Thursday, June 21

Alpine Miniatures 35141: 1/35 German SS Panzer Commander Set (2 Figures) Review

You would think that Alpine Miniatures would run out of interested parties when it comes to selling German SS Panzer men from WWII – but we just love them it seems! Nearly every set of this subject sell out I am reliably told – Maybe excellent sculpting and engineering help as well – we will see if this set is a worthy companion to the other Alpine figures in our review...
Kits: 35139 + 35140 combined to make set 35141
Scale: 1/35
Pieces: 35139 – 6 parts / 35140-3 parts (both include the 2 head choices)
Grey Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Ages: 14 and over
Alpine Miniatures Distributors: Link

This is a combination set from Alpine which has two SS panzer commanders (or a commander and crewman if you like) that sit inside a tank on the advance. You can actually spread them out to two tanks if you wish to only have one figure in each vehicle. The pictures on the cover of the box show the figures with 2 different heads - this figure was sculpted by Taesung Harmms and in this case is painted very skilfully by Man-Jin Kim ( -gee he is good)

This set is very similar in composition and maybe a little in stances of the figures and composition of the Alpine Miniatures 35132: 1/35 German Panther Crew Set (2 Figures) set that we reviewed here a while ago - accept that these figures aren’t from a winter setting, making them even more suitable you would think to a lot of modellers. I would think a diorama from Kursk (1943) onwards on pretty much any front would suit these two.

These figures come in alpine’s customary nifty little plastic bright green container which houses both the promo cover and the two zip loc bags with what we are after – the grey resin figures.

Common to both figures is detail – and lots of it – sharp sculpting on the resin and inventive use of socketed necks and accessories make an easy figure to build as well  – but more on that later. The resin is excellently cast with no release agent or imperfections or bubbles anywhere. Both of these figures – sculpted by Taesung Harmms, are true to scale and have good, natural body language. There are two figures – a 3/4 body figure (35140) and a full-bodied figure – (35139) - Let’s look at them both in turn now before building them and placing the in-situ – in my old Panzer IV test panzer.

This figure is full body length and sits/stands in the commander’s position – he is signalling his following tanks by hand and looking back in their direction while his left-hand holds him in place in his hatch.
He has the choice of two heads with one option the regular officers' cap with a pink band of the armoured corps - the "Waffenfarbe Rosa” as it is called or the alternate headgear is the flat officer's forage cap.
You can see clearly on both of these head choices the details like the strong jaw and facial features, the hair around the back of the head and the death’s head and German eagle emblems all pointing to the excellent sculpting done by Taesung. Both heads wear the thickly padded earmuff and the throat mic which of course the commander would wear in any tank. You can see the excellent way the neck of the SS man is engineered for a clever fit here.
This SS panzer commander is wearing the all-over tanker’s wrap jacket with all of the seams and folds in the right place - his  uniform which in the box-art is a printed autumn pattern is ringed by a double holed M-34 officer’s belt.
Sinews and wrinkles at the wrist along with some great detail really bring natural life to this figure's hands.
He carries little in equipment but a Walther P38 pistol in its holster on his right hip (these small pistols were favoured by tankers who had to get in and out of hatches and crawl around inside AFV’s a lot), it sits on a notch which fits neatly into the rear left-hand side of the double-pronged M-34 belt - this is great for keeping the pistol ON the figure and giving it some purchase on the kit - while some binoculars around his neck are all he wears on his front torso.
The figure constructed

Again sculpted by Taesung Harmms and painted by Man-Jin Kim this matching figure to 35139 is a ¾ body figure with fill printed camo jacket and pants on.
The two headgear choices are of a Panzerkorp's M-43 “Einheitsfeldmütze” field cap and the "Feldmütze" German garrison side cap. Both look suitably floppy and folded under the headphones, especially the side cap which has great depth in its folds even in this scale. Both have the death’s head emblem of the SS which is clearly visible even with my bad photos and you can clearly make out the piping on both and the buttons on the field cap.
Both of these heads have their large radio headphones which are the larger padded type and have the raised seam on them in the middle of the headband as well as the depth required as they sit slightly off the head ( a tiny scalpel to clean this gap is all that is required). These look realistic and the only thing you will need to add is the headphone wires to each ear which lead down into the tank.

Equipment-wise, the commander has his large headphone set and throat mic. on both heads and little else other than his two-piece uniform, but gee what a uniform! He is wearing the short jacket of the Panzer Korps with large collars with seams and button holes present and a shirt that can be clearly made out underneath (along with details like buttons) You can clearly make out his two medals on his torso – one at least is the Panzer Assault badge whilst the other lower on his torso on that side looks like a wound badge.
The torso – leaning off to the right on which it leans on the right elbow is slightly leaning back and the hands are clasped at the waist exposing clearly details like the individual fingers and the watch on the figure’s left arm.
He is different enough in clothing, demeanour and body language to the other figure and either of these could be the commander in their own tank or this figure – being a ¾ body could sit down in the driver or machine gunner’s position if you wanted him to.

This set is made of these two figures 35139 & 35140 – even though they could both be vehicle commanders one of them could well be the gunner/radio operator or another crewman out of the bottom hatch on the tank.
The smart thing about this set is that they are similar but different – uniforms at first glance are the same but in reality, they are different – just like in real life soldiers have their own variations. -  A smart move by Alpine.
Constructing these figures was a cinch, the resin is soft enough to be easy to remove with just modelling snips, a scalpel and a light sand to flatten the feet. The parts fit together really easily and especially the head of the full-body figure – which I thought was going to be a nightmare to fit at first – it really cannot be positioned any other way unless you want it to – so the fit is just perfect. There are seams on the arms of these figures but these seams are not gaps! Both of these panzer men were easy to build with resin casting block joined at sensible places to avoid any cuts or bruises (to them)
As you can see on my old Panzer IV these figures look naturalistic and the 3/7 body figure can go into both positions – I suppose on a larger tank like a Panther or one of the Tigers the figures would fit in either hole – I would, however, use them both in the same tank as they make a good matching pair.
A great set by Alpine again and bound to be a great seller (again) get in there while yours are still available.

Adam Norenberg

These figures are available now from Alpine Miniature's Distributors worldwide.