Submarines were a particularly unpleasant environment in which to fight during the Second World War. Not only were they claustrophobic, they were also usually hot, smelly and a generally unhealthy atmosphere. Perhaps partly for this reason, regulations regarding uniform were far less observed than on surface ships in the German Navy, and many men would have worn simply what was the most comfortable both on duty and resting. This second set of U-Boat crewmen from this manufacturer mentions an array of headgear, though the rest of their clothing is also quite varied.
These figures have been printed in a semi-clear plastic which makes them very hard to see in our photos, so we have painted one pose and primed a couple of others to give a better idea of what these figures actually look like.
Many of the figures here wear the peaked cap or Schirmmütze. This cap could be worn by anyone from the rank of Fähnrich (midshipman) upwards, so basically any officer or anyone on the path to being one. These were blue, but by tradition the commander of a U-Boat generally wore a white cover over the crown to rapidly identify him. Photos show these were often very battered and anything but neat, but many liked that as a sign of serious and prolonged use. All the peaked caps in this set look good, including many with the casual misshapen appearance we would expect. Other figures are bare-headed, while some wear a woollen cap called a Pudelmütze, and again all look good.
The rest of the clothing closely matches that found in the first set from Panzer vs Tanks. Thus we find men in shirt sleeves, some stripped to the waist, a few in overalls and several wearing the tropical tunic with four pockets. All of these forms of dress are perfectly authentic, though there were many others too, particularly for officers, who might wear reefer jackets or all sorts of other items. So this set is far from comprehensive, but nothing here is wrong, and all the clothing is properly done. Everyone wears long trousers, and of course they have no items of kit on their person, so nothing to fault here.
The poses are very similar to those in the first set, with some being almost identical. This is no bad thing as the poses are all pretty generic and very useful for men performing their various duties of maintenance, running the boat and at action stations. Several have hands which could hold some equipment or weapon, or could be operating the sub itself. Particular poses to mention include the third man in row two, who looks to be using the periscope, and the first figure in the bottom row, who is clearly on watch (as he holds binoculars) and so on the bridge.
The sculpting here is excellent, and the 3-D printing means very natural poses can and have been achieved without worrying about a rigid mould. Although the figures make few demands on detail these are all well done, and the proportions are great too. Having said that on a couple of figures we found some disfiguring (diagonal grooves on the surface), presumably introduced at the time of printing, and so perhaps not necessarily repeated each time. There is no flash of course, but the figures do come with no bases, so we had to provide our own for the primed and painted examples. However if displayed within a cutaway of a submarine then bases would be unwanted anyway, although we would have liked the option.
This is a great addition to the U-Boat range, and once painted so they can be seen, the figures look very good. As with set one, this only depicts some of the common clothing seen on such men, but it does it very well and certainly there can be no complaints about the design or the range of useful poses.