Built Review
German Captives, 1944

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

For the smaller companies, the imperative is always to produce commercially viable sets but to balance this by being as innovative as possible. MasterBox, which is a relatively new company from the Ukraine, has, in my opinion, been a little too ambitious in some of its previous releases by attempting to go 'head to head' with the 'Majors' rather than carving its own niche in the market. This (and some of the other recent releases) have shown both a qualitative improvement along with more inventiveness in subject matter. Masterbox have also made good penetration into the market - a good move as many of their products deserve serious consideration.

The Figure Set - basics
MB3517 - German Captives, 1944 is a six-figure, 1/35th set which is moulded in light grey plastic. The set consists of five German Infantrymen along with their Soviet captor. The set comes on a single sprue inside a nicely illustrated flap-opening box. On the reverse are the basic assembly instructions along with a painting guide, which, to my delight, is coded for Vallejo Acrylics.

The Figure Set - In depth
As usual with this kind of review, I will begin by looking at the figures according to their respective areas (heads, legs etc.)

Basic Description
The 'Captives' - all are moulded wearing the 1943 pattern 'British Battledress-type' uniform. All are portrayed wearing the short boots and gaiters. The 'Captor' is a standard Soviet Infantryman who could be from any period of the war although with the 'jodpur-type' trousers - this gives a few more possibilities.

First Impressions
Looking at the sprue and in the process of building two of the figures, there was a bit of flash and mould-lines present. The sprue 'gates' are very thin and remove easily with minimum clean-up. Detail is subtle but present.

Heads In general, good, although, not being a great fan of plastic heads, I will doubtless replace them later with resin ones. Each of the heads have reasonable facial detail although the caps will need some more careful adjusting to get the correct 'sit'.

Creasing and pose on the arms is competently done although I did find the hand detail varying from 'soft' to 'poor'. Careful painting or replacement should be considered.

Very well done indeed. Nice crisp detailing with all the uniform details there although some embellishment could be done (PE Eagles etc.). Creasing is subtle and not harsh or angular. The shirts (rarely seen) are present in two of the figures - more please, we rarely see German shirts on the market!

Again, very nicely done with the seam line, which ran the length of the trousers, present and subtlly executed. The gaiters are, again, well-done with good definition. One of the figures has his trousers over the gaiters - a good, subtle variation.

The 'air' one gets from the pose of the figures is almost of dejection and exhaustion. All of the (German) figures have almost a semi-slumped posture - not easy to acheive in 1/35th scale.

To do some justice to this review, I assembed two of the figures (see photos at the bottom). The first thing which became apparent was that Masterbox have improved the quality of the plastic over the first releases. The plastic is now of amuch better composition, easy to sand and easy to glue. I assembled the figures rapidly (yes, I can see the gaps in one of them) and found few problems although some putty is going to necessary in some areas.

The nicest area, is undoubtely in the jackets and overcoats which two of the figures have hanging over their shoulders. These are very nicely done although perhaps some subtle 'thinning-down' might be in order? They don't seem to have an entirely convincing scale-thickness to them. That said, they are well-engineered to drape over the figures in a natural and convincing manner - 10/10 to the sculptor/designer for this.

It's an ambitious set on the part of MasterBox. However, apart from some minor areas, it's a set which is easy to assemble and is (on the basis of the two figures I assembled) is convincing. There are areas which would benefit from improvement/replacement - particularly the heads. I would say it's their best set to date and bodes well for future releases - again a question of establishing their own space in the market.

Inevitably though, its the way they are going to used which will dictate the success of this set. The possibilities are simply enormousS in both Eastern Front and NW Europe dioramas. This is not just a set which is going to sell by the truckload, it's a set which deserves to sell in vast numbers. With the amount of late-war figures out there, figures from this set will be making guest appearances in many dioramas for a long time to come.

Armorama would like to express its gratitude to Masterbox Ltd. for supplying this set for review.
A recently released and long-awaited set, this, in my opinion, marks a notable improvement over some of their previous releases. Innovative, multi-use but with some areas which could be improved...
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MB3517
  PUBLISHED: Sep 08, 2006

Our Thanks to Master Box Ltd.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


I just finished working on some of the figures from this new kit and found the figures greatly improved upon by Master Box. While I am not happy with the one armored vehicle I did purchase, the figures are excellent. I liked the dejected look to them but found a bit more flash than I like. The detail on the uniforms was great but I replaced most of the heads with Hornet ones. I did like the poses but I had problems with the German with the long coat slung over his shoulder. I couldn't get the little piece to match his hand. Instead, I made a belt out of lead foil and glued on his canteen and gas mask and will have that dangling from his hand. Nice kit and I trust they will be coming out with more nice and refreshing ones like this one. Mike
SEP 11, 2006 - 03:07 AM
Finally got some through this morning. Typical Hannants though. Took a week to send them and then only sent one box so that they can sting me for a second lot of postage on the second box. I may tell them what to do with the second box... I'm impressed with the mouldings. Nice and sharp and very natural positions. A bit of flash to clean up and a bit of fillering as some bits don't fit too well but at that price such is life. Looking at the imaginative poses this isn't surprising.These are on a par with most Dragon kits (can't comment on Gen2 as I've not used any yet) and the facial details are sharper. They all look utterly p***ed off which is great :-) . The fit on the heads + Bergmutze is crap so quite a bit of trimming is required. I've used one but I think a Hornet heads in line for the other as I've thrown it away it was such a bad fit. The plastic is nice and hard so taking off epaulettes, breast insignia and pocket pleats is nice and easy. It's made converting them to late pattern tunics that much easier.I'd thoroughly reccomend these as they are superb. Very versatile and nice crisp moulding. Looking forward to more stuff by MB.
SEP 13, 2006 - 05:47 PM
Well, I suppose it's a question of personal opinion, but I found both the heads and the hands the weakest elements. I've been trying out the Legend German headsets on them and they're really excellent on them as well....
SEP 13, 2006 - 05:54 PM
I agree on the hands Jim as they look quite small but I'm using them for HJ so it's not too much of an issue for me due to their age. Facially, I am quite impressed though. I've found some DML faces a bit low in relief but as you say it's personal opinion. I have had to trim some of the ears on the MB ones though as I don't believe everyone in the German forces had "wingnut" ears :-)
SEP 13, 2006 - 06:05 PM
I've just build and painted their US para set and I must admit poses are really nice, dynamic, but there is a problem with head. More specifically the fitting between helmet and head. The latter are way to large for the helmet. Apparently same problem with feldmuze... Best, Julien
SEP 14, 2006 - 02:28 PM
Built three so far. The front two are the MB heads and the one at the back has a Hornet head. Insignia are Archers. Need to do a few tweaks like gaiter straps but they're quite nice to work with.
SEP 15, 2006 - 05:05 AM
Having looked at the pics, does anyone else think that the Russians are accusing the Germans of being "boxheads" or "squareheads"?
SEP 15, 2006 - 07:27 AM
Karl, this is a WHAT's NEW for a review, it isn't for you (or anyone else) to start putting up images of your own figures. There are plenty of spaces in the forums for this...Jim
SEP 15, 2006 - 10:32 PM
Jim, I realise that it's a whats new section and I'm not looking for kudos in relation to my figures. I am however trying to show what they look like built up. What is the problem with that?
SEP 16, 2006 - 04:34 AM

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