Saturday, July 23

Alpine Miniatures 1/35 kit: 35122 Tiger Aces in Normandy



The latest release for Alpine Miniatures features arguably the most famous German tank ace of world war two, that being Michael Wittman, and his gunner Baltahsar “Bobby” Woll.


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Sorry i didnt have a Tiger on hand - but you get the idea!

These figures are sold as a combination set (or as singles separately packaged)

Kits 35120 1/35 Michael Wittman 1944 + 35121 1/35 Baltahsar "Bobby" Woll 1944  are put together to make a kit of two figures called  35122 1/35 Tiger Aces in Normandy


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This figure set was designed by its creator – the very talented Taesung Harmms to sit in front of what was thought to be the last tank Wittman ever commanded "007" in northern France in August 1944.
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Whether this was Wittman’s last tank and whether Woll was indeed in his tank that day is one for the history zealots, there is a little discussion here on a figure forum on the history of this event and the development of the figure – I am here to talk about the figures themselves – and boy are they good! First I will talk about the resin and fit of the figures.

The wreckage of Wittman's Last Tiger "007" here
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These figures are each made up of six parts of soft white/grey resin. The torso being a single piece and the arms and pistols being cast attached to a small block. There are two different heads but I will get to this later. The resin used by alpine is nice and soft and actually cuts off and can be shaped easier than styrene. This soft working material makes the kit a real breeze to build, and when you have a kit as nicely to engineered as this, modelling is fun again!
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The fit of the parts is very nice with no gaps to be seen, and once the extra resin from the casting blocks is removed the arms go into their sockets very easily, and the separate pistol provided slips straight on to the torso with the help of a positioning notch. Indeed the pistols sit inside the notch of the clothing of both figures. The separate heads on each figure, (two each - this was an Alpine feature that others have since copied) wear different head gear and are on small resin stalks which easily snip off the rest of the neck. These are sometimes on the helmets of some of alpine’s kits but these are on the underside of the neck. It seems almost a crime to lose any detail of the heads of these figures and with these you are safe in that regard.

I will break the two down as singular figures and then as a pair showing them unassembled and made up. “Rank hath its privileges” of course so I will start with the Michael Wittman figure first.

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The figure of Wittman shows him with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer (captain) in the SS Heavy Panzer Battalion 101. Wittman terrorised the allied infantry and tanks in the battle of the Villers-Bocage in  July through August 1944. Having been promoted from Obersturmf├╝hrer in July that year Wittman is seen here in great detail with his captain’s rank on his collar clearly visible. On the torso you can see the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (his “sore throat”) on his neck on his shirt below a short U-Boat Leather jacket. This jacket is done up with a double holed belt which goes around the waist with a pistol holster attached at the back of the figure. You can see where the leather jacket is “pinched” at the back where the shoulder width is taken in to the narrowness of the waist with the belt over it. It looks natural and would be the focus for some nice painting.
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The pants are standard issue as are the short tankers boots which are nicely sculpted and when the small amount of resin is sliced off the bottom allow the figure to stand up easily without assistance. The Heads come in two styles of headwear, one being the officer’s cap – the Schirmmuetze or “crusher” and the peaked M-43 Field Cap (Einheitsfeldmutze) both of which Wittman had been photographed in during that time in Normandy. The facial features are instantly recognisable and they do his face justice completely. You can see the young chubby cheeks here just like the man himself. 
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This figure has hands sculpted with clearly visible metatarsals which give depth and character to the hands. There is however something small you would be forgiven for noticing - there is a clear ring on Wittman’s right hand – 4th finger – this I think would have been his SS -“Ehrenring” or honour ring. Absolutely astounding on a figure this small! – Either I am mistaken and it is another ring but to sculpt a ring on a figure in 1/35 just blows me away.
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Wittman’s right hand is at his front by his side and his left is on his hip, his fingers locking into his side very nicely. This is a bit of a “pose” I suppose but it looks pretty natural to me. Detail of the sideboard of Wittman here with his rank and LAH sideboard is clearly seen below. This figure is one of Alpine’s best in my book, and something to be proud of.
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Here is the Wittman figure from all sides
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Woll was the famous gunner of Wittman who some believe had command of his own Tiger in the final battle of his commanders life. Whether or not this is true is for me for the history bores out there – I want to tell you about the figure.

The resin is like the Wittman figure in six parts including the two heads, and like the Wittman figure the facial features of this figure are dead on the money – in the picture below you can see the features have been faithfully replicated, with the almost cheeky look and big nose and downward sloping eyes of Woll here for all to see. Nice work!
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The two heads above and the painted figure (left) with the period picture (right)
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The choice of Woll’s headwear is there again with the “crush” officer’s cap and the M-1940 side cap or “Feldmutze”. On both of the caps you can clearly see – like in the Wittman figure - the piping and the German eagle, the skull and crossbones SS emblem and the hair of Woll can be seen looking natural out of the side, especially on the side cap.
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Woll is wearing Camouflage Panzer Wrap and pants which is in the colour illustrated box art by master figure painter Man-Jin Kim below seen in the “plane tree” autumn camouflage. You could however make this any type of colours you like of course as both camo and regular types were available. I would however go for the illustrated type to add some contrast to Wittman’s uniform. Although severely wounded in Normandy Woll survived the war and you could of course pose him near his own tank separately if you liked.

Pictured at Woll’s throat is the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross along with iron cross on his breast pocket as well as his Tank Destruction Badge below that. The walther PP holster is seen on the back of the torso on a leather belt with an SS badge on the belt buckle. The edges of the jacket nicely gathered as well - a nice piece of work.

As well as all of this detail on the figure allow me to point out the meticulous work Taesung has done on other parts like these shoulder lapel badges - you can pick out the LAH or SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division pattern on Woll’s Shoulder Boards - Apparently this was done under a magnifier – this just shows the attention to detail Alpine just keeps on coming out with at every release. Also the fact Woll’s figure was treated no less seriously than Wittman’s who has the same attention to detail on his body
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 Again here is the Bobby Woll figure from all angles
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The jacket and Panzer trousers hang very naturally on Woll’s body, the cuffs can be seen on the sleeves of the jacket which again is folded under the belt which is worn on the outside of the jacket. The pants sit very nicely around the thigh area and bulge at the bottom of the figure’s legs that tuck into the boots. I can say that this figure’s fit is just as good as the other figures from alpine, and the fact that the arms lock in on the hips around the belt help you position them easily.
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What can I say about these figures- other than that I am blown away by the detail and really if you are interested in historical figures and especially German armour figures these are the ones to get. There are cheaper figures of Wittman and indeed Woll around, but these are THE real deal and the sculpting and the engineering of these figures shows everyone else the way – yet again.

 Here are both of the figures with different heads from all angles
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Alpine have come up with another kit that is sure to be a very popular – and deservedly so after what is on offer. Get it before it sells out!

Adam Norenberg 

Here are the figures painted by Man-Jin Kim I dont have the skill to paint like this but i thought i would show you the full potential of these kits
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My Sincere thanks to Alpine Miniatures  for the review kit.

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