ARM: DML 1/35 Scale "Achtung-Jabo!" German Tank Crew 1944

Kit Review: DML 1/35 ?39-?45 Series No. 6191; "Achtung - Jabo!" Panzer Crew (France 1944);

58 parts (51 in grey styrene, 7 etched metal); estimated retail price about $8.95

Advantages: new crew figures more suitable to late war German vehicles and dioramas

Disadvantages: Figure positions somewhat static

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: For all German fans, especially those doing late-war vehicles

The people who model German WWII vehicles always seem to have an idealized view of their subject, and in many cases should pay more attention to the serious photos of captured or killed German soldiers of the times to get a better feel for how bad off they really were. There are three things many of these modelers fail to understand: one, not every German unit was equipped with Tigers or Panthers; two, few of the vehicles were really painted up in to-the-letter factory fresh "ambush" paint schemes; and three, by mid 1944 very few German panzer troops were still wearing tailor-shop fresh black wool uniforms with pink and silver trim, nor fancy multi-colored camouflage smocks.

By that point in the war, primary production had swung over to wartime essentials and many once-standard issue items were being curtailed or eliminated. The wool uniforms were starting to dry up and many of the troops had long ago switched over to a black canvas like material. By this stage of

1944, more and more troops were being issued a two-piece dark grey-green cotton twill uniform; perhaps it was not as attractive, but it was more useful and practical in the long run.

Also, one thing which has still not been given the credit it is surely due from all corners is the tremendous effectiveness of the 9th Air Force. This tactical command, largely composed of squadrons of the rugged P-47 Thunderbolt, was one of the main tank killers in the drive through France. As ground forces units perfected air-to-ground tactics and guidance, as any major roadblock was encountered, four to eight Thunderbolts would swoop in and use bombs, rockets, and machine gun fire to clear the way for the ground forces. These fighter-bomber aircraft ? "Jagdbombemfluzeuge" in German ? were quickly abbreviated as "Jabo" in the German shorthand of the day.

Photos of the German panzers attempting to move forward after D-Day and during Operation Cobra show many of the troops wearing this uniform, as well as what happened to the tanks when caught by the "Jabos" on the roads. Neither Tiger nor Panther survived hits by 500 pound bombs.

DML now offers this option for a tank crew, and the box contains four full figures standing in various poses. These are somewhat static, but then again, it is trying to represent a crew outside of its tank when the P-47s are spotted. The crew consist s of three privates and one NCO tank commander.

The figures are "DML Standard" and as usual are well proportioned with great facial details. Three sidecaps and one cap with bill are provided, as well as the complete cupola of a Panther A or G model with MG 34 AA machine gun. While the kit does include an etched fret for the commander's headset band, surprisingly the MG 34 AA sight (part 1) is solid styrene and not etched metal. (They also don't indicate it is to be used, so apparently someone in the art department didn't like it either!) Painting options are also provided for a three-color woodland camouflage scheme for the twill uniforms, so apparently they do give you that as a choice.

Overall, this is a very nice set for the more cognizant of German modelers, and will be appreciated by them as it gives a realistic German figure for completing a model; I suspect all four figures will be divvied up as commanders rather than grouped around one vehicle.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell AMPS

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