One of the most common request from people building modern vehicles is getting high quality figures in order to add "human touch" to their vignettes... not only tank crews but also soldiers in non-action poses: reading, cleaning rifles, chatting, eating, playing cards, writing letters home, etc. After seeing new figure sets released under NATO in Miniatures
label, I definitely think those guys listen to modelers!
I remember the positive response we got on HF when we first published the exclusive sculpts from Michael Varlamov in the news story
on Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp; not only since the figures were portrayed cooking and relaxing, but also because the figures represent Bundeswehr soldiers... a perfect addition to the growing list of German AFV kits.
First of all, I have to stress that this is a "group review" of two figure kits: Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp, part 1 (Ger-002)
and Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp, part 2 (Ger-003)
. I decided to write a "group review" because these two kits are clearly designed to be displayed together as a team of figures.
Both kits arrived in firm cardboard boxes printed in ACU pattern featuring painted box art picture. Foam wrap provides additional protection for zip-lock bags with kit parts and, although the box contents are pretty delicate and fragile, no parts were damaged in transport.
Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp #1 (Ger-002)
includes parts to build two figures and number of accessory pieces... 16 parts altogether:
- figure B parts: full body with legs and head, left arm, right arm, shemagh scarf part
- figure C parts: full body with legs and head, left arm, right arm
- accessories: camp cot (4 pieces), small gas cooker, kettle, spoon, two food pots.
Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp #2 (Ger-003)
includes 10 parts:
- figure A parts: full body with legs and head, left arms, right arm, cap brim
- accessories: folding chair (3 pieces), food pot and lid, water bottle.
All parts are molded in grey resin and are cast really well... there are almost no casting imperfections and no air bubbles, but I did find some seam lines that need to be taken care of. Several equipment pieces are very delicate so take care when removing them from casting blocks. I was not patient enough and managed to break one of the folding chair legs while cleaning it. The chair legs are particularly fragile and I think I'll have to replace those pieces with some thick brass wire in order to give the chair extra strength. The fit of the parts is very good and I had no problems assembling the figures... there is a need for some putty work as adjusting the arms to the torso leaves small gaps that should be filled. I wish the arms/torso part break-up was done along the seams of the fleece and blouses, as I feel puttying would be reduced to minimum that way. The poses of all figures look good; they are perhaps a bit stiff and there is no interaction among the soldiers, which are obviously portrayed being way too interested in their meals than starting the conversation.
The figures are wearing German Flecktarn trousers in lightweight poly-cotton material which feature belt loops, waist buttons for braces, button waist and zip fly, two hip pockets, one rear pocket and two button down leg pockets. The figures also wear fleece jackets; as a part of cold weather uniform, fleece is usually worn under field jackets or parkas. One of the figures has shemagh scarf draped around his neck and wears German Army parka. The parka is ideally suited to go over the basic uniform as an extra layer of protection. It is made of poly-cotton material, opens centrally with zip/buttons and features a longer skirt, drawstring waist, integral hood, two chest pockets, rank tabs, arm pocket and two zip-up slash pockets on waist. The parka is also printed in Flecktarn camouflage. As for headgear, one figure wears woolen knitted cap and the other sports an Afghanistan issued German basecap. Extra accessories in the kit include camp cot and folding chair plus various Einmannpackung (EPA; German equivalent of MRE) food trays, pots and lids. The small gas cooker, kettle and water bottle cast in clear resin look really good. There are no weapons included in these two kits and I didn't find this as a serious omission... in fact only one figure is armed and carries a handgun in drop leg holster. These figure sets are clearly designed to show a peaceful moment in a turbulent Afghanistan times, but if modelers wish to include weapons in their vignettes they are free to do so with some excellent Trumpeter G36 sets.
I added the pictures which served as the inspiration for Michael Varlamov when he made these figure sets... You can compare the pics to the figures and see the sculptor did a good job trying to depict hungry soldiers cooking and eating in their camp. The uniform is presented well in scale, but I particularly like the details on the parka as the folds look natural and give good impression of the material. If you think painting the Flecktarn camouflage pattern could present a problem in this scale, there are several aftermarket companies offering Flecktarn camo decal sets. The heads are sculpted well, with facial details nicely defined. The only thing that I have a slight problem with are the boots which seem to be a bit large.
Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in Camp are something many modelers have been waiting for a long time... a chance to populate their German AFV dioramas with figures doing what soldiers usually do when not on patrol: cooking and eating in the safety of their camp. Well sculpted and nicely cast, I'm sure these sets will prove very popular and perfect for adding a "human touch" to German ISAF vignettes.