Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale
3D-Printed Figures
Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 1 January 2024
3D-Printing is Revolutionizing Our Hobby

I know, "Thank you, Captain Obvious." I don't think that statement is revelatory to anyone. If you've seen what's being produced these days with 3D-printing, you'll know exactly what I mean. For the world of 1/72nd scale Sherman modeling, there is still not yet a whole lot available to us as far as vehicles or add-ons. O3D, one of the pioneers in 3D printing, was the first to give us several sets, bringing us Sherman tracks and accessory sets. There are sets of 3D-printed headlight guards more recently produced by Firma49 and Syndikate. But that's about it at this point. Several companies make accessory sets that can be useful for adding details to our models and dioramas, such as gas cans and other types of stowage items. I will add reviews of some of these items to this site as time allows. I have seen photos of a few variations of the M3 Medium tank being printed in resin, but I have to say, based on those photos, there is still a long way to go before I'd be tempted to build any of those kits as highly detailed, static display models. Perhaps they are suitable for wargaming?

But this article is all about figures.

This website has always contained reviews of figure sets that would be appropriate for crewing our Sherman tank models, from multiple nationalities. The advent of 3D-printing has now greatly expanded our options for tank crew figures of exceptional quality. This short article is going to give my impressions of some of the currently available figures and the companies manufacturing them. Of course, the comments I provide regarding tank crew figure sets will also be applicable to the multitude of other figure sets in these companies' respective catalogues.

First, a couple of notes about how I judge and rate the "quality" of these figure sets. I do not know very much about 3D printing, about how it is physically done. To date, I still have not ever seen a 3D printer in action. I know there are probably plenty of Youtube videos I could watch to see the process, but I've never been motivated to do so. It would probably only make me want to get into the action myself, which I really do not need to do. What I DO know about it, however, is that two of the biggest factors that contribute to the quality of the final printed figures are the resolution of the printer, and the quality of the computer-drawn pattern files (called .stl files) that are printed into the resin. I assume the quality of the resin also plays a role, but I'm not sure to what extent. I also know that there are features of the printers other than resolution that will also contribute to ease of use, and quality of the printing, but again, I'm not sure what they all are, or how much they will affect the end product.

Regarding the printer resolution, the higher the resolution, the better (and more expensive) because higher resolution allows printing thinner layers of resin on all three axes, resulting in much smoother surfaces, especially on curves. When it comes to figures, with all of their curved surfaces (helmets, shoulders, wrinkles in clothing, etc.), the same figure design printed with printers of varying resolutions will look very different. With the lower resolutions with thicker layers being printed, there are very distinct lines visible on the final product, which need to be dealt with somehow, either sanding or filling. With such small subjects as we're dealing with here, it's a double-edged sword, because on the one hand, the layer lines are a little less visible when lost in the smaller details, such as uniform wrinkles and kit straps, etc. But on the other hand, when they are visible, such as on helmets or across the figures' backs or legs, it's much harder to sand them on items so small without damaging any of the other details on the figure.

I have noticed that several companies market many of the same figure designs, I assume because the .stl files are licensed or sold to multiple vendors, and differences in quality can be seen between the companies based on the quality of the printers they use. See the image below. The figure on the left is produced by SSR, and the same figure on the right is made by Mironious. Click on the thumbnail and zoom in as close as you can, and you will see the obvious printing artifacts on the SSR figure, and not so much on the Mironious version. I had thought at first that it's no big deal when considering an object this tiny, but that is not true at all. When painting the figures, the paint actually highlights the little ridges in the resin. Drybrushing in particular really makes them pop, as the paint gets caught on the lines. So be very careful in your painting. In this case, perhaps using thicker paint may be beneficial, as perhaps it can partially fill in these surface deformities? I'll have to test that at some point.

A high resolution printer also can print figures of varying quality depending on the accuracy and detail contained in the figure's pattern file, the .stl file. Some patterns are far more detailed than others, such as including straps on helmets and weapons, finer barrel detail on rifles, more detailed facial expressions deeper undercuts under clothing and helmets, and so on. Using a computer to draw figures allows for much more accurate figure dimensions and proportions than sculpting the figures by hand. It is also easier to create realistic poses and add the variety of kit that individual soldiers carried with them. Some figure patterns are better than others because more thought was put into the designs to make the figures look unique from each other. Others often use the exact same basic design for a figure regarding uniform, equipment and weapons, and simply changes the pose of the figure for some variety. But it is a bit odd to see an entire truck full of sitting infantrymen all with identical kit and facial features, sitting in slightly different poses. They look like clones. In this case, it's best to mix and match similar figures from different companies to add that missing variety.

Below are scanned examples of several figures sets that I have purchased. It shows the great variety in quality between different brands. There are a couple more brands of 3D-printed figures and accessories that are not represented on this page, simply because they do not market any tank crew figures that would be suitable for Sherman tanks. Some of these companies make very good products regardless (I'm looking at you, Dynamo). I will update this page with new sets as I get them.

AGN Modelworks
General Thoughts on the Brand

I am going to be honest here and say that I am not 100% sure that these figures are 3D printed. You can just look at them and see that they have been cast in the traditional method of resin casting. But... there are some companies that 3D-print the masters for the figures, and then make molds to cast duplicates in resin the old fashioned way. I THINK that is the case with these figures from AGN; when I magnify the images and look very closely, I am fairly certain I can see some printing artifacts. Which begs the question: why would they do that? I can think of two reasons. First, maybe the resin used in 3D printing is significantly more expensive than the resin used for casting in the traditional way, and/or it's easier to cast the resin. Secondly, maybe they didn't like the artifacts left behind from the 3D printing process, and improved the figures a bit before casting. I assume that's most likely case, though it's only a theory.

I love this set. The poses of the figures are highly useful and unique between them. The details on the uniforms are quite impressive, with the multitude of wrinkles in the clothing and webbing, which is going to make dry brushing a dream. The facial features are nicely done, though there is not much variation between them. They are fairly expressionless and could all be identical brothers for all we know. Also, there are some obvious flaws in the resin casting, with an occasional bubble that will need filling; thankfully they are in places that are easy to fix. I can only hope that AGN expands their catalogue with more sets like this one.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
WW II US Tank Crew


AMMO by Mig
General Thoughts on the Brand

I have mixed feelings about this brand. On the one hand, I really like their figure designs; nice poses, and generally good details, facial features, uniform and kit, etc. And they are all original designs; I have not seen them marketed by any other companies. But on the other hand, AMMO's printing technique leaves a lot to be desired. First, the figures are attached to the base by a great many connections (not sure what these are called), but the connections are very short, and the gap between the figure and the base is so narrow that it's extremely difficult to get a knife in there to cut them free. Secondly, they use either low quality resin, or they don't spend enough time curing the printed product, because the resin is very, very soft, particularly on the rear of the figures where they are connected to the base. To the point of being almost rubbery. If the resin had been harder, it would have been easier to snap the figures free, but as it is, it was very challenging to do so. You can see on the scan of the rear of the figures the divots left in the figures from the connectors. Also, parts of their headgear were damaged in the process. There is also a printing flaw that cannot be seen in this scan, but the fingers of the hands that extend towards the screen were the printing equivalent of "short-shot", i.e., not printed past the knuckles. Replacement hands are a must. I have several sets of AMMO's figures, and they all suffer these same flaws, and one of them (US Infantry) aren't even useable, because the printing was so botched on the rear side of the figures. Granted, I bought these figures a long time ago, right after they were released, so perhaps, and hopefully, AMMO has improved their printing technique since then.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
Figures British Crew


FC Modeltrend
General Thoughts on the Brand

Looking at these figures in comparison to the other brands shown here, I think these are done fairly well, though they don't really stand out from the crowd. What I like the most about this company's products are the poses of the figures; very original and well thought out. And in the set below, if that guy on the right smoking the cigarette was not based on William H. Macy, then that's a hell of a coincidence! It appears as though all of the figure sets in their catalogue are original, as I've not seen them elsewhere. The figures are very easy to remove from the printing frames, with minimal cleanup, which is a high mark in their favor. However, the printer resolution isn't as high as some of the other companies', leaving noticable printing artifacts on the clothing. If they would upgrade to a higher resolution printer, then these would be top of the line.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
WWII US Tank Crew


General Thoughts on the Brand

Germania probably has the largest catalogue of printed figures to date. They have been producing highly orginal small scale figures for many years of some really creative and obscure subjects. It only makes sense that they jumped into the 3D-printing game immediately. They seem to use a relatively mid-resolution printer; not as high as some, but better than others. But... I have some serious issues with the company's products. I have purchased around a dozen of their figure sets (the sets pictured here are the only tank crew sets I bought that are [supposedly] usable for the Sherman tank), and their quality is all over the board. Most of the other, infantry sets I have (of multiple nationalities) are fairly well done. One of the neat aspects of this company is that they remove the figures from the printing frames prior to packaging, which saves us some potential grief. This also assures us that we won't get any figures that were damaged from the removal process. Most of their products are original designs (I really like their series of US Marines in the Battle of Hue), although some can be seen marketed by other firms as well.

Some downsides:

  • Germania's quality control process in their packaging leaves a lot to be desired. I have received mutiple sets that are mislabeled (for example, the AFV Crew Set 3 pictured below is not the one that I ordered), and I have received sets that include figures that don't exactly match what is in the company's catalogue photos (the same set below being one example of that problem as well).
  • In many of their sets, such as those for troops riding in trucks and halftracks, the figures tend to be clones of each other, with some sets including multiple versions of the same basic figure design, having only the poses altered.
  • Whoever designed many of their .stl files doesn't seem to know very much about WWII uniforms, but has drawn the computer files while looking at a limited selection of photographs. So the uniforms are generally correct, but not very representative of how the soldiers actually looked. You can see this in the sets pictured below where every single one of these crewmen have the same uniform and are carrying the same gear. The .stl designer also seems to think that many US tankers wore full beards and handlebar mustaches (examples of these can be seen in the sets from Mironious as well, which uses designs by the same source).
  • Some specific problems with the AFV Crew Set 3 below: they are not printed to 1/72nd scale as advertised, but rather to 28mm, which makes them far too large for this scale and completely incompatible with other figure sets. The heads that are included (which mostly do not match those in the catalogue photo) wear a variety of headgear, including US tanker helmets (with absolutely massive goggles), US M1 combat helmets (one with camouflage webbing), German infantry helmets, and something that looks like a Cold War, or modern tanker helmet. The hands of the figure firing the .50cal machine gun are molded onto the gun handles, which wouldn't be a terrible design choice, if the gun had been useable. But look at that piece of junk. I don't know what the hell they were thinking with that. The gas cans are undetailed as well. Many of these problems are visible in the catalogue photo on the right, which is why I didn't order this set, but unfortunately received it instead of the set I did order.

The bottom line for this company... I really like many, or even most, of the other, non-tank crew sets that I have from them.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
Set 1
Set 3


General Thoughts on the Brand

The sets pictured below are examples of some figure designs that I have seen produced by more than one company. In my opinion, Mironious has one of the better quality printers, and the dozen or so figure sets I've bought of theirs are superb; some of the best out there, as far as printing quality. Regarding the masters (the .stl files), it's a mixed bag again. The details are very sharp; there are abundant realistic wrinkles in the uniforms, good undercut detail, excellent proportions, etc. But they lack originality. Look at the uniforms and equipment on the figures below; it's all identical. The same gear, hanging in exactly the same location on the belts, the same helmets, the same facial expressions. It would be best to mix and match these figures with those from other manufacturers to get the necessary variety.

As a side note, despite the high quality of the printing of the figures from this company, I don't believe that I will purchase any more of their products in the future. Mironious has since added to their catalogue a series of sets that represent the horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi regime, and I think that shows incredibly bad taste on the part of the company. Yes, history is history, but I dare say that the world will not be at risk of forgetting history if the modeling hobby were to not embrace the ugliest side of it. My own personal choice to express my distate for their choice of subjects.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
WWII US Tank Crew
WWII US Tank Crew
Set IV
WWII US Tank Crew
Set V


General Thoughts on the Brand

Peddinghaus is one of the newest companies to jump into the game, having already been well known for their extensive line of AFV decals. The items I see in their catalogue are a mix of designs that I've seen elsewhere, and others I've not seen before, so perhaps some are company originals. I am not encouraged by what I see in their catalogue photos. Many of the images are only computer drawings. Whenever we see those, we are left to wonder if the actual printed product even resembles the design, but in their case, I've seen enough photos of each to be able to compare, and it looks as though you get exactly what is pictured in the drawings. Which is not always a good thing, as many of their designs are horribly misshaped, with unnatural poses, and weird shapes to arms, shoulders, uniforms and weapons. Maybe Peddinghaus is doing themselves a disservice by posting some photographs of the actual printed figures. I've been discouraged to buy many of their sets because of the poor printing quality that can be seen in the photos.

But if one carefully chooses which sets to order, you can get some good ones. I have two of their sets; the one pictured below, and a set of modern Bundeswehr tank crew, and both are decent, if not great. As can be seen in the scans below, the figure designs are rather generic, and the level of detail is only mediocre. Not the best relief on the facial features and the uniform details (pockets, folds, etc.), and little or no variety to them, other than slightly altered poses. Which is fine, if these guys are all used on different tank models, as opposed to trying to crew a single tank with only this set. The Bundeswehr set is better in this regard. Despite this lukewarm review, however, these are still far superior to molded plastic figures that come with some kits.

This company also has a problem with printing the undersides of the figures, typically under their arms. You can barely see it in this set, but it's far more prevalent in the Bundeswehr set, and it's even obvious in several of Peddinghaus' own catalogue photos. There seems to be some sort of "delamination" occuring, with layers of resin peeling away, or not being completely printed. This is the only brand for which I have seen this issue.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
WWII US Tank Crew
Set IV


General Thoughts on the Brand

These are the first 3D-printed figures that I bought, and I was originally blown away by them. I have since seen these same figure patterns available from other manufacturers (though they have many other non-tank crew figures sets in their catalogue that I've not seen elsewhere). On the plus side, the figures are really nicely detailed and proportioned, with accurate, if not especially creative, uniforms and kit. They were extremely easy to remove from the printing frames; just snapped right off the supports, though I was far more careful around the delicate parts. The one downside I now see in comparison to others is that SSR's printer is not the highest resolution. Refer to the comparison photo in the introduction to this article.

Name of Set Image 1 Image 2
US Tank Crew Set 1
US Tank Crew Set 2


White Stork
General Thoughts on the Brand

White Stork produces my favorite figures in this scale. They are absolutely stunning. As you can see, they are cast in the traditional pressure chamber resin-casting method, however, when you look very closely at some the figures, you can barely make out the 3D-printing artifacts on some of the larger surfaces, such as shoulders and legs. It appears as though the masters are 3D-printed, with copies being cast the traditional way. The designs are all orginal, and are amazing in their variety and creativity. Great poses, excellent uniform variety and details, superb facial features, and we're allowed a little discretion in how to attach the heads for even more personalization. I can't say enough good things about this brand.

On a side note, the British tankers are generally wearing their berets canted a little more to the backs of their heads, rather than clearly over the right ear, which I think was more typical of British crewman. With them angled more to the rear, I think it makes many of these figures perfectly suitable for using as Polish tank crewman, as that's how they wore their berets. The only thing we'd need to do is alter the unit badge on the front of the beret appropriately. Something to consider, at least.

Name of Set Package Image 1 Image 2
British Tankers
British Tankers North Africa
British Tankers Winter
British Tankers II
Soviet Tankers
Pacific War USMC Tankers
US Tankers
US Ammo-loading
Tank Crew
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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale