Monday, July 24

New German DAK Panzer Crew set & singles from Alpine Miniatures in 1/35th scale

Alpine Miniatures have a new pair of 35th scale German DAK Panzer Crew released this month. We examine them, with references to the real uniforms & equipment in our preview...

New German DAK Panzer Crew set & singles from Alpine Miniatures in 1/35th scale

Alpine Miniatures have announced four new items for the end of July/start of August. Two new German soldiers of the Deutsche Afrikakorps (DAK) from the World-War Two era are the subjects of Alpine Miniatures releases this month. Operating from 1941-1943, the German troops in North Africa collectively became known as the "Afrika Korps," although the army, most famously commanded by Erwin Rommel,  the army changed its official title several times. There are plenty of Iconic images of these soldiers during that time in this theatre, but we will try and spare you those and show you photos of soldiers who looked like these new Alpine Miniature figures.

Two Afrika Korps soldiers, in the very typical shorts, high lace up boots and issue shirts under the tropical field blouse.
The Afrika Korps in the Western desert during WWII
The Afrika Korps campaign during World War II was a pivotal chapter in the history of warfare. Led by the charismatic General Erwin Rommel, the German Afrika Korps proved to be a formidable force in the unforgiving deserts of North Africa. This campaign, waged primarily against the British Commonwealth forces, spanned from 1940 to 1943 and left an indelible mark on the war. In 1940, Germany launched an offensive in North Africa with the aim of securing vital resources and disrupting British supply lines to the Middle East. General Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was tasked with leading the Afrika Korps to achieve these objectives. Under his command, the German forces swiftly advanced through Libya and captured the key port city of Tobruk in 1942.

German panzer 3 crew of the Afrika Korps, turret mark shows the crew claimed to have shot down a RAF aircraft on 16 May 1941. These crew are wearing very similar gear to our figures...
Although this is a group of  AfrikakorpsSchützen (or Panzergrenadiere, as mechanized infantry were renamed in July 1942) and not tank men, they are wearing much of the same gear as our tankers. They are seen having a moment of rest under the shade of a truck after a victorious clash with British forces (note the Valentine tank in the background).This is a heavy machine-gun team made up of veterans, with notably worn and faded uniforms, just like the sculptor has portrayed his two tank men.
However, the tide turned at the pivotal Battle of El Alamein in 1942. British General Bernard Montgomery launched a well-coordinated offensive, decimating the German defenses and forcing them into a retreat. This battle marked a turning point in the campaign, heralding the beginning of the end for the Afrika Korps. Over the next year, the conflict settled into a stalemate as both sides struggled to gain the upper hand in a harsh and challenging environment. British reinforcement and increased support from the United States, including the arrival of General George S. Patton's forces, tilted the balance in favor of the Allies. The Afrika Korps was gradually pushed back, and by May 1943, it surrendered in Tunisia, signaling the end of the campaign. 

Afrika Korps soldiers next to their Kübelwagen in the desert. The hot sun there sees them all wearing the simple, drill shirt and peaked forage cap.
The Afrika Korps campaign was characterized by innovative and daring tactics employed by General Rommel. He utilized rapid armored assaults, feigned attacks, and mobile defenses to keep the enemy off-balance. Rommel's skill in maneuvering his forces often compensated for the German troops being outnumbered and outgunned. The campaign also brought significant hardships to both sides. Brutal desert conditions, scarcity of resources, and supply issues plagued soldiers on both sides. However, the tenacity and resourcefulness of the men involved, earned admiration from both allies and adversaries alike.

Seen next to his Panzer III, these three tankers wear very much the same garb as our figures. Tropical field blouses, the shorts made popular in the theatre and the flat overseas forage cap that is a choice for both of our tankers.
Uniforms and gear of the Afrika Korps
As a result of the approaching German entry into the North African campaign in late 1940, Tropical uniforms and gear were swiftly created and distributed in time for the Deutsches Afrika Korps, (German Africa Corps), personnel's arrival in Tripoli in February 1941. Eventually, forces stationed in southern regions of continental Europe would receive these tropical uniforms. Although they were made of a different material and colour and followed different basic wartime alterations, the field-grey continental uniforms' pattern was basically followed by the tropics supplied uniforms. Officers and some high NCO levels were given clothing allowances under the army's Kleiderkasse (Clothing Account) system because they had to buy their own uniforms. 

A rare colour photos from that theatre are useful, as we see this soldier, the caption reading "Oberstleutnant Georg Briel". Again he was not a tank man, but the field blouse & cap were similar to your tanker's gear.
Officers and some senior NCOs had the option of purchasing their uniforms from the military's clothing depots or shopping privately for better-quality apparel. Enlisted members were allowed to acquire privately fitted uniforms even though the cost would have been prohibitive, even if they were provided their uniforms from government suppliers. Although officers had to buy their own uniforms, it appears that most of the tropical field blouses were provided by military clothing depots rather than being purchased privately. As a result, officers frequently wore the same field blouses as EM/NCOs with the addition of an officer's insignia.

A PzKpfw III's crew tank having a rest outside their vehicle. Worth noting are the heavily sun-bleached uniforms (indicating their status as veterans) and the large number of canteens carried on the back of the tank turret. 

This new figure set from Alpine Miniatures.
Taesung Harmms has sculpted both of these figures in 1/35th scale, and they are sold as separates or as a set. Some of the uniforms in these photos an the ones below were used as reference or inspirations for these two figures. Sold as a pair or a set, these two look very detailed in the shots we have so far. We look at them both, along with the inspirations for the clothing and equipment they are wearing...

German DAK Panzer NCO
From Alpine Miniatures
Figure No #35309
The figure comes with two different head choices.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Box Art by Dr. Jin Kim
This single figure of a German NCO of the Afrika Korps is seen resting on the side of something, a tank, vehicle or a building, it is your choice. He has two head choices supplied in this kit, both with the same face, but alternate headgear. Above on the left, the soldier wears the overseas forage cap with a pair of goggles on them to keep that sand and endless dust from his eyes. On the right, the tanker wears the senior NCOs Forage cap. 

Below we see the bare sculpted figure created by Taesung Harmms Leaning casually to the side, this figure's gear starts with that M41 tropical Field cap.
The M41 tropical field cap was introduced in early 1941 and design of the cap was loosely based on the Mountain Troopers, Bergmütze with minor variations. 
The other headgear choice that you see on the figure below is the tropical peaked M38/M40, or German Army Officers Overseas side cap. This side cap choice was in real life made with a black dyed wool material with pink "Waffenfarbe Rosa" piping on his hat. This piping was also on his uniform sideboards. He al
Originally the M38 overseas caps were only produced in a field-grey material until 1940 when a black version for Panzer officers was introduced. You can't really see on this head gear the prominent German eagle national symbol with the round cockade in the centre with the piping because he has a pair of (what look just like)  Luftwaffe Model '306' Flying Goggles on his head to keep that African dust out of his eyes and off his face. Soldiers in Africa often acquired different types from any source the soldiers could get. By the start of the Second World War, there were no fewer then nine types of protective flight goggles available and nine main manufacturers. combine this with captured enemy equipment & other German (& Italian gear) the soldiers weren't spoiled for choice if they were short on numbers available.
Below you see the figure put together and painted up by Dr. Jin Kim. Colour brings out more of his detail. A walk around shows you the work that has gone into this soldier's clothing. His cotton shirt and drill uniform trousers are creased and folded as he leans to the side. The wrinkles in his pants especially show the thought and effort the sculptor has afforded this figure's creation.
Made in olive green drill material, the baggy trousers have two side pockets, a fob pocket and belt fastening configuration. The shirt looks like the standard issue M41 in either green or tan cotton with pleated pockets. The pointed collars and pocket tabs looks similar.
The straight legged tropical trousers (Tropen Lang Hose) & Long sleeve shirt (Hemd)
The tanker is seen holding a pair of (captured) 6 x 30 power, (6 power magnification with a 30mm diameter objective lens), binoculars, the standard issue optics utilized by all branches of service in Germany in WWII. The boots he wears are tucked into the legs of the trousers.

German DAK Panzer Officer
From Alpine Miniatures
Figure No #35310
The figure comes with two different head choices.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Box Art by Dr. Jin Kim
The second figure released this month German "DAK Panzer Officer" is also sculpted in 1/35th scale by Taesung Harmms. He is wearing similar but notably different gear than his NCO comrade, with a similar and matching body language. Like his comrade this soldier has two headgear choices included in the one box. The first, on the left hand side is the M41 Tropical Feild Cap (Tropeneinheitsfeldmütze M41) peaked cap ,while the other is the cotton overseas forage cap (Tropenfeldmütze), both with the inverted "V" and cockade in the centre. Originally the tropical overseas caps had a branch of service soutache applied to the front consisting of an inverted "V" flanking the national tri-color cockade but regulations of July 10TH 1942 abolished the use of the soutache and instructed it to be removed from the caps, although the directive was not strictly adhered to. 
Below we see the  panzer officer made up unpainted, with a lot of detail on display. The slim figure has been brought out by the slim tailored officer's tunic and shorts, which were common in the western desert in the myriad of photos that we have already seen. The tunic is adorned with medals, the Iron Cross, the Panzer Assault badge & circular wound badge, all pinned to his left breast pocket.
Although this is not a Panzer officer's tunic, (the giveaway is the waffenfarbe lining) this is very much like the one this officer wears, along with his meals below that.
You can see more of his body language as he turns to pivot with his arm forward here. You see the folds of fabric on the back of his field tunic as his pelvis twists. The sculptor paying attention to the human form and clothing again. You can see his knobbly knees and skinny legs that end at his thick cotton socks wrapped over his short tropical boots.
The hot and arid climate of North Africa made wearing long pants impractical, so the DAK soldiers wore shorts as a practical solution to keep cool. Additionally, shorts were considered more comfortable and less restrictive in the desert terrain. Below are the (Tropen Kurze Hosen) Tropical short pants & the short tropical lace-up boots.
The officer here, constructed and painted up by by Dr. Jin Kim, shows you a lot more detail in some of the colours and what a steady hand can bring to this sculpt. 

German DAK Panzer Crew Set (2 figures)
The figure set of two figures comes with two different head choices each.
From Alpine Miniatures
Figure set No #35311
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Box Art by Dr. Jin Kim
Seen as they are, sold together in this set, these two figures really do match each other in weight of clothing, poses and most importantly, body language. Both of them are seen painted up here by Dr. Jin Kim, who shows us how good they can look, together, and as singles we saw up above in this preview...

You can see the mix and match with alternate headgears here...
A little "in-theatre" picture, with them next to a DAK Panzer III. They do fit in quite nicely.
These figures are on sale from the 31st of July.

You can see more of Alpine's figures on the Alpine Miniatures website.
FYI Postage within the U.S. from their site is free!

Also on sale this month from Alpine Miniatures - 

"Straight Outta Caen" (4 Figures) 
From Alpine Miniatures
Set number #S0008 
1/35th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Special Limited Edition of 200 Sets
Each Box is Autographed and Numbered to Ensure Authenticity