YELLOW SUBMARINE'S COLLECTIBLE ITEMS, PART 2

Last modified: Wednesday, February 7, 2001 6:49 PM

 

This is an addendum to the other article about Yellow Submarine's weapon sets. It turns out Dragon is releasing their machine guns in sets, probably to recoup some of the business that Yellow Submarine is siphoning off... or something like that. (Odd, since Dragon's direct sales arm, Cyberhobby, sells Yellow Submarine stuff...) I don't think I need any more MG-34s though-- I don't have figures to tote the ones I've got. Actually, I don't have figures to tote any of this stuff either, but that's just one of those silly practical arguments.

MP28 Machine Pistol Set

I didn't show much of the Mauser in the other article, so this gives you a better idea of the extent of the set. As I said, the "kewlness" comes from the design of the actual weapon, and the set makes a great offering in 1:6th scale. Unfortunately since there's so much good stuff around these days you get a little blasé about it all and start to nitpick stuff to death.

Yes, the Mauser's detailing could be better. The cleaning tool is mighty funky with its superflex rubber. And the barrel should be bored out. That gives you something to do though. Barrel drilling is a no-brainer. The cleaning tool's rod can be replaced with something a bit stiffer like piano wire. The thick rubber carrier for the stock can be re-made into a leather version, and you can transplant the fastening hardware. It would probably look a lot better and be safer too, considering possibility of the plastics chemically interacting. I guess you shouldn't have to do all this, but if the manufacturer had done it it would have cost a lot more. When you think about it, it's pretty extravagant to spend about 1/3 of the cost of a completely outfitted figure on a weapon set. But we're that kind of fanatics, huh?

I was thinking about giving some technical data about these weapons, but they're kind of obscure and I'm no expert. I've found references to the Model 712, which has removeable magazine but a fluted wooden grip. There are other detail differences between that and the 713R, but I'm not certain whether these were just omitted by YS. Apparently, these were sometimes carried as personal weapons (versus official issue) in WWII, and later adapted for firing simulated energy blasts by George Lucas.

MP28 Machine Pistol Set

This set suffers from the same "letdown factor" that the Mauser does, only more so. Compared to the "wow factor" of their MG-34, it's hard for other weapons to live up to that, even in 1:1 scale. What's weird is that this set actually cost me more than the MG-34... $11 vs $13 (???) Go figure. It's got a spring-loaded bolt, removeable magazine, spare magazines and a couple of rubber pouches. Neat stuff, but seen it before.

It's a heckuva lot better than I could have done, but it's not without its nitpickable flaws. The first thing that you notice is that the barrel shroud isn't drilled through with the vent holes. If you didn't want to go through the trouble of drilling them and inserting a barrel, you could probably just paint 'em and they'd look a little better. At least the barrel end is drilled, although the holes are fairly shallow.

The exaggerated raised woodgrain is another source of nitpicking. It's massively out of scale (yeee-ouch! splinters!) and to my eyes now it looks silly, unrealistic and cheap. This kind of thing is better done with coloration-- Cotswold's did an incredible job with a M14 carbine I bought last year. As a matter of fact, there's no paint or weathering on the stocks at all...Something else for you to do. After close inspection, I see that there is a very subtle weathering on the gunmetal.

Another quality letdown is their use of elastic slings. Considering that these are positioned as distinctive quality sets, that's one area where they could have done something obvious to distinguish themselves. Again though, this gives you something to do that probably would have added to the factory cost.

This is another less "mainstream" weapon, evolving from the MP18, which is considered to be the grandfather of submachinegun designs. It saw its heyday prior to WWII-- issued to police after WWI and sold for export-- but was encounted as late as 1945 in the hands of Germans and resistance fighters. Or so sez the "Encyclopedia of WWII Weapons". George Lucas didn't touch this one.

MP41 Machine Pistol Set

Yeah, it's another obscure one... It looks to be a wood-stocked version of the MP40. Beyond that, ???. The same modelling observations apply too-- funky woodgrain, elastic sling.

I know I sound blasé about this stuff, but it's because there's really not much to write about. The fact is, these are neat and unique weapons. If you like all your Germans to tote MP40s or KAR98s because it's more representative of reality, power to ya. But there's something to be said about having an interesting and diverse collection of figures too.

With the majority of companies now producing excellent quality stuff, it's become more difficult for a company to distinguish itself. If Dragon weren't consistently producing a lot of really good stuff, we might look upon these products as excellent and truly high quality. Since that's not the case, I'm inclined to see Yellow Submarine's stuff as merely supplementary, filling in gaps with products of a quality comparable to that we've become accustomed to. Every so often, they exceed that expectation. It's a sort of opportunistic approach, but I'm not complaining!

--Jimbob, 02/07/01