Tuesday, October 19

The changing faces of Miniart - Totenkopf Division. Kharkiv 1943 set gets new resin heads...

MiniArt has added all-new resin heads to their popular "Totenkopf Division. Kharkiv 1943" set of five figures to hopefully make this set on par with some of the higher-end figure kits covering this frigid battle. See the new heads and what is in the set in our preview...

The changing faces of Miniart - Totenkopf Division. Kharkiv 1943 set gets new resin heads...

Totenkopf Division. Kharkiv 1943. Resin Heads
Kit No #35397
1/35th scale
The kit contains five figures and new resin heads
The Subject: SS-Panzerdivision "Totenkopf" during the Battle of Kharkov
The "Battle of Kharkov" could be called of the four World War II battles in and near the city of Kharkov. In usage the term is sometimes indistinct, perhaps meaning the collection of all fighting at Kharkov including and in between the four named battles, or perhaps meaning just one of the battles without specifying which. For example, soldiers have received awards "for their action in the Battle of Kharkov".

The four battles of Kharkov summarised:
-1st Battle of Kharkov, an October 1941 battle in which German troops captured the city
-2nd Battle of Kharkov, a May 1942 battle in which Soviet forces attempted to retake the city
-3rd Battle of Kharkov, February 1943 battle in which Soviet forces were driven out again, and the Germans forces retook the city.
-4th Battle of Kharkov, an August 1943 battle in which Soviet forces retook the city. This operation is usually referred to as the Fourth Battle of Kharkov by the Germans and as the Belgorod–Kharkov offensive operation by the Soviets.

This summary and timeline puts our guys in winter (The battle was in February '43) AFTER 1942 when these Parkas (depicted on these soldiers) were introduced as subjects from the Third Battle of Kharkov in 1943.
Why though, is this period of time in 1943 and the Battle of Kharkov so interesting to figure makers and modellers? We think because of the ferocious nature of the fighting and the large, thick new uniforms the SS men wore that gave them a distinctive look. During this period, the soldiers of the German army received more of the better quality winter clothing they needed. More specifically the fur-lined parka that is synonymous with the battle, called the "Kharkov Parka" by many people.
M42 fur-lined pullover parka is often called the “Kharkov Parka” by the troops and was manufactured from 1940-1943 and issued until the end of the war. It became synonymous with that battle as many soldiers were lucky enough to be able to be issued one in time for that winter. the parka was very commonly worn by the soldiers of the elite units due to the very high cost of material and time, the parka was never enough to go around in history, and various types of fur lining were used on this garment.

A repro parka on the bottom left, and an MG ammo carrier in one on the bottom right.
The shell of our parka is made of heavy zeltbahn style cotton poplin in the typical field-grey shade and lined with genuine sheepskin. The sleeves were padded with woollen material and the hood was lined with the sheepskin as well.
Several pictures of soldiers from that time that could be used in the making of these figures– here are some and some others I have found which could help the modeller with their own kit…

This figure set from MiniArt
The five figures will be clad in the same gear that we have shown above, and carrying the same weapons too. There are eight sprues in this kit in total (wow, a lot for a five figure set) which is five figure sprues, three weapons and equipment sprues. Also, as noted in the title are the five new resin heads included (the old heads are still there too).
There is a sprue of helmets, gas mask canisters, entrenching tools, bayonets, water flasks and bread bags to attach to your soldiers...
The sprue is full of weapons, Mp-40's, Kar.98's Walther and flare pistols with holsters opened and closed. A map pack and several ammo pouches along with binoculars and knives/ bayonets give you the main choices of weapons for the German soldier in 1943.
The only weapon missing is the - Well well well, an MG42 IS included in this set with the ammo boxes, bipod mounts in two styles and a belt of ammo to drape around your soldier.
The five new sculpted resin heads are the real change to this kit. They upgrade the set significantly and give the modeller a real choice in choosing the faces for this kit.