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1/72 versions of 1/35 Tamiya German Tank Crew at Rest


In the field of 1/72 WWII Germans, it is often the case Braille Scale manufacturers to get inspiration from poses included in various 1/35 sets, transposing with more or less details those stances and pleasing the small scale modellers with lifelike miniatures, a normal feature bearing in mind most of the 1/35 figs are recreated after photos taken during WWII. Likewise, another approach for creating outstanding 1/72 troopers is directly scaling-down the 1/35 sets, but in spite the great advantages provided, this method is rarely encountered and Dragon represents the ideal example on the matter.

However, from the multitude of 1/35 sets that served as models, it seems Tamiya’s “German Tank Crew at Rest” is the most utilised, perhaps when the sculptor created it for the first time, he had no idea his work would represent a milestone in the field of 1/72 German tankers. Three Braille Scale producers, more precisely El Viejo Dragon (EVD), CMK, and Caesar have made available the Tamiya figs in 1/72 scale. Those miniatures are certainly not direct copies of the 1/35 troopers in reference, all sculptors creating original works, thus financial rights would have been difficult to claim and gain. However, at least the moral satisfaction should be high for the initial sculptor when seeing so many manufacturers have drained inspiration from his wonderful work.

The original Tamiya set comprises six figurines, three standing, two seated, and one bust, depicting Panzer crewmen in tranquil attitudes, staying still, relaxing or simply chatting during a break. In spite doing almost nothing, the stances are very natural and inspired by well-known WWII photos. These 1/35 figs wear the classical Panzer uniform and ankle boots but in terms of head-gear, being multi-part, modellers have the liberty to decide which head to add. However, the artwork shows those tankers with two M34 and one M43 caps, two officer peak-caps and one bare-headed. In terms of gear, all of them have got belts and according to their specialization, pistol holsters are provided, too. 

All three 1/72 companies supply the full miniatures in Panzer attire, the only one wearing something else is the officer bust putting on a M43 uniform. Slight differences are recorded among the manufacturers in terms of head-gear as well as belts and pistol holsters. Of course, modellers can paint the uniforms either in the classical black or in Feldgrau, as Sturm Artillery representatives, a modality also advocated by the 1/35 artwork. It should be highlighted Tamiya dressed at least five of the figs in Wehrmacht style Panzer wrappers, not only the larger and pointed ends collars, but also the breast eagles being visible on the tunics. Despite these clear cues, the 1/72 producers show in the artworks soldiers wearing pea dot uniforms, specific to Waffen SS although both Caesar and EVD have got Wehrmacht style wrappers. This is a mistake while there were many distinctions between the two wrappers and it seems just CMK supplies their figures in Waffen SS wrappers, with smaller and with rounded tips collars and without the seam down to the middle of the back. In the artwork of their set “Waffen SS Tankers WWII”, the officer appears in pea dot, which is perfectly fine while he is the single miniature wearing M43 uniform, garment often tailored in various Waffen SS and Wehrmacht camouflage patterns. 

It should be emphasised that not all of the 1/72 makers provide the whole content of the “German Tank Crew at Rest”. According to the production years, EVD was the first who came with poses already seen in Tamiya set, followed by CMK and after few years, Caesar also delivered their interpretations. Likewise, EVD and CMK’s figures require some assembly, while in Caesar’s set only one miniature is delivered in two halves. 

Inside the white metal set titled “German Panzer Crew (C72/2)”, out-of-production nowadays, EVD duplicates just three poses encountered at Tamiya, more precisely the standing troopers. One soldier rests his right leg on something as an ammo box, small chair, fence, rock or vehicle part, another keeps legs crossed and hands deep in the pockets, and the third has his hands on hips. Tamiya’s artwork reveals only this last mentioned stance with M34 cap and the others with M43 cap and bare-headed, but EVD endowed all of them with M34 caps and the heads are arranged in unlike positions than presented by Tamiya. These miniatures are nicely sculptured and the overall the anatomy is fair, with fine proportions of bodies and proper faces, but the palms could be a hair smaller and with better fingers. The wrappers are excellent done and feature crisp breast eagles, but in terms of trousers, these are quite controversial, a correct identification being virtually impossible while the pockets and flaps specific to Panzer pants are not visible. From this perspective, the trousers may be finished in black or feldgrau, as well as in camouflage or in colours related to fatigue clothes, reed green or different shades of gray emerging as proper choices.

In the relation Tamiya-1/72 figs, an interesting approach is registered at CMK, the company deciding to split the 1/35 content in two resin sets, each featuring three miniatures and titled “Waffen SS Tankers WWII” and “German Tankers WWII”. Though separated in two sets, apart the bust wearing M43 uniform, all the rest put on the Waffen SS wrapper. In conformity with the set code number “Waffen SS Tankers WWII” (F72141) looks like being the first, followed by “German Tankers WWII” (F72142), but both were launched on the market in the same time and share the sculptor. The CMK crewmen interlinked with Tamiya record plenty dissimilarities from the original patterns, not only in terms of attire, but also with some mixed heads and slightly altered poses. Furthermore, in terms of heads, inside “Waffen SS Tankers WWII” the manufacturer supplies few alternative heads, so the modellers get the necessary resources for making these figs more compliant with those from Tamiya. However, a bizarre issue is encountered within the same set, despite offering three separate left palms, none is useful while a right hand would have been mandatory and is completely missing. Although wearing attractive items of clothing, Waffen SS wrappers being a rare presence in 1/72 scale, and having detailed faces and palms, these figures are evaluated as very poor for 1/72 scale, the heads, bodies, and limbs being much over-scaled. Likewise, garments shock with gigantic and incorrect creases and for these reasons, they hardly match with 1/72 vehicles. Both these CMK sets can be recommended for merely collecting purposes or to be utilised in conjunction with other gigantic figs as those issued by Valliant, otherwise should be ignored. An advantage of these figs is the fact their clothes might be painted in various colours, black, field-gray, camouflage, and different shades of green or gray as HBT Panzer uniforms being appropriate.

If the above mentioned two manufacturers represent cottage industry, not the same thing can be said about Caesar, which passes as the most prolific producer of 1/72 WWII Germans, with tens of sets on the topic, cast in soft and hard plastic and covering lots of attire and units of that army. Under the title “WWII German Panzer Crews” Caesar delivers a soft plastic set composed by eleven distinct poses, six of them having deep roots in Tamiya’s tender, practically transferring the whole content of the 1/35 kit. Moreover, Caesar’s interpretations qualifies as the closest to the Tamiya patterns, poses, attire, headgear, and small details like medals being reproduced on these 1/72 figs. The Taiwanese manufacturer, recognised as the most prolific supplier of 1/72 WWII Germans, is also famous for finely sculptured figures and their tankers can be assessed as one of their best releases. The miniatures make a pleasant impression thanks to excellent anatomy, with realistic faces and the great majority of palms match the proportions of heads, often fingers emerging perfectly modelled. In addition, the clothes are top detailed, even the button holes of the Panzer wrappers being visible, respecting also Tamiya’s versions by depicting Iron Crosses, Tank Assault Badge, and ribbons, details that in a certain manner improve the general appearance.

Not only in terms of material, poses, and headgear, but also regarding level of sculpture and size, there are clear differences between the three tenders. Based on a simple side-to side comparison, the best are definitely Caesar’s, even if it might appear little odd the miniatures forwarded by a mass-production company to be superior to those issues by cottage industry reps, their releases generally distinguishing through highly-detailed figurines for easier attract customers. Furthermore, due to their size encompassed in the small side of the scale, Caesar’s tankers better fit in or near 1/72 vehicles. On the other side, CMK’s homologues are much oversized, while though little taller, EVD’s proposals qualify as fair from this perspective. 

The incentive of having more options to choose for some replicas in Braille Scale of 1/35 Panzer crewmen previously issued by one of the most prestigious figure maker, is certainly interesting from many points of view. However, analysed from all perspectives, hobbyists wanting the most detailed 1/72 versions, definitely should direct to Caesar’s proposal, their miniatures emerging the closest to Tamiya originals, as well as the best sculptured and ideally fitting to 1/72 vehicles.