Saturday, May 24

Alpine Miniatures is back in black... Review of the 1/35th scale SS Panzer Commander set

Alpine Miniatures has gone hell bent for leather with their new set of 1/35th SS Panzer commanders for us as  we examine, construct, review and talk a little bit about how tankers ended up in U-boat uniforms in WWII..


Review:
Alpine Miniatures 
Figure with 2 different head choices.
1/35th scale
6 parts of Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
Figure with 2 different head choices.
1/35th scale
6 parts of Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
2 x figures with 2 different head choices each.
1/35th scale
6 parts of Grey Resin each figure
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim



These figures are now available from Alpine Miniatures Distributors Worldwide

Alpine Miniatures is no stranger to making SS panzer tankers in 1/35th scale. Cue the whinging about "why nothing else" but the fact is that these sell - and sell very very well - so in essence they are making what (most) of the market wants. Even if they must have run out of tanks to put them in by now.

The latest two figures from Alpine in 35th scale are a pair of two tank commanders of the SS panzer corps. We have researched these figures a little and because of this we can actually point out the most probable unit they are attached to because of their distinctive leather clothing...

These two new figures feature something in common – both have black leather jackets and pants designed for protective clothing aboard U-boats. These served just as well for tank crews trapped in similar confined spaces buttoned down in their vehicles.

Many of these panzer men sport ll leather outfits just like these sculpts
Both the commander and loader are wearing Kriegsmarine U-boat leather jackets, which were an item particular to the Hitlerjugend and LSSAH Divisions. These protective uniforms were initially given to the Italian Navy, but were reclaimed by the LSSAH when they went to Italy to disarm part of the Italian Army in 1943. Alongside these leather uniforms were found large stocks of Italian camouflage material, which were soon made into clothing for the two divisions (and often portrayed in some of Alpine’s other releases).
These jackets soon became pretty high in demand and, as the war progressed it was maybe a little of a status symbol to own one of these garments so they were indeed cherished by their crews – especially the soldiers in the colder climes of northern Europe and the eastern front.
The leather jacket and pants here serve as a great research and painting guide for these figures. This very well preserved set show just how these look in real life and it helps us to relate to these figures a little more - the thickness and drape of the heavy leather as it sits and folds on the bodies.

The pants as well are thick and heavy - one wonders how warm they might get in a fight inside a tank...


Both of these figures also share a common communication device – the Panzer Headset & Throat Microphone. These headband & rubber cupped ear pieces Dfh.b model headphones and throat mic (Dfh.b - Doppelfernhörer, (Double Telephone Receiver) were normally found in use in Panzers and other tracked and AVF’s of the German Reich. They are well represented and notable inclusions here. These sit prominently on top of and push down the servicemen's caps they are wearing.
OK that is what both of these figures share - pretty much the same outfit they are both wearing. Unless i have missed something the pants and jacket of both of these panzertruppen is the same.


These two figures in black leather come separately as single figures of six parts each that are attached to small pouring blocks. As a set these figures will probably serve you well if you just need one of them but they also come together combined as a set. Both of these figures have two head choices in them, both of their heads are the same face but with different headgear featured which we will look at as we review them both separately.
The fit and ease of construction with these was not at all problematic or delicate. the casting is very clean as is a trademark of Alpine. No spots, scratches or bubbles or slight lumps on the face which a lot of other resin makers seem to have not eliminated from their game. These are very clean and well sculpted with tiny detail clearly picked out ready for you to paint..

Let’s have a look at both of these SS men now as a single figure and as a pair.

The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
This first figure features an SS Panzer Commander looking from the turret to the rear and to the left waving or signalling to someone either in a convoy or on the side of the road. He is a full length sculpture (no half body figures in this set which is nice) and he wears both the engine personnel's protective leather jacket (Lederjacke für Maschinenpersonal) and the protective leather pants (lederhose).
He features two head choices – one wearing the peaked officer’s "Crusher" cap with pink wool piping around the edge called the “Waffenfarbe Rosa” (Schirmmuetze) and the other with the latter war M-43 Field Cap (Einheitsfeldmutze) which was worn by all ranks in the SS. Both of these head choices have the throat mic and “cans” or earphones for communication to the other vehicles in their platoon.
The leather jacket and pants are wrinkled thickly and also pull to the side in line with the officer’s body movement back and left. I like the effect the sculptor has made with the waist of the coat especially in the rear of the figure and the very full packet at the front bottom pocket in the jacket.
Another casting block housed the two arms and the pistol holster. These arms feature some thick leather wrinkles and two gloved hands - making me think these guys are getting towards the winter time of year. You can see here the two buttons on the cuff and the flap which allows you to tighten the cuff on the wrist. At the right wrist you can see here the resin is slightly hollowed out to fit the turret ring the commander is resting his arm on. This enables a flat, flush fit on the vehicle.

See the finest of ribbing on the leather gloves? Very nice....

You might notice on the arms as well two little nibs on the inside of the arm joints. These, combined with the hollowed out receptacles on the arm joints of the torso ensure the exact correct fit along with the hollowed out torso. This enables you to really only be able to put the arms on one way - the correct way! Notice as well he also carries a Luger P08 Pistole in his holster strapped to his waist. The pistol pouch has a notch and a hollow on the body to properly locate and fix it so it will not be easily broken off and to add depth.

 My worries about stuffing up the fit of this figure were unfounded. He took just 10 minutes of careful work to clear any excess resin and place your choice of headgear. 
...And the officer’s "Crusher" cap head choice
And here he is in his "natural environment" with both versions of headchoice..


The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
The second figure of this set is dressed very similar to his comrade – again he wears the engine personnel's protective leather jacket (Lederjacke für Maschinenpersonal) and the protective leather pants (lederhose) as well as leather gloves and a thick brown leather belt. The belt's stamped pattern is as visible s it is on his comrade. 
The structure of the jacket is slightly different in that this soldier’s body language is down and leaning to the right. There isn’t as much of a split on his rear and it is pulling to the other side. He sports a nice sculpting of the leather I am impressed. This tanker has his collar more open to display his scarf which his comrade does not have. His thickly wrinkled pants are a nice feature of this sculpt as well. 
This SS man has two head choices as well – one of an M-1940 flat forage Cap (Feldmutze) and the other hat is an M-43 Field Cap (Einheitsfeldmütze) just like his comrade. Both are sporting the national symbol – the German eagle in silver braid on the front of their hats. You can notice that while his comrade was slightly open mouthed showing his teeth this fellow is clenched at the mouth.
You can see a slight resin seam on the horizontal read of these figures - it took a few seconds to remove - call off the national guard!
The arms come on a small casting block along with his Walther Pistole, Model 1938 (P38) pistol holster.

Again we see the same ribbed gloves and notches on the pistol and arms to properly locate and secure them. 
The commander has several of the same engineering fixes of his comrade -  he wears his Walther P38 pistol this time on the rear left hip on his waist. It has a large notch again to help affix it in place and to keep it there.

Here he is all together. Firstly with the  M-1940 flat forage Cap (Feldmutze
M-43 Field Cap (Einheitsfeldmütze) choice..."so many hats to choose from i just dont know what to wear in this tank"
And here he is in the turret - getting the job done in both the head choices
The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Man-Jin Kim
This set of two SS Panzer commanders would do well to be used in two separate tanks. If you really like them however you COULD use them in the same tank if you trimmed down the detail on one of the officer’s sideboards. I would however use them in a platoon with one tanker following another. They both seem to be looking int he same direction anyway - so they do suit each other. I have put two of them in one turret to show you - it almost seems a waste really to use them like this.
Whilst they are dressed almost the same to there is enough different about these soldiers and their faces are different enough to mark them as two different men altogether. Their faces have different feature an the head choices are clever and sure to be popular – I think they are on par with the other takers and figures i have reviewed from Alpine...
I think Alpine Miniatures regularly make the best 35th scale figures on the market  and this set are just as well thought out and executed as  their previous efforts. Clean and well sculpted pieces with an eye for detail and body language of the human form and face - they are (again and i feel like a broken record sometimes when it comes to their figures) another of the finest examples of resin figure sculpting and casting around.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine for sending both these for us to build and review - Both of these figures are available through Alpine Miniatures stockists worldwide.


An important part of any sculpt is how they look when painted - here they are in preparation being painted by Man-Jin Kim
Lucky you if they look as good in the flesh as these two do in this boxart sculpted by the very talented Man-Jin Kim. This is what these could look like - the rest i suppose is up to you!
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim


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

The pictures show the 2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Man-Jin Kim