This blog post will review the new plastic Panzergrenadier box set by Battlefront for Flames of War (GBX76). The box set contains enough infantry for seven stands of Panzergrenadiers, four Sd.Kfz 251/1D half-tracks, four crew sprues, and a set of decals. Each component is rated out of five. Models were painted using an airbrush, acrylic and oil paints, and colour modulation.
The box set comes with 48 plastic Panzergrenadiers. The figures make six MG teams with optional panzerfausts. The command stand can be built with either a Panzerfaust or a Panzerknacker and has a figure with an SMG. Some of the Panzergrenadier models are the same as the Open Fire figures. The set contains two sprues and so each box has two of each figure. The figures are very nice overall. A few of them have very elongated helmets. The infantry come with seven recessed bases.
My only compaint with the Panzergrenadiers is that they do not include a Panzershreck or Tank Hunter team (as this is available in most late war lists). The soon to be released plastic Panzergrenadier Command set contains one panzerschreck team. It would have been easier if one or two panzerschrecks were also contained in this set.
The box set includes four identical crew sprues with a machine gunner, driver, commander, and two seated panzergrenadiers. This combination will allow you to build a variety of different arrangements but may get a bit repetitive over an entire company. Hopefully the Panzergreandier command boxset contains another unique crew sprue but I think we may be stuck with just the two poses for seated crew. Fortunately with plastic panzergrenadiers it is not too difficult to remove the base tabs from the regular panzergrenadiers and glue them into the half-tracks.
Each box set contains a set of half-track decals. The decals include both front and back license plates for Heer half-tracks. The decal set also includes division markings for 17 Panzer Division, Herman Goring Panzer Division, and 116 Panzer Division. The decal set includes both black and white and white Balkenkruz decals. Finally, the decal set comes with numbers 311-314 for numbering each half-track. The decal set seems to have no alignment issues. It is nice that they included some new divisional decals. The only issue is that you may want another source of decals if you want different numbers for each platoon. (Note-I used Dom’s Decals on this model, not the included decals).
The half-track sprue is well designed and assembles easily. The first model took me under 20 minutes to assemble following the instructions on the Flames of War website. I anticipate that I could assemble a platoon in under an hour (note that I am very slow at assembly as I am a bit of a perfectionist). The pieces of the model fit together snugly and accurately. The wheels and tracks align perfectly with no wobble on the assembled model (something that bothers my perfectionist nature on the resin models).
The trickiest part of the assembly is attaching the upper hull to the lower section as it is a bit fragile and flexible. This can cause a bit of a gap on the sides. Doubtless, with practice and careful assembly this can be elimininated.
The sprue attachment points are thoughtfully placed to minimize assembly issues. For example, on the tracks the sprue attaches on the inside of the track so the visible parts of the track are unblemished. The mould lines are thoughtfully placed and almost invisible. The only mould lines that possibly need removing are on the machine guns and on the rear part of the hull. The models are made of the darker, hard grey plastic like the track sprues on the new Shermans, Panthers and Panzer IV Js.
The sprue contains options to build both a standard 251/1D, pioneer bridges to make pioneer specific half-tracks (I think there are some other small internal differences?), and a Pak36 for the command half-track. It would have been nice if the box set included some additional stowage to add more variety to the half-tracks. I ordered the metal half-track stowage separately to add more variety to my company.
At USD 45 per box set, the Panzergrenadier box set represents a good discount on the previous resin and metal box set at USD 58. This works out to a 22% reduction in price. It is hard to complain about a reduction in price for an arguably superior product. I think that this box set represents excellent value and competes with other plastic model manufacturers on price point.
In conclusion, the Panzergrenadier box set is a great new addition to the Flames of War model range. The plastic Panzergrenadiers a crisp sculpts in a good selection of poses. The plastic half-tracks crews will fit in well with the Panzergrenadiers. The half-tracks are relatively easy to assemble with very crisp and clean details. The decal set adds some nice options for some different divisional insignia. My biggest complaints are the lack of panzerschreck/tank hunter teams and the lack of variety in the half track crew. Finally, the price decrease for the new plastic box set makes this box set exceptional value.