20mm Flak 38 Figure Set
If the boxart looks familar to some, it should as the boxart and set of figures were originally made by Tristar and is now produced and under the Hobby Boss label. So, a big thanks goes to Hobby Boss for not letting these figures get banished from modelers. This figure set can work pretty much any flak gun, though the seated figure (Figure E) should probably be test fitted into whatever flak seat he is placed and positioning his arms to grasp the controls.
Figure breakdown minus the heads, helmets and team leader's binoculars and sidearm. Also included are the two ammo containers (pics below). There were no real setbacks during the cleanup process, though during this step, I did notice several of the figures' hands and fingers contained some very nice detail for plastic, while others not so much. I corrected some of this by engraving deeper lines between some of the fingers before assembly. Another step to enhance the figures, which I did not do on this set, is hollow out the end of the jacket sleeves around the wrist which will go a long way to enhance the final result. Two of the figures had partially molded on helmet straps while the other three had no visible trace. So, either careful painting is in order or remove the partial straps and scratchbuild straps which is probably the better option. No helmet decals were included, so the modeler will need to source them elsewhere.
The overall detail was quite nice throughout even with a bit of clean up and some extra detail refining. Nice folds in clothing, hobnails on several of the figures showing the bottom of their boots and the poses actually seem to be realistic for a small flak crew.
The two-piece ammo container do provide some nice detail that should look quite good after painting, weathering and a bit of chipping wear and tear. Unfortunately, Hobby Boss does not provide extras.
For constuction, I used Styrene Tack-It II since Tenax 7r is hard to find or no longer available. Since Tack-It is a 'hot' glue, it worked great in melting enough plastic around the joins to act as a putty making join marks nearly disappear. The instructions provided on the back panel of the box was easy and straightforward. With the exception of Figure B, only a very minimum amount of filler putty was needed mostly around the arms even when using the Tack-It. Figure B, well, per the pics below, just needed a bit more putty and attention, but modelers are used to things like this.
While this may look like a lot of putty here, it really wasn't bad at all and this was the only figure that needed this much work. Nice addition of the hobnails.
Unfortunately, Hobby Boss doesn't identify what specific type of field jacket the flak crew is wearing as it does make a difference when painting uniforms, especially for the figure purists among us. As I mentioned in the "First Look" review of this set, the crew looks to be wearing a Luftwaffe issued fleigerbluse, as per the box art and, yes, the actual figures match the boxart. Hobby Boss does provide a color chart for the fleigerbluse on the rear box panel and identifies specific paint colors from the various companies to mix together for getting the proper uniform color.
For the uniform, Hobby Boss calls out for the modeler to use the following colors: Grey Blue, Tan, Field Grey. While the color guide is generally helpful, in this case, was not so much since none of the companies listed, except Acrysion (Mr. Hobby, Acrysion, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, Humbrol) had a specific color from their range that matched up with the Hobby Boss color guide for the uniform. In addition, the guide did not provide paint ratios to arrive at the recommended color. A casual search online for fleigerbluses show different shades ranging from a faded reed green to a grey-green and of course, I'm looking at a pic and not the real thing. Since I mainly use Vallejo for figure painting, rather than rangle with 'guesstimate' what the uniform color should be, I used a field grey paint set I recently purchased.
While no plastic figure or figure set will be able to compare to detail that can be captured in resin or 3D printing, this set from Hobby Boss is actually quite nice for plastic, even with a few light seams to clean and a bit of rescribing. Nicely rendered details throughout and, in this case, a Luftwaffe ground troop flak crew at that and not in winter uniforms. Investing a little extra work like hollowing out the end of the jacket sleeves, rescribing some more detail around the fingers and adding a few missing helmet and binocular straps will enhance these figures quite nicely. Yes, there will be some filling a light sanding, more for Figure B, but that's no surprise for us modelers. Unfortunately, Hobby Boss does not include any extra ammo containers, flak clips or helmet decals. My only disappointment with this set were the partially molded helmet straps on several of the crew. The color guide provided could use an update by Hobby Boss to include paint companies that may actually have all the colors needed to get the correct uniform color for this set. If the modeler is needing a flak crew, especially ones dressed for warmer weather and not a Wehrmacht set, this one is worth a second look and a good value for the money.
Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to MRC for this review kit.
Reviewed by Chuck Willis
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS