Friday, March 21

Review: Alpine Miniatures new figures leave no holes BAR-red in the search for quality with their two new allied figures

Allied figures from WWII – winter clad and bearing heavy weapons like the BAR light machine gun,  one of the figures chewing a cigar – well it has all the makings of a popular set of figures in 1/35th scale. Let’s see what we think of Alpine Miniature’s latest two figures and the set they make.

35169 WW2 US BAR Gunner
Figure with 2 different head choices.
7parts in Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

35170 WW2 US Infantry
Figure with 2 different head choices.
7parts in Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim

35171 WW2 US Infantry Set (2 Figures)
Set of 2 figures, each with 2 different head choices.
14 parts in grey resin
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim

Alpine Miniatures regularly releases two single 1/35th scale figures every two months, these two figures usually form a complimentary set of two men from the same unit or theatre of war. Recently we have had SS men, US tankers from Vietnam and today we have a couple of G.I’s from the winter climes of WWII for you to see. We thought we would put them together to show you properly the quality of the set.

On opening up the little clear and lime green plastic pack you find two figures in Zip-loc bags cast in light grey resin. No bubbles are present in the resin casting and only the slightest seam mark is visible down the back of the helmets of two of the heads. Hey - It is hardly worth mentioning and it takes a stroke or two with a hobby knife to remove but I am trying really hard to find fault in Alpine’s work – I often don’t come up with anything!
Easy to remove from their small casting blocks the resin figures only took me about ten minutes each to fit together. There are little notches on the water bottles and the entrenching tool the GI’s carry to more positively meld these to the figure. It is nice to have these as separate as well as this gives the figures more depth but as well as this a way to paint them separately without messing up the figure.

On to each of these figures now as I look at the sculpted parts and how they go together – then what they are like as a set.

Figure with 2 different head choices.
7parts in Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
This soldier is cast in grey resin by Taesung Harmms and has the choice of two slightly different head covering – both heads have the same face and wear the steel standard issue GI M1 helmet but one choice has the plain finish whilst the other has a camo net over the helmet. This camo net looks to be a really easy thing to paint – the small crevices in the netting will come up great under the dry brush of even a basic painter.
The facial features of the GI are that of a dogged soldier with no real smile on his face at all and a cigar by the looks of it in the corner of his mouth – he looks just like his gun – tough and no nonsense. Under each head choice there is further evidence these soldiers were in a winter setting – a warm woollen “Jeep” cap is worn under their M1 helmets. More texture for your brush to pick out when painting.
About his gun for a second – It comes on a separate pouring block along with his gloved hand that is holding onto the barrel as it rests on the soldier’s shoulder. This United States G.I. carries a very important weapon, the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR as it was called for short.

This was a light machine gun developed to give the infantryman more mobile rapid firepower. Designed to be fired from the hip or from a bi-pod mount, this gun gave the G.I.’s the advantage in heavy firepower from the very last stages of the First World War and through the WWII to Korea and the opening stages of the Vietnam War.

The BAR was given one-to –a-section of GI’s where possible and was a partial counter to the feared light machine guns the Germans carried. Although heavy they were well liked by their users and often others in the section carried spare ammo for the BAR gunner.
Both of these soldiers are seen in a winter setting – you can tell by the gloves this figure is wearing and his heavy jacket over his uniform tunic. The warm jacket is topped off with the woollen scarf. Compare this shot of the ammo pouches on the torso below with the soldier above.

Around his waist he wears the clip on cloth weaved belt (nicely displayed on the rear of the figure) and some thick pants as well are rolled up at the bottom cuffs over GI boots. These pants are held up by the thick webbing that holds his large square ammo pouches for his BAR. He also has a medical pouch on his left front waist as well as a water bottle on his right hip which slots into a hole provided by the sculptor.
His arm is moulded –just like the rest of his uniform with thick creases typical of padded winter clothing. You can see the warm gloves and cuff buttons clearly as well as the embroidery on his water bottle in these shots.
You can see in this shot how the hand of the figure slips right into the socket of the arm and gun and how the water bottle’s lug goes right into the hole provided by the sculptor. This helps with construction time which was no more than 10 minutes.
He carries his heavy BAR on his shoulder in an interesting pose I haven’t seen any other model makers do as of yet - the six spare magazines for his gun and water flask on his belt combined with the cigarette coming from the soldier’s mouth make him look like a no nonsense type heavily weighed down to take on the enemy.

And with the alternate head choice..

Figure with 2 different head choices.
7parts in Grey Resin
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms / Boxart Painted by Man-Jin Kim
This second G.I. – sold separately as well as in the pair is seen in winter clothing of a thick jacket over his tunic but with warm woollen pants covered with galoshes which seal the cold air gap down to his boots.

 His torso is dominated on the front with his M1943 folded entrenching tool with canvas cover on it. He also has slung over his chest a cloth bandoleer of ammo in pouches and a water bottle on his rear hip.
He is seen hitching up his Garand M1 rifle on his shoulder which makes him sit slightly to the side as he adjusts his weapon.

You can see the arm hanging down to the sire here with many similar wrinkles to his comrade's -  he carries on his front torso the M43 entrenching tool which is detailed very wrinkly around the canvas cover and the water bottle which has the embroidery visible. Both of these accessories have notched to fit better on the body like his partner.
His helmet is again the M1 in two choices – the camo netted version and plain steel again with the Jeep woollen hat underneath that the soldiers wore under their helmets in winter time especially in Europe.. The faces are the same - but not the same as the companion figure. This man has a pointier face and more delicate figures than his brute of a mate – or is it that his gun is smaller and so he looks less dangerous?
To note with this figure is the time spent on the clothing – his folds in his pants and jacket especially on the arms where the jacket bunch up are really impressive – and they would be easy to paint up to look very realistic as well.
Again the alternate head choice ...

2 figures, each with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Man-Jin Kim

These two figures are sold in a pair in this package in separate zip-loc bags and I think they complement each other very well.
They have similar but not the same clothing on – they have a similar cadence to each other and are both looking in the same direction but they have a different look on their faces. The sculptor Taesung Harmms is a particular favourite of mine and these two figures don’t let him down – they are a well matched pair with just enough different to make a nice compliment to each other.
This set is another reason in resin proof that Alpine still leads the way. There are some other great sculptors out there doing great work. None of the competitions figures are currently as easy to put together and as consistently as well sculpted and quality controlled as this companies releases. This set is further proof of that claim.
Another top shelf release and this should settle a few of the “More allied please?” calls out there.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine Miniatures for sending these figures for us to review - they are now available from Alpine Miniatures Distributors Worldwide.

Whilst we are speaking of painting we mustn't forget the great job the box art painter Man-Jin Kim did with these figures – he has brought out the soiled dark clothing as well as the lighter faded clothing that captured the look of well-worn by the G.I.’s in a winter campaign.