Tuesday, February 28

Construction Review: Alpine Miniatures 1/35th scale German Panzer Crew Set

We seem to be seeing a lot more obscure vehicles in the latest 35th scale models coming out from many model companies. Reason says there is a need for crews to populate these vehicles. Alpine Miniatures has seen a need for some new early war Panzer crew, sold as singles or as a pair, these crewman look ok in the preview we have seen, but let's see how they look unpainted straight from the box and made up...


Alpine Miniatures Dual Construction Review:

German Panzer Crew #1
1/35th scale
#35226
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

German Panzer Crew #2
1/35th scale
#35227
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

German Panzer Crew Set
1/35th scale
#35228
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky / Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

Today we are looking at a new pair of figures made by Alpine Miniatures of the US. The sculptor of these two resin figures is Sergey Traiansky, and the box art painter is Mr Toshihiro Sano. Two talented modellers. Let's see how they look unmade, in parts and together made up. Also how they relate to each other as a set.
The figures arrive in a light green plastic little box that Alpine is well known for. both figures are similarly-clad and identifiable as early war German Panzer men, with their all black uniforms and panzer beret as one of the two head choices in each kit. The famous early war style Black Panzer Beret and the equally early war, but often used till later on overseas flat forage cap.
Common to both of these figures was, as we mentioned the choices of two heads on each tank man, the light grey resin they are made from is very well cast, with some only very slight seam in the middle that I only saw through the macro photography that these new cameras provide us with. Each of the figures are provided in zip-loc bags so you do not lose anything in transit. 
Let's look at these figures now, each alone unassembled, and then built up , and then together as a set.

German Panzer Crew #1
1/35th scale
#35226
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano
The figure captures a 35th scale German early WWII tanker from the Panzer Korps in his distinctive black uniform. He is the second of our men taking their life into their hands – this man is also having a smoke while he ponders his life. There are five parts in light grey resin in this kit. Engineered well so that they fit well, with a neck joint that sits nicely in the collar of the roll neck sweater. No risk of visible seams here.
You can see that he has two head choices afforded with this kit. One of the flat overseas M38 forage cap the tankers often wore, you can see on this one the details that picked out a tanker's cap, the black colour, the national emblem eagle in silver braid, and the real identifier of the Panzer Korps, the Waffenfarbe Rosa (pink) colour with pink being chosen for Panzer crews.
The second headgear choice is just as nice for modellers who like a black beret on their early war panzer men. The black panzer beret/crash helmet or Schutzm├╝tze was an easy identifier of the early WWII German tanker, made from black wool, this beret has the cockade and laurel wreaths around it with the German eagle above it.
This tanker is seen in the short black panzer Jacket or wrap which has large collars piped with the pink colour again, and with the Panzer Korps skull and crossbones "death's head" emblem on them. Notice the wrinkles on the uniform pants and the pinched in nature of the jacket at the waist.
This tanker's jacket is opened up to reveal his uniform shirt underneath it and the Wound Badge, or Verwundetenabzeichen in this case in Silver (2nd class) for being wounded three or four times. You could make yours gold, or bronze depending on how many wounds you want to inflict onto him.
The roll neck sweater pops out of his black Panzerjacke, this short jacket is pinched at the waist by his belt, this divides the body in two, and gives his waist definition, the flaps of the jacket folding out over the pants. The lapels of his jacket are open, and flapping in a three-dimensional way OVER the uniform, not stuck to it lifelessly. More details like the skull and crossbones of the Panzer Korps on those lapels, the stitching of the uniform and the gathering of the pants at the boots as this figure leans slightly to the side just adds to the  life-like sculpting job.
The smaller casting parts hold the open cuffed right arm of the tanker. The detail of the fingers, the thick sweater under the tanker's jacket pokes out to give more detail. The Luger is identified by the strap that closes the holster at an angle. The Walthers were more common in later war and the strap is usually vertical. Anyway whichever - it is included here.
The engineering of the kit is smart, the pistol ( walther p38 in it's holster) is seen as a seperate with the lug and hole to fit it for a secure hold after you paint the main body of the figure. The little lugs on the insides of the figure I cut off for the smoothest of fits.
The figure is sculpted by Sergey Traviansky, and in this case painted by Toshihiro Sano who has done a great job here. They have caught the tight midriff, the wrinkled pants and folds of the jacket sleeves as well as all of the general (he's actually a Corporal as you can see by the stripe on his shoulder) demeanour of "Ol' Smokie" very well.

The Panzer-man altogether, he took about 5 mins to clean up and build - here he is with the flat side forage cap on...
...And here he is with the Panzer Beret option.


German Panzer Crew #2
1/35th scale
#35227
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano
The second tanker of this pair is also sold separately. He is seen in a very similar attire to his comrade, but slightly different in a few details we will go through in this review. The four parts of the kit are cast again in light grey resin. Again we see some sharp detail in the areas that matter, the hair and face are delicately sculpted. the weight in the clothing and the folds and seams of the clothes are really nice. Let's have a look closer.

Like his buddy, he also has two headgear choices, the first being the Panzer Beret. The folded back padded beret looks really nice and weighty on his head, again we see the cockade with silver leaves and the German eagle on the top of the hat. The black Panzer beret proved impractical as wear of headphones was restricted and it was also considered unattractive, and uncomfortable which made it unpopular with the troops resulting in further production being halted as per regulations of January 15th 1941.
The second choice of headgear is again the overseas cap. This became more and more used by tanker crew after the phasing out of the Beret. So this is ideal if you want to make an early or mid war tanker. You can see again the cockade and the German eagle clearly sculpted into this hat.
Like his buddy - this tanker wears the combo of the black tanker jacket with pants to match. The


 We see the same death's heads on the collars, the stripes on the shoulder, and the wound badge (again – unlucky bunch) as well as the tanker assault badge on this panzer man.
This tanker's jacket is opened up to reveal his uniform shirt underneath it, this is not typical of many sculpts although quite a realistic way for the tanker to cool down. I like the way the large lapels flap in the open look of the jacket, which slightly hangs forward and down, just like it would when it is not done up. Nice reading of gravity and realism by the sculptor.
The arm holding up the cigarette is seen in a similar good detail as the other figure sculpt. The fine detail of the fingers is nice here, and the cuff of the uniform shirt pokes out of the (again) opened cuff (more depth) and the two stripes on the shoulder are easy to pick out with paint here.
More body language on display as we look further down the completed figure, the man is slightly leaning off to the right as he enjoys his cigarette which is placed inside his finely sculpted fingers. The wrinkles in the pants, floppy hang of the jacket make this a great figure.

...and here he is with the Panzer beret headgear choice - which do you like best?



German Panzer Crew Set
1/35th scale
#35228
Sculpture by Sergey Traviansky / Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

These two risk takers – who could believe, these tankmen take their life into their own hands every day – the risks that were involved – and that is just the smoking! Seriously they go well together – the differences in the uniforms are very slight, but enough to have them looking like two individuals. 

Here they are together - with a variety of headgear to show you combinations and angles of both in relation to each other.
Here they are with an early war Marder Lorraine - this was a tiny tank destroyer, but it shows the scale of most of the early war tanks compared to the tankers.
Well there they are - together and by themselves. The addition of the sure to be popular Panzer Beret as a head choice on both of these soldiers make the ideal for both early, and with the latter style cap, mid or latter war. The sculpting of the figures is excellent, while the body language is just right. The features of both men, their slightly different uniforms and the way they hold themselves in relation to each other - great work.

Two wonderful additions to bring your early to mid war AFV diorama alive.

Adam Norenberg

These releases are now available from the Alpine Miniatures Website and also from their distributors worldwide


Here are both figures painted by the talented box artist Toshihiro Sano

German Panzer Crew #1
German Panzer Crew #2

German Panzer Crew Set