by: Darren Baker [ ]
After I wrote a review recently about some German vehicle riders from Master Box, some bright spark (Bill Cross) raised the fact that Dragon Models had also released a similar type of set for adding life to your truck or similar model. Well I had purchased these figures as well and so I decided to write a review on them, after all you can never have too many seated figures.
This offering from Dragon Models is packaged in a card tray with a separate card lid as opposed to the more usual end opening carton figures are packed in. It is a small point to raise, but I like these types of packaging as it allows the modeller to keep their partially built figures in the box. When finished the figures not required for your current project can be safe and secure until required. Inside of the box you will find 6 grey sprues packed in two plastic bags, that is it as regards content.
A look over the sprues reveals injection mouldings of the standard we have come to expect from Dragon Models, and just in case you donít know that means of a good quality. There is no flash present anywhere on the sprues, there are moulding seams present as you would expect, but these are quite fine and should be easy to remedy. So at this point everything looks to be coming up roses, but are there some dandelions in the mix.
This offering from Dragon Models is designed to allow you the modeller to construct ten vehicle riding figures, one of whom is a driver. The figures are broken down into the usual mix of parts, except that the front flaps of the jackets are supplied as separate parts. This approach by Dragon Models has enabled some nice undercut detail to be present and it looks more natural than a solid piece of plastic. I further like that Dragon Models have supplied positive locations on the legs for the addition of these jacket flaps. The figure parts are supplied on two identical sprues and a look over these sprues with some maths thrown in reveals there to be enough parts to build not ten but twelve figures. Yet another bloom begins to bud.
In this offering you will find;
12 pairs of legs
14 pairs of arms
12 flat top heads
12 field caps
I am pretty sure that any one of us could make 12 figures from that mix.
These figures have good uniform detail, but I again believe it to be from early during World War Two. None of the figures have webbing present and so painting will be a lot easier than expected. The torso numbered (B2) on both sprues, does not have the crisp detail of the other options; itís a little like the sculptor got to this torso and said ďsod it, that will doĒ. Donít get me wrong it is not unusable, but it is of a lesser standard. The trousers have very nice natural crease detail, as do the boots which also feature a nice instep and subtle tread pattern on the soles.
The facial features of these figures is quite good for injection moulded plastic, but I have seen better from Dragon Models both prior too and since this product was released. The hands on these figures are very good and they have excellent finger and thumb detail present. The heads of these figures are flat top offerings, and while this works quite well with the field caps, a better look is managed with a full head if using the steel helmets included with the kits; it should be pointed out that only four steel helmets are supplied with the offering. The stances of these figures is very formal, stiff almost, the position of the arms on some of the figures does help to break my impression on the stiffness.
It is when I look at the weapons and equipment supplied with this product that I some of the shine is knocked off. It is my understanding that this figure set is supposed to represent an artillery crew on the move, but the weapons provided do not work for that scenario. The weapons provided consist of;
2 MP40 machine guns with folded butt stock
1 MP 40 machine gun with separate butt stock
4 KAR 98 rifles
1 MG 34 with separate breech detail and slide moulded barrel
1 MG 42 with separate breech detail and slide moulded barrel
2 bipods for the above MGís 1 deployed and 1 folded; I thought the design was different for the above two MGís
1 Sturmgewehr 44
1 Bergman MP 34
3 stick grenades
This is quite a nice selection of weapons, but I was expecting to find a decent number of rifles, especially so when the box art depicts the figures with seven rifles on show. Did Dragon Models intend to include two weapons sprues, but only one made it into the boxes? Who knows. So this is a let down for me, even if it is fairly simple to rectify. Back to the positives of the set, along with the weapons you get;
2 MP 40 magazines
4 clips for the KAR 98
2 Sturmgewehr 44 magazines
3 clips for the Gew43
3 drum magazines for the MG 34 and 42
Along with these items are a number of magazine pouches for the various weapons and ancillary equipment. Now please donít get me wrong these are all nice additions to the set, but they are less than half of what is required to suitably equip the supplied figures, and while anyone who has been in the hobby for some time can delve into the spares box, which is not true for everyone. It is at this point that I am even further convinced that there should have been two of each sprue and it got mixed up somewhere.
Depending on your requirements, this offering from Dragon Models has potential. While the stance of the figures is formal in my opinion, the figures themselves are very good, but I do feel the set has been badly let down by of all things the ĎGen 2 Gearí. As I said the equipment in of itself is very good, but the quantity does not match the number of figures supplied in the set. The weapons and equipment sprue has been designed for the typical four figure offering common to Dragon Models and this is a 10 figure set with the potential for 12 figures, you do the maths.