German "paper panzers": You either love 'em or ... you don't! Personally, I'm a big fan.
But sadly, figures in 1/35 scale to crew and them and to accompany them on those "Eastern Pomerania '46" dios are rather thin on the ground - by which I mean figures that are just that little bit different and "what-if"-ish, as opposed to just the usual WSS and Wehrmacht troops.
Step forward then the small French company Phebus Creation, to at least partly fill the void with a small series of three "Post 45" German soldiers. The subject of this review is figure No. 2, which I picked up at the IPMS show in Telford last November.
I'd never even heard of Phebus Creation until Telford, where I came across this figure purely by chance at one the vendor stands and promptly snapped it up. I didn't see any others on sale anywhere else, so I considered it quite a find.
The kit comes in a small clam-type transparent plastic box and is comprised of 10 light grey resin parts, along with a photo (printed on paper) of an assembled but unpainted example, and a slip of paper giving the Web site and e-mail address for Phebus Creation.
The helmet and the gas-masked head are separate parts, which is an advantage when it comes to painting (like many modellers, I prefer to paint headgear separately). The arms are also separate parts, with just the torso and legs being cast as a single large part. There are two separated plated armour shoulder pads that I think look very effective, as does the body armour protecting the figure's torso, which is very reminiscent of the stuff worn by the Colonial Marines in the movie "Aliens". Finally, the figure's weapon (which appears to be based on the MP44) is unfathomably cast in 3 parts but is, in my view, unusable anyway (see below).
Let's be clear from the outset: Don't expect Alpine casting quality here. It's very much a mixed bag.
The helmet and the gas-masked head - while not being ultra-crisp - are certainly of acceptable quality, as are the arms. The separate pieces of shoulder armour are likewise OK. The body armour is nicely rendered. The trousers however are not so good - particularly at the back - and will also require some clean up. Another weakness is that the pistol leg-holster and the large pocket-pouch on the figure's right leg are integrally cast onto the leg rather than supplied as separate parts. The holster in particular is poorly defined, so on my figure I ended up carving it completely away and replacing it with one out of the spares box. I considered doing likewise with the pouch pocket, but in the end decided that I could live with it so I left it in place. The right shin guard at the back was (on my figure at least) ill-defined and incomplete at the top, so that needed a bit of work. The boots are simply terrible: Little more than foot-shaped blobs that are best replaced in order to do the figure full justice (I used a pair of booted feet from Dragon's Gen2 "Last Battle in Austria" set).
The figure's principle weapon is a nightmare, and is unfit for purpose. Thin, brittle and poorly detailed, it actually comes in 3 parts: the main weapon, the magazine and a miniscule part. Deeming it not suitable even for the spares box, I tossed it unceremoniously into the waste bin, replacing it with a far superior one-piece MP44 from Tamiya's "German Soldiers at Field Briefing" set.
A more general point is that the resin is also fairly brittle, and some of the casting plugs are large and unfavourably placed, most notably on the elbows. This, together with the resin's brittleness, means that great care needs to be taken when removing the plugs from and cleaning up the thinner parts - as I quickly found out to my cost when almost straight away I irreparably damaged the rim of the helmet, necessitating its emergency replacement with a Dragon Gen2 helmet from the same set that I sourced the replacement boots from.
Assembly and Parts Fit:
Generally, the fit of the main components (head/helmet, arms/ torso and head/torso) is actually very good, with no filling needed at the joints. And the almost "ball and socket" fit of the neck into the recess on the torso meant that I was able to reposition the head without any problem whatsoever (to get my figure looking to his right as opposed to straight ahead as in the supplied illustration).
Overall, and in my own personal opinion, the figure's unusualness balances out its shortcomings, so I do recommend it (with the aforementioned caveats) for those who enjoy "what-if" subject matter and don't mind spending a bit of time enhancing a basic figure to bring it up to scratch.
Highs: An unusual subject that's been sadly neglected. Lows: Brittle resin, very mixed casting quality with some details poorly defined, the weapon will need replacing and some other additional work will be needed to get the best out of this figure.Verdict: Not a top-of-the-line product by any means, but with a little work and TLC can still be built and painted up into a striking figure.
About Steve Riley (Kuno-Von-Dodenburg) FROM: ENGLAND - NORTH, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been building models since childhood - but with several l-o-n-g breaks (I built maybe 3 kits and a handful of 1/35 figures during all of the 1980s).
A visit to EuroMil '98 rekindled my interest in a big way and I got back into figures. Armour (Great War to Vietnam) followed a few years ago, ...