Like other aspects of the ship modeling hobby, 1/350 scale crew figures have gone through quite an evolution. At first we had photo-etched versions of sailors and officers, which we could
paint and populate the decks of our ships with to make it look more “real”. Waterline models steaming along in a seascape are ghost ships without some crew on the decks. The problem with
photo-etch figures is that they were 2-dimensional. Yes one could use gap filling CA or plain old white glue to add some dimension to the little brass men but it required effort and the results
could be unsatisfactory.  

Then along came resin and plastic figures which were an improvement. They were 3-dimensional, possessed some detail and were also generic enough that they could pass for a sailor in any
navy depending on how you painted them. Now with advent of CAD design, rapid-prototyping and 3D printing, models and after-market fittings are getting more and more detailed. So it is
no surprise that these methods are being applied to crew figures as well.
North Star Models have indeed taking this step in producing their first sets of resin crew figures and the results are
quite remarkable.  
The first set I examined is NSA350503 Kriegsmarine summer static figures set 1, which provides a total of 57 figures standing “at attention” in summer uniforms. The breakdown is 11
officer and 46 sailor figures. The level of detail is astounding. The faces actually have features which are a bit hard to see in the photos but they are there. The officer uniforms have jacket
lapels, pocket flaps, buttons, belts and buckles and their hats have visor and emblems. The officers are even sporting ties! The crew figures are just as detailed with blue jean collars,
neckerchiefs, belts and buckles. The caps even have the ribbons on the back and the eagle emblem on the front. The casting is very well done and the figures are attached to the runners at
their feet which should make removing them rather easy to do with a sharp razor. The runners themselves are all joined together on casting film but the runners can be separated to make
painting and handling easier.

The next set I examined is NSA350502 Kriegsmarine winter static figures set 2, which again provides a total of 57 figures but standing in an “at ease” poses in winter uniforms. The
breakdown here is 10 officer and 47 sailor figures. The officers are wearing longer winter coats but the crew figures have the same uniforms as their summer counterparts. There is the same
level of detail found in the above set but the casting was not quite as flawless. A few crew figures were missing heads and the legs of two crew members are missing. One of the officer
figures came loose during shipping but it looks to be otherwise intact.
Each seasonal set has an alternative pose set available from North Star - meaning that there is summer figures in “at ease” poses and winter figures in “at attention” poses. While the level of
detail is like nothing I have seen in crew figures and certainly raises the level, I am pretty sure that I do not have the skill level to paint these figures in such a way to take advantage of it. I
just don’t know if I can paint the buttons on the officer uniforms or the eagle on the crew caps gold and pick out other details to do them justice but I am willing to try.

The poses of the figures in these sets are somewhat limited but will make for some interesting vignettes. I would welcome more figures in working, combat and action poses that will cover
more natural scenarios.
North Star Models has certainly taken crew figures to the next step and I will be curious to see if they plan to do figures for other navies and hopefully in a wider
variety of poses.
The two figure sets reviewed here and the others mentioned can be purchased directly from North Star Models or from Freetime/Pacific Front Hobbies and White Ensign
Models
.




_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________