Tomopop Review: Alter's Erica Hartmann

4:00 PM on 07.06.2013 // Tianxiao Ma
  @@Makigumo

The ace from Karlsland takes to the skies

In war, sometimes you find yourself with some unlikely allies. If the situation is desperate enough, you might even have to unite with your enemies. Yes, in the world of Strike Witches, that means making friends with the Third Reich.

Technically there are no Nazis in Strike Witches, but clearly Karlslanders and WWII-era Germans have more than a few aesthetic cues in common. Read on to find out how well Alter captures them in their 1/8-scale Erica Hartmann figure.

Photo Gallery:   (you can use your arrow keys)


Figure Name: Erica Hartmann
Figure Maker: Alter
Retail Price: ¥8,800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan

Erica Hartmann isn't a Nazi. Instead of fighting to conquer Europe, she's tasked with liberating it from the alien Neuroi. Being one of the best fighters in the Strike Witches world, you'd think she would be a dedicated, serious person. In reality, she's very carefree, lazy, and a bit spaced out. Alter's figure captures Hartmann's merrier side.

All the standard design cues of Alter's Strike Witches line are featured on the box. For this particular package, you'll get essentially one and a half figures.

Hartmann has two poses. Above is the one she has in the box. You'll still need to do a bit of assembly, mostly to strap the light machine gun on to her back.

As you can see, Hartmann is suspended by a metal rod. This allows for the flying pose, but you might not like the rod getting into your photos. The base is a pretty unimaginative affair: a simple blue disc with some character info printed on it.

In case you have any concerns about the durability of this setup, I can vouch for Alter in this regard. I've had their 1/8 Gertrud Barkhorn (which is balanced on a metal rod in a similar way) since last year, and that figure hasn't had any problems.

You might think, looking from a distance, that Hartmann's default expression is a cheerful one. Upon closer inspection, it's somewhere between mischievous and aggressive. However you interpret it, the Neuroi are in for a bad time.

Hartmann's Striker unit has been recreated in exacting detail. The paint job in general is very clean, except for the one smudge mark you can see above. I think that was just a random smudge from the manufacturing process, as that area was protected in plastic during shipping.

Although clean, Hartmann's jacket is rather featureless. There isn't much shading, nor are there many insignias, so it just looks dull.

Her second pose looks like one that a USO girl might strike. To get this pose, Alter included an entire alternate upper body. You'll also have to pull off Hartmann's right arm to slide the LMG into her hand, and swap out the strap for the one that dangles.

Both poses are well-done, and I like both facial expressions. For display, I like this pose better. It shows off the weapon and looks more dynamic to me. It also captures Hartmann's personality.

I've mentioned the LMG already. It's a faithful recreation of the German MG 42, fitted with a twin drum magazine that totally doesn't make it look phallic at all. Before you say anything, I'll point out that witches have enhanced strength due to their magic. That's why Hartmann can operate her weapon one-handed.

Alternate propeller pieces are included. The default pieces look like spinning propeller blades in motion. If you like, you can swap them with stationary ones. As with the other Strike Witches, you swap them by pulling off the end piece of the Striker unit and sliding the propeller off the peg (they can spin freely when attached).

It's safe to say Alter knocked this one out of the park. This Erica Hartmann shows the same excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail as the rest of the Strike Witches line (I have six others). The setup and assembly can be fussy, but the end result is well worth the effort.

[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample!]


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Tianxiao Ma, Associate Editor
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Is suspicious of kittens and robots. Vehemently dislikes angle quotes. Will never forgive the Cylons. Was the real-life inspiration for the movie . more   |   staff directory



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