Sunday, December 8

Alpine Miniatures 35165 Kurt Meyer & Officer Set review

Alpine Miniatures has set a hard task for themselves in replicating one of the more famous SS men of WWII and his companion in their latest figures set – we look at them both and put them together to see if this sculpt is cut from the right cloth or an impostor to the cause…

Alpine miniatures
35165 Kurt Meyer & Officer Set
Incorporating the two single figures:
1/35 in grey resin

Alpine Miniatures
 brings us arguably one of the best known SS soldiers of WWII in the form of Kurt “Panzermeyer” Meyer and his SS companion in 1/35th scale resin. Set at the time of the defence of the Normandy beaches with the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend ("Hitler Youth") this latest set would be a good companion set for Alpine’s earlier very popular set of the SS commander Wünsche in Normandy

You can see in these pictures Meyer and Wünsche in the same scene at the abbey in Normandy in the desperate defence in the first days after the Allied invasion. At the table with Meyer is Wünsche (left), & Fritz Witt (centre) in Normandy sometime after June 7th 1944 (you can see here Meyer in in Oak Leaf Pattern camo)
As you can see in these pictures you could place the same two figure sets on the same diorama and time.

But back to this set - Both of these figures are sold separately – in set 35163: Kurt Meyer in Normandy (1/35) and 35164: WSS Grenadier Officer (1/35) as well as together in this set we are reviewing 35165: Kurt Meyer & Officer Set (1/35).

To get the most bang for your buck in this review I’ll build and examine the figures separately and then put them together in a set to see how they interact. You may like one of these figures more than the other or only need one - so this is a good chance to see them both on their own merits.

These two figures come in their own Zip-loc bad each with the trademark of alpine – a choice of two heads with different headgear on. The resin on offer is the usual soft light grey type used by Alpine that is easy to cut and trim off the small pouring blocks which the parts are attached to. Most of the attachments are in sensible places as well so that avoids any extra creases being made in the arms by an errant hobby knife. The box these figures come in is the little nifty clear and apple green box that alpine is known well for. The figures are both sculpted by Taesung Harmms and the boxart is painted by Dr. Jin Kim.

Meyer in the rear right hand side - notice his wrinkly neck and beaten officer's visor...
In a fateful campaign for “Panzermeyer”, the Normandy battle against the Canadian and British forces further enforced his good reputation as an inspirational commander as well as damning him as a war criminal for the actions of the troops of the Hitlerjugend that he commanded at the time.

Here is  Panzermeyer on the right side of the picture again with the Division's staff officer Hebert Meyer  - Panzermeyer's uniform is in Oak leaf pattern - you can note his rank patch on his shoulder as we will see later in his sculpt.
Here he is in the middle at their HQ at the Ardenne Abbey. ( this time in an Italian camo uniform -  both of these had no collar emblems just the rank on the shoulder sleeves) Notice here his cloth covered binoculars on his chest...
A little bit about uniforms of Kurt Meyer at the time of June 1944 and the defence of Normandy..

It is interesting that Wünsche and Meyer have been covered by the same sculptor in the same period recently. Some great shots of these two men together in Normandy fighting against the British and Canadian forces in June 1944 show that they both wore non-standard uniforms that were tailored specifically for them.

They both had tunics and field caps modelled on the M1943 einheitsfeldmütze which were made from the three-coloured cotton duck material used for Italian Army shelter cloth.

Both of Meyer's uniforms in these previous shots were not standard issued clothing - the "oak pattern A" is depicted in the boxart you can also paint him in the Italian camo for this figure set.
Both of the figures in this set are similarly attired but are wearing very different choices in clothing, we will go into this in the review of both figures but trying not to avoid the elephant in the room in the reason why we are discussing this man we will talk a little about the star of this set and the main draw card for many modellers - the figure of Kurt Meyer

1 resin figure with 2 different head choices.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim
This figure comes in six parts of light grey resin. Two head choices and two arms separate with a pistol in it’s holster. Sealed in a zip-loc bag so you don’t get heads mixed up – not that you could here – as Taesung has (and regularly does) makes the neck joints on the sets of figures a different join type. This soldier has a fairly straight joint on both of the heads that a small pouring block must be carefully removed. These heads show no tiny seam lines like I have found on other Alpine releases.

You can see how close these two look - note the tailored M43 style cap
....And the figure's head choices unpainted and close up - you can see the German eagle and the "Death;s head" emblem of the SS on this tailored and officer's cap
Panzermeyer's thick mouth-line and eye shape is well replicated here - his thick cheeks, wrinkly neck and bump chin, his almost pursed lips and large cauliflower ears capture the look of the man very well.
The torso from head to toe is seen with the black shirt Meyer wore under his ersatz M42/3 tunic. Seen clearly here as well is his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) or “Sore Throat” - He wears a double holed officer’s belt and buckle and at the rear left hip is a notch that the pistol holster fastens and locates to. His small field glasses are covered with cloth which has a camo pattern - often any small patch of material to protect, clean and hide them.
His torso is well sculpted and you can see the lines of the clothing fall very well. The large pockets seem to have weight and the flaps and collar sit apart from the body.

Both of his arms comes attached to a pouring block – the right you must be careful when removing as the resin can come off easily here – maybe too easily. Notice the thick cuffs on the sleeves? Also of note are the sinews and veins in each hand and his finger crooked to hold a cigarette.
On his tailored tunic which resembles the M42/3 pattern you can see his arm patch showing the leaves and bars of an SS-Standartenführer or SS-Regiment leader clearly in the sculpt of his arm. 

The pistol in the holster is for a Walther P-38 – the material is thick black coloured pebblegrain leather.

Notice on the inside of the arms and holster there is a notch to fit the holster firmly in place on the body? As well as this the arms around the cuffs are slightly hollowed as so to fit to the body tighter and flatter. These help properly locate the arms as well.
And here he is all put together (10 minutes construction time) with the Erstaz M43 crusher cap -
Note - I have applied his right arm a little high and forward - only a little - in reality it sits much more flush to the body..

And here he is with his officer's visor head choice - this head i put in second so i think he is looking up and a little to straight (my fault) but you can still see his face to good effect.

I like what has been done with this recreation of Kurt Meyer. The choice of tailored garments and the facial features, topped off with the drape of his clothing and the fit of the arms is really a lesson to budding sculptors (and professionals) of what modellers expect when buying a resin sculpt figure nowdays.

1 resin figure with 2 different head choices.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim
The figure of this officer represents a the rank of an SS-Obersturmführer (SS-Senior assault leader) on his shoulder of his camouflaged M44 tunic - He is meant to be used as a single figure or in a pairing with the Panzermeyer figure.

His head choices are the same as his commander  - the hand tailored ( this time with no emblems) M43 style cap with the alternate the officer’s peaked Visor cap.

Notice his high cheekbones and fine hair in this sculpt - as well as the tiny death's head and braiding on his officer's peaked visor..

Like his commanding officer he carries some field glasses but these are the larger high powered 10 x 50 type hanging in front of what looks like a standard M43 tunic. He has cavalry style breeches on and high "jackboots" - very much an older fashioned or aristocratic way of dressing compared to his higher ranked kameraden.

Like his commander he has the notch to fit his holster in on his rear left hip and like his companion sculpt the draping on the pockets, the twist of the fabric on the back and the bagginess of the trousers looks very realistic.
On his arms which are attached to some casting blocks when new you can see his rank on his upper sleeves again. He carries a map in his hand and there is a Luger in it's holster to attach again tot he hip of the figure in the little notch ready and waiting.

Again you can see the slight gauges in the inside of the arms to allow them to conform to the sides of the torso easier and the notch for the holster placement. the hand slipped straight into the cuff hole provided with no fuss whatsoever.

Here he is with his peaked cap head choice all put together..

and again with his peaked officer's style visor - this construction again took me only just under 10 minutes.
This officer is an interesting alternative for the reason that he isn’t a "named" soldier. So if you want to get him separate from his commander that he is a good acquisition.  In fact I think that many will buy him BECAUSE he is “just another soldier”

Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
2 resin figures with 2 different head choices each.
These two relate quite naturally with each other in body language and with the way they are both seemingly looking into the distance. Almost like male models but i would not say that they are looking onto the oncoming scene of battle - it certainly feels like it to me. I would like to put them in a scene with the Wunsche figures - that would make a great Normandy diorama.

Here they are from different angles and different headgear combos...

You see - even with the "same" headgear on they are wearing very different clothing...

These two figures are very intricately sculpted, the casting is first rate and the look and naturalistic feel of both these men  must be mentioned - from the wrinkle on the underside of Meyer's neck to his cauliflower ears to the clothing and disposition of his officer kamerad this set is a winner.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine Miniatures for sending these figures to make and review

And here they are painted up together and alone by Boxart Painter Dr. Jin Kim - this is what is possible folks.