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Tristar German Afrika Korps

by Frank De Sisto

Item 35011. Contains 113 injection-molded styrene parts with instructions/painting guide located on the box top. Price: TBD, plus shipping.

Designed as stand-alone figures, in typical Afrika Korps (or, more precisely, Tropical) garb, there is also a single seated driver figure included in this set, which is designed to fit into a VW Kubelwagen. He could certainly be adapted to fit into any of a number of other vehicles that may require such a figure. Other places the Wehrmacht served, such as Sicily, Italy and various areas located around the Mediterranean Sea also saw these uniforms used. Therefore, this set should prove to be a handy addition to the diorama or vignette modeler’s arsenal. There are a total of six full figures in the box. They are clothed in a typical mix of gear seen in tropical environments.

Figure “A” represents an infantryman and wears an M1940 Tropical peaked cap and M1940 Tropical tunic and trousers. His footwear is the M1940 Tropical ankle boots with gaiters. He is armed with a K98 rifle. He’s composed of six parts (not including weapon, cap and other kit) and is posed walking with his rifle slung over his right shoulder.

Figure “B” is the section’s MG34 gunner and is clothed as per figure “A”, except that his ankle boots do not have gaiters. He is also composed of six parts, minus head-gear, weapons and kit. His right hand is designed to appear as if he holds the MG34, resting it on his shoulder. Therefore the hand comes with the grip for the MG34 molded integrally with it. He is also holding an ammunition box and wears the MG tool kit and holstered pistol.

Figure “C” depicts an enlisted man wearing M1940 Tropical shirt, shorts and ankle boots. He is designed to sit in the driver’s seat of an appropriate vehicle (a VW is shown in the box art), but certainly could be adapted to other vehicles. He is composed of five parts, not including head-gear.

Figure “D”, also an enlisted man, is clothed as per figure “B”, and is the MG34 gunner’s assistant. Both of his hands hold 7.92mm ammo boxes, and so the handles are molded onto his hands. He is made up of six parts.

Figure “E” is the section leader and can be made up as an officer or NCO. He wears the high M1940 lace-front boots, tunic (with a scarf around his neck) and officer’s breeches. He carries an MP40, and wears a map case, M1938/40 MP magazine pouch and binoculars. He is composed of seven parts, which include separate boots and left hand for better definition.

Figure “F” depicts the final infantryman in this section. He is also clothed as per figures “B” and “D”, and also carries a rifle. He is made up of seven parts, including separate left hand. He carries a rifle and is depicted climbing into a vehicle (or up a step).

In all of this I have not mentioned specific head gear because there are options for either the M1940 tropical peaked cap, or M1935 steel helmet. In the case of the caps, there are six; one for each figure. There are four helmets, and the instructions depict most of the figures carrying their helmets slung on their “web gear” (to use an American term). But, they can be easily used on any of the figures’ heads, should the modeler feel the urge to do so. There are also M1931 bread bags, water bottles, rifle ammunition pouches and entrenching tools on the figure sprues, allowing each figure to be fully equipped. The vehicle driver is also provided with a pair of goggles.

The now-standard sprue of weapons and equipment consists of three K98 rifles, with separate bolts (one of which can be depicted in the open position), three MP40 machine pistols (one of which has a separate extended stock), a P38 pistol and binoculars. There are four M1935 helmets, four M1931 mess kits and four M1938 gas masks which can be placed on or around the figures. The gas masks and mess kits, as well as the rifles take advantage of slide mold technology for clean detail on the ends of items, or in the case of the rifles, open channels for the addition of the separate bolts. In addition, there is a pair of exquisitely-molded MG34 general purpose machine-guns. Each of them comes with a separate receiver cover and one can be equipped with a folded bipod; the other has an open bipod. This sprue also contains one opened (with ammo in place) and one closed 7.92mm ammo box (aside from the three that are spread throughout the figure part sprues). These, as well as the MG34s make use of slide-mold technology for maximum detail. Finally there is a small “snail-drum” ammo container, what may be a strap for the MG34 and what certainly is a spare barrel carrier for it. It is odd that none of the figures is shown in the instructions as carrying this last item, but it certainly should be used. Also odd is the fact that a couple of the men’s rifles are shown with slings in the instructions, but none are provided. Why no company provides these as photo-etch items, in this day and age, is beyond this reviewer.

The box top serves as a painting and assembly guide, and provides separate color illustrations that detail the various insignia as seen on the men’s uniforms. Colors are keyed to Tamiya, Gunze (both acrylics and enamels) and Humbrol paints. Overall, the design of these figures is quite nice. The poses are relaxed, which can make these guys very useful for a number of scenarios. The molding, for styrene plastic, is first-rate. The uniform details, such as pockets, straps, buttons, belts and insignia are commendably sharp. The shoes also look “right” in that the heels and toes are well defined. The weapons and items of equipment can be considered to represent the “state-of-the-art” in injection-molded plastic. A good paint job and resin heads would make these guys hard to tell apart from more expensive full resin figures.

This is another very useful set of figures and as mentioned, does not need to be confined to a North Africa scenario.

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.