- Published on Friday, 27 April 2012 00:01 Nick Mayhew
1/35 SS Panzer Crew Kursk
Catalogue # 35135
2 Figures 4 Heads included
Available from selected retailers worldwide
Alpine Miniatures make a wide variety of resin figures, mainly in 1/35 scale but also in the larger 1/16. Their quality is such that they are widely considered to be the benchmark in resin figures – I certainly consider them as such when it comes to WWII figures in 1/35 scale.
Today we have two SS Panzer Crew figures for review – they are labelled "Kursk" but should be suitable for anything post Summer 1943, providing the setting is not the middle of Winter. The figures are available separately as #35133 and #35134, and also as a twin pack #35135. Both of these figures are sculpted by Sang-Min Lee, and quite similar, depicting the loading of 75mm ammunition.
Alpine's familiar packaging
The figures come in separate bags
#35133 SS Panzer Crew
Our first crewman comprises body, separate arms, two head options and a shell with both hands moulded to it. He is posed rather upright, and holds a 75mm shell pointing up and away from him (more about the shells later). His right leg is slightly bent, so it appears he is walking forward or perhaps getting ready to hand the shell to someone. The stance is actually leaning back a little, and is probably because these things are quite heavy!
Excellent representation of M43 overall
The crewman wears the M43 all-in-one overall or Panzer Kombination. These were introduced in early 1943 and were fully reversible, being large enough to fit over the regular black wool panzer clothing. As I understand it, they were produced in oak leaf, plane tree and blurred edge patterns; I think the box art shows one of the two oak leaf patterns.
All the relevant features of the M43 overall have been captured. These include the two chest pockets with flaps and dished metal buttons, the two vertical slits with flaps by each hip, loops for shoulder boards and the larger flatter buttons which go down the front. There is also a separate resin part for the pistol holster - easier for Alpine to mould and easier for us to paint; the pistols were likely Walther P38s by the way.
As mentioned above, we get a choice of two heads. One wears the M40 SS Panzer Schiffchen – the Totenkopf or death's head logo is clearly visible to the naked eye but you will probably need a magnifying glass to see the eagle above it. Painting something this small is going to be testing! The other head sports what I think is a variation of the M43 Feldmütze, but I do not know the official designation for it. There are no insignia of any kind on this cap.
Close-up of the two head options; M40 SS Panzer Schiffchen on left, M43 variation on right
The hands are moulded attached (holding) a 75mm shell, and the hands themselves look very good, but this part of the figure is the most disappointing for me. I think that now matter how skilled in resin you are, it is just not a very good medium for replicating very geometrically precise shapes. Machine-milled metal – usually brass – will always produce a far superior product, and the result is no different here. Whilst the shell is "nice" it is not in the same league as the figure's facial features, the creases in his clothing and so on.
I am pretty sure this is 75mm ammo - the Alpine site indicates this by listing "Pz.IV, StuG III/IV, JgdPz. IV, Hetzer, etc" as the relevant vehicles. This means these figures are not suitable for a Tiger dio, or any other vehicle that used different ammunition, which is a real shame. I know there are lots of designated Tiger figures out there, but it would be nice to have the option. I would much rather have been provided with a resin shell as a separate part; at least then I can source my own shell, of which there are many excellent examples already on the market.
#35134 SS Panzer Crew
Our second crewman has the same breakdown to the first, but his stance is much wider, and he is hunched over the shell slightly.
This chap has a much wider stance
The uniform is the same as the first crewman, except this time his sleeves are rolled up just below the elbows. The face is noticeably different, but the choice of head gear is the same as the first figure. Once again, a 75mm shell is being held, but with left arm almost wrapped around it, rather than just being grasped in the hands. My reservations about the shell apply once more.
Almost as an afterthought, I suppose I should confirm what you probably already know about Alpine Miniature's products: the casting for both figures is near flawless, and the detail exquisite; there really is not much more I can say in this regard.
So What Do We Think?
Alpine Miniatures remain the benchmark in resin figures: these are two lovely examples of their work. However, the modelling world has come on so much that turned brass ammunition is now widely available, and it is a shame we were not given the option to use it on these beautiful figures.
Recommended, but would prefer separate pieces for shells.
With thanks to Alpine Miniatures for the review sample.
Alpine Miniatures products are carried by various retailers worldwide, and their full line-up can be viewed on their website here
Discuss this set on our very own forum at www.sparforums.com. Register today for your account, and join our community.