Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00411; WWII Soviet Tank Crew Ammo Supplied Team; 87 parts (81 in grey styrene, 6 in black vinyl); price not known but estimated to be less than US $13
Advantages: Good poses and well done sculpting; nice choice of accessories
Disadvantages: painting and assembly directions even more spartan than the worst of the DML ones
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet WWII and early Cold War fans
Trumpeter has been doing figure sets for a while now, but due to subject matter this is the first one that I have had reason to pick up. (I don't build German railway guns!) I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are very good quality and nothing like the really lousy copies of Tamiya figures in their first generation of kits nearly ten years ago.
The kit provides four Soviet tanks with tanker's padded helmets and ammunition for use in a diorama setting. Apparently they are tailored for the KV series tanks or a forthcoming line of KV-1s/KV-85 series tanks, but you can use them with any major Soviet WWII armored vehicle. You have a choice of either three open 85mm rounds or three twin 76mm round boxes for them to use in action. They are all useful if in need of some "TLC" to make them stand out.
The tankers themselves are fairly standard figure breakdowns - two legs, one piece torso, two arms, head and helmet top. To Trumpeter's credit, the one-piece torsos are well done and at least in my example there were no sink marks, the bane of heavy or thick plastic parts. All of the figures are wearing the mid-late war black cotton coveralls with leather boots, gloves and padded canvas helmets. The molding is outstanding, showing even fabric weave where it should be, wrinkles in the gloves and excellent expression on the faces.
The heads are split more in the manner of infantry types that use a separate steel helmet, separating right above the forehead of all four figures. This leaves the tops with goggles and straps molded in place, which may be a good way to do it as they look "right."
The kit also provides some "kit" in the way of pistol holsters, but one of the supplementary sprues also comes with infantry helmets, bread bags, entrenching tools and the small packets found on many Soviet infantrymen. There is another supplementary sprue with two Moisin rifles with bayonets, two PPSh submachine guns with separate ammo drums, and an antitank rifle. The latter is an odd choice, as it comes without its essential bipod nor any ammunition. (My personal choice would have been for a DT machine gun with its bipod, as many Soviet tank crews used them in this fashion for security when outside the tank.)
For some odd reason, the kit also throws two chickens - one hen, one rooster.
Lastly, the kit comes with six black vinyl tanker's helmets in varying conditions (straps unbuckled, buckled high, or rolled and buckled up) for use as accessories. They will not fit on the figures (and would not look as good even if they did) but provide for a stray or two in a diorama.
The directions are pretty unimpressive, being even more simplified than the DML ones and apparently they just expect you to use the box art and not the back. It's a shame that they don't give them better quality directions or at least better pictures.
Overall, this kit is a pleasant acquisition and one which should prove popular with Soviet or Warsaw Pact fans from about 1943 to 1965 or so.