Well it seems this guys just cannot stop challenging himself to up the ante. Now we see another bust from Life Miniatures and it is now painted and ready to be shipped – we thought we would give you a look at him unpainted as well as some references of the source material in today’s preview.
Construction Review: "King Tiger Commander s.Pz.Abt. 503 Hungary 1944"
Sculpted by Sang-Eon Lee
Sculpted by Sang-Eon Lee
1/10 scale resin bustCast in grey resin plus a length of copper wire
Available from Life Miniature’s Distributors Worldwide.
Sang Eon Lee’s new bust is a 1/10th resin cast in which he has captured the essence of a King Tiger commander of the s.Pz.Abt. 503 in the winter of Hungary in 1944.
The Heavy tank regiment of s.Pz.Abt. 503 was sent to Hungary in September 1944 to help defend the approaches to Budapest against the advancing soviet army. Arriving in early October the 3./sPzAbt 503, under Leutnant Freiherr von Rosen, provided support for Otto Skorzeny's Operation Panzerfaust, a coup which replaced the Hungarian leader, Admiral Miklós Horthy, and resulted in the Hungarians remaining as Germany's allies until the end of the War. Six King Tigers of the 3rd Company helped take the Buda Castle.
The 503rd now played a major role in the Battle of Debrecen. The detachment formed the vanguard of the 23rd Panzer Division's drive to sever Cavalry Mechanized Group Pliyev's lines of communication, thus allowing the encirclement and eventual destruction of the Soviet force. During this period of action, the 503rd claimed 1,500 vehicles and 120 anti-tank guns destroyed.
In early November, a powerful Soviet offensive pushed the Axis forces back towards Budapest. The 503rd regularly acted in co-operation with the 60th Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle, providing a mobile reserve for the Armeegruppe, now commanded by General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck and so renamed Armeegruppe Balck. By mid-December, the Germans had been pushed back to Budapest, and the Soviets were probing the outskirts of the city. The 503rd, along with the Feldherrnhalle, having lost many of its Tigers to combat and to mechanical issues, was engaged in fighting off Soviet attacks on Budapest's government district.
On December 21, the 503rd, having lost virtually all of its armour, was renamed schwere – Panzer -Abteilung Feldherrnhalle (abbreviated sPzAbt FHH) and officially attached to the 60th Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle.
On 31 December, the Soviets completed the encirclement of Budapest and the siege of the city began. During the Battle of Budapest, the majority of the FHH along with roughly 70,000 German and Hungarian troops of the IX SS Mountain Corps were trapped. The remnants of the detachment saw heavy fighting during the final Soviet assaults to annihilate the trapped forces. The 503rd took part in several failed attempts to relieve Budapest, codenamed Operation Konrad.
Now for this model bust... Firstly, the package…
The figure bust from Life Miniatures is sculpted by the boss and founder of the company Mr. Sang Eon Lee in 1/10th scale. The package comes in the regular sized box you may be familiar with from Life Miniatures, but with a sleeve printed in colour which slides over the other box inside. It’s a nice looking presentation already and I like this extra sleeve’s quality look.
The side of the box shows you the very complicated looking earphone set up and RT system of this boxing. Detailed pictures show you just what to do with your resin pictures and at first I was a little alarmed at making wire fit into tiny receptacle holes. All would become known once I built the kit so I worried no further until the moment. The whole set up certainly has depth and looks good here. On to the kit….
The figure of this tank officer from the 503rd is made up from eighteen parts in grey resin which looks to me to be fairly sharp in detail. From seeing the figure unpainted we can pick out several interesting details.
His face is rather good looking and his features are very poster boy. The large radio transmitter “cans” on his ears are made up of several pieces and they look a little complicated but eventually a great deal of effort has gone into their detailing and that will come thru on the finished and painted subject. The throat mic is also present and it further adds detail to this bust.
Notice that the figure's ears are sculpted flat for the radio "cans" to fit snugly upon...
The flat field cap is seen with a tanker’s braid and national eagle symbol as well as the cockade on the front and the unit’s “King Tiger” badge on the side of the forage cap.
Flat cap pictures + head
The unit's badge on the side of the cap is quite clear and a nice inclusion showing the sculptor though hard and looked into this figure before he made it. The unit's badge on the side of the cap is quite clear
The reversible anorak of the German soldiers had the splinter camouflage on one side and the white cloth on the other so you could use either side depending on the weather and terrain conditions. It sits on his body in a way that anything loose is wrinkly and the hood especially shows this wear and moisture. The wrinkly stitching on the edges of the jacket, along with the folds in the thick material that folds and bends on the figure’s torso is realistically portrayed and the depth of the material and later on the things that go over it add a lot of help to the figure painter’s toolbox.
You can see from looking down his Iron cross on his throat which is the first class “sore throat” decoration. It sits in the neck between the collars of the soldier and the open jacket.
The rear of the jacket is an interesting point to mention. You can see here the wrinkles in the hood and the lining again with heavy stitches and the thick seam with pulled material giving more weight to the bust.
If you follow the eye down, you can see where the straps go to meet the small field glasses that the tiger commander is wearing. These are small models that would suit a cramped cupola access.
The addition of all of the RT cables that flow down past the chest. This is what the commanders would be wearing if they are in the tank and so they need to be replicated. This was the challenging part of the kit for me.
The parts include:
2 “cans”, 1 headphone strap, 8 coiled wire connectors, one R/T switch and some brass wire to hold it all together.
After removing all of the resin stubs from the parts the first part of the build sees the head slip straight into the socket provided. This is easy to do and the way that the socket is formed sees only one way to sit the head inside and I have shown here with the slight gap in the socket exposed before it is pushed in and glued together.
The next part is the kicker. Now I am not going to sugar coat this – it’s hard to get right. You need thin and medium thickness superglue to make it work. Thin to secure it all and thicker stuff to plug and gaps in the cable. In essence you are rigging an eight-point intersection of brass wire onto resin with superglue. At the most congested point you are putting three bits of wire into the switch and then those go to the voice box. It got me really frustrated at times, and although the wire is thin if you have some even softer stuff it would help you. Maybe lead wire?
Yes, it all inevitably broke a few times while trying to rig it all together – it really drove me right up the wall – but after some struggling – and some of it my fault – the wiring harness was roughly all put together. Once painted and tweaked this set up will add a lot to this figure – and apart from maybe some softer wiring and you drilling out the holes a little more than I did. This is the hardest part of the kit, but one of the most rewarding if it all works.
This figure comes with a base stand in resin as well just like all of Life Miniature’s other busts. Here he is all together – the head and torso and the RT connected up – what do you think?
After that little struggle with the comms equipment I look at this figure and I am really happy with what he turned out like. It can only make a modeller more satisfied when he paints it I think. The depth created by this construction and the layers of sculpting in the resin make this a more complicated but not at all unpleasant way to spend your afternoon at the modelling desk.
I can only think of the reward a good painter would get from finishing him off.
Great work from Life Miniatures and this again shows why they are at the top of the pile when it comes to making resin busts.