Alpine Miniatures have sent us their latest set of two single figures combined to make a matched pair in the set 35132: 1/35 German Panther Crew Set. This features a full bodied tank commander and his Machine gunner/ radio operator crewman who is ¾ bodied. Sure to be a popular subject with modellers we'll examine them to see if the quality is at the usual benchmark that Alpine themselves have set.
Alpine Miniatures 35132: 1/35 German Panther Crew Set (2 Figures)
Pieces: 35130 – 6 parts / 35131-3 parts (both include the 2 heads)
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Ages: 14 and over
Alpine Miniatures Distributors: Link
The package contents
This month we have a set I quite like the look of - a twin combo of two of Alpine Miniature’s single soldier sets which are designed to fit together in the same diorama. They are of a German Panther crew. Either of these crew could be the commander or a crewman, in the pictures from Alpine it shows both commanders in the same tank with 35130 as the commander and 35131 as the machine gunner/radio operator - Both have similar body language as each other and the same overall reversible camouflage smocks with no insignia showing except on their headgear - but there are still some differences in each figure. We will look at each of the tankers separately then build them both (unpainted of course – you don’t want me messing things up) to show you how they look completed and what to expect in their construction.
Both of these figures come in a re-sealable plastic bag in the little green and white plastic box which I like a lot. Inside each of the two bags there is a figure each with a choice of the same heads but with different headgear as is the standard set by Alpine for others who have followed. Both of these figures are sculpted by the very talented Taesung Harmms and for the box art both figures have been painted by Man-Jin Kim - both of these guys slightly annoy me because they are so good! Jesting aside ill look at each of these figures separately now – starting with the tank commander figure 35130
35130 German Panther Commander #1 -Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Well this is a whole body figure with all limbs present and correct – I would say he is the commander if you were to use these on the same tank because in the box art he is shown in the top turret leaning over giving instructions to his crewmember/scanning whereas the second commander/crewman seems more passive. He is wearing a winter uniform that covers his regular uniform so there really isn’t a way of distinguishing his rank other than the clues given by the box-art.
We’ll start from the head and work our way down. There are two choices for the headgear – what is common to both is the radio headphones which are the larger padded type and have the raised seam on them in the middle of the headband as well as the depth required as they sit slightly off the head. These look realistic and the only thing you will need to add is the headphone wires to each ear (of which the headphone wire connector is present) both of the faces are very finely sculpted and have well crafter facial figures including a sharp nose and slightly pronounced chin. Realistic faces with some character are a forte of Mr Harmms and he hasn’t let himself down here. There is the tiniest of seams on the back of the neck that I never even saw with the naked eye but did under macro lens – this comes off in an instant with the stroke of a sharp knife.
The headgear choices are of a woollen Panzerkorp's M43 “Einheitsfeldmütze” field cap and the "Feldmütze" German garrison side cap. Both look suitably floppy and folded under the headphones, especially the side cap which has great depth in its folds even in this scale. Both have the German eagle emblem which is clearly visible even with my bad photos and you van clearly make out the piping on both and the buttons on the field cap.
On to the torso – this is the full figure which will stand easily in the turret. The commander is wearing a reversible camouflage smock (in the case of the box art White and splinter pattern.) as is the case with the other figure in this set. Starting with the Parka you can pick it out clearly because of the hood, the drawstring waist with ties hanging loosely to each side of the twin holed M-34 officers' leather belt the figure is wearing. The lower pockets also show that this parker has been studied in depth by the sculptor, details like the drawstring around the hood and the large flap that the jacket is buttoned up to ant the front are not omitted. The folds of the jacket in the figure are realistic and not overdone with the twist of the waist in the clothing looking not out of place in the figure’s stance.
The pants are also of the reversible type with the padded knees and the drawstring at the waist with the ties hanging down as well as small drawstrings at the bottom of each leg. The figure is grounded off with some leather officer boots. The legs here are sculpted as together with no space between them witch I suppose is realistic enough – people aren’t always standing legs apart in a tank turret!
The arms of this tanker are on a separate casting block along with the holstered walther P38 pistol which was a regular side arm of the Panzercorps. The fine work on the flap and the catch of the holster compliments the slight bulge in where the body of the pistol meets the handle. This is picked out pretty well by the box art painting by Man-Jin Kim. I like it that it is available separately and that there is a notch on the pistol which fits neatly into the left hip of the figure – nice for location purposes and keeping it attached when bumped every time someone pulls it out of the tank to have a look at your new figure!
The arms of the figure are padded at the elbows and you can see clearly the seam that runs down the tankers rear arm section. The piped leather gloves that the figure is wearing are suitably wrinkly where the figure has his hands at a sharp angle leaning out of the tank. Again as well there are two small knobs to help align and affix the arms in the pit joints. The elbows is in my opinion the best place to attach the casting block as you don’t have any errors carving them from the block and no alignment problems – plus no “collateral damage” in their removal from the block.
Close-up of the small of the back and the pistol attached
This figure went together from removal of the casting block and super gluing it all together in ten minutes. The ease of construction and therefore the work of the engineering of this figure – just like those I have made before from Alpine – never fail to impress. The figure actually stands well on his own even though out of the tank he looks like he is dancing (jokes people) anyway I was really impressed with how he went together and the look of the figure once completed. Here are some pics..
…Also some pictures of our fearless commander in my (very dusty) test Panzer.IV I had lying around - (sorry didn’t have a Panther in the workshop) I took a few pictures of him in his “ride” hopefully demonstrating how he fits in easily to the both bottom and top hatches of a slightly smaller tank – this should let you know that he will fit in a Panther as well.
35131 German Panther Commander #2 - Sculpted by Taesung Harmms
This second crewman or commander depending on your taste is made up of a torso with arms attached and no equipment and the choice of two heads –Starting at the top down ill run through his clothing choices.
Both of the two choices of the headgear are the same as the first commander – either a woollen Panzerkorp’s M43 “Einheitsfeldmütze” field cap or the "Feldmütze" German garrison side cap. Again over this is the tanker’s headphones which will need two tiny strands of wire to join to the tank but nothing else in the form of detail as it is all there – the subtle furls of the caps underneath and the soldier’s face which seems a little more relaxed and as if looking a little to the side rather than scanning, his gaze is fixed on something to his right and down. His hair is tufting out of the side of his side cap and his cheeks seem a little fuller than his companion’s.
The very smart thing that Alpine usually do is they have two figures from the same unit with different gear in the pairs that they make - usually with just one or two similarities – this time both of the commanders/crew have exactly the same gear on – BUT – in a cheeky genius stroke Taesung has given them both reversible gear – smock and trousers so all you need to do is as they have done (and you can see at the bottom of the page) is make colour them differently and they look different while being the same crew if you want them to be. This soldier is wearing the same reversible splinter/winter white camouflage smock with again the waist ties and collar cord present with the slight twists depicted in the jacket where the tanker is leaning slightly forward and to the left with his body language.
This soldier’s smock is over his belt so you have no knowledge of what he is wearing but being a ¾ figure that part of him will be inside the tank anyway. You need this if you are going to depict him as a crewman popping out of either the driver’s or MG operator’s hatches as there would otherwise be insufficient depth for his full body. Alternatively you can make him the commander in the top turret as he sits in there quite comfortably. His body is again at an interesting angle and slightly twister which adds lots of depth and interest in his smock.
He took all of five minutes to put together with no filling sanding or silliness needed – just two spots of superglue…
With my old and trusty Panzer.IV again – please excuse my work and concentrate on the figures!! (Please note that the figure sits a little bit more forward stooping almost than I snapped him)
All in all these are two great figures that although in similar gear are made very different by the great sculpt by Mr Harmms. There are no casting problems – anatomy mistakes or sloppy work here! They will go very well with the two Panther Ammo Loaders that alpine has released previously (35107 WSS Panther Crew Set) which although slightly different can be painted to match easily. Well done Alpine for another fine figure set.
Thanks to Alpine Miniatures for letting me build your figure sets
You can get these Figures at Alpine Miniatures Distributors Here
Also if you want to see a couple of REAL modellers work look at these pics of Sculpting of Taesung Harmms Painted by Man-Jin Kim with a Panther made by Soo-Man Yang from Alpine’s site – these pictures show the real potential of these figures..
35132 German Panther Crew Set (2 Figures)
The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
A special thanks to Soo-Man Yang for providing the Panther model.