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1/48 WW2 Aircraft Diorama Figures and AC

2 - Figures set kits available from mainstream manufacturers.
So, you've decided to make the big jump and include your aircraft in a diorama? Let's see what is available in injected plastic first. Of course there is not the same choice as in 1/35 scale, but some sets have been produced by mainstream manufacturers. This is also the reason why there are almost no figures included in their kits. Why would you buy additional ones if you could have some for free?! Dragon, Eduard, Hasegawa, ICM and Preiser have produced such kits and these are easily available at Local Hobby Shops or through the Web.

Dragon's Luftwaffe ground crew & equipment set (ref.5532) This is a good choice for an early war diorama with a Bf 109E or a Ju 87 B Stuka (picture 7). Included in the kit are 6 pilots, 2 mechanics, 1 bomb cart, 6 bombs, 2 tables and 4 seats (picture 8). The overall quality, though not excellent, is good and the figures are well done. This set is a "must have" for every Luftwaffe fan and can be easily found for a reasonable price.

Eduard's Luftwaffe and USAAF Personnel sets (ref. 8501 and 8502) (picture 9) These are two recent releases and have been reviewed at Armorama: Luftwaffe Personnel and USAAF Personnel. The Luftwaffe set is pretty much close to the Dragon set in term of overall quality. 6 figures are included (2 pilots and 4 mechanics), 1 working table, 3 bombs and 1 machine gun with ammo box. Small photo-etched tools are also provided (picture 10). The USAAF set is very similar to its German counterpart... without the PE fret! You only have 6 figures (2 pilots and 4 mechanics), 1 fuel drums and 1 ladder (picture 11).

Hasegawa's Luftwaffe pilot figures & equipment set (ref. HAX489) This is a well known kit composed of 2 pilots, 2 mechanics, 1 bomb cart, 4 fuel drums and a lot of bombs and rockets. I didn't purchased the original kit but found mine in the Fieseler & Skoda FiSk 199 box (09645) (picture 12). If you find one, don't hesitate and buy one! Only few parts of the additional sprues are needed for the plane's bomb and the rest is bonus!

ICM's RAF, Luftwaffe, USAAF Pilots and Ground Personnel sets (ref.48081, 48082 and 48083) (picture 13) These three sets have also been reviewed at Armorama: Luftwaffe Pilots and Ground Personnel here and here and USAAF Pilots and Ground Personnel. If you add their Soviet Pilots and Ground Personnel set (often included in their kits), ICM have produced figures for almost all the important nations involved in WW2. Only Japanese figures are sadly missing.

The RAF set (picture 14) is the best and most detailed one. This is nice as there are not as many British figures available as German or US ones. In the box you have 4 pilots, 1 female officer, 2 mechanics, 1 dog, 1 working table, 1 ladder, 1 oxygen bottle trolley, 2 Jerry cans etc... The figures of the RAF set are the best figures I've ever seen in injected plastic!

The Luftwaffe figures are as good (2 pilots, 2 officers and 3 mechanics), but the set doesn't include accessories. The USAAF set is even smaller: 2 pilots, 1 officer and 2 mechanics only! The Soviet one, as said before, can sometimes be found in ICM or Alanger kits as a bonus. It is composed of 6 figures (2 pilots and 4 mechanics), 1 table, 1 ladder, 3 fuel drums, 3 Jerry cans etc... (picture 15)

Preiser's Luftwaffe 35-45 and USAAF 42-45 pilots and ground crew sets (ref. 67001 and 67003) (picture 16) If you are not interested in railroad miniatures, you might never have heard about the name "Preiser". They do not produce Aircraft kits but do make figures, accessories and buildings in various scales. Amongst all their references you can find 1/48 WW2 German and US figures. The Luftwaffe set (picture 17) is composed of 13 pilots and mechanics, 1 table, 2 chairs, 1 (useless) bomb and small accessories. One thing I noticed is that the heads are separated pieces and you have 22 of them! The USAAF set only includes 12 figures (picture 18) and here you have also more heads than figures. The overall quality of the Preiser sets is not as good as the ICM, Dragon or Eduard ones but pretty close.

As a side note, you can also find 1/50 civilian subjects for your dioramas. The set you can see in picture 18 (ref. 68290) is composed of more than 60 figures!? The scale difference is almost not noticeable and the only work you will have to do is to "backdate" them a little as these are more "modern" figures.
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About the Author

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.


Hi Rowan and Jean-Luc really nice. I like the article. One comment though: I can't agree on the eduard figures. Mine are far inferior to the Dragon and ICM figures. Most have severe sink marks and the plastic material is "rubber like". Even the Preisers are better, though the material is similar. best wishes Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 12:43 AM
Hi Steffen! Thanks for your comments! You are right about the quality of the Eduard figures, they do have sink marks. This has been pointed out by Rowan (Merlin) in his review of the kit. Fortunately, they are almost all in the back of the figures an easy to fill. I still think they look as good as the Dragon ones and better than the Preiser ones "anatomically" speaking. The best, in my opinion, beeing ICM's RAF and Luftwaffe sets... the sculptor of these figures was a real artist! Jean-Luc
FEB 22, 2006 - 01:09 PM
Thanks for the interesting article Jean-Luc I think you are right regarding the anatomy, but I like the Preiser ideas and poses (eating soldier, canvas chair e.g.). A pity there is only two chairs in it. I also rate the ICM very high and I'm glad there will be two new boxes this year (one German and one Soviet WW2) see their catalogue at http://www.icm.com.ua/Catalogue_RUS_2006.zip I'm also hoping for this to appear: cheers Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 01:41 PM
Another hint I'm not sure if I overread it or if you missed it. Some Dragon kits also had figures in it. Ba 349A Natter with 2 ground crew and a table (and a nice Walther rocket engine) Me 262 (with the big nose gun, version escapes me now as I do not have it) has some (?) figures in it and a ladder. 1 1/2 figures are in the Revell re-boxing. I also believe the Bomber Version had one or two crew members .... (also do not have it) I will look for the Natter later and make some pictures ... cheers Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:08 PM
Hi Steffen The best ICM figures are really superb aren't they! I'm also really looking forward to their new Aircraft releases - a Lagg 3 at last !) - and their Bf 109F has been a long time coming... exciting stuff! All the best Rowan
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:11 PM
Thanks for a great review, Jean-Luc! I will try to write one later this year regarding figures and accessories in 1/72. Everyone that has good info in this regard are welcome to contact me. Cheers!
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:41 PM
Hi all! Björn that's the way to go! Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet) I can't do reviews for 1/72 or modern subjects as I don't have any kits in that scale or era... so someone else has to jump in for these! If you plan to do a features about 1/72 stuff (there are more available than in 1/48) you can start a thread to discuss this with Armorama members. I did so a few month ago and was pointed to many kits I didn't knew! This helped me a lot for the feature. Steffen, thanks for all the infos! I hope the Soviet set won't be the one they already placed as bonus in some kits! Not that it's a bad one but a NEW one would be better! Of course I don't have all the kits with additional bonus figures and accessories. The feature was meant as a starting point for beginners wanting to do aircraft dioramas... like me at the moment! So I would be interested in every info about figures and accessories available in mainstream kits. Maybe one day I could update the feature... Thanks for your interest! Jean-Luc
FEB 22, 2006 - 08:23 PM