Thursday, May 10

We put together Life Miniatures 1/16th scale "Max Wünsche, Kharkov 1943" figure...

Life Miniatures has launched into the "fuller figure" range with not a bust, but a 1/16th scale figure of a somewhat well-known figure of the SS in World War Two. Their new figure in this range is of Max Wünsche, taken from images of him in the Battle of Kharkov in 1943. See how he looks in built up and how he goes together in our review...

Max Wünsche, Kharkov 1943
Item Code: LM-16002
1/16th scale
Unassembled and unpainted resin figure kit
Sculpted & Box Art Painted by Sang-Eon Lee
Price $63 - Product Link at the Life Miniatures Website
We will have a look at this sculpt from Life models, and then put him together in a review, but we thought first we might show you a little of the real man depicted in this  16th scale full body sculpt - kind of makes sense right?

Max Wünsche - one of the poster boys of the SS was one of the enigmatic figures of WWII – Wünsche knew Hitler and served as an SS Standartenführer in Hitler's bodyguard – in the1st Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) on most of the fronts of the war, notably on the Russian front and later the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjügend in Normandy. He won many honours during his service, notably including the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves & the Iron Cross 1st Class & Iron Cross 2nd Class amongst other awards. He is well known to most who are aware of the leading soldiers for Germany during the Second World War.

A short history of the man behind the figure...
Max Wünsche was born in Kittlitz, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He joined an agricultural union in 1928, and for a short time, he was employed as an estate manager. In Nov 1932, at the age of 18, he joined the Hitler Youth. In July 1933, he joined SS organization of the Nazi Party. After officer training at Jüterbog in Brandenburg and Bad Tölz in Bavaria, he became a platoon leader of the 9th Company in the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. In Oct 1938, he was assigned to Adolf Hitler's bodyguard unit as an orderly officer.
In Jan 1940, Wünsche returned to the SS Leibstandarte unit as the platoon company in the 15th Motor Cycle Company and participated in the invasion of the Netherlands and France. In Dec 1940, he was made the adjutant to Sepp Dietrich, under whom he participated in the German invasion of the Balkan Peninsula. During Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia, he flew reconnaissance flights in a Storch aircraft. In Feb 1942, he was given command of the Sturmgeschütz Battalion within Leibstandarte; his battalion was involved in halting several Russian attempts to break through German lines in the following couple of months. 

On 1 June, he returned to Germany to study at the staff college; upon completion of his studies, he was promoted to the rank of Sturmbannführer. In Sep 1942, he returned to the Sturmgeschütz Battalion and resumed his role as its commanding officer. In Oct, he was given command of a newly formed tank regiment, with which unit he participated in the First Battle of Kharkov at the end of that month. Between 10 and 13 Feb 1943, his troops broke through Russian encirclement of the 1st SS Reconnaissance Battalion, and then the two battalions jointly defeated the Russian VI Guards Cavalry Corps during the next two days; for this action, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. On 25 Feb, Wünsche located an enemy force and defeated it on his own initiative, destroying 52 heavy guns and causing an estimated 900 casualties, earning him a Knight's Cross on 28 Feb.

As Sturmbannführer in 1943 - the inspiration for this sculpt
Max Wünsche and Kurt Meyer in Meyer's temporary HQs on the outskirts of Kharkov.
In Jun 1943, Wünsche became the commanding officer of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment of the 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend" stationed in France. On 7 Jun, his regiment was engaged in the Battle of Normandy, destroying 219 Allied tanks over the following month; he was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross for his achievements at Normandy. In Aug, his regiment was trapped in the Falaise Pocket. On 20 Aug, he and two officers attempted to escape the pocket on foot, and he was captured by Allied soldiers on 24 Aug. He was a prisoner of war at Camp 165 for German officers at Caithness, Scotland, the United Kingdom until the end of the war.
Wünsche survived the war and became a manager of an industrial plant in Wuppertal, Germany. He died in Munich on the 17th of April 1995. He was 80 years old.

This kit from Life Miniatures...
For good reason, this enigmatic person has been the subject of a release in the Life Miniatures range. This full body figure was sculpted and painted in his case by Sang Eon Lee. 
The box for the kit is about 15cm high and just under 10cm wide, on the outside you see the figure pained up by the sculptor Sang Eon Lee. There are also pictures of the unpainted kit on the side made up which give you  few pointers if you need them.
Inside the box you will  find the parts made from grey resin. There are eight parts in grey resin in here which are on a zip-loc bag together with cushioning by some foam also so your parts arrive unbroken. One thing, my parts hard a really strong resin smell that I could not handle at first, I left them open and out on the balcony over night to lose some of that smell before i brought them in to put together.
inside we see the eight parts in grey resin, once the smell had drifted away I got to looking at them a little closer. I noticed right away some of the detail on each of the parts (we'll look at them closer) but also the notches and sockets in the joints that better locate the parts in the right position and angle.The neck of the head even has its own socket to slip into, let's look at the head now.
The single head choice of the Max Wünsche figure wears the Soviet Style Ushanka hat with the German eagle crest on the front. This is the same headgear we showed you earlier in the review in the well known picture of Wünsche at the time of the battle of Kharkov in 1943 in the cold of winter. The fur on top of the hat itself looks and is sculpted with a realistic woolen texture. Easily picked out is the detail on the German eagle and swastika, the hair of the figure and the strong facial features of Wünsche that are obvious to this modeller to pick out.
The torso part is next, with the The sheepskin coat. This was a custom made coat (often officers had their own made) and it is thick and incredibly warm, you will notice on the sculpt the twin-pronged officer's belt at his waist pinching in his clothing, the iron cross on his throat. Little details like the keepers around the jackets buttons, the sheepskin lined texture around the figure's neck that the head socket neatly sits inside and the sideboards of the officer which are also finely detailed (we will see them later when we put him together).
 The rear of the figure, with a rumpled back showing the creases of the jacket.
The arms are next, left and right, we see that same rumpled texture and thick material replicated skillfully here in the sculpt. There is a very large block of resin to be removed on the gloved hand of the figure - careful!
 Alos a block on the left arm socket joint, some precise cutting there to keep the angle of the shoulder joint correct is called for.
The real thing as he twists and walks forward, along with his padded trousers. Notice his hands and gloves we just looked at also...
Next as we go down we look at the lower torso/ thighs of the figure, these feature the baggy padded trousers that will tuck into his fur-lined boots. this part starts at the belt, and you need to remove some of the moulding stub be removed completely before you secure his torso top and bottom parts. You will notice the lovely rumpled texture of the pants, and the hiked up right hand side of the jacket hat the pistol holster sits under.
Lastly, the two fur-lined boots and a pistol on his rear hip inside a holster make up the parts. The pistol looks like a mauser and the boots are again sculpted with attention to detail, with the fur lining again visible and well textured in resin. The stitching of the boots, the buckle on the pistol holster, it is all there to be picked out when you are painting it.
Ok it took about fifteen minutes to put this figure together. Using superglue and some neat trimming of those casting blocks on the hands of the glove, the torso and the shoulder joint on the left arm. The head slipped straight into the socket provided at the correct angle. these notches worked for the most part, with some trimming and filing them down a little at a ew points. nothing was a noted problem in construction.
How does he look?
Well you see for yourself, look at the several pictures of Max Wünsche taken at the time of the capturing of this image in resin, his face, the clothing, the body language, it is all there, with a figure that is easy to put together.
Here he is in a walk around...

And the real man they have tried to capture in this sculpt..
I am sold on this kit. After a bad smell of strong "straight off the press" resin and a few delicate cuts he has turned into a great figure to add to the collection. The only thing that could elevate him is maybe a second head choice? I am happy with what is in the box myself.

Great work in a new venture of full bodied sculpts from Life Miniatures, let us hope they make many more from different eras and genres...

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Life Miniatures for sending this kit to us to make and review for you

Here he is, painted up by the sculptor himself Sang Eon Lee. Now we all might not be able to paint like him, but we can try - and this is what is possible with this figure...