Wednesday, August 16

Construction Review: Oberschütze, 1939 in 1/16th, 1/35th, 1/48th & 1/72 from Eisernes Kreuz

The Andrea Miniatures venture into making lifelike representations of highly selling famous German soldiers of WWII continues under their Eisernes Kreuz brand. We have not just one, but four of their figures in the new series to build up and compare in a review for you – What makes this review special is that these are all the same figure – but in four different scales - in 1/16th, 1/35th, 1/48th & 1/72nd. See how they stacked up against each other...

Construction Review: "Oberschütze, 1939"
from Eisernes Kreuz / Andrea Miniatures
Ready to assemble/ Assembled & painted cast resin and metal kit
Scales: 1/16th, 1/35th, 1/48th & 1/72nd
Price, Unpainted / Painted:
1/16th: €60 / €390
1/35th: €18 / €120
1/48th: €8 / €45
1/72nd: €6 / €32
Scenic Base Included
Box art Painted by Carlos Royo
The "Eiseneres Kreuz" Series of figures from Andrea Miniatures is an interesting proposition. Like a lot of other figure companies, Andrea Miniatures is moving with the times, getting "digital" and moving into the use of 3D-scanned re-enactors as the life drawings for their works. This means that they are offering the figures from this series can be reproduced in a number of scales without the need to re-sculpt the work. You might think as well this will mean that the details are reproduced int he same quality but in the different sales?
This series of figures relies heavily on a thorough study of period footage, photographs and documents. The use of original uniforms and equipment are part of the reference and sculpting process involving advanced modelling techniques including 3D scanning and casting technology.

Let's find out by having a look at a single figure in all of the four scales offered to see their quality and how they differ from each other. Lastly how they go together. But first the subject of the Oberschütze from 1939.
One of the recent figures from this Eseneres Kreuz series is of a single soldier, called "Oberschütze, 1939" and it depicts a young soldier walking into battle as part of a victorious Wehrmacht in the early stages of the "Blitzkrieg" in World War II. Like so many figures, we always look for the inspiration of the figure, and although we can not see the re-enactor's work we can see what we think is the original shot that this is inspired by.
Taken as one of a series of shots of German soldiers on the march in the dusty roads of the Polish offensive, this soldier is a nice subject.This picture was taken in Poland September 1939 from “Signal” magazine. The series of photographs with this showed German troops, early on in the war, relatively untested and confident, marching over the battlefields of Poland to the front lines.We cannot say that this is our favourite subject amongst the series, mostly because only that we like some of the others even better.

Common features of these three figures:

Not something that is usually a factor in reviews, there are several different prices and two methods to receive the kit so I thought I would talk about both of them here. You can get it as a regular figure in a box unassembled or completed and painted for those who like to purely collect.
Each of these figures are offered as single kits in a box or plastic package depending on the scale of the figure. These are, let's say, fairly expensive for a single figure as we get to the larger scales, but pretty cheap in the smaller scales and notably. Prices go from Six Euros for the 72nd scale kit to Sixty Euros for the 16th scale kit. There is also the option to have these figures assembled and painted for you by Andrea's in-house professional painters. These prices go from Thirty-two Euros for the 72nd kit right up until a large sum of Three hundred and ninety Euros for the largest scale 16th scale figure.

The box for the 1/16th scale figure
Equipment and attire:
As they are taken from the same source, each of these figures has the same gear on and the same equipment. And early war soldier, his gear was pretty well standardized with the others soldiers in his unit. The Summer weight tunic and pants along with his long jackboots with hobnailed heels. This soldier carries his steel M39 helmet strapped to his soldier's cast buckled leather belt.
This soldier carries the M31 Bread Bag, Water Bottle & mess tin. On his belt, he has the entrenching tool and a scabbard for his long knife attached to it. He also has soft pouches for rifle ammunition to go along with his Kar.98 rifle. Which he has slung on his shoulder.

The Resin/ Metal is cast in something of a surprise, butt not totally. A little more derailed the larger we get in scales. For the most part, the detail is pretty sharp, most evidently in the larger scales and unfortunately less so in the smaller scales. It is hard to see this in photos of such a small detail, say in 72nd scale. But also harder to make in these smaller scales.

Below the smallest of these figures in 72nd and the parts
Through to the parts of the largest of these in 16th - here especially showing the engineering of the kit's lugs and notched that help secure the figure. Note the scenic base that all of these characters come with (in scale of course)
The metal and resin material he is cast in comes without any major flaws or seam lines. There is some release agent on the parts so they will have to be washed thoroughly before working on them. For the most part, the fit and engineering of each and every one of these kits is great – they go together without glue until you get to the larger parts in the larger scales. Great work there in that aspect as we will see in turn in each of these figures as we put them together.
We thought we would look at each of them in turn and put them together for you to show you a little more about what they are each packaged, the parts and how they go together, starting from smaller to largest, 72nd scale, then 48th, 35th and then 1/16th scale and then a comparison of them all together to see how scale treats them.

Oberschütze, 1939
1/72nd scale
Product Number# EK72-F004
Prices Unpainted €6 / painted €32
 This kit comes in a simple plastic container witht the parts inside wrapped very safely and securely.
This first of the figures in this lot is made of just white metal parts. There are two parts to make up the figure, and one to make up the earth that the soldier is walking on as a base. The match stick is the regular size by the way 🔬
The figure goes together by simply pushing the arm and rifle, helmet and bag onto the kit via the lug in the shoulder. The joint fitted perfectly and it did not need any glue to secure it for this review. For our purposes, it worked just great and I was pleasantly surprised about it fitting and the lack of any gap at the shoulder joint without glue.

Here he is in a circle 'round – you can see the detail a little more on the edges of some of the protruding features, however, the details in some of this kit are a little soft. I suppose you would probably assume that this is the least sharp in detail because of its size and you would be right. To be expected, but this figure is still pretty nice – and for six Euro – wow!
An Idea of the size of this figure in such a small scale

Oberschütze, 1939
Scale 1/48
Product Number# EK48-F004
Prices Unpainted €8/ painted €45
Next is the 48th scale figure – very helpful to all of those 48th scale vehicle modellers who need good, quality figures in their arsenal as there are really not enough of them out there. A welcome move by Andrea Miniatures.
The figure is of a similar makeup to the 72nd scale kit – the three parts again join at the shoulder, and the whole lot comes again in a small plastic package with the foam making the contents a safe bet inside.

Here is a close up of the three parts, as we see again the rough groundwork in metal also with some nice looking tread marks in it.
In this picture, you can see on the arm and the figure the sockets which are used to join and locate the arm with the rifle on the soldier figure. There are also lug holes in the road so you can set him right up on the deck without fear of him falling over.
He went together yet again with a simple push fit on the shoulder joint made him complete. No gap was visible again, and as you see in this walk around – you can pick out just a bit more of the detail in sharper focus. The chest area is still a little soft, but the face, hair and clothing are great.
Here he is in comparison to my trusty match stick - a little larger than his little brother huh?

Oberschütze, 1939
1/35th scale
Product Number# EK35-F004
Prices Unpainted €18 / painted €120
OK, into more familiar terriroty now – in 35th scale, we start to see some resin added to the white metal parts. This kit comes in a cardboard box, and with the increased size you will not the black foam that the kit comes in again holding the resin and metal parts snugly inside the box. This one was again safe and all together when it arrived.
You will note on the right side of the picture below we see a little fold out guide to painting the face of the figure.
There are six parts of white metal here, this includes again the groundwork, the three light grey resin parts comprise of the most detailed parts, the face, the torso and legs.
You can see in this picture every one of these parts comes with a lug in it that secures it to the next part. When putting this together some of the parts again did not need any glue. Some did – just in case – but it's nice to test the quality of engineering of this kit like this. Well done to the designers of the parts.
We start to put it together here, with the helmet and bread bag, entrenching tools on the torso.
The figure together apart from the arm and the rifle on it. A simple construction with the recesses in the right places to create folds on the clothing at the right places.
Here he is in a walk around again. You can see that the softer detail is in the white metal parts, where the resin parts are very nicely made here and show just that little bit more detail than the smaller figures we have already looked at. This is as nice as most of the top figures in the same scale. Not the best, but just as nice. I noticed after I shot this I could have taken a little of the right arm lug to make this sit more flush - my mistake here, not the kits.
Here he is with the trusty ol' matchstick, which we swear is not getting smaller as we go along.

Oberschütze, 1939
1/16th scale
Product Number# EK16-F004
Prices Unpainted/ painted €60/ €390
OK time to get your big boy pants on! - the full- at Sixty Euro, top of the pile, big daddy - the 1/16th scale figure of the Oberschutze is next. This kit comes in a much bigger box, it sure looks solid. An internal cardboard frame and white styrene padding holds the white metal and resin parts inside the zip-loc bags along with the painting guide that is inside. Again it all arrived safely and all the parts are here unbroken.
Seven parts in grey resin, again this time the legs, the torso, and the head, with added parts of the water flask and the M39 helmet are here, again in great detail, You can see some release agent on this and it will need to be washed before painting. The white metal parts are again included in the Kar.98 rifle, the straps for this and the hand to hold it along with the gas mask canister and the mess tin along with a large base for the soldier to sit on.
The reverse views of these parts showing the lugs and sockets that fit into each other to secure a nice solid fit. Notice the holes for the rifle and equipment on the rear of the torso of the shoulder. The lack of excess flash material is evident on these aprts, they are very well reproduced.
We start to put him together, with the leg sockets nicely located with lugs, and then guided by the holes in the groundwork base which secured them very nicely. Meanwhile, the head sockets, the helmet and the entrenching tool and knife fits just as well with some superglue to the torso.
A closer inspection of the rear parts for the upper body and the lugs and their holes ready to go together.
The rear picture on the back of the box acts as a paint guide as well as a placement guide.
The painting guide in fold out paper is also included in this 16th scale kit as well.
The two halves go together nicely here. The fuller sized figure as we can see in 1/16th scale is a lot more detailed than the other figures in the smaller scales. The level of detail creeps up as we have come up in scales is evident by comparing these figures
A walk around of this figure in 1/16th scale. Notice the rifle straps and equipment strap which didn't need any glue mind you to sit in place.
The folds and flaps of the clothing and straps are nice to see here, and as we circle the figure we can see the enhanced detail of the torso and especially the chest area which looks better here. The M39 flat overseas cap is tucked into his belt with a hollow inside part, unlike the other figures. It's just a lot better detail here.
The badges on the chest, buttons, pulling of the clothing at pinch points, folds in the cloth on the legs, the detail of the belt buckle and the face – which looks a bit like Christopher Plummer in his prime, with high cheekbones and that tuft of hair at the front. He looks young, happy and unaffected by the horrors of a long war that was to come.
Lastly – the good ol' matchstick – how far have we come – 
see for yourselves with a roundup of 72nd, 48th, 35th to lastly 1/16th scale.
Here they all are – graduated from smallest to largest scales. Hard to see in this picture, but the graduation in scale goes hand in hand with the amount of detail on these figures.
From the top down, showing that no detail is spared from any aspect of these figures, the engineering of the figures and fit was a highlight for me on each of these figures also.
Although I think Sixty Euro is a little too expensive for the 16th scale figure, and probably eighteen euro is slightly less expensive in 35th scale – the eight Euro and Six Euro for 48th and 72nd scales is a bargain. Some might plump for the pre-painted version, if so please send their email to me and I will let them in on an investment opportunity in Uganda I am planning.
I like the focus of this series on interesting, often historical subjects - the fact that I thought that this particular figure was the least inspiring for me before I made the figure changed when I got to see it and build it. Those 48th scale modellers will be stoked with this kit especially as the lack of figures in this scale is notable. 

However, if you like your early war German figures, these are a great option.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Andrea Miniatures for sending this kit to us to build and review. The kit is available in all of these scales on their website.
Here is this kit, built up and painted from the Andrea Miniatures painter Carlos Royo – showing you just what is capable with this figure in the right hands...(and what you can expect if you want to pay the premium price of the pre-painted figure route.)