Tuesday, June 20

Construction Review: Officer 116th Pz Div "Windhund" 1/16th Bust from Alpine Miniatures

Alpine Miniatures ahs been making both 1/35th and 1/16th scale figures for quite some time – recently they have diverged from the "fuller figure" with a new series of busts in 16th scale. We have the first in this series, that of an Officer of the 116th Panzer Division "Windhund". We have put him together in our construction review for you today.

Construction Review: Officer 116 Pz Div "Windhund"
From Alpine Miniatures
Product No# B001
1/16th scale
The bust comes with 2 different head choices.
Original Sculpture by Mike Good / Conversion by Taesung Harmms
Boxart sculpt painted by Darren Han

It seems fairly late into the piece to be starting with something anew, but Alpine Miniatures has added a third genre into their range. Long have they been making some of the best, if not the best 35th scale and 16th scale figures on the market. Now they have added the range of busts in 16th scale to their range, well who better to review it?
Now, not really a fan of busts myself, as it seems to be more of an artistic aspect of figure modelling rather than a practical set dressing use (I do work in a theatre), however, I was curious to see if this piece kept up with the quality that I have seen over years of looking at Alpine's more familiar ranges of figures. We know, from going to the largest figure model shows in the world like Euro Militaire, that busts have a real following amongst modellers, so we thought it only proper to show you what comes in the box, and what to expect in detail, construction and as a final piece.

The 116th "Windhund" (Greyhound) Panzer Division - a brief history
The 116th Division was constituted in the Rhineland and Westphalia areas of western Germany in March 1944 from the remnants of the 16th Panzergrenadier Division, and the 179th Reserve Panzer Division. The 16th had suffered heavy casualties in combat on the Eastern Front near Stalingrad, and the 179th was a second-line formation that had been on occupation duty in France since 1943.

The badge was worn by soldier's of the unit on the let side of service caps
This is the real Windhund after which the unit was named. She was a stray greyhound found on the steppe of Russia, the new owners called her "Sascha." Later a second greyhound "Ari" was adopted. Both dogs went missing after an incident in Holland 1945 when the dogs ran after a rabbit.
In 1944, it participated in opposing the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and was later trapped in the Falaise Pocket following Operation Cobra.

A famous picture modelled lots of times of a Sd.Kfz. Marder III Ausf. M of the 116. Panzer Division “Der Windhund” pass the wing of a downed Douglas C-47 Skytrain, France, June 1944.
Along with the 2nd SS Panzer Division, it was responsible for holding the pocket open to allow German troops to escape. It managed to escape, although with only 600 infantry and 12 tanks intact. In October, it fought against American forces in the Battle of Aachen, with the town falling to the Americans on 21 October. It was moved to Düsseldorf for refitting.

A rather ironic picture of the men of Windhund in some captured US Army M8 greyhound scout cars in France 1944.
On 8 November, the division repulsed an attack from the U.S. 28th Infantry Division in the Hürtgen Forest during the larger Battle of Hürtgen Forest, recapturing the town of Schmidt, thus providing the name to the 28th of the "Bloody Bucket Division".

German soldiers of 116. Panzer-Division 'Windhund' in a Sd.Kfz. 250/5 passing by a destroyed M10 Tank Destroyer.
The 116th then participated in the failed "Wacht am Rhein" Operation in the Ardennes. On December 10, before the offensive, it was partly refitted, with 26 Panzer IV and 43 Panther tanks and 25 Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyers (of which 13 were combat ready). However, it was still missing much of its organic transport. Initially stalled by resistance and then poor bridges in attacks to cross the Our River at Luetzkampen and Ouren, it back-tracked to march through Belgium from Dasburg to Houffalize. The division then fought its way as the middle spearhead of the advance on the Meuse from Samree to La Roche then heavy fighting at Hotton and Verdenne where it was turned back at its furthest advance in the Ardennes.
Hasso Von Manteuffel (Oberbefehlshaber 5. Panzer-Armee) with Windhund officers in September 1944. In the middle stands Abteilungsadjudant Horst Gittermann (I./Panzer-Rgt.16, Panther), right is Oberleutnant Walter Penzler (4./Panzer-Rgt.16, Panther). The officer in the back is Von Manteuffels escort officer.
It later held the Allies at bay for other units to retreat, before being withdrawn over the Rhine in March. It then opposed the U.S. Ninth Army's advance across the Rhine, thus stopping the planned Allied breakthrough as well as opposing Operation Varsity's airborne landings. With 2,800 men and 10 tanks against 50,000 Allied troops and supporting tanks, the division faced the U.S. 30th, the U.S. 35th, the U.S. 84th, the 4th Canadian and the U.S. 8th Armored Divisions. On 18 April 1945, the majority of the division was forced to surrender to the U.S. Ninth Army, having been trapped in the Ruhr Pocket. Remnants of the division continued to fight in the Harz mountains until 30 April, only surrendering after all of their resources had been exhausted.

The Kit
I can see that this figure was adapted from the Alpine Miniatures Panzer Officer "Groþdeutschland" from 1/16th scale. The result of the alterations was pretty amazing you would not, and It took me a long time to find out, that he was adapted from a full body figure because of the effective changes made by Mr. Harmms of Mr Good's original.
As is the norm with the smaller scale Alpine Miniatures kits, this figure comes inside a lime green plastic and clear box, with a zip-loc bag holding the five parts or light grey resin inside together in transit.
The light grey resin inside is nicely cast in some very fine detail in places. The figure is sculpted by the one and only Mike Good, so straight away this caught my eye and I am more interested as I like his previous works. I see that some alterations were done by the proprietor of the business Mr Taesung Harmms, who made the conversion into what we see here. Would assume that he added the finishing touches that made him into an officer of the 116th "Windhund" (Greyhound) Panzer Division.
The five parts in this kit include the torso of the bust and the stand that it rests upon, the field glasses and the two heads the kit comes with. No this is no Zaphod Beettlebrox figure, as with all of Alpine Miniature's releases the two heads are the same, but they are wearing alternate headgear.
The head here – showing the first choice in head wear that shows a little about his origins as an 116th officer. The badge of the windhund is on the overseas hat with soutache – in the box art, it is the pink Waffenfarbe of the Panzer Korps. This semi-official insignia of the greyhound is constructed of a metal or even black Bakelite and sewn to the hats. These badges measured 1⅛ inches across and they were often sewn to the hat with black cotton thread through a hole at each end of the oval.
The overseas cap here with the Windhund badge 
I must mention the faces of both of these sculpts. The eyes, lips, hair, nose and facial structure is very sympathetic to me, I can see the sculptor wanted to show a youthful and maybe a little of a skinny look about his look. I think he looks very realistic and a good painted (like the box artist, or you on a good day) could really bring his features to life convincingly. I like the tuft of hair protruding from the cap on his left-hand side.
The second headgear choice is of the schirmmütze alter art für offiziere der windhund-division. The rumpled look of the officer's visor cap is in the style of the "old Hares" that these soldiers often wanted to emulate. It often spoke of the soldier's importance or experience in the unit.
The officer's cap here - lots of similarities in this instance 
In this case again when we look at the box art we can see that the Waffenfarbe Rosa again depicts a tanker man. The bends and folds of the cap in all f the right places to show a lot of wear are conveyed very well in this figure. On this head choice, I noticed that there was a little bit of rough resin around the neck and right cheek of the face. I simply removed this excess with a round sanding file when I put it together. Here is the side on image including the badge again on the left in close up
Heading on to the torso of the bust. We see a one-piece resin chunk that needed just a bit of trimming to clean it up from the resin injection points under the rear, flat portion of the torso that will not be seen after he is together. I am surprised it was a one-piece part with that billowing scarf flying up around his left shoulder but it is just the one part.
I was impressed to see the detail in these badges, A lot of care looks to have been taken in the detail, positioning and mix of medals. Not only was the German eagle on the right breast, but several others depicting bravery are here. Don't forget the straps for the binoculars the officer is wearing around his neck. In this instance, just the straps are shown so we can add them separately later on. Two lugs are included to help hold them in place.
On his short black Panzerjacke, he has several medals, on his left side fo the jacket we see the Iron cross 1st and 2nd class, the Panzer Badge Panzerkampfabzeichen at the bottom lower side. Most of us know about the Iron Cross, but the Panzer Badge was introduced in 1939 in order to recognize the achievements of Panzer personnel who took part in armoured assaults. A separate class of the badge, in Bronze, was added in order to recognize the crews of armoured vehicles other than tanks., it was always worn on the left tunic pocket. The bronze version was authorized for armoured personnel and Panzer grenadier units equipped with armoured vehicles. It was also to be presented to members of armoured reconnaissance groups and rifle battalions of Panzer divisions. Here is a picture of the real badge.
On the lower left, we see the German Cross in gold (the colour of the laurel wreath around the swastika) or in silver depending on what you would like to depict him in. These could come embroidered or in metal moulded. The former being an award for repeated acts of bravery or repeated outstanding achievements in combat, the latter being for multiple distinguished services in war efforts and was considered a continuation of the War Merit Cross with swords. Here is one in real life, the German Cross in Gold (left) and Silver (right).
The scarf texture and woollen strands on the end of the scarf, which is blowing in the wind is also a great but of sculpting detail that will come up well under paint. Note the socket that the head fits neatly into as well.
In a walk around of this torso, we can see the shoulder boards that pick him out as an Untersturmführer to Hauptsturmführer, this one depicts an SS-Obersturmführer (SS-Senior assault leader) or First Lieutenant's rank.
The field opticals are a little soft in detail for me, especially around the leather strap in the middle. However, they are effective on this sculpt.
Lastly, we have a resin pylon /stand that this figure rests upon when it is finished is effective. Others might want to go on their own, but this one is good enough for this modeller. I did not have a shot of this in isolation but there is an image of it with the other parts at the start of this review.

Let's put him together.
Ok, so we start with a simple bit of cutting and sanding of the stand/pylon that takes a bit of work to remove. Nothing major, and we find that it almost lock s in the receptacle provided. A little super glue secures it in there nice and tight.
The binoculars go into their little notches next. The resin casting stub is removed and then the opticals fit right into the lugs which both secure and locate it properly in the right aspect.
The head is next. For the purposes of this review we gave them both a slight scraping clean up, and then only a small bit of super glue to secure the head. On checking the position of the head I noticed that his chin lines up with the lapel "V" in his jacket. The placement is easy after that.

And here he is, first with the overseas cap
-then the Officer's flat forage cap...

So to sum up...
I have often wondered myself as to why they had concentrated on full figures and not busts until now myself. I think that bust collectors would have been waiting for Alpine to expand into this genre. I am pretty sure this will sell well, and for good reason. The history of this unit, it's actions and the artistical merit of this figure are all very appealing to modellers and pocket historians. The subject being a German officer is a safe bet, and the way the eye catches the scarf as it blows in the wind, and then the details on the bust after that – it is all pretty appealing to me – not really a bust fan.

I like this bust a lot. Well done on bringing this series to the market place Alpine.

Adam Norenberg

You can pick this kit up – with free postage if you live in the USA, or from their distributors worldwide at the Alpine Miniatures Website.
 Here he is – painted by the very talented box-art painter Darren Han who has really brought him to life here....