by: Bob Davis [ ]
This kit comes in the standard box with instructions on the back for the soldier only and it includes a paint guide. The sprues are not bagged and the photo etch is inside the folded instruction sheet. There is no flash and is free of damaged parts in this sample. There are 4 knock out areas which you should have no problem removing. Even loose the photo etch was completely flat, which is good because of the many thin parts. I would seriously recommend some photo etch experience to tackle this one. No decals are provided for the soldier or equipment. The kit consists of 3 sprues of light grey color, 2 of which are attached together. They are shown as sprues A,B and D. The photo etch is considered sprue C.
The weapons included are as follows; A Kar 98, an MG 34 with separate shoulder stock and ammo canister, 2 Panzerfausts, a mine and an ammunition box for the MG 34. The gear for the soldier is 2 ammunition pouches, a bread bag (which has a convex back to sit properly and leave no stick out look), a canteen, an entrenching tool, a helmet and a rolled tarp or rain gear. Oddly no bayonet is provided. The gear and weapons will suffice for this project.
The figure is supplied in the usual breakdown of a torso, 2 arms, 2 legs, a service capped head and separate hands so that you can position them to hold the bike. Also the front halves of the jacket are 2 separate parts. Crease detail is fine and the pockets, German eagle and straps look good. The rifle sling has a nice indented look to it also. As to the head, it can be used but I have an issue with the right ear as it has no detail like the left which is sparse to begin with. The mouth is open showing his upper teeth. Personally I would replace it with an alternative resin offering.
The bicycle consists of 9 styrene parts and 1 you won’t use (equipment rack base). The photo etch parts consist of 37 parts. Some are as thin as a hair. The rims for the tyre look awesome, but when I held them up to the tire they seem to fit right into the tire and don’t look like they will be able to bulge out from the axle. A bit strange but maybe a slight out ward bulge could be attained with a bit of zap a gap? It was very confusing when I first looked at the photo etch bike instructions but I got it sorted out. You can build the bike without the storage rack on the bike, or 4 different loads. #1 is for the MG 34 ammunition box, gas mask container, helmet and folded tarp. #2 is the same gear on the rack and a center case for the mine, #3is the same gear on the rack plus 2 Panzerfausts and the bike box on the upper tube. #4 is just the same gear and bike box.
The photo etch rack will take some patience and uses 10 parts which could be daunting for some, like myself, But if done with care will look perfect in scale thickness. The plastic ones are always thicker looking and the 1 part you don't use is the plastic base for the rack. Compare the plastic to the photo etch and you will smile at the difference. One very nice thing is the center gear and chain comes in 2 parts to show the detail on both sides, nice move on Master Box’s designers/engineers part. The straps for holding the gear are nicely done with buckles and pins that go into the holes, which are present too. The spokes for the rim are just beautiful looking and very delicate for scale thinness. There is a very thin part that goes by the right handle that is a grip for the bikes light. Unfortunately the front of the light is gray plastic instead of clear. It would be easy to fill it after painting with a clear liquid. If you are picky like me, then a new #11 blade will be useful to scribe out 1 small plastic block between the back tyre and mud guard. On the front tyre you need to remove out 2 of them, one at the top and one at the bottom. They are longer but you shouldn’t have any problems and it will improve the look greatly.