This was the second in the series of World War II surface craft Airfix made in 1/72 scale, and once again a small but useful crew was included as shown above. The first figure seems to be a general crewman wearing working clothes, and there are two of him. The second figure is supposed to be at the wheel, and wears what looks like a shortened pea jacket. Both he and the first man wear the very common and popular sidecap (Bordmutze
or boarding cap). The third man is operating the FlaK gun and while he too seems to wear a pea jacket he also has a steel helmet, so is more convincing as actually being in combat (he is leaning back slightly as befits his anti-aircraft role). Finally the fourth figure with the peaked cap and reefer jacket is clearly an officer holding a pair of binoculars.
Although such boats had much bigger crews than this, these figures do a good job of decorating the deck of the craft, and the inclusion of the man at the wheel is particularly appreciated since the wheelhouse is enclosed on this model of boat. None of the men wear life-preservers, which seems to have been down to individual choice at the time, but all the clothing is authentic. The sculpting is pretty good too, with reasonable detail and little flash. Although we particularly liked the officer, all the figures are very useful and could find use in other parts of the 1/72 Kriegsmarine. Of course Revell have covered this subject with their soft plastic set of WWII German Navy
, but these are a useful expansion of that set, if a rather expensive way to obtain five new figures.
Note that this model, first made in 1975, was called an 'E-Boat' by Airfix, which is the common English name for these 'Schnellboote'. When the model was relaunched in 2013, after one of its periodic disappearances from the range, Airfix changed the name to the more accurate 'S-Boat', which is how it is still known today.
This model appeared and disappeared several times over the years, but was never made up and photographed in any Airfix catalogue.