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Tristar German Self-Propelled Gun Crew Set, Vol. 2

by Frank De Sisto

Contains: two turned brass rounds and 67 parts in injection molded styrene, plus instructions and painting guide on the box top. Price: $13.00 USD, plus shipping.

The firm of Tristar continues to manufacture the highest quality plastic figures on the market today. This set is perhaps the most useful group of figures they have yet come up with. There are a total of six figures included (five full and one half), all in what I’ll call “fair weather” clothing. One standing figure is in one-piece coveralls, another standing figure wears the standard Wehrmacht M1943 tunic, while the remaining figures wear the short M1940 or M1942 Tank/Assault Gun crew jackets and trousers. They all wear either M1935 side caps or M1943 field caps, while some have alternate heads and caps. There are also separate holstered side arms for most of the figures, as well as a second pair of binoculars, with lens cap.

The now standard Tristar weapons sprue is also included. It contains one pair of binoculars, a P38 pistol, three MP40 submachine guns (one of which is meant to be stowed in the Nashorn in the appropriate bracket) and three KAR98 rifles with separate bolts. The sprue also contains four gas mask cases, four mess kits and four M1935 steel helmets. This last can be placed on an appropriately modified figure, should the modeler desire. The weapons sprue makes use of multi-part or “slide mold” technology to more accurately depict certain details such as ends of gas mask cases and mess kits.

As a bonus, Tristar has included one brass round each for the 7.5cm Pak 40 and the 8.8cm Pak 43, to be held by the appropriate loader figure, which also adds to the overall excellent value of this set.

These figures are designed to provide “fitted” crewmembers for the recent Tamiya Marder III Ausf. M, and for the DML Nashorn/Hornisse Panzerjager kits. So, there is one sitting figure for each kit included, each designed to fit to the particular gun/seat combination on said kit. The gunner for the Nashorn/Hornisse has his hat turned backwards, to allow him the proper view through his gun sight … no, he is not some ahead-of-his-time appreciator of Rap music! Figure “B” has alternate arms while figure “D”, the half figure, is intended to be posed in the open driver’s hatch of the chosen vehicle.

Overall, the figures exhibit excellent uniform and insignia detail. The poses are quite natural and the cloth folds are also well done. In addition, each of the heads has its own distinct facial expression, allowing for a figure with quite a bit of character. The box top doubles as the instructions and painting guide, with colors keyed to Gunze, Humbrol and Tamiya paints. This is just the thing for those who wish to liven up their Panzerjager kit.

Highly recommended.

As well as manufacturing their own line of resin kits and conversion sets, Chesapeake Model Designs (CMD) is the US Importer and distributor of Tristar products, and will ship worldwide. For more information see their web site at: www.chesapeakemodels.com. Phone/fax number is: 410-357-5496, NEW email: bill@chesapeakemodels.com.