Saturday, August 14

Preview: Carius & Wittmann - Two legends in a new set from Alpine Miniatures...

The two best known Panzer Aces from World War Two in Germany are here in Alpine Miniatures new figures of either singles or a pair of tankers in their latest set. These will be popular of course, so we thought we would show their likenesses & equipment they wear in our preview...

Preview: Carius & Wittmann - Two legends in a new set from Alpine Miniatures...

Alpine Miniatures has announced three new sets for August 2021. These two figures are sold as singles and as a set and presented in bare resin for the modeller to complete and paint. Just yesterday we were given a sneak peek at these two figures - something struck us straight away...
Although named German Heer Panzer Ace & German WSS Panzer Ace. these two figures heavily resembled two of WWII Germany's greatest Aces - that of Otto Carius and Michael Wittmann. Great news for modellers who love to see these famous men's tanks in the scenes they create...
Although both of these figures are sold as separates and in a pair, they also both have two head choices, and each of the alternate heads here is another face altogether. So you really have two choices of tanker with each set.
Let's look at both of Alpine figures new sets in singles #35290 & #35291, & the set of # 35292.

German Heer Panzer Ace
Set no #35290
1/35th scale
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
This set from Alpine Miniatures contains two panzer men - one of them a spitting image of Otto Carius. Carius is one of the more well-known Panzer commander “aces” who fought for Germany in WWII. A veteran with 105 + victories to his name he won the “Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub” - The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for his services during his time in combat.
Carius was a very slight fellow who at first was thought too small to enter armed forces service – having been rejected twice before finally being able to join the Panzer Korps in 1940. He certainly proved the recruiters wrong - he was most famous for his commanding actions especially with ABT 502nd (as well as being wounded in battle several times) on the eastern and western fronts, It was at the end of the war in the west where he finally surrendered to the Americans in April 1945.
So as a subject he is just as interesting a character, slight of frame, he had a bit of an interesting head shape - large in comparison to his diminutive frame. I have some good pictures of him so I am armed accordingly to judge the figure on its merits as well as likeness. This is the second representation of Carius we have seen from Alpine Miniatures, we reviewed another excellent figure a few years ago which was also sculpted by Taesung Harmms.

This figure wears the unique overseas cap constructed of field-grey wool with fold-down side and back panels with gently sloping, downward scallops to the front. Notice that the cockade that normally is on the centre of the front of these caps seems to be missing on Carius' hat. The two-piece M43 field grey panzer uniform is pinched at the waist by his brown officer's belt which has the Walther pistol in its case on the rear left hip. You can see the coveted Iron Cross (or sore throat) as it was called) on the officer's neck.
The figure is wearing his earphones or "cans" and throat mic for communication. These cans sit prominently on top of and push down the servicemen's caps they are wearing. The throat mics are also pinched slightly at the neck just above this figure's collar...
The second figure has a different face and headgear, with the M43 peaked cap - standard issue for all German Panzer crews. This is the type worn by enlisted men and NCOs and is the iconic headgear item worn by German tankers in Normandy and everywhere else that Germans fought in the last years of WWII.
The field glasses on this soldier's chest are the Carl Zeiss 10x50 Binoculars. The pose of the man you notice is holding on to the rim of the cupola of his tank, so in the commander's cupola of a German tank. Use of the field grey AFV wrap and pants was increased to other units of tank destroyers and other anti-tank units. These were designed to be worn in the tight quarters of the tank and also hide any grease marks when working on the vehicles. They were all wool, as many of the uniforms of this time were due to the European climate.
The skull insignia and the general design of the uniform was influenced by the Imperial German Death’s Head Hussar uniforms, another elite unit that fought in World War One. The German military would use these black uniforms until the end of the war. notice the pockets on the left and right of this figure as were typical with the Heer Uniform Pants.

German WSS Panzer Ace
Set no #35291 
1/35th scale
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
Alpine Miniatures other new release is this, the 1/35th scale resin sculpts of this German WSS Panzer Ace that is a dead-set replica of WWII ace Michael Wittmann in all but name. This Is the second figure that Alpine has made of Wittmann, we reviewed the other version that came with his gunner Bobby Voll a few years ago. This is a whole new sculpt of the man.

The sculpt of Wittmann is seen in clothing very much the same as these two photos...
Michael Wittmann (22 April 1914 – 8 August 1944) – was the poster boy of the SS Panzer Korps and called the "Black Baron”. He was famed as one of the highest-scoring Waffen-SS tank commanders during the Second World War. He rose to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) by the time of his death in the Normandy Bocage in 1944
One of Germany's top-scoring panzer aces he was a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross holder and he was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, along with an unknown number of other armoured vehicles. He is best known for the carnage he caused in his Tiger “007” to the British 7th Armoured Division, during the Battle of Villers-Bocage on 13 June 1944.
He and his crew were on a recon mission in his Tiger when he ran smack-bang into a British column which he systematically destroyed up to 14 tanks and 15 personnel carriers along with 2 anti-tank guns within the space of 15 minutes. He has later killed in battle with his crew in the same area - it seems by a collection of forces on the hunt for the Germans the credit goes to a Sherman Firefly of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry that fired the round that destroyed his tank and killed Wittmann and his crew. 

All that was left of Wittmann's Tiger after his death
But does this figure bear some resemblance to the man? The key points that the sculptor has replicated are his nose, with the button point at the end, the large-ish ears and pointed chin.
The figure is seen with the Wittmann head choice in a peaked M43 Einheitsfeldmütze ("standard field cap") which was similar to the M41 camouflaged field cap. He has RT "cans" on his ears.
Captured here very nicely in the sculpture is a replica of Wittmann's leather officer's jacket-with the metal buttons and shoulder boards. These were part of the leather suits for U-Boat personnel. Large quantities of them were delivered by Germany to Italy, but after Italy had changed sides, substantial stocks of these uniforms were captured and then re-issued to Waffen-SS tank crews. The pants were also part of that same stock.
The second figure has a different head altogether, with different features o the Wittman figure (or so it looks to us). He is wearing the "Feldmütze", the German garrison (side) cap, which the much more popular M43 was intended to (and essentially did) replace. Little details you might notice are the wedding ring on the right hand, which holds the binoculars to the side as he looks onto the scene from the panzer's cupola.
The figure's leather pants and jacket is well sculpted, notice the open neck of the jacket with the tunic collar underneath and the visible SS runes and rank on the tanker's collar are clearly visible. The creases in the bottom of the legs, especially of the Lederhose aus 1944, Kradmelder der Wehrmacht, or leather trousers dated 1944 look great over his short boots. The Walther pistol in its holster is supplied as a separate part for depth, it comes with a lug for easy fitting and so you can paint it separately.

German Panzer Aces
Set of two figures
Set no #35292 
1/35th scale
Both figures come with two head choices each.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
The combination of these two figures, both with two head choices each area good choice if you want both of these panzer aces for your scale tank panzer battalions...
You can see more of Alpine's figures on the Alpine Miniatures website. 
FYI Postage within the US from their site is free!