20mm Flak 38 Figure Set
Many modelers can still remember when Tristar was in business and producing kits and figures. Well now, thankfully Hobby Boss has picked up the molds and started producing them again with the same neat Tristar boxart, but just inserting the Hobby Boss logo.
As appears to be the trend with many manufacturers producing plastic figure sets, Hobby Boss also provides construction directions and a suggested painting guide corresponding to six popular paint manufacturers on the rear box panel. As one can see from above, the instructions for building the figures and paint color call outs are clear, unless however, the modeler is in the mood for swapping arms and heads around to alter the poses provided. The painting guide lists Mr. Hobby, Acrysion, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol colors using both their respective item number and color name. Modelers choosing to substitute other manufacturers' paint not listed here should easily be able to match up what they've got in their paint stash since the colors are listed.
This figure set come with 5 rather than the typical 4 figure set and is molded in a tan plastic.
First sprue contains the flak team commander, gunner and loader
Second sprue contains both kneeling ammo carriers, helmets, 20mm flak clip and ammo containers
All the heads have different faces and look pretty good even though they are plastic. Folds and creases in the upper part of the tunic are good and certainly on par with most plastic figures from the various manufacturers. Of note about the tunics, with the exception of the flak crew commander, all other figures appear to be wearing a tunic called a (Luftwaffe) fliegerbluse (M40 Luftwaffe Service Tunic) which is evident by the flat hip pockets and no breast pockets. While I am not as familiar with German WW2 uniforms as I would like, my limited research seems to indicate this tunic was issued to Luftwaffe ground personnel. The original fliegerbluse was a blue-grey color as opposed to the green (or field grey) tunics depicted on the boxart. Hobby Boss color chart instructs the modeler to use 3 different colors to mix together when painting the uniform. The flak crew commander appears to be wearing a variation of the M36 tunic, complete with pleated breast and hip pockets. Again, these pics show some additional flash around the head and the torso.
Another facial expression from one of the crew team.
Nice folds on the gunner's pants and the hip pockets are outlined enough so they will be noticeable when painted and weathered (drybrushed, shadows/highlights). In my brief research into the fliegerbluse however, the hip pockets on the real thing only showed the pocket flap exposed and not the lower portion of the pocket as shown here. So, check your references before any serious work begins.
Hobnails are molded on those figures whose poses display the soles of their boots. Hard to say whether they are out of scale, but they don't look too bad and it certainly beats nothing on the heel or the worse alternative; scratchbuilding your own hobnails. Again, a bit of flash can be seen, especially on the leg to the left, but a simple swipe with a sharp hobby knife should fix this issue.
Conclusion: For those lamenting the loss of Tristar figure sets, well here's a chance to get them under the Hobby Boss name, complete with the same nice detail for plastic figures. While my brief observation found some traces of seam lines, especially on the hands and a few on the side of legs and arms, and a bit of flash, the molded uniform detail and facial expressions were quite good. The 20mm ammo boxes are okay and should suffice for most modelers, but it would have been nice for an additional box and several individual ammo clips. The molded on hobnails on the boots of several of the crew was a nice and unexpected surprise. Out of the box, these figures look very good and are a very good value for the money. If modelers didn't get these and other figure sets the first time around under Tristar, now is your chance while Hobby Boss is producing them.
Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders pending a full build.
Thanks goes out to Hobby Boss for this review kit.
Reviewed by Chuck Willis
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