set of five figures came out in 1996 and was well received by modelers who had
tired of Tamiya's old chunky tank crew set and the three-figure crew included
in the M4A3 Sherman. And compared to the price of a resin team, this set has been
a bargain at $8.00.
the figure standing with the Colt .45 in his hand, you need to carefully removed
the grip from the kit's pistol so it rests on the top of his hand. His trousers
are the OD herringbone twill. He wears the canvas leggings usually associated
with infantry, but these were standard issue for tankers as well. They just didn't
like wearing them much if they didn't have to. Like three of the other tankers,
he wears the winter combat jacket. This jacket was seen just about any time of
year, and this figure and the driver are the two best suited (so to speak) for
a summer Normandy setting. The other figures are more outfitted for colder weather.
commander looks to be on the horn with headquarters or another tank in his platoon,
with a T-17 microphone that was used with several different Army radios; you'll
need to clip off part of the hand to glue the upper portion the commander's hand.
The M1 steel helmet is a reminder that the armored headgear offered no ballistic
protection, being designed primarily to keep the crewman's head safe while jostling
around inside the vehicle. He wears the winter combat trousers over his combat
jacket and has a Colt inside the M7 holster strapped to his chest, and binoculars
over the strap. It's not clear in the cover photo, but this is a full length figure.
He'd look right at home in the turret of an M8 Greyhound as well as a Sherman
soldier carrying the jerry can looks like he's toting a full can of fuel. You
need to remove the center grab bar on the can for his fist to slip into place.
The M1 "grease gun" is very delicate, requiring care when removing the
barrel and metal stock from the sprue (the barrel was broken in my set). He also
wears the combat trousers, but under his jacket.
final two figures are serving from the waist up, one it his hands on the controls,
the other leaning out the hatch. The latter tanker looks like a Soviet cosmonaut,
but really he is sporting the winter combat helmet, which was more like a snapable
toque, worn under the crash helmet.
of these figures is a little busier than one might expect. DML wanted to try to
achieve the undercuts of the jacket lapels and head gear similar to what is found
in the best resin figures, but the injection molding process of plastic kits makes
this difficult, if not impossible. To compensate, the collars and lapels are separate
pieces, as are the flaps on the four tanker helmets (only the flaps are seen peeking
out from under the commander's steel pot). You also need to add your own wiring
for the hand microphone and throat microphone and interphone box. Note that the
tanker's crash helmet had an integral headset with a cord which connected to the
cord leading from the communications devices. So even the two figures standing
outside of the tank would still have a wire "tail" coming from behind
the left or right side.
is an early DML set, and the sculpting is a little softer than recent kits, but
still quite good for styrene. Sometimes DML figures have some "crazing"
in the casting process, and my set is afflicted with this. It's most prominent
on the backs of the torso pieces. I just look at it as an extra set of wrinkles
for that lived-in look. This figures's faces do not look very lived-in, on the
other hand, and like other DML faces, there is a sameness to all of them. So if
they don't paint up as well as you'd like them to, you might swap them for Hornet
or Warriors heads.
you may sense by now, this is a very versatile set of figures, and switching from
the crash helmet heads to M1 helmets or bare heads gives you more opportunities
with the three full length soldiers. This set regularly disappears, so if you
prefer plastic figures over resin, you might want to put two or three sets aside
on your shelf for a rainy day.