by: Jim Rae [ ]
Introduction There is undoubtedly a place in the (plastic) figure market for the less 'active' figures. Many dioramists prefer these as sometimes 'in action' poses can look a touch forced. However, good as the recent crop of figures in 1/35th scale have been, there hasn't been a great deal of imagination paid to the poses of the figures. Technological advances have abounded. The current 'generation' of sculptors are superb - no debate whatsoever in that. However, perhaps those who commission the figures, haven't been paying as much attention to the demands of the consumer as they might have. Frequently, it gets said that the mould-makers DON'T like active poses as it makes their work unnecessarily complex, other times there is said to be more sense in producing a set which can be the basis for conversions - the more 'Generic' approach. Both arguments are obviously valid, but just what would happen if someone tried to do a series of highly-animated figures? Read on...
The Basics MAS 3522- WWII German Infantry in Action, 1941-1942 is scheduled for release by the Ukrainian manufacturer, Masterbox Ltd. in the next few weeks. The set consists of four, 1/35th scale styrene figures which are moulded in a light-grey plastic. The figures come on a single sprue inside a side-opening box which, is illustrated with some truly inspiring Box-Art.
In detail The four figures comprise three infantrymen and an officer. The uniforms of the figures are the usual early-war (M1937) tunic, trousers and jack-boots. With the constant evolution of German Infantry uniforms, they really are suitable only for the Early-War period.
As usual, with reviews of this type, i'll take an overview of the component areas:
The Heads: I'll say from the outset, that although the heads are adequate, they are not as good as those in the previously reviewed set. All the heads are provided with German steel helmet. With this set, I would counsel using some of the AM heads sets.
The Hands: Once again, similar comments apply. the 'open' hands are excellent, the clenched hands not as good.
Legs/Feet Creasing on the trousers is delicate and suffers from none of the heavily 'angled' creasing occasionally found. The boots are nicely done - again with good definition between heel and instep.
Torsos: The detailing is adequate, but a little softer than I saw on the Soviet Infantry set.
Equipment: The usual German Infantry equipment - 'Bread-bag' haversack Respirator case etc. Competently done - all relevant equipment is there - anything else from your spares-box
Weapons: Sufficient for all four figures - nicely done
The Poses: For me at least, this si the biggest selling point of this set. Particularly noteworthy is the figure getting shot - Superlative! The other poses are active and with judicious placement and perhaps a bit of modification, will serve as VERY worthy additions to a diorama.
Construction: Very straightforward. Each figure consists of just 5/6 parts (without weapons or equipment) and although there are a few seam lines to be removed, the moulding is clean and well-defined. I built the four figures quicker than I normally would - simply for the purpose of this review. Alignment of the two leg halves is excellent with the creases matching-up perfectly. The plastic which Masterbox are using now is also very good allowing detail to be held better in the mouldings. The headgear also fits better than before although a little care is required in lining it up.Construction was carried out using Tamiya Extra-Thin and Revell liquid cement. These are identical comments to those in the previous review.
'Multipose': Sadly, Masterbox hasn't taken the same approach as with Set NĒ 2 - i.e. the inclusion of alternative heads, arms etc. It does leave the set in the more 'conventional'
Other Areas: Once again, the box-art is superb. On the reverse side of the box are brief line-drawings of the figures which serve as construction notes. There is a color guide also. This uses references from five paint manufacturers - Vallejo, Tamiya, Lifecolor, Humbrol and Agama.
Conclusions This is a set which can best be described as 'workmanlike' it doesn't have, in my opinion, the 'star-quality' as Set NĒ 2. It has got real utility value and with some careful construction and painting will look very good indeed. Once again, plaudits to Masterbox for trying (and succeeding) to vary the rather static poses which we are seeing too often. It's a good-quality set, however no-one could pretend that Field-Grey German uniforms are all that fascinating (compared to the multiple, late-war camouflaged uniforms) anyway. It's a worthwhile set to have and again it's wonderful to see a manufacturer setting their own 'style' and innovations.