by: Darren Baker [ ]
It is not that many years ago that the only 1/35th scale motorcycle of World War 2 vintage available was the offering from Tamiya, now we are being spoiled with several manufacturers putting their offerings on the market. In this review I will be looking at an offering from Master Box called Crossroad, this is one of the diorama in a box which have become very popular, offering two Russian figures with a German prisoner and two German soldiers investigating something that has caught their attention while riding on a BMW R75 with side car.
The model is packed in an end opening box which I have a pet hate for as I like to assemble models while having the box lid and bottom to keep parts in. On the front of the box is a picture showing the assembled contents in a possible diorama setting, and on the back are the instructions for the figures. A nice touch is the inclusion of two colour pictures for two types of both German and Russian camouflage. In the box you find:
1 tan sprue that contains the five figures and their equipment.
1 tan sprue containing the parts for the BMW R75 and side car.
One PE sprue containing the parts to make the wheel hubs.
One decal sheet.
One set of instructions explaining the construction of the PE wheel hubs.
One set of instructions explaining the construction of the BMW 750 and side car.
The instruction sheet is reasonably easy to follow, however I do have one or two niggles with it. The parts are not numbered on the sprue so construction results in continually flipping the instructions back and forth to locate the piece you are looking for. The steps to follow are labelled with Roman Numerals which I suspect are not known by a reasonably large number of people, and are not something I have had to deal with since finishing school...which seems a very long time ago.
The decals are one of the very strong points of this kit containing markings for 5 vehicles which are:
12th SS Panzer Division Normandy June 1944
Ramcke Brigade Libya and Tunisia 1942/43
14th fallschirmjager Division Anzio January 1944
2 sets of decals for the 24th Panzer Division Stalingrad Autumn 1942
It should be mentioned that the carrier film around the decals has been kept to a nice minimum.
I am starting with the BMW R75 and side car and will cover the basics to start with. Some thought has gone into the moulding of this kit as there are, as far as I can ascertain, no ejector pin marks or sink marks in areas that can be seen on the model, with the exception of the MG42 which has a sink mark above the hand grip on the main body. The same cannot be said when it comes to flash, as there is a fair amount on the motorcycle wheel hubs and it is also starting to appear on the frame and handlebars. Most of this flash should be fairly easy to correct, but the wheel hubs will require a very steady hand as it will be an intricate job to remove it without causing damage to the spokes. While I have said there are no ejector pin marks to correct that changes if you decide to open one of the panniers or leave the boot of the sidecar open, where there is one on each side of the main body of the side car and a very large one on the boot lid. The panniers have an ejector pin mark on both the front and rear internal face.
With that out of the way most of the rest of the model is of a very acceptable standard, there are however some very fragile components that will be easy to damage during removal from the sprue. The two cylinder heads seem a little soft in detail when it comes to the cooling fins of the heads, however as I have never seen this complaint levelled at the various editions of this bike that Master Box have released it could just be me.
Earlier I mentioned the problem of flash on the wheel hubs, well in this kit there is the alternate option of PE wheel hubs. This option is not an easy option to take on as the hubs are made up of 8 PE parts, not including the wheel itself. This option will involve some skill to get right as you are required to create a cylinder from one of the pieces, I myself would forget this step and purchase some brass cylinder stock of the correct diameter and cut that down to size. You will then need to impart a shallow dish profile to the spoke sections before securing them in place, however if you take this option on, it will provide you with a very good profile and finish. While on this subject it should be mentioned that the instructions for the PE wheel hubs conflict as to which pieces go where as one side of the instructions it shows it as part order 2, 1, 4 and the other shows the order as 1, 2, 4, both pieces 1 and 2 appear to be the same with one of them being reversed but I am not 100% sure of this.
In closing this section of the review I should mention there is the option of either an MG 34 or MG 42 as the armament for the side car, whichever option you go for the muzzle will need to be drilled. Lastly, as with all injection moulded kits, there are minor mould seams to remove, none of which should overly tax anyones ability.
Each figure has its own area on the sprue making assembly and finding the parts easy. I will start with the two Russian figures in this set, both of which consist of six parts which are:
Both figures are depicted wearing the loose fitting camouflage smock and trousers as issued to Russian snipers and scouts, and as these two figures are working as a snatch squad the clothing choice makes sense. As there is no detail as such involved with this uniform type all I can really say is that it looks right, with the simple cord ties at the wrist and neck being present. Reasonable creasing is present in the outfit, however I would have liked to see a few more creases present on the top front portion of the right leg on the figure I have assembled. Facial detail is of a good standard for figures in this media and an effort has been made to show an undercut in the hood bordering the face. I would have liked to see some detail on the sole of the boots of the prone figures other than the instep.
The armaments and equipment supplied with the Russian figures is sparse but that is not unusual, as beyond a personal weapon, ammunition, water bottle, and a haversack called a Myeshok little else was carried. The figure I have assembled is carrying a Myeshok but has no visible water bottle; however it could of course be under the smock being worn. The personal weapon for the Russians is surprising as it is the German MP40, they are however also equipped with relevant ammunition pouches for the weapon. It should be mentioned that the weapons will need to have the end of the barrel drilled to provide you with a more realistic look.
The German prisoner is made up of five parts which consist of:
A hatless head
A pair of arms shown tied at the wrists
A pair of legs
I have to admit that WW2 German uniform is not a strong point of mine, however the prisoner appears to be wearing the uniform of a Wehrmacht officer judging by the collar badges, and also has two awards on the left breast pocket. The boots also seem to be of a better quality than is usually seen, and the general look of the overall figure says that this is not your average German soldier. The head of this figure is depicted with an unknown item forced into his mouth to keep him quiet, the hair detail is a little extreme to my eye making the head look misshapen.
The two German motorcyclists are a lot more involved than the Russian figures consisting of nine pieces, these are:
A pair of arms
A pair of legs
A head minus the steel helmet
Front and rear lower combat smock
As stated in the list of body parts these figures are both depicted wearing camouflaged combat smocks which look correct to me. The driver is shown with the Y pattern webbing, the passenger does not. The driver has been equipped with an MP40 and also carries the relevant ammunition pouches, the passenger has a K98 carbine and again is equipped with the relevant ammunition pouches which are moulded with the lower portion of the combat smock. Both weapon types again need to have the muzzle drilled out in order to improve general appearance.
Personal equipment consists of an entrenchment tool Klappspaten, gasmask container, 2 water bottles, 2 bayonets in scabbards, a document case, a bread bag, and there are 3 other rolls which I am unable to identify. There is also a small pack that is for the side car which consists of two stick grenades strapped to either side of a small pack. The three steel helmets included with this set consist of 2 standard helmets and 1 with a cloth cover on it. Detail on the two motorcyclists does look, from my inspection, to be of a high standard with the exception of again omitting any detail to the sole of the boots which on these two figures is not such an obvious omission.
I have assembled one of the Russian figures to check the fit of parts, and I have to say I am very impressed with the overall fit. Removal from the sprue is a matter of one or two cuts at most and general cleanup is not too difficult, but go lightly with the knife blade or you will remove detail that you want to retain. The fit of parts is near on perfect and is the best fitting injection moulded figure I can ever remember putting together, if all five figures go together this well it really will be a first for me.
I have made a number of negative comments in the review of this kit in order that you are aware of the possible problems you may encounter, I however believe that the fit of the assembled figure and level of detail of the figures and BMW R75 included for the price will, and should, make this a desirable product to have and use. While not the most accurate kit in terms of parts, it is overall of a high quality and Master Box should be congratulated for it.
The German Army 1939 45 Eastern Front 1941 43
Osprey Men at Arms Series 326
The German Army 1939 45 Eastern Front 1943 45
Osprey Men at Arms Series 330
The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941 45
Osprey Men at Arms Series 216