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Atlantic

Set 88

German Afrikakorps

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1977
Contents Varying number of pieces
Poses 11 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Tan, Brown
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

Once in a while someone does something quite different with a set of figures which really makes it stand out. In the case of this set it is that Atlantic made all their men bareheaded, and provided a selection of headgear for the customer to add. M1940 tropical helmets (based on the British model), steel helmets and field caps are provided. This is to be welcomed as it allows the customer more choice, and the hats fit the figures quite well. Unfortunately to achieve this they are really too large, and once applied to the head do not look as convincing as those moulded on to the figure. The field cap in particular overhangs the ears quite considerably, whereas the actual garment would have fitted snugly.

As one of the last World War II sets produced by Atlantic, some lessons seem to have been learnt about quality of sculpting as these are a marked improvement on those that came before. The detail is clear and sharp and the anatomy is much better. The poses are also better, though they still have some characteristics which define Atlantic such as the figures which are not looking where they are travelling or firing. The kneeling firing figure is an unusual way to achieve a common enough pose, and we felt the man running with nothing but a knife was not a useful pose, though again at least some originality has been shown. The prone man is firing the heavy machine gun, which as can be seen is separate. This is another innovative approach, and the resulting figure is quite good.

Detail may be nice and clear, but mistakes have been made with the design. As with other Atlantic sets, many of the men have been provided with pistols, though only officers and some specialist troops would have had these. Three men have machine guns, but none seem to have the necessary pouches for extra ammunition - instead they have rifle ammunition. Also the heavy machine gun is taking ammunition from a box when normally this would have been fed with the aid of another crewman.

Only two of the men are using rifles, with the others using machine guns, pistols, hand grenades and even a knife. Since most men did not have pistols, we felt three such poses was excessive. However the weapons are nicely detailed, even if not always entirely accurate.

This is certainly an unusual set. It is a step up from previous Atlantic efforts, but it still falls some way short of the figures on offer from other manufacturers. The interchangeable hats was a nice idea, but the practicalities mean it does not look particularly good. Having whole heads as separate options would have got round this problem, though it is easy to see why they did not adopt this approach. All the men are very tall, and the thick bases they all have simply exaggerates this still more. Still these are not too bad, and promised better for the future, though in the end no more World War II sets were ever made.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 7
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 7
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"Afrikakorps 1941-43" - Osprey (Elite Series No.34) - Gordon Williamson - 9781855321304
"German Combat Equipments 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.234) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850459524
"German Soldiers of World War II" - Histoire & Collections - Jean de Lagarde - 9782915239355
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The German Army 1939-45 (2) North Africa & Balkans" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.316) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855326408

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