Friday, January 3

Review: Alpine Miniatures 1/35th scale 35168 WSS Infantry Set (2 Figures)

Alpine Miniatures – The market leader and a company at the very forefront of high quality and innovation in miniatures in 35th and 16th scale figures - has just had their 10th anniversary. They have gone straight to the fans with this one – two elite SS men running for the front in a very dynamic set of poses. Let’s see how Alpine is growing with their latest set of figures…


Alpine Miniatures:

35166 WSS Infantry #1

9 resin parts / figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim

35167 WSS Infantry #2
9 resin parts / figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

35168 WSS Infantry Set (2 Figures)
2 figures, each with 2 different heads. (9 parts of grey resin each)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim

These figures are both now available from Alpine Miniatures Distributors Worldwide


Every month or so Alpine Miniature schools us and brings out a set of figures in 35th scale, and a 1/16th scale larger figure. This month for their 10th anniversary they brought out not only these but a special pack of four figures in a limited release. These are usually snapped up pretty quickly. It is interesting to see the “usual” release in this instance receiving so many plaudits – usually the specials are lauded. We look at the latest set of two individual soldiers from Alpine bundled together as a set in this review. First we will look at them by themselves and then how they go together as a pair – putting them both together to see anything we notice along the way.

Alpine is often hailed as one of the best in the business in resin figure making – there are however people that say “not another bunch of Germans” and yes they have a case. Economics though drives inspiration as the elite German units sell hand over fist over Allied figures. It’s a no brainer to make what 80% of the customers want. These look both to be regular soldiers or maybe NCO’s and are in dynamic poses so those saying Alpine just make pointing Nazi officers would be wrong here.
When you open the little trademark green plastic box you find two single soldiers in grey resin in zip-loc bags. Both with two head choices and all parts attached to casting/ pouring blocks.

The resin is not at all smelly – it is very light in colour (hard to photograph) and it is also almost flawless in the mouldings. I say almost – there are slight lines on the back of the helmets that take a few scrapes with a hobby knife to remove. Modeller’s first world problems hey? Otherwise these are bubble free and soft to cut and shape.
These two are set in an interesting pose I must say – dressed in SS camouflaged smocks over their uniforms they are seen ambling/ running towards an unseen objective. They have very similar outfits on, though they are quite different in facial and stance. One is slightly shorter than his mate.

Both wear the standard late war German boots with galoshes covering the ankles and tucking in their trousers over the tunics they have the loose fitting SS Camo smock with drawstring secured chest opening. These tie up at the wrists and gather at the elbows in tiny seams that defy the eye in their delicate detail - outstanding in this scale. SS runes on the collar, flappy pockets and buttons are also a feature of the camo smock on this figure.
Both wear the SS Enlisted men belt and buckle which is delicately detailed – it attaches to their combat y-straps. (Koppeltraggestell für Infanterie) on which all of their equipment is attached. Both have nearly the same “rig” on. With only the difference of the “35167” SS man who has the folding shovel/ entrenching tool in it’s carrying case. (Klappspaten mit Trager) instead of the K98 combat bayonet. (Seitengewehr 98K) which his comrade carries – The bayonet was roughly 25cm long, was drop forged, with a steel blade and was used as a close quarters weapon – as was the Entrenching tool. These shovels were a very valuable piece of kit enabling the individual soldier to dig in for protection as required and was also utilized as a close combat weapon.
Both men carry the TS-57 German WWII gasmask canister and M31 canteen & cup. (Feldflasche 31 und Trinkbecher) as well as the M31 breadbag. (Brotbeutel 31) The breadbag – like the Kar 98 ammo pouches on the front of the soldier’s torsos are moulded in.
Indeed the engineering of these kits is a focus when we put them together as there has been several indentations that fit the separate parts more flush to the body
 
Thanks to http://www.germanmilitaria.com/ for all these great pics – it’s a good place to get educated about what you are building!

35166 WSS Infantry #1
9 resin parts / figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim
This SS infantryman is caught dramatically “on the run” whilst looking to the left – it sure does look like he has been caught in a still in action of a wartime photograph.

Seen with two choices of headgear -  both a covered and uncovered helmet - both of the heads come with the same face and same look of concern as he scans where he thinks the danger is coming from.
There is as you can see and as I discussed earlier a line going up both of the rear of the helmets – this only takes some careful removing with a knife to eliminate. I also made larger the gap under the rear of his helmet and his neck.
He wears the dotted SS smock over his uniform and in his right hand a KaR.98 rifle. On his torso he carries his gas mask in the round canister, his flask and bread bag on his rear right hip as well as ammo pouches for his rifle on his belt. On top of this is a “potato masher” grenade tucked unto his belt to further detail the subject. His belt buckle that the grenade is tucked into is almost readable, and in this scale that’s pretty good!
Several detail on his tunic almost pop out at you and will detail up well under a talented painter’s brush (or even mine) the SS runes on his tunic collar and the striped cloth on his shoulders and his helmet that you could attach local foliage to for camouflage and the laces on the open tunic front really do stand out and can be highlighted as needed.
His uniform trousers are covered at the ankle by galoshes and he wears the late war style ankle boots. The drop of the material on his trousers and the gathering in at the ankles and cuffs is very well done; it really looks like it could be cloth under a decent coat of paint.


The second pouring/ casting block houses two arms joined at the inside to the block as well as the KaR.98 bayonet. These arms are puffed and wrinkled where the material gathers and pinched at the hands where the drawstring cuffs meet it. Tendons and fingers can clearly and easily be picked out here. Details like the stitching and the cloth camo attachments are so finely done you almost have to blow them up to notice them – I bet Mr Harmms had the “optivisor” out when he was sculpting all of these incredible little details.
The other casting block contains this solder’s hand – attached to a KaR98 rifle and his gas canister and M31 canteen. You can see the “bloused” effect on the hands which hold the rifle as well as the tendons in the hand.
The real rifle here – pretty good replicas of the real thing I reckon

When you put him together you notice the engineering that has been sculpted into his torso. The gas canister fits neatly into little niche in his back where it attaches to the already moulded on strap. The canteen fits on top of the flappy breadbag in it’s own little spot as well.
The Hand fits into the rifle in a pre-made slot here only one way which helps with alignment and the bayonet slips into the slot carved for it on the left hip.
… And here he is made up – with the bare M43 helmet and then the camo covered helmet version…
He looks like he is just about to venture forth to follow his comrade – his head is forward and his body language is pushing forward – his legs about to follow. At first when you see his left arm out and put it together it looks odd – but it is just the nature of his arm counterbalancing carrying the rifle in his right arm. This is a restrained but excellent study in anatomy.

35167 WSS Infantry #2
9 resin parts / figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
This figure is meant as a possible companion to the fist SS man we were just talking about. His whole body is poised forward as he “legs it” to keep up with his comrade – or maybe he is running first – he looks pretty much in flight a little more than his Kammeraden.

He has – like his fellow soldier the choice of two heads with the same face but a covered or uncovered helmet. The look of concern is obvious on his face as well as he too scans off to the left hand side.
His mouth is open as he is heavy breathing with running. While the rest of his head is covered with his bare or camouflage covered M43 steel helmet. I am a sucker for the camouflaged version here, but there is a choice and maybe it is good to have these two in a variation to differentiate them from one another.
Again like his (scale) brother in arms he is wearing the SS camo smock ( detailed collar “SS” runes very visible) with the detailed gathered wrist and elbows and with the tied up front of the blouse. The cloth of this tunic looks very natural and baggy in all the right places and again the seams defy the eye in their scale size. The ammo pouches for his KaR98 rifle are moulded to his torso as is his flappy bread bag on his right hip.
The “Y” shape harness holds down the camo smock and the gas mask strap further cuts the material and give sit depth while on the bottom of the smock the pockets flap and the belt buckle is detailed and the pattern visible. Again we have visible buckles and laces for the front of his tunic as well as the pop rivets and seams on the bottom of the smock. I would never think to try and include this magnitude of detail so it just blows me away the more I zoom in and look the more good stuff I see.
The pants of his torso again billow with the action of running while he wears short ankle boots with galoshes – his feet are poised in a running motion at the correct angle with his torso which pushes forward.

Attached to the second casting block are the two arms in their baggy smock and folded entrenching tool which goes on the torso in the same place the other soldier’s bayonet attached to.
The bagginess of the arms is highlighted by the gathered writs and mid length seams which pinch at the cloth. The almost gartered material on the wrists meets his hands with separate fingers and tendons – what - no nails on the fingers?

He carries a Kar.98 (with flailing strap which is not included – some light metal paper will do this job) as well as the gas mask canister and flask. His right arm grips the rifle with fingers clearly of different length holding it at the middle of the stock.
Again the sculptor has engineered a flush fit of the arms into the hand holding the rifle – the entrenching tool in a notch on his left rear hip, the canteen sits in a rut on his bread bag and the gas mask sits in a corrugated rut that meets up with the gas mask strap – it all just fits (and stays) together so easily.
 And all together - it just slots in very easily
…And here he is with his camo covered helmet all put together
And with a “bare” M43 helmet….
He looks more like he is running than his comrade – with his left arm higher to signify this  0 his mouth open breathing hard and his uniform flowing especially around the kegs and tunic he is again a good study of motion and gravity on clothing and people.

35168 WSS Infantry Set (2 Figures)
2 figures, each with 2 different heads. (9 parts of grey resin each)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim
 
These two really suit each other in their body language. Both similarly attired but different in head choices (or the same if you wish) and the same equipment but sitting on their bodies differently as they run they make a dynamic change to what you might have been expecting  in a set of SS men.

Here they are in different combinations with the alternate head choices showing the little differnces between the two ..
Yes I think they are a little too similarly dressed – but I also thing that a lot of soldiers DID dress the same J - seriously if this fact and the slight line on the back of the helmets are the only points I can take off these I would be a hard marker.
These two – in a set or by themselves are a great job of sculpting by Taesung Harmms – you really do run out of superlatives when looking at sculpts this good – I tried really hard to find faults here but they are nearly faultless.

I'm sure they will be soon running off the shelves onto your work benches..

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine for sending these for us to check out - These figures are both now available from Alpine Miniatures Distributors Worldwide

Do not forget the excellent painting by Man-Jin Kim – he fleshes out all the details in his great work here – this is what they look like under a decent brush..


35166 WSS Infantry #1
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

35167 WSS Infantry #2
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

35168 WSS Infantry Set (2 Figures)
The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim