Monday, November 5

We review the Life Miniatures Joachim Peiper bust in 1/10 scale

Sang-Eon Lee’s new company Life Miniatures has released a photo-realistic large scale (1/10th) bust of the controversial figure of Joachim "Jochen" Peiper. Peiper - an SS commander during WWII was tried and convicted for being in command of troops who participated in the “Malmédy Massacre”. Well we will cut past these other considerations and show you this bust as it comes in its box – we also put it together to show you the finer details


Subject: Joachim Peiper
1/10 scale
Resin bust,
Consisting of six parts of grey resin

Having long known of the master modeller Sang Eon Lee's work and seeing his efforts on many modelling projects I was really excited to see that he had formed a new company of his own – and that this company would be releasing 1/10th scale bust of either a famous or iconic figure every month or so – well you can say I was really interested!

There are three – and soon to be four busts already in the cannon of Sang Eon’s company – Life Miniatures. The first was famous Vietnam War photographer , the bust just recently released of the US Marine of the 1st Division at Guadalcanal – a fourth bust soon to come and this one – of the “Murderer of Malmedy” Joachim Peiper…

A little about the subject of the sculpt..

Joachim "Jochen" Peiper was born in 1915 and lived until 1976. From early beginnings as a hard man and early member of the SS organization he rose to the height of SS Lt. Colonel (SS-Standartenführer) in the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, and at one time was adjutant to the leader of the SS Heinrich Himmler from April 1938 to August 1941. Peiper was best known for leading the section of “Kampfgrüppe Peiper” which spearheaded the assault in the Ardennes in 1944 - commonly known as “The Battle of the Bulge”

By the end of his military career in 1945, Peiper was the youngest regimental colonel in the Waffen-SS, holding the rank of SS-Standartenführer. An intelligent man and well read – Peiper had many friends in the Nazi party but was never himself a member. Although he doubted the success of the Ardennes plan he led one of the vanguard units in the attack.

During the Attack in the Ardennes one of Peiper’s units murdered some 84 POWs who had surrendered to one of his battle group. Although Peiper himself was not present at the time of the killings no and no one has come forward to say that Peiper ordered the massacre he was at the infamous cross-roads prior to the incident and was hunted by the allies as the man in command of the unit after the war. He was eventually convicted of the Malmédy massacre, but his death sentence was commuted to a life sentence. Years later after release Peiper retired to France. He was killed in 1976 when his home was bombarded by communist party members who set his house on fire with Molotov cocktails. It will never be known if he did command the actions of the massacre – and because of the contradictions of his character he has become an enigma with WWII historians and modellers.
This figure of Joachim Peiper is sculpted by Jun-Sik Ahn and consists of six pieces of resin.  One - the stalk or stand the at the bust sits on, one part of the torso – with a neck socket that the head sits in and makes sure the face and head is in correct alignment. Field glasses and their attachments sit on his chest and a crushed rumpled officer’s cap round out the figure’s almost trademark likeness of the man. 
Here are the contents of the attractive and well padded box.
You can see here in the pictures below the wrapping around his field glasses just like in this picture – the likeness and skill of sculpting is really impressive.

Peiper and his bust side by side – this was clearly the inspiration for this piece..
The resin on offer is a soft (and rather pleasantly familiar smelling type I might add) – I used  just my Xuron snips and hobby knife to do all of the “carving “ work to remove the six pieces from their small attached casting blocks. There are casting blocks attached to the small and delicate parts – and my only nit picking I can bring up about this figure is that you have to be careful to not lose any of the great detail whilst removing the parts – but hey – there isn’t much work involved in removing any excess so it’s just a nit-pick really.

The torso of this figure wears a worn looking leather officer’s coat – wrinkled and worn looking through constant use and open at the neck to show Peiper’s collar emblems and most importantly a finely detailed Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves – one of the highest award to be awarded to soldiers during the period of the short lived “Third Reich”
The rear of the jacket and front is finely wrinkled in an attractive but realistic way whilst Peiper’s sideboards show his rank and are finely sculpted and probably easy to paint with the finely raised surfaces rendered.
Peiper’s face: as you can see here the head is separate to the torso and the accompanying officer’s cap. You can see with the pictures together here (I used the painted figure painted by Sang Eon Lee himself to show you the similarity.
From the cleft chin, to the skinny but strong jaw through to the pointy bumped nose and piercing eyes the sculptor has done an amazing job of recreating this easily recognizable person. It really is a harder thing to do to replicate a well-known figure – a real challenge – but here Life miniatures have got Peiper’s facial features dead on. Not only the facial features but some fine hair that sticks out of the officer’s cap are well rendered in this scale as well.
The nice bit of engineering is highlighted here – rather than a funny neck joint to show Peiper’s head turned to the side which could be removed or posed in the wrong manner there is a hole and a joint that this head fits into neatly – no guessing needed the head sits just at the right angle sideways and downward to see the sculptor’s vision.

The “Schirmmütze” officers' cap is suitably battered and rumpled. Officers “Alter Hase” – old Hares or long serving soldiers wore their caps with pride and often made them look “worn in” by taking out the wire in the brim of the cap. Giving it a folded and squashed look which served as a bonus in working inside cramped armoured vehicles – this was a common trait of the officer corps in the SS and Wehrmacht. The picture of Peiper that inspired this piece shows clearly how it was scuffed, battered and worn just like this sculpt.
The casting block is in an awkward place but with some care it is removed and the flat inside sits neatly on Peiper’s head which is also flat. Nice engineering again by the sculptor.
The goggles are well sculpted as well – apart from the small casting blocks which are a cinch to remove (although the lens circles need some care to avoid) these field glasses ( it is impossible to tell which type as there is some cloth covering them to protect them from the elements) look just like the glasses in the photograph. There is a small toggle of leather coming from these glasses which can be attached or not.

The binoculars sit neatly into the torso on a spot which is set aside – recessed neatly for them to slip into. The straps of the goggles are already on the torso and go past where the binoculars sit so the trick of the eye sees them as attached. Really nice effect here.
The general pose of the figure matches the picture that inspires it too easily almost – there are definitely a talented bunch working at Life miniatures – The way they have captured Peiper almost effortlessly is shown further in the Painted bust shots from Life Miniatures themselves I have included at the end of the review here. If I thought I was a better painter than Sang Eon Lee I would have a crack at it in the review – for now mine will remain unpainted until I have some more practice!

In summary this is a great bust with no real issues – the stand just adds to the kit - unobtrusive and it does its job nicely – here I have stood mine on a base from another figure but you can see from these shots and the later painted figure what a great bust this is.

We look forward to reviewing more from this great new sculpting company.

Adam Norenberg

This sculpt is on sale now – thanks to Life Miniatures for sending it for review

Also if you like this you must visit Sang-Eon Lee’s blog  to see the list of Life Miniatures worldwide dealers.

The finished – painted bust by Sang Eon Lee
The figure was painted by Sang-Eon Lee and you can see the potential of the kit in this work by the master. Shades of skin and clothing here are done just right and not over contrasted – this gives a natural feeling and brings out the finesse of the work of the sculptor – excellent work!!