Home > Reviews > Russia WWII > Preiser HO Scale (1/87) Figure Sets: Kit No. 16545: Infantrymen on a tank, USSR 1942. Kit No. 16546: Tank crew USSR 1942.


Preiser HO Scale (1/87) Figure Sets: Kit No. 16545: Infantrymen on a tank, USSR 1942. Kit No. 16546: Tank crew USSR 1942.

by Cookie Sewell

Kit No. 16545; 83 parts in khaki stryene; price US$8

Kit No. 16546; 34 parts in khaki styrene; price US$7

Advantages: best figures in this scale by any company; nice poses and useful choices of options

Disadvantages: all of the options found on 1/35 scale figures on a 1/87 scale figure make for some very tiny parts

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all Soviet WWII armor fans and also HO railway modelers

Many model railroaders are familiar with the German company Preiser, headquartered in the notorious tourist trap of Rothenberg am der Tauber. For years they have been the acme of small figure manufacturers, and even today produce figures for their own extensive lines in scales from Z Gauge (1/220) to LGB gauge (1/22.5). In recent years, Preiser has expanded their line of figures to cover more common armor modeling scales, and now makes figures in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/35 as well. Most of this is done by means of pantographing the original figure up or down as they need to meet a product line. (Modelers should note that what makes for a great figure in 1/87 may make for a good figure in 1/48 but one "soft" on details in 1/35, though.)

With the rise of new lines of HO scale armor from eastern Europe, most notably Premo from Russia (marketed in the west by ROCO) as well as other small manufacturers, there has a been a call for new figure sets to go with them. For many years this scale tended to be ignored as it was considered either a "wargamers' scale" or a "toy scale" as most figure sets were made of soft plastic from companies like Airfix, Revell, Italeri, Haet, etc. But with the advent of scale models it called for scale figures and now Preiser is making 1/87 lines of WWII German, American and Soviet figures to go with these new armored vehicles.

Set number 16545 provides a 12 man "tankoviy desant" – tank riders – suitable for the 1942-1944 period of the war. Each figure consists of a one or two piece body with separate arms and weapons, a blanket roll, rations bag, and choice of heads – either with helmet or "pilotka" side cap. The figures are in a number of positions varying from fully seated to crouching and even standing, so they should be able to fit on any HO scale armored vehicle. As noted, what makes a good part in 1/35 may be pretty tiny in 1/87, so prepare for having to deal with flying heads if not careful.

Ste number 16546 provides a series of eight commander figures as well as two drivers. The latter are one-piece figures from the torso up, but come on a sort of "pogo stick" so they will fit into most of the extant tank hulls and sit properly in an open driver's hatch. Three commanders are complete figures, one is a three-quarter (e.g no lower legs) and four are designed to separate at the belt line so they may be used with a "dummy" cupola as the commander figure. Again a variety of headgear is provided, from helmets to tankers' helmets to peaked caps, most with goggles.

The directions are on the inside of the box, so this is not a kit where you can check out the instructions without ruining the box. This is a quirk of many later Preiser kits, but I think they have been trying to maintain reasonable prices and by not including a separate direction sheet it appears to help out.

The box art is helpful, showing a number of sets in use with several Premo T-34 Model 1941 tanks rolling down a road.

Overall, if you can manipulate the parts these are great kits and really dress up small scale armor models.

Cookie Sewell