Friday, 20 May 2011

Review: JTFM Panzer Grenadiers 28mm

The 10 man set straight from the package.
Today, a first for Frontkämpfer: a figure review!  A popular feature of my other Blog, I think it should be well received here.

We will start with JTFM's Panzer Grenadier set.  Sculpted by Mike Broadbent, this 10 figure set retails at $17.00 (I bought mine for £10.00 from WCP - closeout price)  Although not stated, these figures are depicted in cold weather gear and suitable for late 1943 onwards (due to reversible winter jackets, ankle boots and figures armed with MP43/StG44*)  

The first thing you notice when comparing them to other manufacturers' offerings is that they are beautifully cast but slight.  This is probably a good thing as 28mm figures tend to be very chunky.  In terms of height they work well with Artizan, Crusader, BAM and Battle Honours - but their build is best suited to use with Battle Honours.  

Detail is good, not the best but perfectly acceptable.  When taken as a whole the unit is posed realistically for combat and thus very useful for skirmish wargames.  That said there are some anomalies.  For example the MG42 loader (with separately cast left arm) is standing whereas the gunner is firing prone.  Additionally, the gunner uses the 50 round drum magazine rather than the usual belt and box.  Personally, I do not think they could be used together and look right.

L to R: Artizan, JTFM and Battle Honours.
The faces do not have the detail we expect these days.  They are workable but nothing outstanding.  This suits me as I prefer rank and file figures to be pretty generic - anything too memorable creates a "character".

My hyper-critical eye spotted only three real let-downs.  Firstly the odd shape of some of the helmets - a place many companies fall down.  Some of the examples look wrong, one resembles the 1916 pattern rather than the 1935.  The second problem is the right arm on the loader figure - it appears to be "withered".  Although the chap may be suffering from this deformity (as did Kaiser Bill) it doesn't look good in miniature!  Finally, some of the StG44 wielders seem to have the wrong ammo pouches!  The models sculpted are those for the straight MP40 "Schmeisser".

These problems are not deal-killers but detract a little from the overall impression.

In summary, it is a good set and a welcome addition to what is available.  They are pretty good value and especially well priced if you snag them during WCP's closeout!

Scores out of 10 - thoroughly personal ratings explained:

Sculpting - Quality of detail and accuracy
Casting - Mismoulds and flashing
Variety - How comprehensive is the range
Service - Was the seller easy to reach, polite and helpful
Delivery - How long did they take to get to me
Value - Are they a good deal overall

Delivery time based upon my experience - UK to UK delivery.

Sculpting:                  6.5/10 
Casting:                    10/10 No faults!
Variety of Subject:    8/10  A lot of MP43/StG43s.
Customer Service:    */10  Third party purchase.
Delivery Time:          */10  As above.
Value:                      7/10 (9/10 WCP closeout price!)

*This weapon was around in limited numbers during winter 43/44 - however the high number included suggests the figures are more suitable for the following winter.

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