Wednesday, October 21

Preview: 1/35th scale "Volkssturm in Action" - Six new figures from Stalingrad Miniatures...

Stalingrad Miniatures latest set of six figures captures a dire moment in history at the end of WWII which features the men and children thrown into combat by a desperate Nazi regime. These figures represent the struggle to stay alive with some photos that inspired them in our preview...
"Volkssturm in action" - Six new figures from Stalingrad Miniatures...

Stalingrad Miniatures have been busy making a new "big set" of tankers from the end days of WWII. These figures can be sold as pairs or in the larger set of six. We have the pictures that the sculptor  Alexander Zelenkov used to help create this scene and a good look at each of the figures...

The Volkssturm
The Volkssturm (German pronunciation: [ˈfɔlks.ʃtʊɐ̯m], "people's storm" was a German national militia that was formed mostly in the last months of World War II. It was established by the Nazi Party on the orders of Adolf Hitler and its official existence was not announced until October 18, 1944. Males between the ages of 16-60 who were not already serving in the German military were conscripted into its ranks – often under force, although sometimes civilians, male and female volunteered. 

A few of the armbands wore by the Volkssturm
The organization of the Volkssturm in 1944 was meant to aid the dwindling military might of the Reich, but historians speculate it also kept civilian men watching the destruction of their cities from entertaining thoughts of uprisings. 
The Volkssturm, due to limits in military weapons, were divided into two groups, those who had arms and those who would serve as replacements, picking up the arms of a fallen comrade. One Volkssturm leader, ordered to take his men into combat without uniforms, with limited weapons, and with no ammunition recalled,
“I told the party leader I could not accept the responsibility of leading men into battle without uniforms…Although my men were quite ready to help their country, they refused to go into battle without uniforms and without training. What could a Volkssturm man do with a rifle without ammunition? The men went home. That was the only thing we could do.”
Volkssturm recruits, many already working a 72-hour war-emergency working week, were given a 48-hour training programme by armed forces instructors, and were expected to master the rifle, Panzerfaust, the grenade-launcher, hand grenade and Panzerschreck, and in an emergency the pistol, SMG and land mine. In fact, there were scarcely enough weapons for the 1st and 2nd Levies, and many militiamen were sent into battle unarmed. The 3rd Levy was not issued weapons, and the 4th Levy were expected to use hunting-rifles or captured firearms. Troops were often only issued a trench-spade for self-defence.
 
The Volkssturm’s final, epic defence was in the German capital itself. The last Soviet offensive began on 16 April 1945. The Oder Line was breached, and by the 25th Berlin, defenders included 24,000 Volkssturm (18,000 of whom were ‘Clausewitz Levy’ troops of the 2nd Levy, on six hours’ standby). The fighting was desperate. Those Volkssturm who could find the courage – bolstered by the threat of SS police squads hanging them for cowardice — would assault Soviet tanks at close range with Panzerfaust, utilizing their knowledge of the city’s layout. If they secured a good hit, they might knock out the tank, but the blistering Soviet response frequently resulted in their deaths. Nevertheless, many individual Volkssturm rose to the occasion, and defended their city with a passion. In the battle for Berlin, and that of Breslau (with 45,000 defenders including 25,000 Volkssturm in 38 battalions) Battalion 21/41 and two Hitler Youth 3rd Levy battalions distinguished themselves in the fighting.
On 8 February 1945, the Western Allies, in three army groups, began their advance into western Germany. On the 12th the local Volkssturm was mobilized and sent to man the Westwall, but they showed none of the desperate determination of their comrades in the East. Many ignored the call-up; others surrendered at the first opportunity, or threw away their armbands and hid in the woods or returned home. The Westwall was quickly breached and on 7 May the Western Allies met Soviet forces in central Germany.



The new Stalingrad figures now are ready for sale:

Volkssturm in action
Kit No #3211
1/35th scale
Two light grey resin figures in one set
Sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov
These two soldiers of the Volkssturm are sold as a pair of figures, cast in light grey resin in 1/35th scale. The two men wear thick winter clothing, with the patches of the Volkssturm on their left sleeves. these men were sent in to fight the enemy from their homes all around Germany and famously against the Soviet troops which the German public was taught to fear so much. Armed with rifles, makeshift submachine guns and Panzerfaust rocket launchers, these very old and very young or just otherwise unfit men and boys fought and died in many numbers during the last days of World War Two.
The pictures in this series show a lot of the same weapons, clothing and gear of the men in these sculpts...
Here are both of the figures constructed, cast in light grey resin by  Alexander Zelenkov, shows both of these figures in poses of reaction to some action in front of them. The fellow with the WWI-era helmet is seen stooping over carrying his panzerfaust, while his comrade is carrying a simple Kar.98 or WWI-era bolt action rifle.
Seen painted up by the sculptor, you can see a little more bout the detail of both of these men, one a little older than the other with a moustache here which very much fits in with the style of the times, he could be wearing his old M18 helmet from WWI. 
Helmets utilized by the Volkssturm came in all shapes and sizes. The most common were the Wehrmacht steel helmets from the M35 to M42 series, however, those from the Great War were used as well, such as the M1916 and M1918 steel helmets. Helmets from the civilian and civil organizations were used as well. These ranged from the Luftschutz “Gladiator Style” to fire and police helmets. Some Volkssturm formations had their unit designations painted directly onto their helmets like this man does.
Both men are crouching (much like the picture above of soldiers under a bridge) and both are equipped with many of the things you may see on regular soldiers, a pistol in its holster, water bottles and mess tins and a grenade bag. The soldier with the rifle wears an M43 peaked cap.
If you look you can see the thick coats on the men hanging vertically down when not creased and following the body. The cloth on the breadbags of the soldiers is also thick and folds just like canvas, the body language of both of these soldiers is very good indeed.


Volkssturm in action
Kit No #3212
1/35th scale
Two light grey resin figures in one set
Sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov
These next two figures are also sculpted by Alexander Zelenkov and they are sold as a set of two unpainted figures by Stalingrad Miniatures. It features a young Volkssturm Kadet and an officer of with the regular army or a Volkssturm commander.
The pictures in this series show a lot of the same weapons, clothing and gear of the men in these sculpts... The Volkssturm commander with his peaked cap wears very much the same as the wounded soldier in this set of two.
The age of com of these soldiers is readily apparent. The age of the men varied a lot. These men are wearing coats like the wounded man.
The shot-run weapon the wounded man is pictured with )on the ground dropped after he was wounded) was the 7.92mm VG1-5 Semi-automatic rifle.
Seen here assembled, and unpainted, the body language of both of these soldiers is excellent, with the prone wounded soldier slumped in his thick coat, and the young soldier pulling with all of his body weight back into cover.
Seen painted up by the sculptor Alexander Zelenkov. The blood running down the wounded man's chest from his burst eardrum illustrates the scene with colour. The officer's binoculars, peaked cap and VG1-5 Semi-automatic rifle laying on the ground where they were dropped when he was knocked out by the explosion - plus the look of desperation int he child's mouth posture tell the story.
You can see the weight of the man supposed to the young man trying to haul him into safety by the straight-line in the boy's arms to his head and neck as he strains under the weight. a great visual queue there.
The unconscious man's body language also helps with the composure of these two, the toes outpointed and legs splayed and hands dragging flat on the ground - great work.


Volkssturm in action
Kit No #3213
1/35th scale
Two light grey resin figures in one set
Sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov
The last two figures are also sold as a set. they depict the harsher reality of the fighting and dying for the German state at that time. These stand in soldiers met the same fate as others in the way of the enemy's superior numbers and machinery. They are sold as a set of two figures in light grey resin unpainted parts. Grim scenes here that inspired the figures by the sculptor are below.
The old man handling the panzerfaust here mirrors the wounded soldier that has dropped his weapon.
Grim scenes mirror the sculpt: Ded Volkssturm soldiers in the streets.
The unpainted but assembled figures, sculpted by Alexander Zelenkov. Helmets and hats have fallen off them and the dead and injured man showing the desperate (and hopeless) situations of the pair.
Here they are painted up by the sculptor, both wearing different uniforms which would have been normal for the confusing and desperate time, the armband of the wounded man with his arm outstretched. The man is shouting to the others in the sidelines for help as his legs have given up underneath him.
The dead man can be either Volkssturm or a regular soldier, you can see the German eagle on the man's chest and what looks like a tank assault badge on his left side of his jacket. He is slumped to the side either unconscious or dead. This is war.


Volkssturm in action, Big set 6 figures
Kit No #3210
1/35th scale
Six light grey resin figures in one set
Sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov
This set can be seen here painted up and placed together in a set, the soldiers on the side hiding under cover, with the youngest man dragging his dead comrade, and the other two - one wounded and calling for aid, the other either dead or passed out. A great scene of desperation and the grim realities that faced these people at this time of the war.

From the sculptor's own pictures, here are the figures in the final mock-up stage before they were cast - they look great in one scene together.
These figures are sold as a single set only - they are available right now - check these out and all of Alexander's other works at the  Stalingrad Website: