Thursday, November 21

MJ Miniatures German Gebirgsjäger in WW2 review

Man-Jin Kim is known as one of the best figure painters in the business, his works with Alpine Miniatures and his own company ST Miniatures are examples of his skill. MJ has gone out completely on his own now – starting a company by himself called "MJ Miniatures" we like the name of the new “biz”– but would we like his first figure??

"MJ Miniatures" German Gebirgsjäger in WW2
Code : MJ10-001
Size : 1/10 Scale
Material :19 High Quality Resin including the pedestal
+ one 0.6mm enameled wire (20cm)
+ one 1.0mm steel wire (20cm)Resin and enamelled wire + steel wire
Weight : 150g
Sculpted by Carl Reid
Painted by Man-Jin, Kim

For his new company Man Jin Kim has captured one of the elite soldiers of the Second World War. The first bust in his new range of MJ's Miniatures" kits – simply called "German Gebirgsjäger in WW2" is a resin bust of 1/10th scale that tries to capture the look and feel of a weather beaten soldier of the mountains who not only faced enemy bullets but mother nature’s fury as well.
The bust is sculpted by Carl Reid – who already has an acclaimed bust in his own range: Reid Figures - “German Gebirgsjager 1942” That figure is very good, and indeed from looking at the box-art has similar features, the upturned collar, the rope, the stuffed haversack on the back and opticals on the chest. It is however also different in a lot of areas. Looking at the two I think Carl has gone one better this time.
So what better way to check him out - especially as he is the first from this "new" company, than to put him together – but first a sum of all the parts..


In the strong box there are (in amongst some very well padded foam pieces) 19 sweet smelling light grey resin parts plus the pedestal for the figure which is brown-ish. This will look like a good bit of rock once painted up and aged. Very nice.
There is also one 0.6mm enamelled wire (20cm) plus one 1.0mm steel wire (20cm) length (what were these for I wondered). The wire along with the camera and egg-grenades I thought were missing – I was just about to write a quick email before I discovered they were under a second layer of protective padding – smart thinking by the makers. But just check before you report a part missing otherwise you might come away red faced.

No instructions included in the box – which as you will read might have come in handy – but that is what I am here for – to do all the silly things wrong so you needn’t have to!
Ok lots to cover so straight into the parts in detail..

“This is a bust”

The bust comes with one headwear choice - that of his M43 “Bergmützen” peaked cap which had small Edelweiss or a grouping of Jäger leaves distinctively displayed.  Also adorning the cap is the German national symbol of the eagle on the front. Wrinkles, stitching and folds of the cap are really most impressive and the life that has been worn into this cap is evident to see.
The Gebirgsjäger bust has one head choice. It is very very well done at that. The wrinkles around his eyes from squinting at the glare up in the mountains, the lines of wear and concern on his forrid along with a pointy nose and nicely sculpted ears and hair make this- the most important part of the sculpture believable.

Also noticeable is the large ribbed collar around his neck. Both his hat and neck fit into flat joints and are an easy fit. There was a bit of time spent hollowing out he casting block from his hat but nothing major.

The mountaineer wears the standard issue Gebirgsjäger 'Windjacke.' It is the double breasted canvas jacket with 2 rows of buttons, 2 slashed chest pockets and 2 lower pleated pockets. All are evident here in this sculpt and in correct places. The folds of the jacket where the material is creased, the floppy large collars and the stitching on parts like the back of the collar around the neck are examples of great sculpting again.
The rifleman is carrying to the spare ammo on his belt along with two egg shaped grenades along with a small camera that fits around his neck. It kind of reminds me of the German Gebirgsjäger who conquered the Caucasus Mountains with and took their cameras to document the event. This camera has two straps which join up to another around the soldier’s neck.

There are indentations where the arms meet in with the body and the back for the backpack to fit flush to the figure. Some large casting stubs don’t spoil the party for too long on the fuselage and backpack. Though some of these on this kit I would like to move to a “safer” place for when you need to remove them and risking loss of the lovely detail.

The two arms have wrinkled jacket sleeves and end at the hands. There are fine cast tightening straps and buttons on the end of them arms

The inside of the arms are slightly contoured out to conform to the torso and around the rifle.
The woollen gloved hands demonstrate some lovely pitted texture in the carving. There are flattened at the ends of the fingers like thick gloves tend to be and the effect worked well.

These hands hold the “soldiers bride” the Kar.98 bolt action which has been cast superbly here – not missing any detail here that I can see and with a hollowed barrel as well.
there was a long strip of resin which – like the metal wire had me puzzled – it is the strap of the rifle and can be bent a lot more than I thought – I did crack mine a bit trying to achieve the impossible bend but some superglue fixed that. The buckles are as they would look in real life sculpted here from resin.

The full pack with zeltbahn tent and rope makes the soldier’s typical load as well as a bread bag and some nifty climber's pitons which need some work. Like I said earlier there are some big casting stubs on this backpack but nothing 5 minutes of work do not fix…
I was really amazed at the rope wrapped up inside the backpack. Amazing – I just kept on looking at it and going “wooooww” I was very impressed with everything by this stage…..But I hadn’t started to put it together yet.

Ever had a model build that was tricky – you thought  “I can’t do that as well as it is on the box” and finished it just as happy and satisfied as you could ever be? Well read on brothers and sisters…

Having made a few of other bust in the same scale from similar sculpting houses I ripped straight into putting him together. I soon had to stop, after not understanding straight away where some of the rope was and what the climbing pitons hung off I realized that is what the thin wire was for – to twist to make rope! Ok and the thick wire were to fit thru the pitons which needed holes. I stopped that part of the construction and went to something easier to start.

Ok the arms are easy so I started them. Like I said there are hollowed out parts so they stick to the torso better and the rifle can be cradled between them. A small pin is in each of the sockets but this doesn’t help as much as I could. As when you carve out the casting stub from a thin arm joint you nearly always stuff something up a bit. There was a slight gap on the left shoulder which was over zealous thinning on my behalf. Nothing a little superglue would not fill tho.
The worry with a figure that’s hands fit the arms that you also position is that one stuff up and it’s all cactus. I test fitted this and found that it all fit well. The rifle slides into the cradle space in his left breast and arm quite naturally.

It all holds with no glue. And you should NOT glue it in – not just yet.
.....See the problem is the rifle strap. You have to bend that resin strip to within an inch of its life to make it conform naturally. And it is a real stress to not break it. I got mine aligned to the rifle and then it cracked where I was bending the life out of it. I realized I could do all of this without having to do it in-situ as the hands needn’t be blued in to make it fit. Nice but it is some complicated engineering. Even now when the figure is finished I haven’t needed to glue the hands and the rifle in – and I took it out to show you the rather plain looking inside of the rifle and strap.
The camera straps were a bit of a challenge as well. They meet a terminated strap around the neck and join with the camera. So you know the horizontal trench on the folds of the front of the jacket is where the camera bottom is digging in to his stomach. After I realized that I made them fit!

Ok stress test time – on to the pitons. I cut these from their little casting stubs – rounded of the ends then drilled them with a .6mm drill. I then hollowed them out as much as I could to make way for their “karabiner’s” from the thick wire. This I did with my trusty Xuron snips and bending pliers which allowed for some regular square shapes to be made.
Next came the copper wire – how to make rope? Well twist it like chubby checker that’s how. Twist really tightly but not too tight and you will get something looking like the other rope so well cast in the backpack.
I made sure I terminated the karibiners on the “non show” side as we call it in theatre. And here is the result!
So that’s it – the models that issue you a challenge are often the most satisfying to own and to have made aren’t they? Especially like this one when finished it looks so very good. Lots of depth both on the body and below the bust – great details and that wonderfully sculpted face.
A great way to kick of his new business  - all I need is someone to paint my bust so it looks a little like what MJ did with his box art in the pictures below. What – paint it myself? I guess I was up for a challenge…

Adam Norenberg.

 MJ. (Handy to know a good painter to sell your kits hey!) thanks to him for sending this kit to make and review – You can get this bust – along with MJ’s other stuff at his distributors worldwide.

Here he is all painted up by Man Kim Jin - a masterpiece of sculpting and painting really.