Sunday, April 16

Construction Review: Alpine Miniatures new 35th scale Fallschirmjäger 1st division in Italy...

Alpine Miniatures has a brand new set of single figures (also sold as a set) on the market that depicts the Fallschirmjäger in the defence of Italy in WWII. We thought we would build them up in a construction review so you could see the quality and to see if they are up to the normal standard we expect from this figure maker.


Alpine Miniatures New Figure Construction Review:

Officer, 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35220
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

NCO 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35221
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

1st FJ Div Set
Product no# 35222
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

All these figure combinations are available from Alpine Miniatures website or their distributors worldwide.

Construction Review:
Today we have for you two Fallschirmjäger figures, both in 35th scale from Alpine Miniatures to review for you. They are dressed in the summer weight garb of the 1st FJ Div in Italy, so around 1944 - to the war's end could be a good timeframe, hang on, let's take just a look at the unit's actions in the war at this time...

The 1st Fallschirmjäger in Italy…
1st FJ Div saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and on the Eastern Front. The division began as a battalion-sized police unit in 1933. Over time it grew into a regiment, brigade, division, and finally was combined with the Parachute-Panzer Division 2 Hermann Göring in 1944 to form a Panzer corps under the by then Reichsmarschall. After their service in Africa and Crete, the division then took part in the July 1943 to fight against the Allied invasion of Sicily. After the fall of that island, the division fought in the Italian Campaign for the remainder of the war. From 14–27 December 1943, the division, under General-Lieutenant Richard Heidrich, saw action against the 1st Canadian Division in the Battle of Ortona.
 Later the division was concentrated in the defence of the Winter Line south of Rome, defending against the advance of the British Eighth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Oliver Leese. 
In February to March 1944, the 1st Parachute Division took part in the Battle of Monte Cassino, and later in May it fought against the Allied Operation Diadem later retreating to the north of Rome. They formed part of the German I Parachute Corps, along with the German 4th Parachute Division.
By January 1945, the German Ist Fallschirmjäger Corps was deployed to the Adriatic coast behind the Senio Rivier. The Allied advance resumed on 8 April, and the 1st Parachute Division was forced into a steady withdrawal toward the Po River by the British Eighth Army. By 25 April, the division had completed the river crossing. They immediately set off on a final march toward the Alpine Mountains. Finally, the German surrender in Italy came on 2 May 1945 and included the men of the 1st Parachute Division. The unconditional surrender of Germany followed a week later. These men were seen as very important specialised troops by their commanders, and after their last large-scale para drop in Crete, they were often used to stiffen defence or to rectify a situation or emergency on a front. 

This reputation for toughness, the gear they used and their relative obscurity (compared to other service branches in the German armed forces like the SS and tanker units) in the figure market makes these troops pretty popular with modellers, and hence why this set would be a good choice for Alpine to make.

Let's take a look what comes in the box...
Both of these two figures share some characteristics, Both, of course, are of the same unit and time period, both figures are sculpted by Yukio Honma and in the case of the box art, they are painted by Boxart by Dr Jin Kim. Both of these figures, singularly or as a pair, come in the little clear and lime green plastic box alpine is known for and inside that the parts are captured in zip-loc bags. Both of these figures have two headgear choices. Both of the faces are the same for each figure.
The light grey resin they are both cast in is very finely detailed and bubble free, and there are some casting blocks that these are attached to, but in placed that make it easy to remove without damaging detail. Both of the figures have parts of the body or equipment that attached to the torso, and these are often notched or sockets for easy fitment or placing. Little work is needed to bring these to the painting stage, about half an hour tops, and that includes cleaning them ready for paint.

OK, we will now look at them separately and then as a pair.

Officer 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35220
1/35th scale
1 figure included
Two alternate head choices
6 parts in grey resin
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

This officer of the 1st Fallschirmjäger in Italy is seen with two head choices here – both with the same face, but different head gear. One being the traditional M38 helmet, (Fallschirmjäger Stahlhelm M38,) this helmet incorporated four hollow-bore spanner bolts. The helmet also shows some nice detail int he chin strap and the face of the figure can not be left out, he is delicately sculpted here. The neck has that nifty angles joint that slips right into the torso only in a certain way so you cannot get the pose wrong, but you are limited to showing him in a certain way unless you re-sculpt or fill that joint. I quite like the way he is turning his head here, so I am fine with it.
There is a second head choice, wearing the flat tropical overseas cap (tropen fliegermütze.) In 1941, the Luftwaffe developed and introduced their own version of the tropical uniform, headgear and equipment independently from the other branches of service. Originally the tropical uniforms were only intended for wear in North Africa but that was later expanded to include personnel serving in southern areas of continental Europe during the summer months. The tropical overseas cap was based on the standard continental overseas cap but in a different colour and material. The tropical overseas caps were piped in the same manner as the continental style overseas caps, and later the M43 field caps with no piping for EM/NCO ranks, silver piping for Officer’s ranks and gilt piping for General Officer’s ranks.
Both head choices show the face very well, however, he flat cap shows the fine hair, the pointy nose and facial features just that little more. I suppose it matters if you are showing him just out of the front line or not in your thoughts.
On his torso, this figure dons a tropical field uniform typical of southern European based soldiers in the army and the Fallschirmjägers. The long sleeve cotton shirt is rolled at the elbows, and you can see the German eagle emblem on the right breast of his double pocketed shirt.
The long tropical pants are gathered at the short leather boot he is wearing pretty nicely. Just like the shirt, his material flows and pinches at the right places on this figure. The pocket on the left leg of the pant is typical of the Tropen Fallschirmjäger überfallhose designs we have seen both in Africa, Crete, Sicily and Italian based Fallschirmjäger units. 
The Officer wears an NCO style square belt buckled belt with the eagle holding a swastika inside a laurel wreath, along with some short field glasses on his chest. 
Notice the leather strap on his field glasses sitting around the neck of the figure, the lapels of the officer and the gently sculpted folds in the rear panels of his tunic and lastly the large pocket in the left leg of the soldier in the picture below, just like the sculpt.
He carries a P.38 pistol in his gloved right hand, and you can see on his rear the leather pouch for this pistol is included. You can see in the picture below the notch on his pistol holster which attaches to the figure. the leather gloves you have on this figure are really, really nicely sculpted. the detail on the ribbing of the stitched leather is easy to pick out for painters, and the P38 pistol and holster is realistic also
Here is the officer (ten minutes to build and clean up) with the M38 steel helmet
...and here he is with my choice, the flat overseas cap.


NCO 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35221
1/35th scale
1 figure included
Two alternate head choices
10 parts in grey resin
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

Sculpted also by Yukio Honma, this second single figure of the first Division of German Fallahirmjagers stationed in Italy could well be used in many a southern conflict zone, a little like his comrade. He also has two headgear choices, with the M38 helmet the sole gear – garnished with a camouflage cloth cover or bare – the choice is yours here. The bare version is seen with the eagle and swastika on the left-hand side of the helmet.
The covered cloth version could be shaded in a few different colours. Your tastes can be indulged here, but the bare helmet looks great when dented and scratched as it does here in the box art version, painted by Dr Jin Kim. Again you can see the loops on the top of the helmet that hold camouflage foliage and the chin strap arrangement.
These helmets are adorned with the camo cloth covers.
The torso is dominated by the FJ Jump smock. This one piece coverall was manufactured in a number of different camouflage patterns and configurations – this figure is in the earlier grey version. Note the enlarged pockets and buttoned or step in the leg. Note here how the sculptor has made the right pocket sag open? This jump smock and the pants that go underneath are really nicely and realistically sculpted with folds and cloth lagging and folding as he stands there.
This NCO Parra this figure captures carries the same load out as the NCO below in the period picture. Notice his stamped belt, grenade and SMG ammo which is captured very nicely in this sculpt.
This soldier is a lot more weighed down by his equipment. He carries an MP 40 in his right hand and for this machine pistol, he carried a trio of spare ammo pouches in his webbing on his belt. This leather webbing also supports his pistol holster on his left hip, his bread bag and canteen flask on his rear and right hip. Just for good measure – and a tougher demeanour- he has a stick grenade stick into his webbing and he carries one in his left hand. He must be close to the fight then…
There are ten parts to this sculpt. More than most Alpine figures, and on one of the casting blocks are both of the arms of the figure. You will notice that he carries a Stielhandgranate 24 ("stick hand grenade"), often referred to as the stick grenade or the potato masher by allied soldiers. in his hand, ready to go, the other two parts of this figure are the sleeves of the arms of the figure, rumpled and ruffled up as his tunic is bunched up on his arms.

The other casting block carries the other hand, carrying his Mp-40 machine pistol, it's butt parts in two delicate parts, the water flask that slots into the groove on his rear bread bag pouch and what looks to me like a P.08 Luger holster as it is different to the Walther pistol holster. Note his hands with some nice shape to them as he grabs his machine pistol.
 P.08 holster with notches in it for attaching to the figure's hip and the Mp-40 here for comparison...
The parts took some delicate cleaning up for a few minutes, this is new for Alpine with all of these parts! Everything came off the casting blocks with no problem. My new "God Hand" nippers came in handy as you can clip as close to the part as you want without a care of going berserk on the resin.
Fifteen careful minutes of construction saw him completed. The Mp-40 can have it's stock in whatever position you want, hanging straight down or straight or like mine, I left his slightly hanging down with the effect of gravity.
Here he is with the cloth covered headgear choice. Notice his baggy pants, the sag of his open waist pockets, the empty one and the other with something in it? Lovely work and easy to pick out details make this a very nice bit of work.


1st FJ Div Set
Product no# 35222
1/35th scale
2 figures included
Two alternate head choices each
16 parts in grey resin
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim
 Here are the two together - sold as a set also - these two really do match in era, clothing thickness and suitability. They are also quite varied in their appearance and body language.
Here are the two figures, both in slightly different positions relating to each other, both with the two alternating head choices...
...And "in theatre" with a Kubelwagen, I am imagining the possibilities eight now.
As a bit of a closet fan of the Fallschirmjaeger in WWII, I was interested to see this set in the flesh. The fit, engineering and fine details of the figures impressed me quite a bit, This figure set has a kind of "classic" Alpine look and quality control to it. There may be other sculptors of 35th figures, and maybe just as talented, but the fact that these are always cast so well, with such fine detail and very good attention to detail in equipment. They are a hard act to beat if you are after summer weight German Parras in 35th scale.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine for sending these figures for us to build in a review for you. For more info, & pics on these figures visit the Alpine Miniatures site, & now Webstore

Below are pictures from the Alpine Miniatures site of both of the figures built and painted up by the box artist, Dr Jin Kim. they look great, don't they?

Officer 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35220
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

NCO 1st FJ Div in Italy
Product no# 35221
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim

 1st FJ Div Set
Product no# 35222
Sculpture by Yukio Honma
Boxart by Dr Jin Kim