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In-Box Review
135
Luftwaffe Artillery Crew
German Africa Corps Luftwaffe Artillery Crew Set
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Tamiya is no stranger to re-boxing kits, has recently released a set of Afrika Korps Luftwaffe artillery crewmen. You may remember these figures from the re-box of the North Africa Campaign 88mm Flak gun #35283. That kit re-boxed the venerable Tamiya 88mm and added a new molding of an eight man crew with assorted equipment. This new kit, #35343, takes the two new sprues from that kit of the crew and the accompanying equipment, albeit with a small addition, and now offers them as a separate release.

Contents

Letís see what you actually get for your MSRP of $13.50. Included are two sprues cast in the Tamiya tan that most of us are very familiar with. One of the sprues contains the figures while the other holds the equipment.

Review

There are eight figures included, so good value for your money in that respect. Most of the figures are molded with the torso and legs as a single piece, only two have separately molded torso and legs. The figures depict; the battery commander, section chief, five members of the gun crew, and a rangefinder crewman. The commander is standing with a pair of binoculars and pointing (but you already guessed that, am I right?), he wears an M38 soft cap and has a map case and holster hanging from his belt. He is wearing long pants with the large cargo pocket on the left leg and a field jacket. He has some nice detail, pockets, buttons, facial expression and the like but many of the folds and creases of the clothing are a bit soft.

The section chief is wearing the tropical short pants and his shirt has rolled sleeves. He also wears the M38 side cap and is holding a map. This figure has much better defined folds and creases in his clothing but again the detail is clearly on the soft side. A real disappointment was the map that he is holding, it is not on a piece of paper inside the box you will find that instead it is printed on the back of the box. How you are expected to cut out a piece of cardboard and make it appear as a paper map is a bit beyond me.

The five gun operators come in various poses; one wears the side cap and is seated with sleeves rolled up, another in a helmet is lifting a wicker shell case, another helmeted figure with rolled sleeves just did some work with a shovel, one carries an 88mm shell on his shoulder, and the last is standing with a shell that will soon be in the breech of the gun. The last is wearing the oven mitt for artillery shell handlers. Sadly, all of these figures suffer from some very soft detail throughout particularly in regards to the creases in the cloth and the belt. On the good side the facial sculpts are all decent, arguably as good as many of the other current plastic figure manufacturers.
The final figure is the one I constructed for the purposes of the review, the rangefinder crewman. Again, his detail is a bit soft although the fit is very good with very little issue with seams. The molding part lines are all easy to clean up with the back of a good blade and a file or two. The hands are typical Tamiya style; large cupped hands that more closely resemble mittens so a little extra work or replacement would go a long way. This drawback is most pronounced on this particular figure, the rest are a bit better in hand detail.

The equipment sprue is a bit limited but what is included is well done. You end up with 4 of the wicker 88mm cases. These have nice wicker detail on all appropriate sides and include the three shell bases to make it appear as if the cases have the ammunition inside. The rangefinder comes in five pieces enabling you to add the shoulder mount. Besides this you get a rangefinder mount case as well; all of this is very well done. You will also find four 88mm shells that are ready to go as well as another four spent casings although only two of them are hollowed out.

You also get a tripod mounted set of scissors binoculars that is another nice five piece affair. Besides that you will find yourself the proud owner of a mattock, a new addition to the sprue, and a shovel as well as a pair of field glasses. It is hard to tell on the field glasses who the manufacturer is but they appears to be Emil Busch glasses from the early 1941 run based on the thin knurls on the diopter adjustment knobÖIím kidding, Iím kidding! Seriously though they probably ARE from Emil Busch AG if that matters to you. You also get a couple of oddball outrigger stakes that were germane to the 88mm kit that the figures were first released with, not much use unless you have a spare 88mm gun laying around. Besides the mattock mentioned above the other changes to this particular set from the 88mm gun offering is a small section that took the place of some of the shells with the commanderís map case and holster, the final needed helmet, and an odd left arm. The arm is probably a vestigial addition from the earlier Tamiya re-box of the ICM 7.62 Russian anti-tank gun that included this figure set.

Conclusion

Good value with eight full figures plus some nice extra equipment that is very well done. Unfortunately, lots of the detail is pretty soft and not really what I would consider to be state of the art, if you have an extensive figure collection you will find these figures to have a very 1990s look to them. But again, if you are simply looking for a number of figures to crew a gun and donít want to spring for resin or some other more expensive option this set will surely fill the bill for you.

SUMMARY
Highs: Great value for your hard earned cash; eight figures plus some nice additional pieces of equipment all for $13.50. The extra equipment; the rangefinder, the tripod binoculars, and the shell cases are very nicely rendered.
Lows: Very soft details on the figures. Most of the sculpting and molding does not quite compare well to most of today's plastic figure sets.
Verdict: If you are looking to add some inexpensive figures you can't beat it, if you are looking for high quality plastic you will be disappointed.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35343
  Suggested Retail: $13.50
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 30, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.61%

Our Thanks to Tamiya, Inc.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rick Cooper (clovis899)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2017 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

tamiya just don't get it yet.
NOV 30, 2015 - 12:12 PM
The proportions on the assembled figure look odd. Tamiya's old figures (like those from the original "88" kit in 1972) were sculpted to the proportions of a contemporary Japanese rather than European male, so they scale out to 5'5" or 5'6" tall, not impossible for one guy, but unusual for a whole gun crew. Looks like they were compensating for height on this guy, but didn't quite know how to do it. His legs seem enormously long, compared to the rest of him. On the plus side, the newest Tamiya figures are being sculpted using scanned images of clothed, live models in period costume, so the results are really excellent. Their recent Japanese officer set is very impressive.
NOV 30, 2015 - 02:44 PM
Hey Gerald, et al, I think maybe part of the issue regarding leg length may be angle of my camera. That said, even straight on the proportions do seem just a bit off. The figure I stuck together (wouldn't really call it 'built'!) measures out at 5'11" from the soles of the boot to the top of the helmet, so a bit on the short side. I didn't give this set a percent grade, but if I did it would have been mid 70s or so. Cheers, Rick
NOV 30, 2015 - 03:32 PM
The sprueshot seem to indicate that the propotions isn't that bad though. But what with the pointing? The German Army was not involved in a 5 year long game of "I spy with my little eye"...
NOV 30, 2015 - 09:06 PM
This must certainly be the case with Tamiya's British WWl infantry set. Still a little small compared with ICM's set, but interestingly, the rifles are of similar length, but Tamiya's helmets are slightly smaller. Nevertheless, these Tamiya figs would mix well with ICM's and those from MB to make one large action scene...just need more late WWl Germans.
DEC 01, 2015 - 04:51 AM
Weren't Europeans of that era smaller on average than today's?
MAR 23, 2016 - 07:11 AM
Well, Hitler and Himmler certainly were!
MAR 23, 2016 - 10:48 AM
Yes, but 5'8" or 5'9" was quite common--5'5" was still kind of short. Author James Jones once noted that in a World War Two American outfit, a six-foot tall man would always be nicknamed "Stretch" for his unusual size. The 1950's began the era of vitamin-fortified everything, and the Baby Boomers were generally taller than their parents. For the generation that matured in the 1930's, not only were diets generally vitamin-poor during the winter months, but the deprivation of the Great Depression era meant that diets for millions of people were starchy and vitamin-poor year-round.
MAR 25, 2016 - 09:34 AM
I looked at the figures and thought that they all were a bit short, more like juvenile HJ members rather than front-line soldiers. Still, a huge improvement over the originals and they're dressed for tropical climes, I remember that some wore shorts(?) which makes them very useful for any sothern scene.
JAN 20, 2017 - 03:50 PM
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