by: Keith Middleton [ ]
Master Box has released an interesting two figure set, ostensibly of late war German figures carrying supplies. This set will appeal to those who like figures of soldiers doing nothing or performing those routine tasks that filled the days between actual combat.
The set comes packed in a small, side-opening box. The box art portrays two, supposedly late war, war-weary soldiers delivering food supplies to their comrades in the front lines. However, the appearance of their uniforms seems to contradict the theme of the kit as both soldiers wear clean, nicely fitting, well-tailored uniforms right down to their early war jackboots.
Upon opening the box you find a single plastic wrapped sprue of parts. The sprue itself does not have identifying numbers which is addressed on the back of the box. The back of the box contains three sections. First, there is a picture of the sprue with all parts numbered. Second, there are front and back color pictures of the two figures that serve as the guide for both assembling and painting the figures. Finally, a section that provides painting instructions keyed to Vallejo, Tamiya, Lifecolor, Humbrol, and Agama paints.
The parts are well molded and flash free. There are some mold seams that have to be dealt with. In my opinion the faces are quite well done for plastic. I went ahead and almost completely assembled both figures, a process that took a little over two hours. Assembly was straight-forward, the fit is good with only a few gaps that will have to be dealt with.
As far as the uniforms, each figure is equipped differently for dealing with the cold weather. The first figure wears a parka, while the second wears a greatcoat. While checking my references in an effort to determine exactly which version of the greatcoat the second figure is wearing, I discovered what obviously was the source/inspiration for the development of these two figures: Jean de Legarde’s German Soldiers of World War Two, published by Histoire & Collections. On pages 30 and 31, in the 1942 chapter, there is a section entitled Infantryman on Supply Duty showing two models wearing uniforms and equipment almost identical to those in the set, right down to the two loaves of bread being carried by the parka wearing figure. From that discovery, it was fairly easy pinning down some of the uniform details.
Figure 1 wears the M1942 field gray/white reversible winter parka along with a field gray wool balaclava. Figure 2 appears to be wearing the M1940 other ranks greatcoat. I say appears because, as can be seen from the photographs of the completed figure, the figure’s greatcoat has a narrow collar while the box art shows what looks like the distinctive wider collar of the M1941 greatcoat. I want to also give credit here to the 4 volumes in the Osprey Men at Arms series on the World War II German Army as they were also very helpful in running down this information. Figure 1 is carrying a large food container with canteens draped around his neck and two loaves of bread tucked in his arm. Figure 2 is carrying three mess tins. Each is armed with the standard KAR 98K rifle (most of which I have left off the figures at this point).
Both figures measure out at a little under two inches which puts them at about 5 feet 8 inches tall. While the height is certainly normal, both figures appear rather petite to my eye. This is especially true when compared with one of the TANK brand figures I recently reviewed. I have no idea which is more accurate. While of course soldiers vary in height and build, I am not sure I would be comfortable putting these figures in the same diorama with those from many other manufacturers.
Finally, the trim, squared away look of the box art carries over to the assembled figures. From most historic photographs I have seen of late-war German soldiers, they always seem to be wearing oversized, ill-fitting, somewhat bedraggled clothing. They also are not wearing jackboots (a note here, the Histoire & Collections models are not wearing jackboots, but instead are wearing special boots for the Eastern Front with thick black felt shafts that look very similar to jackboots), which were phased out as the war dragged on. This leads me to conclude that these figures are far more appropriate for a mid-war (1942-43) scene than they are for the late war as promised on the box.
With these limitations in mind, I think these figures are good for a mid-war scene with a vehicle of some sort but probably not mixed with figures from other manufacturers without careful consideration of how they will look side by side.