Friday, March 1

Construction Review: 1/32nd scale WWII German Fighter Pilot (late war leather flight suit) from Ultracast

Ultracast continues to offer much sought after large scale pilots for your favourite large scale aircraft. With this recent sculpt from Mike Good, we have a German pilot in a late war leather flight suit that certainly looks good in the promo shots, but what is it like in the hand? See what we thought after we put him together in our review...

Construction Review: WWII German Fighter Pilot (late war leather flight suit) 
From: Ultracast
1/32nd scale
Price: $24.95 Canadian Dollars 
Original figure sculpted by Mike Good.
The figure shown painted by Kevin McLaughlin, UE.
Product Code #ULT54023
Resin, unpainted figure with two head choices included.
Product Link on the Ultracast Website
Ultracast has recently released this, a  Mike Good sculpt in 1/32nd scale of a WWII German Fighter Pilot - this one in a late war leather flight suit. The figure adds to several of Ultracast's other figures in this scale, and more than a few of them being German WWII fighter pilots. although some might bemoan the choice of subject, the market supports this choice, and I know from speaking to several figure makers these WWII Teutonic types far outsell other genres and timeframes.

Ultracast's range in 1/32nd scale WWII German pilots...
P.S. - Ultracast also makes pilots from other nations if this review thinks they just make "ze Germans"....
The figure comes in a simple zip-loc bag stapled to a backing card that has the boxart painted by Kevin Kevin McLaughlin in this case. This kept the parts from going astray in transit. I must mention also that these figures are shipped in solid cardboard boxes and all of the parts turned up undamaged.

The resin:
The kit is cast in cream resin with five parts in total, each attached to the casting block that needs to be removed before construction starts. this resin looked free of any release agent and there were no bubbles on the surface of the figure. The blocks themselves looked like they could be removed without too much hassle as the connection to the parts is firstly thin, and secondly at convenient enough places, so smart casting there.

The Figure:
The five parts of the cream resin include a good selling figure, two head choices for this same pilot. One with the Leather German flying cap, this one with goggles on his forehead to give him that even more "hands-on" look of a pilot just outside his steed. 
He wears what looks like to me the LKpW101 model helmet which was designed for winter wear and was outfitted with radio equipment as used by fighter pilots and bomber commanders. Originally the German military was caught unprepared and no specific headgear or uniforms for pilots were available. This resulted in the pilots utilizing commercially produced motor car helmets. 
These tight-fitting, soft leather helmets proved to be ideal and future flight helmets were basically modified versions of the early motor car helmets. During WWII the Luftwaffe utilized no fewer than ten slightly different models of flight helmets with the main modifications being helmets issued for summer or winter wear and helmets with or without integral radio communication fittings.
The second head choice is the peaked Luftwaffe M43 Feild Cap (Einheitsfliegermütze M43) which was introduced (you guessed it) in September 1943 to replace the Flyer's and Mountain caps until then that were in use. The design of the M43 field cap was based on the earlier M42 Feldmütze, (Overseas cap), and the Mountain Troopers Bergmütze, (Mountain Cap), with minor variations. The insignia on the caps included the Luftwaffe style national eagle as introduced for wear by Fliegerschaft, (Pilot Base), personnel of the DLV, Deutscher Luftsport Verband, (German Air Sports League) and the circular, black, white, and red national tri-colour cockade as introduced on March 14TH 1933. 
The original, short-winged, first pattern national eagle was utilized until a, slightly modified, second pattern national eagle was introduced in late 1936 or early 1937. Regulations dictated that the national eagle was to be worn on almost all headgear and on the right breast of almost all uniforms with a few minor exceptions. 
Officer’s ranks were distinguished by piping on the crown of the cap with silver piping for the ranks of Lieutenant to Oberst and gilt piping for General Officer’s ranks of Generalmajor to Reichsmarschall while EM/NCO’s caps were not piped.

You can see clearly the Luftwaffe eagle/Swastika and the round cockade on the headgear of the cast.
 Further regulations also dictated that the buttons on the cap were also to be an indicator of rank with blue/grey buttons for EM/NCO’s, silver for Field and Company grade officers and gilt for General’s ranks but this was not strictly adhered to. 

The pilot wears the very typical Luftwaffe kanalhosen, or channel pants, which was the nickname given to these flight pants during the many flights to England early in the war. They were part of a two-piece suit that featured big pockets for carrying all necessary flight gear. Winter versions were typically blue-grey and were made of leather or fabric and were lined with fur and were later in the war electrically heated.
Here are some versions of the two-piece suit in leather with the fur-lined collar jacket
The torso of the figure is cast in one piece, making up the flying jacket of the airman with his collared shirt and scarf around his neck visible, down to his thick flying pants and boots.
The Luftwaffe leather and fur-lined flying jacket had high collars with fur lining like Gerhard Barkhorn in the picture below. Notice the collar and German Eagle on the jacket just like the sculpt.
Often with Luftwaffe pilots, we see the high-cut boot style with pants tucked into them, while this being a late war pilot, most of these airmen wore the shorter boots with pants over them. The latter on in the war the fewer instances of high boots were seen. Notice on the pants and jacket of the sculpt the thick wrinkles and folds. The pleats and zippers can be seen in some sharp detail also in the sculpt.
In this picture, you see the pilots in the two-piece flying suits with the pants falling over the boots
These pants still had the thick, square pockets at the knees that were great for storage of large, wide objects like maps of survival gear. On this figure, you can see the zippers on the inside of the legs that could have been either metal or the early Catalin plastic used as a war economy feature.
The two arms of the figure come on their own casting blocks also, again with the thin edge separating it from the arms themselves.  These just require a quick trim to remove them and you are ready to join them to the figure's torso.
A view from the reverse side - showing the details sculpted into the jacket sleeves and the fingers in the leather gloves this pilot is wearing.

Fit/ Engineering:
A good feature of this figure and of all other good figures like this are the joints which have lugs and sockets in them to ensure the correct alignment of fit. I made sure these were as flush as they could be before I fitted them to each other. It took only a simple dot of super glue to keep them attached and incorrect placement.
A view from the rear of the figure showing the fit without any gaps at the shoulders. The head once free of the casting block slips into the socket at the neck joint and hides any seam that would appear.

All together: Here is the figure built up. firstly with the leather flying helmet choice...
The pilot with the M43 peaked hat choice - just as effective to me as the flying cap choice.
So that is all for this figure. 

I find it hard to fault the other figures in this series from Ultracast and sculpted by Mike Good, and again I only seem to agree with everything I find here. A well sculpted, nicely engineered figure that will look great next to your latest late WWII Luftwaffe kit.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Ultracast for sending this figure for us to review - he is now available from the Ultracast Website and from their many distributors worldwide

In these shots, you can Figure shown painted by Kevin McLaughlin, UE. – he has done a great job of bringing this flyer to life and he has picked out the detail the sculptor has created quite well.