Articles

Adler Miniatures - Figures with dust mask and goggles mixed (GAK5) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer Adler Miniatures
Scale 1/72
Set Code GAK5
Year 2016
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1941 – 1945

 

Review   

A large number of manufactures of white metal Braille Scale WWII Germans are based in UK, several of them reaching fame all over the world. Although established in mid-80s’, Adler Miniatures just recently has joined the club, issuing an entire line of 1/72 WWII German tankers. It is generally acknowledged that Afrikakorps Panzer crews are hard to find on the market, thus, in the first stage, the company decided to focus its attention on this particular topic. Adler’s Miniatures website lists six sets and with a single exception, these consist in half-body figures. Bearing in mind such minis are designed to be placed in hatches, the approach is not so annoying and for ages has been applied by many plastic, resin, and white metal makers as Esci/Italeri, Warriors, Retrokit FR, CMK, Plastic Soldier, Ykreol, Miniaturas Alemany, the Weathering Factory etc.

Nowadays it is extremely difficult to find 1/72 WWII German vehicles producers that include in their kits the related crewmen and for this reason, lots of mass-production and cottage industry reps have brought on the market Panzer troopers sets. The subject appears as one of foremost interest and best sold and generally, the tenders feature miniatures dressed in the standard Panzer wrapper. Still, Braille Scale Panzer soldiers wearing winter or drill clothes as well as shirts are available in fair amounts.

The garment of Panzer units fighting in Africa was identical with the one supplied to the infantry, the same tropical uniform being shared. Thus, miniatures wearing the classical Panzer wrapper and trousers put on by continental troops cannot be deployed in Afrikakorps vehicles, manned by soldiers in tropical tunics (alike in cut with M43 ones), shirts or even stripped to waist. Nevertheless, WWII Germans in shirts or half naked are encountered in numerous sets in the scale, but obviously, they miss the communication gear, quite necessary for armour crews when they were in the vehicles.  

In a certain manner, 1/72 Afrikakorps Panzer crews have not received similar attention as their continental comrades, MIG Productions’ “Afrika Korps tank crew” and Retrokit’s “Afrika Korps tank crew, relaxed” representing a couple of the fewest interpretations. Thus, the entire Braille Scale collection put forward by Adler Miniatures is very valuable and highly welcome. Likewise, very attractive is that their sets not only provide troopers appropriately dressed in tropical tunics or shirts, but also feature highly detailed and complete communication equipment, composed by head-phones, throat microphone, control switch housing, and related wires.

In spite theoretically dressed for Africa, the Panzer crews submitted by Adler Miniatures can be utilized without any fear on various continental fronts, especially in warm regions as Italy, Greece, Balkans or Russia. Thus, the tender addresses both to hobbyists interested in Afrikakorps subjects and to those preferring to depict European scenes. Additionally, an important characteristic making the figures suitable for Africa and Europe without any painting modification is that even wearing the tropical uniform, the Afrikakorps tankers brought and often put on their continental black M34 overseas caps, as a sign of pride and to highlight their membership. So, gamers and modellers painting with black the M34 overseas caps of their Adler miniatures in shirts can place those either in Afrikakorps or continental vehicles.   

The operation theatre in Africa was defined by sand, many times the soldiers having to appeal to googles or dust masks. Still, the same items were utilised on continental fronts, lots of photos and films taken during WWII revealing that. 1/72 Panzer soldiers with googles are available in quite limited quantities while those wearing dust masks are almost inexistent. Adler’s incentive of introducing figures with googles and dust masks is praised, the endeavour also giving emphasis to company’s excellent knowledge in term of the market needs. Moreover, the manufacturer proposes a full set on the matter, under the name “Figures with dust mask and goggles mixed”, which represents the topic of the present review, too.

Most of WWII German armoured vehicles had a four or five-member crew, the white metal 1/72 sets on Panzer crews issued by Adler Miniatures accommodating four figures, practically covering all the main hatches of any vehicle, the eventual other one or two members presumed to be inside and impossible to spot. The sets are commercialized in a simple transparent plastic bag, without any artwork or tag. For any information about, even basic ones as set code or name, hobbyists must surf internet, visiting manufacturer or other specialised websites in the field. Nicely sculptured, all their figures are cast as single pieces and do not require assembly, only eventual gluing in the hatches. White metal finely accepts super glue, those wanting to permanently stick the figs in positions encountering no problem. For allowing easy changes, at least the minis selected for the cupola of a Panzer should not be glued there because mostly they fit very well and cannot slip inside the vehicle.  

“Figures with dust mask and goggles mixed” delivers four half body figures, obviously all wearing the items enumerated in the title. Likewise, the word “mixed” accentuates the diversity of attire, two wearing tunics and the others shirts. The perfect equality is also respected in terms of headgear, two getting M34 overseas caps and two covering their heads with tropical peak caps, almost identical in shape and cut with the subsequent M43 continental cap. Issued to and intensively worn by Panzer crews after 1943, still the older M34 overseas cap was preferred by those because the peak of the M43 cap hampered the moves inside the vehicle. By painting the M43 cap in black, modellers may obtain proper Late War Panzer crewmen for continental fronts while finishing the headgear in Feldgrau stresses the soldiers belong to Assault Artillery or other units using vehicles with hatches.  

Although all of these four half-bodies have goggles, certainly their dust masks come out as the main point of attraction. In order to protect their noses and mouths from sand and dust, WWII German troopers used various scarves in different colours. The sculptor succeeded in a remarkable manner to depict the dust masks, excellent folding over faces and featuring realistic creases and knots at the back of the heads.

Two are quarter figs, both with tropical peak caps but dressed differently, one in tunic and the other in shirt. That with tunic holds in his left hand a pair of binoculars and eventually can be assessed as commander or NCO. He lacks the right arm but his comrade comes without any limb. Because of that, most recommended places for these troopers will be driver and radio operator hatches, even if the manner their shoulders were sculptured permits cupola utilizations, too. As regards his pale, exciting is the shape of the mouth while breathing that appears on the dust mask, the sculptor marvellously succeeding to catch it.

The third soldier of the set is a little bigger, featuring the entire torso and the belt, also getting only the left hand with which he tries to better arrange the headphones. Wearing the tropical tunic, he covers his head with an M34 overseas cap and on his back is visible the upper part of the pistol holster, making him appropriate to occupy a place in a turret hatch.

Last miniature included in the offer here reviewed has got the longest body, missing only the legs below knees. Armed with pistol in holster, he put on shirt, regular trousers, and tropical cap, also revealing a highly detailed belt on which, modellers with good eyes can see even the adjusting holes. Somehow strange is that he has the wrist watch on the right and not on the left hand, but this is not disturbing, many people wearing the watch on that hand even nowadays. A pair of binoculars hangs on his chest and he looks like using his hands for keeping the balance in the turret hatch. The way the limbs are angled makes this figure ideal for grabbing the two hatches of a Panzer III or some Panzer IV cupola, an Afrikakorps tank commander adopting a similar stance in a well-known photo of the period. Nonetheless, the miniature can rest his palms on the cupola of other Panzers and armoured vehicles, so it is not mandatory hobbyists to find a Panzer III or IV.

Concerning painting these troopers, the shirts can be finished in a multitude of colours, some of them suitable for Africa and tropical European regions or just for continental fronts. The same applies to the tunics, feldgrau, drill or camouflage colours representing the choices for hobbyists not wanting to enrol the minis in Afrikakorps. The single pair of trousers displayed here might be painted in accordance with the area where the modeller wants to use that soldier, though some colours can universally fit. However, black is the least recommended while those pants do not reveal the characteristic pockets of the Panzer trousers.

Illustrating just a small part of the bodies, it is normal the sculptor to focus his attention on tiny details, not only the googles and dust masks impressing, but also the entire communication gear. The white metal allowed a wonderful representation of the metal headband, sometimes set at a fair distance from the head. Furthermore, wires naturally hang and the throat microphones are more than visible, including the related leader wrapped metal sheet arranged around necks, to this contributing the loose wear of the attire, too. The only control switch housing is on the miniature holding the headphones, the ones of the figures with binoculars being hidden by those items and the quarter mini missing it due to the reduced dimensions of the body. However, on all these troopers the related cords are easily noticed and hang in a realistic manner, as well as the binoculars straps.  

At their turn, the caps are top-notch detailed, with nice eagles, cockades, buttons, three caps displaying the inverted "V" soutaches as well. The central emplacement of the eagle and the cockades stress the soldiers belong to Heer, but an eventual enrolment in Waffen SS is easily achieved, simply painting the cockade as a skull and eventually placing the eagle on the left side of the caps, after removing it from the front, being sufficient in this regard. Anyway, this last operation is not obligatory, often caps worn by Waffen SS troopers having the national eagle in central position.

Even if only a small part reproduced, the clothes record lots of details as buttons, shoulder straps, and accurate creases, most remarkable being those of the rolled up sleeves of the shirt. In a certain manner, in accordance with the unit the hobbyist wants these soldiers to serve, the colour of the Waffenfarbe should be maintained both on shoulder boards and cap soutaches, pink corresponding to Panzer troops.

The anatomy of Adler miniatures, where heads are the most visible, correspond to the tall side of 1/72 figs. This time the faces are covered by goggles, dust masks, and headphones, just a small part of the noses remaining outside. Hair emerges quite nice as well as palms and fingers, when it is the case.

Mould and cast are fine, the figurines arriving with a small level of flash that can be immediately cleaned, the metal engaged by Adler not being sturdy. Likewise, it finely accepts enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, obviously after the minis have been primed with special products for metal. Without such prior treatment the artistic effort might be seriously endangered even by minor touches.

Due to the size of heads and attire worn, the Adler troopers can properly collaborate with figs released in the tall side of the scale and dressed in tropical or continental uniforms, shirts, drill, or half naked. The tender in the field is extremely broad, Airfix, Atlantic, Esci, Italeri, Revell, D-Day Miniature, Extratech, Zvezda making available Afrikakorps or other suitable army-men. As previously mentioned, sets on Afrikakorps Panzer soldiers are scarce, MIG Productons and Retrokit listing few offers. In addition, Ykreol issues under the title “German Soldiers” a set of half figures for armoured vehicles, some of those being similarly dressed and sized with Adler Miniatures, but very far from in terms of quality. Nevertheless, sharing the same sculptor, the best match is achieved with comrades from the other Adler Miniatures sets. It is important to note that throughout its entire collection, the company maintains the same proportions for bodies and gear. In order to genuinely display the Panzer crew in the hatches of their vehicle, mixing the soldiers with dust masks and googles with those without is a highly recommended approach. As many references attest, not all the crewmen of a vehicle wore in the same moment googles, dust-masks or both, obviously, only those remaining outside for longer periods appealing to such items. 

For many years, hobbyists have identified Afrikakorps Panzer troopers as a main gap in the scale, particularly bearing in mind the huge number of vehicles for that unit issued without personnel by their manufactures. Thanks to Adler Miniatures’ offer, the overall appearance of 1/72 Afrikakorps vehicles can be improved now, in an accurate and attractive manner. The open hatches of Panzers or other armour fighting in Africa or in hot continental regions might be populated by proper crewmen, either on the gaming tables or in dioramas. The price per set is a little high but still accessible for both categories and the quality of the figs may satisfy most interested persons, so a range of miniatures that should be closely considered by hobbyists interested in the Afrikakorps topic or warm continental regions. 

 

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