by: Jim Starkweather [ ]
This new figure set from Tristar is in 1:35 scale and has (76) parts in typical Tristar beige plastic. There is no specific unit or time-period information given with this kit. And as they are all wearing what appear to be wool greatcoats, it is difficult to place these soldiers in any particular way. In that sense they make good 'all-around' German soldiers that potentially might be useful in almost any diorama or vignette. If I had to hazard a guess with my limited knowledge of German uniforms and equipment I would put a date of 1939-41 on them, but again you could probably get away with a much broader range based on just the actual figures themselves and their uniforms being almost fully covered.
The four figures in this set all appear to be sleeping or resting their eyes as they are closed. Two of the soldiers are in a very similar prone position with one hand on their rifle and the other propping up their heads. Due to the position of their legs it would appear they are merely resting (not sleeping) as at least one of the figures leg position shows that his right leg is raised. Also this figure (marked D on the back cover) has his left arm holding up his head in a way that wouldn't seem to indicate the man was asleep. The other prone figure might be able to pass as a sleeping soldier.
The other two soldiers are in a seated position. One of these (figure B) is not wearing a helmet (although it is included with the kit). I like the way these figures appear much more so than the prone figures described above. They have a much more natural look to them. Although my only complaint would be that figure A appears to have his left foot in an upturned position that seems a bit odd (almost as if he were driving a truck and had his foot on a gas pedal). The illustration on the front of the box has this foot turned even more awkwardly, but the constructed figure on the back shows it looking less angled to the left.
The heads shown in the pictures to the right do indicate some problems with the manufacturing process or the molds themselves. These minute issues are only visible thanks to my macro lens, but you can see how some of the heads have unexplainable rough patches around the mouth, cheeks, and neck. It may be that the sculptor was trying to create this for an unshaved look (or to have facial hair) but it doesn't seem like this worked if that was the goal. Some sanding and filling on a very small scale may be in order here. Or if you are a figure purist than switching these heads out with Hornet or other after-market heads might be an option.
Overall I am not overly impressed with this set. Certainly if you are looking for soldiers sleeping or resting this set may provide you with the figures you may be looking for. With a bit of customizing you may be able to fit them into your project. So as 'filler' units they certainly have a value for some.