Tuesday, March 12

We jump into the review of Fortes Miniatures early war Fallschirmjäger in 1/24th scale

Diego Fortes has released a crack force of only 100 early-war Fallschirmjäger that are ready to land on our workbench to be reviewed – we grabbed one by the ripcord to show you…

Miniaturas Fortes
Grey resin Figure13 pieces
1/24 scale (75mm)
Alternative head lead foil included
100 figures limited edition
Available for 30.00 € from Fortes Miniatures Directly            

As much as I was excited to see the release from Diego Fortes and his new venture “Miniaturas Fortes” I was apprehensive, Short run resin is often full of pitfalls. And this limited to 100 set certainly is limited. Though the subject will be popular – German – elite unit - two head choices – all check! Let’s look closer at him…
The package itself came in a sturdy box and it was all sealed up in a zip-loc bag. This has none of the gloss of some other figure kits out there but it does the job and a limited run of 100 this would be almost cost prohibitive.
This figure comes in a medium grey resin that is a little stiffer than must - but the good thing for the builder is that it is not needed to work that hard to get him ready for painting. All parts are supplied attached to casting blocks, with the torso given it’s own small platform to stand on whilst you paint and work on him. The excess resin itself is not hard to remove. Though there are seam marks on either side of the torso unfortunately – I mean I don't really know if it will put anyone off as it takes only 20 careful minutes with a scalpel to remove, but I would prefer it if there were no seams to be honest this is only a small gripe on my behalf.

The parts of the kit all take a few minutes getting free from their casting blocks which are the standard with resin kits. This was a simple process without too much “clenching” as you might call it – worrying if you are going to break anything. It all got cleaned up pretty easily. Let’s go through the parts one by one.

There are two head choices on offer here – one with the head bare and one with the iconic German short brimmed “Fallschirmschützen-Stahlhelm 38” jump helmet. I liked the choice without the helmet as it shows the soldier’s features a little more than the covered up version. There was a slight strengthening bit of resin holding on to the rear brim of the helmet which was gone in 60 seconds like a little Nick Cage.

The face has a flat broad forrid (fore-head) and a “bum chin” as we call it in my family – slightly Kirk Douglas-like in his look, he will paint up very nicely with these features. The fine hair and ears, eyes and mouth are all excellent. The helmeted version I liked a little less because it did not bring out the heads better features. These heads were removed from the casting blocks very easily and were easy to place in situ – as they sit in a collar and the joint where they are removed from their casting blocks is very flat.

The torso I left on the little stand casting block it came on for the purpose of the review. I would gain nothing from removing him so I left it secured – this is actually a very good feature when constructing and painting the figure!

The Fallschirmjäger is replete with his close fitting jump smock over his regular uniform tunic. The sculpting of the smock is wrinkly where it should be but not excessively so and so it gives a natural and “pinched” look under his webbing. He also wears some early war tall lace up boots which cover his pants. The patched on the collar of his tunic are there but lack insignia which I suppose can be sourced elsewhere. The buckles, folds and creases on this torso along with his lace detail on his boots look just great.

Over this smock is the parra’s webbing on which his arsenal of ammo pouches for MP-40, main belt and M-31 canteen (in "Fliegerblau" remember) he carries a stick grenade tucked into his standard issue belt and his webbing as well as his trusty P-38 pistol in his holster on his left hip. Topped off underneath with his bread back on his rear this early war parra is pretty suitably decked out.These weapons and packs of equipment are all separate parts which are engineered to fit into the little notches that Diego has carved in. They all look like they are attached to the several floating attachment points that have been sculpted into the figure so when complete this model looks very realistic in his pose and depth. This reminds me of the type of engineering companies like Alpine Miniatures do and it is well appreciated by this modeller.

Don't forget his SMG MP-40! This machine pistol is cast in an unusual way and it has it’s highs and lows. The magazine is too thick, but the detail on the sides of the mag is excellent  - the stock can be posed open like I have done or folded – which is brilliant, but it takes some concentration to get it all set up correctly. The gun itself is good and the more you look at it the tiniest details are all there – its just very hard to see them all in unpainted resin. Take care with this gun and it can look excellent – myself I was in a rush and it still came out ok.

Talking of the gun it needs a shoulder strap doesn’t it? Well this is provided in silver foil which you have to cut very thinly indeed. A mini guillotine is handy for this, and although the MP-40’s strap is often folded over I left mine as a single strap. Attaching it is a bit of a mare as you should be aware of a few things – the points of attachment are not really there so you have to either carve a hole in the butt of the gun for the foil to go through and attach it to the muzzle yourself. Again the more work you put into this the better it looks – and I didn’t have long and I think mine looks good enough for rock and roll.
Indeed though the foil is flimsy if folded too hard it is the perfect material to manipulate. Do not forget to drill a hole through the parra’s hand so the foil goes through! This can save you some “clenching” like I did when I realized it after the arm was attached.

The arms of the parra are not to be forgotten – they are attached to a small casting block each and were pretty painless to prepare and to fit. The fitting of the joints is goo – I used some slow drying thick superglue on this kit and it filled up any small joint holes, you cannot really see this on the unpainted kit though.

 Here he is made up from most angles with both heads for your perusal...

So there you go – a little cleaning up and care taken and this is an excellent model. Not perfect but I can see where Fortes Miniatures is going and I like that road. Less travelled and worth the ride.

Adam Norenberg.

This early war “Green Devil” of the German Luftwaffe is cast in a set of 100 figures – you can get them from Diego’s site http://www.miniaturasfortes.com/ - alternatively check out his Facebook page on which he is always updating you of his exploits! Thanks to Fortes Miniatures for this kit.