10/25/10

Product Review - Tiny Tactical Panzerschreck Set

The following is the first review in a series for custom minifig house Tiny Tactical. Tiny Tactical has been storming the scene with a variety of new and innovative custom military pieces. To learn more about TT you can check out our previous customizer spotlight article on the company.

The focus of this review is on the Panzerschreck set which is composed of four parts - the rocket launcher, blast shield, backpack, and rockets. All of these items can be purchased separately or together on the Tiny Tactical BrickLink store (link below).

Panzerschreck Reference Photo
The Panserschreck was the popular name of the Raketenpanzerb├╝chse which was often shortened to RPzB. Used by the Germans against Allied tanks in World War II, their name roughly translates to 'tank terror'. Although a reusable, shoulder-fired rocket launcher, the Panzerschreck emitted a toxic black smoke after firing, giving away the operator's position and requiring them to move to another location. The shape of the weapon and the black smoke earned the Panzerschreck another nickname by German soldiers, the Ofenrohr or 'Stove Pipe'.

Backpack Details with and without Rockets
We first turn our attention to the backpack which can house up to three of the RPzBGr 4322 Rockets. The backpack is made of a brown thermoset plastic. It connects to the minifig much in the same way a standard backpack would, by a connection that fits around the head post. There are three holes near the bottom of the piece which allow the tips of the rockets to sit, and three notches where the rocket shafts can rest. The rockets to not clip into the backpack, but instead sit levered into place. The rockets will not fall out of the pack, but can move around when repositioning your figures. Steve from Tiny Tactical indicated that these rockets could be glued to each of the three notches, if desired, but then couldn't be removed easily after glued. I found the backpack to fit firm and snug on the minifigure without any issues. The thermoset plastic seemed quite nice and durable.

Rocket-Propelled Grenades in Hand
We've already mentioned the RPzBGr 4322 Rockets which can sit in the backpack housing. Each rocket is made of thermoset plastic with a carbon fiber support structure. The rockets do not attach to the Panzershreck itself and do not have a connection point at which a minifigure can 'grab'. You can rest a rocket in the minifigure hand, however, when the arms are extended horizontally as seen in the picture above. The detailing on the rockets are wonderful and resemble the real-life item quite well. Again, I didn't see any issues regarding durability of this item during the review.

Panzerschreck 360 View
We now turn to the main piece of this set, the Panzershreck rocket launcher. The rocket launcher arrived with the blast shield attached using an industrial grade glue to bond the shield in place. Both the rocket launcher and blast shield are made out of dark tan thermoset plastic. The launcher is further reinforced with carbon fiber. Both pieces are dark tan in color. As you can see from the 360 product shot above, the piece is nicely detailed, especially the blast shield, and resembles the real-life item incredibly well. I felt the piece had just the right level of detail while remaining suitable for minifig soldiers. The launcher fits firmly in the minifigure hand and extends nicely over the shoulder. A detail that I appreciated was how the launcher's two sights and the hole in the blast shield aligned.

Blast Shield On and Off
As we mentioned earlier the blast shield will come attached via glue if the rocket launcher and blast shield are ordered together. With the blast shield glued in place you cannot easily remove it for other custom applications. The attachment is firm, but care must still be taken when handling the piece. I was testing to see if the main shaft of the rocket launcher could be used as a connection point with the minifigure's hand (note that it can, but you will have to use some force to make the connection). In the process of doing this, the shield came off (see picture above). The shield remained intact and could easily be reattached and positioned; however, do keep in mind that rough treatment could cause the same thing to happen for you. I contacted another collector who bought several of these sets. He confirmed that he didn't have this issue with any of the 11 sets he purchased. Is it possible that the blast shield could unintentionally become detached? Yes. Is it probable with proper handling? No.

In summary I feel all items associated with the Tiny Tactical Panzerschreck set to be nicely detailed custom items that give your minifigure armies some historical authenticity. Rough play is not recommended, but otherwise I found the pieces to be of good quality. Overall this is a recommended buy and a nice addition to your minifigure World War II arsenal.

Additional Stats
Custom House: Tiny Tactical
Website: www.tinytactical.com
Location: British Columbia, Canada
International Shipping?: Yes (see BrickLink store for details)
Colors Available: Dark Tan (Panzerschreck Launcher and Blast Shield), Dark Gray (RPzBGr 4322 Rocket), and Brown (Rocket Backpack)
Retail Prices: Panzerschreck Launcher ($5.75 USD), Blast Shield ($2.40 USD), RPzBGr 4322 Rocket ($2.15 USD each), Rocket Backpack ($4.20 USD)

Reference pictures and historical details via Wikipedia

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