Dragon 6461 GERMAN FIELD HOWITZER GUN CREW (PREMIUM EDITION)
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6461; German Field Howitzer Gun Crew - Premium Edition; 227 parts (217 parts in grey styrene, 10 in DS tan plastic).
Advantages: nice set of figures specifically tailored to go with the new 15 cm howitzer kit; wonderful selection of arms to get just the "right" pose for a specific figure
Disadvantages: Only about half the size of an actual crew
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German "redleg" fans and anyone doing a towed artillery diorama
One of the odd things - which is now the norm - is that with the exception of Italeri most modern model manufacturers are offering crews for towed artillery pieces as separate kits. This isn't necessarily a bad idea, for if you enjoy the figures from Company A but the kits from Company B you can now marry them up with no wastage or figures that are not wanted.
DML is now offering a new crew of five figures for its nice new sFH 18 Howitzer kit (No. 6392) that will complement any other manufacturers' towed artillery pieces, such as the AFV Club leFH 18 or the super-heavy artillery kits coming from Trumpeter. It must be pointed out that the normal crew for a heavy howitzer of this type is more like 10 and therefore it is really only a half crew, but most artillery pieces once dug in usually only have a "hands on" crew of 3 or 4 and the "other numbers" are basically ammunition handlers.
The crew is based on the regular DML figure breakdown of six basic parts per figure (head, torso, arms and legs) and provides a recommended assembly of the following: one gun captain, one projectile loader, one charge loader, one rammer, and one other number. Each figure - as this is a "Premium" set - is provided with generic kit from the GA and GB "Gen2" sprues. Also included are the 15 cm ammunition and DS plastic matting and shipping container sprues from the 15 cm kit itself.
But in the case of this kit, DML has done a great job of allowing for options, change and specific functions (recall you need 10 for a full crew or two sets) by providing no less than 29 arms for five men! The ones needed for the suggested figures are called out, but experienced modelers can mix and match as needed to get the right combination for a specific figure. (Companies like Italeri should pay attention, especially after the "two sets of twins" offered with their 40mm Bofors kit.) DML also offers suggested uses for the other arms with specific figure bodies as outline drawings in each figure assembly box on the directions.
The only comment on figure poses is that none of them are "in action", e.g. taking care to protect their hearing or turning away from the blast and flash of firing.