Tuesday, September 26

Construction Review: Alpine Miniatures 35th scale "Ambush at Poteau." set no#2


Alpine Miniatures has released the second pair of what is a larger set of German soldiers of the SS in the scene of the infamous propaganda reel called the "Ambush at Poteau" in 1944. These two figures have lots of points of interest that we thought we might bring to light in a construction review, so we put them together with historical references of the scene, uniforms and equipment to show you a little more about these two...




Construction Review:
Alpine Miniatures
SS NCO "KG Hansen" #1

#35229
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano


SS NCO "KG Hansen" #2.
#35230
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano


KG Hansen at Poteau Set #2
#35231
1/35th scale
These two figures feature two head choices each.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

Product Link on the Alpine Miniatures website

Alpine Miniatures has released a pair of new figures in 35th scale sold as single figures but also as a pair in this, the second set that captures the group of soldiers who were shot on a movie reel. They are sold as a matching pair as well as by themselves, we thought we would look at them both as singles, and as a set, but first, we wanted to show you the history from which both of these soldiers were inspired from.



These soldiers match another set that we have reviewed from this same film reel - the Ambush at Poteau set #1

These two new sculpts of two soldiers capture a well-known period of the second world war. In 1944 in the Ardennes, as the world held their breath as the German units counterattacked to drive towards the coast and split the allies apart. This high-profile campaign was Hitler's last gamble in the west and there were several pictures taken of the battle on both sides. It is from some of these images and films that Alpine's first and now second set of the soldiers of SS Kampfgruppe Hansen were inspired.


The scene was filmed by German propaganda attachment and it is from these scenes that the four soldiers now (and two other officers in the video) are referenced and sculpted.
You can see these two figures pretty easily in the first few seconds of this video and later on in different scenes. Take note of their body language as it pertains to the figure's body language and look in this sculpt
The shots shown here are some of these very well known shots of one squad of soldiers from KG Hansen in a well-known propaganda film

SS Kampfgruppe Hansen participated in the "Battle of the Bulge" or "Ardennes Offensive" In a quiet sector of the Ardennes in the bitter Winter of December 1944. The cream of what was left of Hitler’s armies and whoever else could be conscripted attacked through a narrow corridor in the forests of Belgium trying to strike out and capture the Meuse River bridges to try and cut the Allied US and British forces in two.

The attack ultimately failed after harsh conditions, a strong resistance by the Allies and the basic lack of fuel, ammunition and the reliance on having to capture supplies to advance caused the German's advance to dwindle and fail – it was truly Hitler’s last gamble in the West. Famous pictures like these ones made some of the soldiers of them well known from history books, and now from the internet.

It turns out that the ambushed American vehicles were from the 14th Cavalry Group and that these photos were taken on 18th Dec 1944 by SS propaganda photographers. The soldiers from Kampfgruppe Hansen and Schnellgruppe Knittel of 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler” and the pictures were taken near Poteau, which is roughly NW of St Vith.

These are the two men that the figures are drawn from. They are our main references in this review.
This set of two single figures 
This kit from Alpine Miniatures is packed in the usual luminous lime green and clear plastic box. It contains the boxart on a small printed paper for both figures and the two combined, as well as the two figures- both in small zip-loc bags. Both of the figures, cast in light grey resin have two head choices.
The figures are both sculpted and cast by Taesung Harmms and the painter of the boxart, in this case, is by Toshihiro Sano. They look like an attractive set in this - probably the best anyone can paint and make them up. Let's have a closer look at each of them. First the resin, then the figures as singles, and then as a pair.

The resin:
The two figures share not just two head choices each. They are both cast in light grey resin which is supplied with only a little extra material to be removed from the resin surfaces. The lean up is relatively easy. There is one small .3mm seam to be removed from the top of the helmet of one of the figures. The cleanup only takes a minute or so on both figures.

The sculpting is of an extremely high standard as you will see in the review, and the engineering is also something we will look at now with each of these two figures in turn.

Alpine Miniatures
SS NCO "KG Hansen" #1

#35229
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

This figure is captured in the pictures and video above and reproduced by the sculptor Taesung Harmms in 35th scale light grey resin. This is the inspiration/ reference for this figure. He is based on one of the soldiers in the "Poteau Ambush" film and stills taken from that propaganda reel. He is wrapped up against the cold, and he looks pretty well equipped - with his woollen knitted gloves and he is carrying the soldier's new weapon of choice at the time - the Sturmgewehr StG 44.

This figure sports the choice of two different headgear choices in this set. The cloth camouflaged M43 German steel helmet. One of the helmet choices is bare, just like the reference in the picture, and the other is another suitable option, the camouflage helmet cover. or Stahlhelmbez├╝ge which were used after 1942-1945. These covers consisted of three panels, water-resistant, cotton duck construction, helmet cover with the machine roller printed, reversible, spring/autumn, Oak-Leaf (if you go by the boxart painting) repeating splotch camouflage pattern, riveted on rocker clips and foliage loops. You can see the features and fabric stitching and patterns on this cloth covered version.



These helmet covers were reversible with a repeating splotch pattern and have distinctly different colourations to the summer and autumn sides, with the summer side being in shades of browns, tans and greens and the autumn side in shades of browns and orange/tan 



The bare M42 helmet features a lesser detailed, but a potentially easier to details and scratch up the helmet that can show signs of battle wear. You can see the slight details like the holes in the chin straps, and the studs on the sides of this bare helmet. The figure's face is delicately sculpted, and although you cannot see much of it, the nose, eyes and ears are finely created and these will detail up very well indeed.


The torso features a combo of baggy uniform pants with the thin camouflage jacket common to late war winter wear SS soldiers. From the top down, he wears a scarf on his neck, which hides any gap on the neck of the figure, and gives the modeller a firm snug fit almost without glue. I only needed a little to secure each head in the build. The camo tunic is pinched under his battle harness which is attached to his cast belt buckle. The spare ammo pouches for the Mp44/ STG 44. YOu can see the shapes of sockets which the other parts of the kit fit into in the build later on.
The Zeltabahn camo wrap is bundled up on this soldier's back, he carries no backpack, mess tin or water bottle which is unusual, but in this case accurate according to the real man in the picture. The rear seat of the padded, baggy pants is apparent here in the rear view, as is the many creases and wrinkles in the tight jacket which is in contrast to the thicker wrinkles and folds in the thicker, looser pants. the boots are the ankle high late war types that were less resource heavy and easier in some cases for front-line soldiers to maintain.

The second casting block features a myriad of resin that makes plenty of points of that fine resin work on the STG 44, the entrenching tool and the map case of the soldier to be cast on. The mittens of the soldier's hand are wrapped around his assault rifle, and the arm that is on another plug locks in very tightly in place with his guns and hand. the shovel and map case has lugs that secure tightly into the torso on the sockets already seen on that part of the figure.



Again, all that is needed here on this gun is a carry strap that you can add from paper or foil.

The two arms of the figure are seen here from both sides. This soldier wears thick winter-weight mittens that encase the whole hand - and probably make it hard to shoot! if you look at the picture on the left-hand side below you can see the German eagle emblem on the left arm, also note the wrinkling on the thin-fit camo tunic jacket.
Another soldier from this scene on the left-hand side of the picture below - It shows the slim, tight fit of the camo tunic on the arms of the soldier that makes his arms look skinny in comparison to the body. I see this is a conscious choice by the sculptor to follow the source material.
A little more on the engineering of this kit. We have already spoken of the neck joint and the ease of fit. Here you see the sockets on the torso, the lug on the mittened hand of the rifle. These help the part lock in securely to the body of the figure and allow these parts to be painted separately and added at the end of the build if you wish. This soldier is also wearing a mitten on his left hand, and it shows how the sleees wrinkle up on the thin jacket.

This picture of the man in real life - the second here in this series, you can see the location of a few things of interest to this sculpt. The wrap on his back, the webbing, the entrenching tool and the map pack on this soldier's waist and the wrinkles where the mittens meet the tunic sleeve. All of these have been studied by the eagle-eyed sculptor and recreated very well here.
Here you see this figure altogether - it took less than 5 minutes and some super glue to get him to this point. No gaps, no problems, he was ready to prep and paint, and the result is very nice indeed. 

Here he is with the cloth camo helmet choice - and a shot of the original soldier side-by-side. notice his slightly more urgent gate in this pose (as you can see in the video) and skinny fit jacket.





The other head choice - with the bare steel helmet this time...




SS NCO "KG Hansen" #2.
#35230
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

This figure, the second in the series, is seen sculpted in four parts of grey resin this time. Again sculpted by Taesung Harmms, and there are two head choices with this SS NCO. We see the same combo, with the M42 Steel helmet and the cloth covered camo helmet choices. This is odd with Alpine sets, usually, there is a different headgear type of at least one of these two figures in a set, but I suppose this was to keep with the reference soldiers from the propaganda reel.


Notice the cleft in this soldier's chin? the eyes and thick nose along with the notches and attachment of the chin-strap. YOu can see this sculpt the similarities of all of the idiosyncrasies of the cloth of the camo-covered helmet in the pictures below.
The main point of interest of this figure for me is the torso. The open jacket the soldier is wearing is, in fact, a "found" US issue WWII raincoat. Olive drab, a colour that your painting will bring out amongst his camo covered and field grey comrades. This jacket flows as he walks forward and opens up to reveal a detailed tunic and padded camo pants divided by a cast steel belt at his waist and the Iron Cross with accompanying ribbon and infantry assault badge infanterie-sturmabzeichen.



A good view here of the folds and billowing of the US raincoat as the torso is seen walking forward. The woollen gloved hand on the left is clasped shut, and the thick, camo padded pants are nearly all but covered by the raincoat and early war style high German boot, which by this time of the war were not often seen. This would tend to make me thing - accompanied by the medals on his chest, that he was an old hare or a long-serving soldier in the SS.


The accuracy of the Karnak Kar.98 rifle in the sculpt is pretty easy to see here when compared to the original. Although the picture of the rifle compared to the sculpt will never be an exact science, but the likeness struck us as pretty bloody good! All you will need is the strap for the rifle which I would make out of thin paper or foil-like material. The gloved hand that wraps around the gun is again representative of a ribbed woollen glove that was common issue to German soldiers in WWII.




These simple parts were removed from their casting block and glued together in just a few minutes. Again the engineering and fit of the sockets and joints are great, and led to no gaps needing to be filed and a good alignment of the figures as laid out in the box art.



A comparison with the real man at Poteau on the 18th December 1944...


Look at the way that the open raincoat catches the breeze as he trudges forward, opening still further and folding rearwards. It gives the viewer even more of a realistic feel to the movement of the soldier and tricks the viewer in a simple technique.





The second head choice - the cloth covered camo helmet. 

Notice the knife in his right boot? also the ribbed texture in his woollen gloves? Very nice.

KG Hansen at Poteau Set #2

#35231
1/35th scale
These two figures feature two head choices each.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

Here they are together, walking along a road - with the helmet choices interwoven and swapped out in this set. The clothing and equipment is the same - but ever so slightly different. The choice of the soldier with the olive drab US raincoat adds another colour hue to the combined set also.
 Look at the details on the torsos of these two figures once they are all together. Go back to the video of the figures at the start of this review and see them walking. Their body language mirrors that footage impeccably in these sculpts.
These soldiers body language is similar, the gate is similar, but the clothing on each is slightly different even though both have the same headgear choices. The sculptor's slight changes again show that he knows what his customers want in a set of German figures.
The engineering, the fit and the fact that these figures mirror so closely the real things were immediately impressive to me. Look closer at the details in the sculpt, the fine lines, wrinkles and folds of the material and the details, badges and insignia. It all adds up to another great set from Alpine Miniatures that really shows everyone else how to do it right.

Adam Norenberg



These figures are available as singles or as a set - together with the previous set of the "Ambush at Poteau" figures - from the Alpine Miniatures Website and also from their distributors worldwide


As an addition, I thought I would show you these pictures of the figures painted up for the box art byToshihiro Sano. We think he has done an amazing job on not only the figures, but the camo on the clothing they are wearing - it's pretty amazing work, and it brings out all of the finer points of the sculptures very well. This is what is possible with these figures...(Good Luck)



SS NCO "KG Hansen" #1
#35229
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

SS NCO "KG Hansen" #2.
#35230
1/35th scale
This figure features two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano

KG Hansen at Poteau Set #2
#35231
1/35th scale
These two figures feature two head choices each.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano