Saturday, March 17

Review: Alpine Miniatures 35135: 1/35 SS Panzer Crew Kursk (2 Figure set)

Alpine Miniatures have released two new figures this month – Sculpted by Sang-Min Lee these two individual figures (35133 + 35144) make up a set called SS Panzer Crew Kursk 35135. Let’s take a look at these two tankers and see if they are cut from the usual impeccable Alpine cloth…

The package contents of the pair together…

Alpine Miniatures 35135: 1/35 SS Panzer Crew Kursk (2 Figures)
Kits: 35133 + 35144 combined to make set 35135
Scale: 1/35
Pieces: 35133 – 7 parts / 35134-3 parts (both include the 2 heads)
Grey Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Ages: 14 and over
Alpine Miniatures Distributors: Link

Alpine Miniatures has put a combination of SS Panzer troops carrying Ammo to their vehicle and are selling them as a matched pair for a diorama. These of course have their own individual merits so ill take a look at them and then build them individually and as a pair to show you what I found out and what I like or maybe didn't like about these two Panzer men of the SS. 

35133 SS Panzer Crew Kursk #1

-(for Pz.IV, StuG III/IV, JgdPz. IV, Hetzer, etc.) - Sculpted by Sang-Min Lee / Boxart Painted by Calvin Tan.

This first soldier comes in seven parts of grey resin. The resin on this figure (and his partner) is the usual resin in a light grey used by Alpine. Historically and this time again I have had no problem cutting or shaping this resin and it removes very easily from the casting blocks. Several of the smaller parts come on casting blocks like the arms, pistol holster and hand which are attached to a shell (which looks like a 75mm by the size of it.)

I will start at the head part of the figure. There are two heads with recognizably the same face but with different headgear. One of the heads wears an M-40 feldmütze field cap with a German eagle on top and a clearly seen skull and crossbones emblem on the middle-front (it is tiny!) You can see the piping of the hat very clearly – while underneath the back of the hats the hair of the tanker can be made out – it looks very fine and realistic. 

The other headgear choice is a lightweight version of the camouflaged field cap which was like the M43 peaked cap but a thinner material with no buttons and insignia. The cap’s brims sits out just the right amount on the officer’s head. Both choices really show off this soldier’s long face with protruded chin and pointy ears – yes the detail on these faces is that good!

Both soldiers wear the camouflaged M43 tanker’s smock (it looks like it is painted in plane tree 4 camouflage on the excellent box-art painting by Calvin Tan.) The coverall is a full body piece that has features like large shoulder boards of which you can see the piping and large flat breast pocket cover flaps – a six button (should it be seven I am not sure?) button up front with the sleeves on the arms on this soldier all the way down. 

The lower section of the camouflaged coverall features large flap forward pockets and clearly visible details like buttons on the cuffs and tie-up trouser legs. The hang on this coverall looks not overstated and realistic – there is a twist in the soldier’s back of the coverall where he is leaning slightly to the left and around the belt the fabric is drawn in quite wrinkly around the waist especially at the back. As footwear the soldier wears the shorter M43 German boot.

The soldier’s body language is leaning slightly to the left while he is carrying a tank shell in his hands. His right hand cupping the bottom of the shell and the left holding balance of the round. His arms came on their own casting block along with the pistol holster and had – as usual with Alpine – sensible spots to attach them to so removal from these blocks isn’t a hair raising event. The resin is a perfect mix of softness but rigidity – nothing worse than rock hard resin!

There is a hole on the soldier’s back left hip where the holster of his walther p38 holster fits in very snugly – the little notch holds it there and superglue keeps it there. The holster itself sits off the body nicely and follows the curve of the waist of the soldier at the top flap.

-(for Pz.IV, StuG III/IV, JgdPz. IV, Hetzer, etc.) - Sculpted by Sang-Min Lee / Boxart Painted by Calvin Tan

This tanker is very similar to the first in a few respects but the body language and the facial features make this an easily recognizably different person to the first tanker. This is a good job considering he is wearing the same garb as the first SS tanker - Let’s start at the top and work our way down with this soldier – 

The figure again has two heads – both again with the same face but different headgear – the face itself is skinnier and maybe slightly older than his companion – maybe because he has a squarer jaw? Anyway the detail isn’t lacking here – the rears and hair and nose are all very finely sculpted – you really have to be on your best to paint these to match the detail that the figure presents you with! 

The choice of headgear again is the M-40 feldmütze field cap with the eagle German emblem and the smaller “death’s head” skull and crossbones underneath it in the centre or the rather more plain but just-as-interesting-for-it peaked lightweight version of the camouflaged field cap. You can see all of the seams and piping on both of these caps but they are not overdone.

The soldier’s torso is adorned by an M43 camouflaged coverall again and this time the tanker has his sleeves rolled up to his elbows almost as he carries his load. Again his coverall boasts large shoulder boards with visible piping and flat flaps on his breast pockets. Nicely detailed buttons and front flapped pockets at his waist which again adorns a belt with centre buckle.

The soldier is again leaning a little to the left with his left leg forward – his legs are widely spread apart. You can see the “pull” on his trouser where his left leg is forward and the soft folds in the material are well observed and replicated. The tanker again wears nicely sculpted M43 short boots with laces clearly there to see.

This tanker is carrying a shell as well as he walks forward slightly sloped forward, he is stooped a little lower than his kameraden and again is cupping the rear of the round. Again the soldier has the option of the walther p38 holster on the back left hip with the helpful notch that keeps this little item there after you glue it on – nothing worse than bits that fall off as soon as you touch them.

The engineering – This brings me to the set as they pose together. Although they are very similarly attired these soldier have different body language and their faces are completely – but not amazingly different so neither looks out of place – they both have their different character in facial features and body language and the joins of the 35134 soldier at the nick is a “V” shaped insert which slips into his collar with no seam while his companion has a more traditional flat neck joint.

When it comes to the ease of construction the heads actually nearly fit in without glue – where the hands join up at the sleeves and carry the ammunition quite realistically without too many super glued fingers – you have to dry-fit alright to work out the exact angle – but once you “get” it  everything is plain sailing. Actually the figure 35134’s arms fit into his sleeves WITHOUT glue – they are pictured here not even secured to show you the good engineering of these figures.

The figures together with both head choices shown

On seeing the box art I liked but want blown away by these figures at the start I think because they are familiar material. In a way Alpine has themselves as competition as they have released a few kits similar to this in the past – but on seeing and then making these figures I reckon they are really top shelf and can recommend them to anyone who is a German (or any other) figure fan. They are excellently sculpted and well-engineered – I like them very very much!

Adam Norenberg

 Here are these SS Panzer crew figures painted up on Alpine's Site by the very talented Calvin Tan - hopefully this shows you the potential once painted of these figures

35135 SS Panzer Crew Kursk Set (2 Figures)
(for Pz.IV, StuG III/IV, JgdPz. IV, Hetzer, etc.) 

The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.

Sculpted by Sang-Min Lee / Boxart Painted by Calvin Tan