace it if you have some extras in the spares box.
The three privates are all armed with a Mauser Kar98, while the NCO carries an MP40 sub-machine gun, although he is not equipped with any of the attendant ammo pouches. While each of these weapons is adequately detailed, again if you have some Gen2 weaponry, you might want to use it instead. The NCO is also armed with a P38 holster (presumably with a pistol inside, but I didn’t actually look inside!), and also carries a map case for a future standing around and pointing session that the German army was so fond of .
The animation of the figures is very good; each of the lower half of the great coats is made up of four separate pieces, allowing some excellent movement. I assembled two of the figures which you can see here at the right. The NCO will probably be the focal point for any grouping of these figures, so I had to put him together. His focus on the cover seems to be the two soldiers at the rear of the small formation, recalling my own Army career. I would probably have been the last soldier, so I had to assemble him as well!
Both figures went together easily with the normal torso, pair of legs, and separate arms. The great coat lower half pieces matched up well, and only needed a bit of putty or filler to complete them. I turned the NCO’s head a bit more than designed. The box art shows his head turned to where he is looking almost over his shoulder, but the figure out of the box has his head with more of a forward orientation. I liked the over-the-shoulder look much better, so turned it quite a bit and added the scarf from Magic-Sculp in order to both hide the now rough fit between the head and shoulders and to add a bit more animation to the figure.
The other figure I assembled straight out of the box, so you could get a look at what these figures are like without anything added or taken away. Both of these posed absolutely no problems in any part of the assembly process.
These are really nice figures, I can’t say enough about them. I love the poses; these guys look like they have just about reached the limits of their endurance, and the “cold wind” is only making matters worse for them. The equipment has not yet caught up with the dynamic animation that MB is becoming known for, but it is easily serviceable. Also I wish that MB would include a small PE fret for gun slings in the future. However, even with those minor drawbacks, the action depicted in this set is simply too good to be ignored. I am sure we will be seeing these fellows in a goodly number of dioramas in the very near future; as for me, I think I am going to try a small base with some micro-balloons and then go from there!