Sunday, June 2

Two new 35th scale figures in three releases showing the Hitlerjugend from Alpine Miniatures

Alpine Miniatures has several new releases this month - An assistant and a machine gunner in 1/35th scale “Hitlerjugend" who both look every bit as tough as their reputation. See these two figures and the pictures that just might have inspired them in our preview...

Two new 35th scale figures in three releases showing the Hitlerjugend from Alpine Miniatures

MG Gunner 12 SS "HJ" 
Kit No# 35266 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Unpainted light grey resin figure
This figure comes with two head choices

Ammo Carrier 12 SS "HJ" 
Kit No# 35267 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Unpainted light grey resin figure
This figure comes with two head choices

MG Team 12 SS "HJ" Set
Kit No# 35268 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Two unpainted light grey resin figures in one box
These figures both come with two head choices each.

Alpine Miniatures has two newly released figures for us this month. Both in 1/35th scale that represent a pair of soldiers from the 12th SS or Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) circa 1944. we have a little of a walk around of each of these figures, as well as a look at the men and in particular a soldier we think that these two are modelled on in this preview. First, a little on the 12th SS at this time of WWII.
Waffen SS soldiers from the 12th SS Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” were all conscripts from the ages of 15 to 18 years of age. Famously, and related to these sculpts, they were thrown into battle in the action around Normandy during the D-Day landings. These young soldiers were often fanatical in their fighting, and although they were young, they were well armed and well indoctrinated in the Nazi cause. This nationalistic zeal and some desperation of the situation they found themselves fighting in made them feared on the battlefield. The battle for Normandy took a large toll on the division and came out of the Falaise pocket with 12,000 men falling to the numerically superior allied invasion forces. 
On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, the HJ Division was one of three Panzer divisions held in reserve by Hitler as the Allies stormed the beaches at Normandy beginning at dawn. At 2:30 in the afternoon, the HJ Division was released and sent to Caen, located not far inland from Sword and Juno beaches on which British and Canadian troops had landed. The division soon came under heavy strafing attacks from Allied fighter bombers, which delayed arrival there until 10 p.m. The HJ were off to face an enemy that now had overwhelming air superiority and would soon have nearly unlimited artillery support. The Allies, for their part, were about to have their first encounter with Hitler's fanatical boy-soldiers.
The shocking fanaticism and reckless bravery of the Hitler Youth in battle astounded the British and Canadians who fought them. They sprang like wolves against tanks. If they were encircled or outnumbered, they fought-on until there were no survivors. Young boys, years away from their first shave, had to be shot dead by Allied soldiers, old enough, in some cases, to be their fathers. The "fearless, cruel, domineering" youth Hitler had wanted had now come of age and arrived on the battlefield with utter contempt for danger and little regard for their own lives. This soon resulted in the near destruction of the entire division.
By the end of its first month in battle, 60 percent of the HJ Division was knocked out of action, with 20 percent killed and the rest wounded and missing. Divisional Commander Witt was killed by a direct hit on his headquarters from a British warship. Command then passed to Kurt Meyer, nicknamed 'Panzermeyer,' who at age 33, became the youngest divisional commander in the entire German armed forces.

Kurt Meyer at the time of the Battle of Normandy 1944  - note his Italian pattern camouflage jacket
After Caen fell to the British, the HJ Division was withdrawn from the Normandy Front. The once confident fresh-faced Nazi youths were now exhausted and filthy, a sight which "presented a picture of deep human misery" as described by Meyer.

An SS-Panzergrenadier in Normandy, 21 June 1944 - note his camouflaged smock and covered helmet similar to these soldiers from Alpine.
In August, the Germans mounted a big counter-offensive toward Avranches but were pushed back from the north by the British and Canadians, and by the Americans from the west, into the area around Falaise. Twenty four German divisions were trapped inside the Falaise Pocket with a narrow 20-mile gap existing as the sole avenue of escape. The HJ Division was sent to keep the northern edge of this gap open.

Dead German SS soldier; Normandy 19 June 1944
However, Allied air superiority and massive artillery barrages smashed the HJ as well as the Germans trapped inside the pocket. Over 5,000 armoured vehicles were destroyed, with 50,000 Germans captured, while 20,000 managed to escape, including the tattered remnants of the HJ.
By September 1944, the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitlerjugend numbered only 600 surviving young soldiers, with no tanks and no ammunition. Over 9,000 had been lost in Normandy and Falaise. The division continued to exist in name only for the duration of the war, as even younger (and still eager) volunteers were brought in along with a hodgepodge of conscripts. The division participated in the failed Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes Offensive) and was then sent to Hungary where it participated in the failed attempt to recapture Budapest. On May 8, 1945, numbering just 455 soldiers and one tank, the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitlerjugend surrendered to the American 7th Army.
OK so that is the place and time - what about these figures?

MG Gunner 12 SS "HJ" 
Kit No# 35266 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Unpainted light grey resin figure
This figure comes with two head choices
This sculpt in 1/35th scale is a common theme for Alpine Miniatures, so it is something that has been well researched by the sculptor Taesung Harmms. He has the choice of two different headgear choices. On with the cloth camouflage covered M43 helmet with foliage loops and the other with the bare helmet version. Both of the head choices have the same face that has a strong resemblance to the soldier that this figure is based on - an SS Sturmann.
The figure from ALpine Miniatures also has all of the trademark uniform of the SS at the time -  camouflage smock with tie on's on the shoulders over his uniform tunic. The Italian pattern "liberated" pants that were taken into the inventory after the surrender of their Axis ally are visible in the excellent paintwork by  Jaume Ortiz Forns
As an extra part of his camouflage clothing, this soldier has a cloth face mask around his neck almost like a bib.  Often mislabeled as “sniper’s veils”, this full face camouflage face mask is shown int he black and white picture below worn by a Waffen SS MG-34 team at the battle of Kursk.
The sculpt has good body language which really does match the photograph of him used as a reference by the sculptor and the way he is carrying his heavy MG 42 is well portrayed. This gun matches the original very well here in this sculpt.
The figure wears the Italian camo pants that LSSAH and 12th SS wore from the fall of 43 and onwards after taking the stores from the Italians after their surrender to the allies. The pants of this figure gather at the late war style ankle boots with the small cloth ties shown at the gather.



Ammo Carrier 12 SS "HJ" 
Kit No# 35267 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Unpainted light grey resin figure
This figure comes with two head choices
This soldier in the sculpt could be the assistant gunner of the Machine Gunner in the photos above - this man's name was Otto Funk. He is seen in much the same clothing as his gunner in this well-known photograph which was titled "thousand-yard stare” and was taken around the same time in the Normandy area. Funk survived the war and died in September 2011. You can see Schuh in the background of this photograph.
This soldier has the choice of two helmets in the one boxing. Either a camouflaged cover cloth variant or the simple bare helmet with straps for securing local foliage or materials to the helmet.

In this picture of the 12th SS in Belgium in March 1944 you can see several men carrying ammunition over their shoulders just like this man.
This man also wears the camouflage face mask over his neck, the SS pea-pattern tunic is painted up really skillfully by Jaume Ortiz Forns.
Although unlike the sculpt the soldier in the picture below is smiling - you can see he wears very much the same uniform and camo pattern and some of the trademark equipment. the SS collar tab is prominent in the phot as well as the sculpt.
Looking at the soldier from the side you can see the 200 round ammo box for the machine gun, and draped across his shoulders is the spare barrel carrier of the Mg 42 which is called the Laufschützer 42.
When firing the MG 34 and MG 42 continuously the German soldiers were presented with a harsh and difficult task: changing the barrel. The MG 34 and MG 42 where both made with a quick-change barrel and to help in the changing of the barrel. The barrel is then placed in the Laufschützer or barrel carrier to cool down and a cool new barrel is inserted. According to regulations, the barrel had to be changed after 150 rounds fired continuously. Every MG team had one or two spare barrels in spare barrel carriers with their field equipment.
The nicely detailed MG bullet belt is draped over the neck with a hollowed space around each bullet looks great here. His flask and cup, with a flat, sagging cloth bread bag (with its strap off the body) are also attached to his back. 
The "soldier's bride" the Kar.98 rifle is carried in the soldier's hand, below is the real thing is for comparison.


MG Team 12 SS "HJ" Set
Kit No# 35268 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Jaume Ortiz Forns
Two unpainted light grey resin figures in one box
These figures both come with two head choices each. 
The box art picture for these two figures shows that although they are from the same unit and at the same time, the clothing and poses are different slightly enough to make a difference to each of them. Though similar and different, they do complement each other in this setting next to a Panther tank - or in another diorama that you may conceive.

These two figures are sure to be popular with modellers, they are available now through the Alpine Miniatures Website…