Sunday, September 30

Figure Review: Alpine Miniatures 35th scale WSS Officer 44-45 Set (2 figure set)

Two new figures in the 35th scale line from Alpine Miniatures this month. They depict a couple of SS Officers, one a tanker and the other decorated infantryman. We built them up so you could see their quality and know a lot more about them in our review...


Figure Review: Alpine Miniatures single figures and combined set:

1/ WSS Panzer Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35253
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano

2/ WSS Infantry Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35254 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano

3/ WSS Officer 44-45 Set (2 figures)
Figure No: 35255
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano
Today we examine the two new figures from Alpine Miniatures of late WWII Waffen SS soldiers cast in 1/35th scale in resin. We thought we might show you them alone and together in a set in our review. Both build up and as they come in the box so you too can judge the quality.

Alpine Miniatures:
For those not familiar with the releases of Alpine Miniatures, Here is a quick catch up. Formed in 2004 by Taesung Harmms, with the base of operations in New Jersey, USA. Under his direction, the company pioneered the figure with head choices in the one kit and a quality not really available at the time. Like all manufacturers, the standards have raised since  2004, and Alpine still seems to be at the forefront of this movement.

The package
Their 35th scale figures come in a small plastic lime green tinted box with a simple painting guide/ box art included, this time the painter of the boxart is the talented Toshihiro Sano. Whether you are getting just the single figure in this box or the twin set your figure comes safely inside a small zip-loc bag so you do not lose any parts. 
Upon opening the box we found the two zip-locs with light grey figures inside each one, the two SS Officers are cast in resin that is blemish and surface bubble free apart from a slight seam on the rear neck of two of the heads as well as a seam on the be-hind of one of the figures. Otherwise, the figures only needed the resin casting blocks removed which in construction only took about five minutes each.

The contents of the box...
OK to better see what is on offer let's look at them as single, then as a pair and how they relate to each other.


WSS Panzer Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35253
1/35th scale
4 resin parts w/ two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano
This first figure is sculpted by Alpine's owner Mr Taesung Harmms, and in this instance, the figure is painted for the box art by the talented Toshihiro Sano. 

The figure has two head choices, but although both with the same face, the headgear of these two is different. The choice you have is either the peaked M43 cloth cap which was easy to produce and cheaper than the peaked officer's cap, the SS EM/NCO'S visor cap or the Schirmmütze. 
This features all of the original's characteristics, the wool hat with the leather visor in a  fieldgrau colour, the German WW2 Waffen SS Panzer Visor Cap was worn by both Officers and NCOs. The Panzer division's caps featured the "Waffenfarbe Rosa" pink piping, the metal SS Death Head Badge, Metal Eagle with Swastika and silver woven hat cord.
The other headgear choice is the M43 cloth cap that soon became the norm late in the war due to it's simple to manufacture and cheap cost to produce. The black cloth hats had the German eagle on the left-hand side embroiled in a silver thread as well as the death's head emblem on the front with two buttons to secure the side flaps of the cap.
The figure was based on an actual wartime photo of SS-Hstuf. Hans Flügel of the II Battalion of the 5th SS-PzRgt "Wiking", this figure is wearing almost all of the same bits of clothing.  The photo was dated on the 14th of July 1944.
The Panzer officer wears what looks to be a tailored M44 leather jacket that resembles a light flight jacket in brown in this instance though you could, of course, paint your own black if you liked. 
You can see the wrinkles of the leather that is different from the wrinkles of the cotton drill pants the Officer wears. The seams of the jacket and pants are easy to pick out, while the pant lapel s on the pockets stick out and give the sculpt more depth and realism. The short, late war laced boots topp off the sculpt.
The figure comes with a pistol in a holster which slots into the small of this soldier's back for a secure and correct location on the figure. Having these separate also makes them easy to place after you have painted them separately.
OK, so here he is after five minutes of cleaning off the casting blocks and any seam work, He fit perfectly with no sanding or haggling, all I needed to find was something to put his raised foot on.

Here he is with the cloth Peaked M43 head choice
And with the peaked officer's cap...


WSS Infantry Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35254 
1/35th scale
6 resin parts w/ two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano
This second figure of these two new sculpts is again made by the hand of Taesung Harmms and again painted by Toshihiro Sano. Again it is in 35th scale and again the figure is from the Waffen SS in WWII, this time a soldier of the infantry instead of a tanker.

This soldier also has two headgear choices - one of the choices is again the peaked cap, but an infantry one this time that is denoted by the silver braiding around the edges. These caps were made from field grey gaberdine wool. while the visor cap sports the cupro-nickel eagle/ swastika and death's head skull emblem of the SS with silver-aluminium cap cords. 
The other headgear choice was the M42 cloth peaked hat, this time painted in a camouflage pattern by the boxart painter and quite effectively also. Late in 1942, the Waffen SS introduced a new field cap. The caps were made from the same camouflage and fabric as their smocks and helmet covers, and were likewise reversible from Fall to Spring colours. Early production caps were fitted insignia, colour coordinated to the appropriate sides of the fabric. This feature was dropped quickly and the vast majority of these hats were produced devoid of insignia. Caps were manufactured with and without air vents, and the vents can be machine sewn or painted steel eyelets.
You can see not only the details of both caps here but the fine work of the hair and face that the sculptor must have toiled over for quite a while...
Provided are some of these cheap and easy to make camouflaged caps worn by soldiers of the time. Note the similar sit and look of the sculpt to these men in the field.
This Infantry officer has some interesting clothing on that must be mentioned. His tunic is pretty standard, but the patches on his sleeve and the Iron Cross First Class on his left and WWII German Cross in Gold on his right breast. 
On the lower left, we see the German Cross in gold (the colour of the laurel wreath around the swastika) or in silver depending on what you would like to depict him in. These could come embroidered or in metal moulded. The former being an award for repeated acts of bravery or repeated outstanding achievements in combat, the latter being for multiple distinguished services in war efforts and was considered a continuation of the War Merit Cross with swords. Here is one in real life, the German Cross in Gold (left) and Silver (right).
On the top left-hand side breast of the figure (right as we are looking at him) is the close combat clasp which could be in gold, silver or bronze depending on the award.
Below that and under his buttoned pockets are not only his Iron Cross which is, of course, easy to make out, but underneath that is the oval-shaped Infantry assault Badge to the lower left and what looks to me like the smaller, circular Wound Assault Badge which could also be in gold, silver or black. This guy sure was in the thick of the action!
His SS runes on his collar along with the Officer's braid on his sideboards are prominent also, this we can see covering his ribbed jumper he is wearing under his tunic and the head socket which fits neatly to the two heads without glue (in the short term, if you want to keep him like that I suggest a dollop of CA glue).
His baggy camouflage pants with pockets on the front are late war issue, there are tucked into the top of his tall boots. You can see on the left leg at the rear a small mould seam that needed to be removed with a few scrapes of a curved hobby knife. You may also see the notch that the pistol secures into, just like the previous figure. The belt stitching detail is so fine here you might miss it if you were not looking closely, but a tighter inspection of both of these figures is worth it. The workmanship shown not only here but the rest of this detailed torso by the sculptor's hand is very good.

The opticals the soldier is wearing top off the torso., notice the guard on the back of the strap around the rear of his neck.
Note on the casting block for the two arms and pistol holster the notch to fit to the soldier's rear left hip, also the wrinkled texture of the tunic on his arms where they pinch and bend his uniform. He seems to be wearing a ribbed woollen jumper under his tunic, and you can see that on the torso around the neck as well as the sleeves which the ribbed jumper pokes out of...
See the wedding band on his finger anyone? Wow...we also get the unit armband, on the right arm two Tank Destruction Badges (German: Sonderabzeichen für das Niederkämpfen von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer). These were awarded to a soldier for - you guessed it - for individuals who had single-handedly destroyed an enemy tank or an armoured combat vehicle using a hand-held weapon.
Tank assault Badges below left and SS cuff titles on the right showing several units this soldier could belong to.
So, now that I had looked at him nothing to do but to put him together. Some scraping of small seams which are not common to Alpine releases but only a minor details, and this soldier was together and ready to prime in about 5 minutes.

Here he is put together with the officer's cap choice
Here he is with the cloth M42/3 hat on...

WSS Officer 44-45 Set (2 figures in one box)
Figure No: 35255
1/35th scale
10 resin parts w/ two head choices each
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano
These two SS men look like they would be a good match together - talking tactics or plotting out a course of action between them for a collected infantry and Panzer advance. They are both wearing pretty different garb but look like they could be part of the same company.
Here are the pair, both together with alternate choices of the pair's headgear mixed and matched with each other - I think they look pretty good. (I found a block of wood for the #35253 Officer to lean on.)
And that is both of these sets together - They look very nice as single figures and pair up together well in their body language as a pair, both looking on as one of the officer's points toward an object int he distance.
Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine Miniatures for sending these to us to build and review - These can now be purchased from the Alpine website in the USA and from their distributors in the rest of the world

I thought I would include the box art pictures with the figures painted by Toshihiro Sano, showing just what a good painter can do with these two figures...


WSS Panzer Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35253
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano




WSS Infantry Officer 44-45 
Figure No: 35254 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano


WSS Officer 44-45 Set (2 figures)
Figure No: 35255
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Box Art by Toshihiro Sano