Articles

CMK - Werner von Braun with his inspection team watching an A4/V2 rocket launch test (F72283) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer CMK
Scale 1/72
Set Code F72283
Year 2015
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Gray
Flash Level Average
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 – 1945

 Review   

With a remarkable catalogue on 1/72 WWII Germans manufactured in resin, CMK clearly distinguishes as the most prolific maker working with this material. Nevertheless, it should be recognised the label is more focused on non-combat stances, practically within their huge offer, only one or two sets depicting soldiers in mist of fight. From divers to air-pilots, from cavalry to nurses and civil workers, from U-boot to tank crews, the Czech company impresses with the multitude of topics they succeed to treat, often covering important gaps in the existing broad tender of 1/72 WWII German figs.

A blank subject recently identified by CMK are the famous rocket units, and consequently two three figure sets appeared, designed for handling a weapon that after war directly contributed to the human development, facilitating their travels in the space. However, the producer did not limit to the soldiers operating the weapon, but also included the famous German engineer that designedthe A4/V2 and Saturn V rockets, Wernher von Braun, the person world-wide acknowledged as one of the most important figures in the development of rocket technology.

With one of the longest titles ever encountered at a 1/72 figure set, “Werner von Braun with his inspection team watching an A4/V2 rocket launch test” and the subtitle “Suitable for 1/72 Special Armour A-stroff model” this tender rests in three miniatures, marketed in the standard CMK package, formed by a clear plastic cover with a cardboard bottom. The set received as artwork a drawing showing two troopers making different things at the launch table/trailer combination while the third, a civilian looks at them. They are coloured and represented in almost the same positions as the resin miniatures while the visible parts of the launch table/trailer combination are just suggested in black and white, in order to highlight the parts are not included but the hobbyist to figure out what these figs can do.

Four slots are placed in the box, larger ones for each figure and another holding the three heads. While only heads are separate, assembly is extremely easy and should be done with cyanoacrylate, super-glue gel making a very powerful and durable bond. Although no assembly guide is provided, the artwork provides sufficient guidelines for understanding sculptor’s intention for heads allocation.   

It is certainly more difficult and demanding trying to portray a certain character, especially in Braille Scale, but CMK succeeded fairly well to represent Wernher von Braun. WWII images reveal him dressed either in civil clothes or in Waffen SS uniform, but most than obvious, he wore the military garment only at parades and in certain festive occasions. While here he performs his regular and most beloved activity, the rocket, the CMK sculptor dressed him in a civil suit, with shirt and tie. During WWII Germany, such formal attire was regular, and even when working, scientists and researchers put on suits, as lots of filmed and photographed documents attest. The 1/72 von Braun imagined by CMK holds his hands deep in the trousers pockets and the facial details remind pretty well about the character the miniature intends to embody. To this impression definitely contributes also the hair-cut, the sculptor carving it in a brilliant manner. Plenty of photos taken after WWII, when von Braun worked for NASA show him in suit, so there is no problem using this figure in dioramas or other scenarios targeting that period, but of course, painting von Braun’s hair with some gray for stressing his age.

Though named inspection team, the two men accompanying von Braun are definitely soldiers, wearing specific items, some of those, as ankle boots with gaiters being rather specific to infantrymen on the front line than to auxiliary personnel carrying out maintenance activities. One of them, with rolled up sleeves seems putting on a shirt and drill trousers. In accordance with the guidelines from the artwork, to this figure should be added the head with M43 cap. The pattern of the shirt is with two breast pockets and to it the trooper also added shoulder boards. Nevertheless, some WWII German officers and NCOs placed shoulder boards on their shirts, especially in summer and in hot environments where they did not often wear the tunics. The stance depicts a soldier arranging something at the launch table/trailer combination, spinning a hand-wheel or similar things, but does not impress too much with his natural movement.

His comrade, also with ankle boots and gaiters, arrives in a M43 uniform, but that could also be a HBT drill attire, being known such garments often share almost the same pattern. This figure must get the other bare-head included in the set. The artwork reveals both von Braun and this soldier from the back, so if not knowing how von Braun looked like, the modeller might have difficulties in deciding which head should go to each figure. However, there are clear distinctions between the facial details of the two heads, but the most helpful-hand comes from the hair-cuts, von Braun’s head having higher hair, so the trooper will remain with the short-hair one. With both hands in the air, the mini was designed to check something at the launch table/trailer combination, controlling if the parts are well fitted or similar things. Due to its pose, with both hands up in the air, this miniature is ideal to portray a surrendering soldier or a deserter that had just been caught. Bearing in mind such stances are hardly met in the scale, hobbyists needing a suitable figure for a particular scenario aiming at this topic, will find here a solution perfectly answering to their search.

Nevertheless, because the way they are dressed, these troopers can perform maintenance activities for any WWII German vehicle and would not look out of place in a harbour or in an air-field, especially if their gaiters are slightly modified, the removal of the related straps being recommended in this purpose. Nice additions to both of them are the more than visible wrist watches. Even the miniature in suit may not necessary embody von Braun, but an army-man prepared for going out in a short leave. Lots of images from WWII show German soldiers close to the front-line but dressed in civil clothes staying near a Panzer or in front of barracks or country-houses. Of course, the miniature can embody a civilian of any nation, also covering a large period of time, starting before WWII till present.

Although not carrying out outstanding activities, the three poses proposed here are fairly good, the one with M43 cap appearing as the weakest. Their clothes evoke a fine day while the gaiters and M43 cap come up as certain clues for the Late War period. 

Taking into account the purpose of the set, 1/72 A4/V2 rockets must be searched. These definitely are not so easy to find as a Panzer or air-craft, but the market records few offers, obviously the most comprehensive one being already mentioned within the subtitle of the set. The Special Armour kit is quite interesting, featuring also the launch table/trailer combination, the company marketing the related tractors in separate kits, too. If wanting to respect the initial destination, modellers have to orient to such offers, accessories in the filed being available as well, giving the possibility to hobbyists to recreate a complex image of a WWII German rocket base.

In line with most CMK figures, the present ones receive a fairly good anatomy, with excellent facial details, eyes, eye-brows, noses, mouths, cheeks, ears, and hair being nicely sculptured. Likewise, the hands have finely represented fingers, but as in many cases at troopers by this company, are little over-scaled. Even if clothes do not make a remarkable ding, still pass as good, incorporating several fine details as buttons, shoulder boards, and some natural creases.

Along the years the Czech maker has perfected its casting technique and it is recognised for using a qualitative resin, not bridle or fragile, allowing a good cast, without significant flash or air-bubbles. Practically, on the reviewed sample, no air-bubble was discovered, a quite impressive detail for resin figs. The thin film and flash can be effortlessly removed with any blade and the material properly takes enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, the painting resisting in time and handling. As for the great majority of resin figs, neither here there are bases, but if wanting to permanently stick the troopers on stands or in dioramas, it can be easily done with super-glue gel.

These figs are in the medium/tall side of the scale and though approaching an almost unique topic, similarly dressed 1/72 militaries and civilians are available in huge numbers. Obviously, CMK catalogue is the most recommended, and among various sets should not be ignored the inter-connected one “German A4/V2 missile launch platform personnel, WW II” as well as FB Minis' "Engineer and Inspectors".  Likewise, Zvezda’s “Airfield Personnel” and Warrior’s “U-Boat Crew Set2 (Main Gun Crew)” incorporate miniatures that can complete the unit, both in terms of size and clothes. On the other hand, good civilians are in several sets by Preiser. A couple of sets treating a fairly bizarre subject are Odemars/Ykreol’s two sets “Project R.F.Z.”, inside modellers finding researchers, engineers, inspectors, but the miniatures from both sets are quite poorly sculptured, much inferior to CMK’s.

It is certainly a pleasure noticing that CMK still identifies subjects that are uncovered in terms of 1/72 WW2 Germans, though on the market are over 600 sets. Such tender also highlights the huge potential offered by that army for manufacturers, still lots of topics waiting to be addressed. The inclusion of a replica of the famous scientist Wernher von Braun is a nice addition as well as a recognition of the key contribution brought by him to development, fulfilling one of the oldest and most desired dreams of humans, flying near the stars.    

 

 Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 9
Mould Quality 10
Sculpture 9
Recommendation/Utility 9
Reviewer’s Opinion 9