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Preview on the potential content of Orion’s “German WWII Panzer Soldiers (Basic Set 2)”

 

Making available for the masses top-notch plastic soldiers previously cast in resin emerges as a brilliant and innovative incentive, thanks to it everybody getting access to quality that initially might have been prohibited due to expensive price and hard to find offers. Orion has succeeded in a remarkable manner to create a soft plastic set where Boris Knokhov’s perfectly sculptured figs are shaped in plastic and not in resin, as they formerly reached the market under the same label.

The soft plastic “German WWII Panzer Soldiers (Basic Set 1) certainly sets out as a milestone, imposing high standards in terms of toy-soldiers, and might be considered one of the best ever tender in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans. If for any of the three or four figure Basic resin sets the buyer had to pay around 12 Euro, the soft plastic version, including four identical sprues, each hosting thirteen poses, only around 10 Euro were charged. For such unique and admirable approach the manufacturer must be appreciated, opening the gates to everybody and giving the chance of possessing ultimate Panzer crews, addressing both the most detailed diorama and the gaming table. Nevertheless, there are slight differences between the resin and plastic troopers, but it should be emphasised the producer managed in an outstanding way to cast the soft plastic army-men, most of details emerging on equal footing with the resin ones.

For forming the content of their first plastic Panzer Soldiers set Orion appealed to the initial seven Basic Sets released within its resin line, each being represented by one, two, or three soldiers inside the mass-production tender. The criteria of selection applied by the manufacturer and sculptor are unknown, but it could be easily remarked that not all of the resin figures of those sets where shaped in plastic, more precisely eight resin tankers proposed within the first seven resin sets not being recast in plastic.

The plastic “German WWII Panzer Soldiers” features as subtitle Basic Set 1, underlining the maker’s intention of issuing at least Set 2 in the future. Corroborating the subtitle with the fact Orion is already in possession of the backbone of a potential continuation represented by the remaining figs from the resin Sets 1 to 7, the full content of Set 8, launched after the mass-production tender, as well as the ones from an incoming Set 9, it can be assessed the second set of Orion tankers in soft plastic might be not far. 

Practically, even right now if wanting, Orion has at its disposal a total amount of thirteen figures, from Sets 1 to 8 already commercialised in resin. Anyway, there are rumours Set 9 in resin is sculptured by now and perhaps sooner or later will be delivered on the market. The author and the maker are not so pleased by the fig with hammer and the one in shirt from resin Set 2, thus at least two new creations from Set 9 must be added inside the plastic set no. 2 in order to complete the envisaged thirteen poses. Nevertheless, a new resin set will definitely accommodate more than two soldiers and it is more than probable either all poses of Set 9 to be cast in plastic and others from previous sets to be let aside, or another possibility might be the mass production “German WWII Panzer Soldiers (Basic Set 2)” to accommodate more than thirteen stances.

 

Although until now all Orion Panzer troopers clearly address to a warm or temperate environment, the available figs from Set 1 to 8 can be grouped as regards attire on standard and 1941 HBT Panzer uniforms, drill clothes and shirts.

In Panzer uniforms and performing various activities are four army-men, one from Set 1, one from Set 3, and two from Set 8. The soldier from Set 3 is certainly designed for taking position inside a turret due to the perfectly and completely sculptured communication equipment noticed on him, featuring headphones, throat microphone, activation control switch housing, and related wires. Of course, a most interesting and innovative miniature is the officer, originally from Set 8, holding a Panzerfaust on the left shoulder, barely being encountered in 1/72 scale a Panzer soldier holding an anti-tank weapon. Likewise, both the walking soldier and the one staying still should not be ignored and they definitely set out as excellent additions to any armoured vehicle.

Three soldiers wear 1941 HBT Panzer items of clothing, immediately spotted after the front large pockets on tunics and trousers. Two of them stay still and dress the full uniform, one from Set 4 scratching his head and the other from Set 8, having a map/dispatch case. The third, from Set 1, holding the binoculars with both hands, has got 1941 HBT Panzer trousers but Standard Panzer wrapper. 

Four figures with shirts and few distinct types of pants have not been duplicated in plastic yet and they come from Sets 2, 3, 6, and 8. The one from Set 2, with Panzer trousers and M43 cap looks like being completely reshaped and replaced by a soldier from Set 7 already cast in soft plastic, but in Panzer uniform and keeping the left arm in a dissimilar manner. The chances to see this trooper in shirt in plastic are almost 0, the sculptor and the manufacturer not being very delighted by the pose and cast, the M43 peak somehow letting down. Not the same thing can be said about the sitting miniature from Set 6, an excellent product impressing with a natural stance and brilliant small details, including facial ones. The last possible trooper in shirt to be made of plastic arrives from Set 8 and it can be distinguished after the sledge hammer held with both hands. The soldier was designed to replace another figure from Set 2, holding a sledge hammer as well but in working clothes.

Concerning drill service uniform, only two of the potential thirteen poses put on such garment, one from Set 2 and the other from Set 7, staying crouched and adopting a lifelike attitude. His comrade from Set 2 is clearly spotted after the sledge hammer and as above mentioned, a new trooper from Set 8 was created for substituting him. Nonetheless, the army-man from Set 2 looks very fine, nothing being wrong as regards sculpture, natural stance and cast.

Moreover, quite odd is the fact that the comrade from Set 8, intended to correct the predecessor, records a casting mistake, namely the end part of the hammer missing. However, if selected to be shaped in plastic, this fault will be certainly corrected, the same thing happening with few other figures when being recast in soft plastic. A good example in the field might represent the officer pointing with the left hand, first time issued in Set 2 but missing the end part of the index, then as bonus in the right manner within Set 5 and also without any mistake inside the soft plastic set.

Distinguishing through tremendously lifelike poses, incredibly sculptured small details, top accuracy and attractive combinations of items of garment, and charming with their simplicity, the Panzer soldiers created by Boris Knokhov and issued under Orion’s logo are undeniably some of the best miniatures available on the 1/72 market, both in resin and plastic. In addition, the manufacturer managed in a stunning way to cast the fabulous resin troopers in soft plastic, providing access for everybody interesting in getting ultimate Braille Scale miniatures embodying the famous Panzer tankers. For all these reasons and much more not revealed here, as well as the high appreciation and acclaims received by the previous soft plastic set, a potential continuation under the title “German WWII Panzer Soldiers (Basic Set 2)” would be a massive commercial hit and making a great service to all community interested in the topic, no matter they are diorama builders, gamers or collectors.

The present article intends just to draw attention and highlight the ideal resources represented by the thirteen poses Orion has at hand in any moment for a second soft plastic set. However, the content here illustrated should not be considered the final one, especially bearing in mind a new resin Set 9 might appear quite soon and some or even all its miniatures to be imported for the soft plastic edition, replacing at least a couple of figs, particularly the one from the resin Set 2.