by: Karel K. [ ]
Zvezdaís older figure set releases havenít been the best ones on the market. The details on them have been soft and crude. Fortunately, the quality of their newer sets has become a lot better. This recent release from Zvezda depicts a five man crew for a German tank during the era of 1943-1945.
The set comes packaged in the usual Zvezda cardboard box with a very nice box-art showing five crewmen apparently from a Tiger I, a picture of the finished figures on the back and colour codes for Model Master and Zvezda paints on the side.
The box includes one sprue of parts containing 44 pieces in light grey styrene, and an instruction sheet. The parts are nicely molded with good details, but have some light flash and mold-lines on almost all the parts. The parts on the sprue are not numbered.
The instructions are basic, with five steps showing the assembly of every figure. Fortunately, here we have a picture of the sprue with numbered parts for easier assembly. The instructions also give you a painting guide for three figures, but not for the two other ones.
As I mentioned earlier, the box-art depicts five crewmen in different poses while on a break from action. Sadly, when you open the box, not all the figures are in the same pose as shown on the box-art. For the review, I built the figures straight from the box to show how they really look. I did not glue on the heads and personal gear for easier painting in the future. The faces in this set are a big improvement from the older Zvezda figure sets, with sharp features. The only downside with the heads are the awkward ears they all have.
The first figure, holding binoculars, consists of 10 parts if you include the headphones and pistol holster that are shown as optional in the instructions. The figureís legs, arms and torso all have mould-lines that have to be removed. When the two legs are glued together, a gap will be present that will require some filler. Also getting the arms in the right position for holding the binoculars is a bit tricky. As you can see from the photo, I did not do the greatest job on it, so I was left with a gap between the torso and right arm. Other than those items mentioned, the figure has a nice impression of cloth folds and details.
The second figure, buttoning his sleeve, consists of 8 parts with an optional pistol holster. After gluing this figure together some filling is needed where the parts join. The detailing on this figure is good, but it also has mould-lines on all the parts. This is the one figure whose pose doesnít even remotely resemble any of the figures shown on the box-art. The figures hands are a bit poorly moulded, with the left hand having no recognizable thumb.
The third figure, holding a map case, consists of 10 parts with optional headphones and pistol holster. Some filling is also needed on this figure. The hand on the right arm resting on the hip looks slightly weird as the fingers look to be bent outwards in an unnatural way. The cloth folds on it look natural, but it also has mould-lines on all the parts.
The fourth figure, lighting his pipe, consists of 8 parts. He has a MP40 hanging on his back. The details on him are a bit soft but nothing serious except for the hands, which are a bit blob-like. As with all the other figures, it also has mould-lines on all the parts. Some filling between the torso and legs is also needed.
The last figure, kneeling and pointing with a stick, consists of 8 parts. As already usual with these figures, all the parts have mould-lines to be cleaned away and some gaps to be filled. Out of the five figures in this set this pose is, for me, the most interesting.
Iím a bit let down by the fact that not all the figure poses match the ones shown on the box-art. With a bit of work (cleaning the mould lines and filling the gaps) and some good figure painting, you could get a nice set of tank crew to stand beside your model. Recommended.