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CMK - Fallschirmjäger WWII (F72075) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer CMK
Scale 1/72
Set Code F72075
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1941 - 1945

 

Review 

 

WWII German Paratroopers represent a topic of great interest bearing in mind not only the remarkable contribution during WWII, fighting on all major fronts, but also the exciting items of gear and equipment utilised. Even if quite numerous 1/72 sets made available by notorious mass-production and cottage industry manufacturers populate the market, many of those are pretty poor and with serious issues in terms of sculpting, moulding, and casting. In addition, 1/72 WWII Fallschirmjagers properly equipped for jumping definitely constitute a rarity, except CMK’s set “German Fallschirmjager WWII”, subject-matter of the present review, only Preiser and Revell offering few such miniatures.

Airborne missions carried out by WWII German Paratroopers in the Early War period brought a key contribution to the success of Blitzkrieg in Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France. Sill, after “Operation Mercury”, the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, the Germans allocating for the invasion of Crete the largest number of paratroopers, in spite its accomplishment, the great losses FJs suffered turned Hitler to forbid large airborne actions without his personal consent. As a follow, practically the paratroopers were turned into an elite infantry, but maintained specific weapons and attire. They continued distinguishing in various battles in Africa as well as on Eastern and Western fronts, including legendary ones like Normandy, Monte Cassino, Ardennes, Berlin etc. However, Fallschirmjager sporadically kept carrying out missions requiring airborne troops but definitely not on large scale. Perhaps that was one reason to maintain their equipment and maybe such aspect intends to highlight CMK’s set, bearing in mind it depicts troopers ulterior to Crete due to the Type III jump smock these figs dress.

As a niche producer, CMK strived inside “Fallschirmjäger WWII” to fill in a blank space in the field of 1/72 replicas of those famous soldiers, featuring specialised gear employed by WWII German paratroopers when jumping. In a certain manner, such stuff get the main attention here and can be noticed the RZ20 parachute in its outer cover, related harness, knee pads,kapok life vest as well as an interesting and full accurate display of MP38/40 ammunition pouches. Although few similar figures are supplied by Revell and Preiser in their sets, while CMK’s tender is the single one specially targeting FJs prepared and equipped for carrying out an airborne mission, below there will be provided few data on the items put forward by the producer. It should also be added that the 1/72 poses from here are mainly the same with CMK’s 1/48 scale Fallschirmjagers but certainly with less details and some other issues.

With reference to the special item supporting the paratroopers to perform their duty, WWII Germans developed several models, sharing many common parts and all included the deployment bag, accommodating the folded canopy and schroud lines, placed in a parachute outer cover with four flaps secured with securing pin attached to a 9 meter static line, fastened by a ring to the deployment bag as well. The static line was attached to a 6 meter static cord inside the plane and automatically released the canopy, pulling the bag away from the pack and taking the deployment bag which was fixed to the end of the static line. The deployment bag flapped behind the plane while the outer cover remained on harness to which was secured via D rings. The harness was made of webbing and rested in a belt with a large buckle in front, two braces, two thigh straps, and a strap across the top of the chest.

The first German Army model during WWII, RZ1 parachute was designed after a civil airline model and due to some accidents caused by malfunctions of static lines, starting with 1940 RZ1 parachute was replaced by RZ16 and in 1941 an upgraded model, RZ20, first exploited in Create, was issued and remained in service till the end of war. RZ20 was similar to RZ16 parachute but with an improved harness, with four quick release buckles, allowing a fast removal of the parachute after landing, an essential thing for Fallschirmjager in an area under fire, soldiers trying to get rid of the harness definitely representing easy targets.

Inspired after a civil model, also originating in the Italian Salvatore type, the soldiers had almost no control in the air over the parachutes. The double-carry lines, attached at one point, functioned as one and so the soldier spun vulnerably after deployment of the parachute. The jump was done horizontally in a crucifix position, not ideal for landing and required the parachutist to land in feet and hands, keeping the feet and knees together, with the knees bent and protected by knee pads. Still, the shock had as direct result a high percent of ankle and wrist injuries even if the boots were tight and the ankles strapped, too. In addition, the innovative but with several problems RZ36 model, with delta canopy and a single quick-release buckle fit in the center of the chest saw limited action in Late War, during Ardennes campaign.

The most common kapok life vests employed by WWII Germans were the very early 10-76A and since 1941 the 10-76B pattern. The difference between the two models rested in the replacement of the 10-76A kapok filled sausages down the back with a webbing system while the initial model was so buoyant and had the tendency to tip forward, unconscious wearers risking to drawn.  Likewise, the collar of 10-76B could be folded up around the neck and closed with press studs. The kapok life vest was worn not only by pilots, particularly bomber ones, but also by Fallschirmjager when their mission required travelling over sea. Plenty images of long lines of soldiers preparing to get in planes and wearing kapok life vests are known, so the presence of such an item in CMK’s set is fully justified and certainly a nice inclusion.

Symbols of WWII German paratroopers were the jump smock, nick-named “bone-sack” and the rimless M38 helmet while footwear consisted either in jump boots or regular ankle boots later on. In terms of jump smocks, three types were issued during the war, Type I and II built as “step-in” items and the full opening Type III, appeared in order to better match the needs of the soldiers following the transformation of Fallschirmjager into an elite infantry. Still, Type III featured a system of snaps allowing the bottom to be fastened around legs for forming the “shorts” in case of jump, exactly like the previous types designed as safety garments to be worn over equipment for preventing the fouling of parachute lines. Type III had large external pockets, often used to carry ammunition and their patterns recorded some changes in terms of size. Standard Type III jump smocks were tailored in Luftwaffe splinter and water/tan camouflage patterns, different than Wehrmacht ones as regards the size of spots.

Under the jump smock the Fallschirmjager had the blue-gray Luftwaffe Flight blouse but the trousers were feldgrau and created for paratroopers, distinguishable after a larger cut and the small flap of the pocket on the right knee for the gravity knife provided for cutting the parachute lines. Nevertheless, the specialised trousers were often replaced by regular army trousers or even tropical ones in Africa and in Mediterranean countries.

The M38 paratrooper helmet, a modified version of the M35 regular model, rimless and with a four point chinstrap was finished not only in the common German army colours but also could be painted on the front line in camouflage patterns, white in winter or Dulkengelb in Mediterranean areas. Jump boots came in two types, the very early Type I with a bizarre side lace system and rubber soles and Type II identified after central laces while soles were merely made of rubber due to material shortage. Nevertheless, as above mentioned, the more infantry-like role of WWII German Paratroopers had as consequence the replacement of jump boots with army ankle boots with or without gaiters and sometimes marching/jack boots could be seen, too. 

WWII Fallschirmjagers jumped without weapon and gear which were parachuted separately in special metal or wood drop-containers. Vulnerable in the air and around two minutes after landing, the WWII German paratroopers received pistols as personal weapons, small enough to jump with and able to confer little protection. When jumping, the pistols were kept inside the built-in flare pistol holsters stitched into the back of the jump smock and for an increased power, hand-grenades were also taken. Still, some veterans jumped with MP38/40 fixed to the torso beneath parachute harness and with ammunition pouches tied to the lower legs. After Crete and the bitter experience gained there, many FJs injured or tied in schroud lines being killed by the brave Greek civil population even with rocks and sticks, the soldiers started to be trained to jump with weapons.

After providing some information on the gear and attire WWII Fallschirmjagers used, it is time to return to CMK’s interpretation of such soldiers. The set is marketed in the standard package of the company, a clear plastic box fixed on a cardboard and with an artwork inside. The customers can visualise the content before purchasing and there can be noticed three slots accommodating various parts for putting together three figures. The artwork accurately pictures the end product, three FJs equipped for an airborne mission. Still, from the first glance, the buyer observes that three items appearing in the artwork are not supplied on any slot, namely two parachute outer covers and a bag where probably was kept a MP38/40. Perhaps those would have to be included in the box on another slot but at least inside my kit, the slot in case was not delivered and images on producer’s website or on various sources do not reveal the full content of a box. However, solutions might be found, even not in a cover, MP38/40s are available in large quantities on separate sprues issued by Preiser, Dragon, and Caesar while WWII German parachute outer-covers can be taken from Preiser’s “German Paratroopers, Pilots and Ground Crew”, but those are little smaller than CMK’s version.

No assembly scheme is delivered, the artwork clearly showing how to put together the figs. In fact, assembly is not extremely difficult, heads, arms, parachute outer-cover(s), and weapons had to be glued in position. Considering is a about a resin kit, the adhesive giving proper results is super glue gel (cyanoachrilate), able to make a durable bond not only between resin but also hard plastic parts, sticking those on resin very good. The pieces satisfactory go in positions and the eventual gaps can be sanded with white putty or other stuff used in the hobby.

Likewise, no special painting guide is ensured, but the artwork delivers more or less good hints on the matter, illustrating the FJs in splinter jump smocks. Some problems might raise the little too blue helmets and the colours of two pairs of trousers, a pair little blue and another too brown, the last possibly intending to introduce the tropical uniform. In addition, the harness is poor, in the artwork appearing as made of leather while it should be of webbing. For these reasons, advisable is disregarding the artwork painting and search for more reliable and accurate information.       

Once assembly is finalised, the achieved poses do not impress but succeed to make a proper depiction of Fallschirmjagers that have just landed or got off the plane according to what it happens behind them, in the background of the artwork emerging few paratroopers in the air or just landed. The main characters stay still, two of them featuring parachute harness and another without, combining both flight and combat items. They wear Type III jump smocks, regular trousers, army ankle boots, and steel helmets. Taking into account it is about the full opening Type III jump smocks, those should be painted in splinter or tan/water camouflage schemes while the trousers and helmets might get either continental or tropical colours, but absolutely not blue. Only the partial collars of the tunics visible under smocks have to be painted in blue and eventually yellow collar boards, too. A good aspect of WWII German Fallschirmjager minis is that due to their clothes, they can be deployed in warm, temperate or even cold environments.

Concerning the troopers with harness, the one looking at his wrist watch is certainly an attractive addition to the 1/72 Fallschirmjager range, unique on the topic. He has got knee pads, RZ20 parachute, and perhaps his equipment and weapon are still in the drop container. His colleague with harness illustrates an interesting thing in terms of FJs, adjusting in the accurate manner the MP38/40 ammunition pouches above ankles under the knee pads. This comes out as a certain clue he jumped or it is about to do it with his weapon which now, according to the artwork, is held in his hands inside a special bag. While the bag was not included in my kit, in order to highlight the fact he has the weapon on him and for matching the presence of ammunition pouches, to this figure I have added a Dragon MP38/40, the same approach being recommended to modellers in the same situation like me. Moreover, from the same reason, this miniature received a Preiser parachute outer-cover, but in some extent, the item can be skipped, the hobbyist can paint only the webbing without parachute attached. A question mark about how these paratroopers landed is raised by the unopened parachute outer-covers, if the soldiers had already jumped, then those had to be opened. Maybe their plane was hit and crashed but they managed to survive or they just wait to get in the plane and what is seen behind in the artwork is just a training session.  

For the third soldier, two interpretations might be valid, he either has already succeeded to get rid of his parachute and harness and grabbed the weapons or he arrived there by glider, a hint of such travel giving the kapok life vest he holds folded around the right arm. Armed with MG42, pistol in holster, and grenade stuck under belt, he keeps an MG ammunition belt around neck, Fallschirmjagers travelling by gliders being equipped for combat. In addition, it looks like he has not fastened the helmet straps and he adopts a quite relaxed stance, staying still and propping the shoulder stock in the ground, reiterating the set might be interpreted as one aiming more training than combat. Likewise, the inclusion of an MG42 stresses it is about Fallschirmjagers after Crete. However, the weapon created by CMK is badly sculptured and without bipod, so interested modellers should replace the resin MG with a hard plastic MG34 or MG42 cast by Preiser, Dragon or Caesar.

Hobbyists tempted to add to the figures with parachute harness either the provided pistol holster or others from the spare box should refrain in doing it while as previously pointed out, FJs had their pistols inside the smock built-in holster when jumping, so the only choice for the supplied pistol holster remains the soldier with MG

In terms of sculpture, the product respects CMK’s standards, with nice small details on uniforms and gear as well as fair anatomy, particularly the facial expressions, eyes, mouths, noses, and ears being immediately perceived in spite the scale. Palms look slightly too big comparing with the heads, but the size facilitated impressive finger carving, those disturbed by the palm size can paint the soldiers as wearing the specialised gloves, an item intensively used by FJs when jumping. A plus of the set is definitely the pose adopted by the MG gunner, even similar figures are in a sufficient quantity in the scale, the present one twists his body in a tremendously natural manner. Furthermore, the separate head approach gives room to hobbyists to set the heads in order to support the action. Smocks and trousers feature reasonable creases and the boots received fine laces. Parachute webbing and outer cover are well reproduced but the steel helmets do not make the strongest impression, although look satisfactory and superior to various attempts in the field.

CMK’s cream resin was again employed and the material is pretty good, not only excellent taking glue (cyanoachrilate) and paint, no matter it is about enamel, acrylics or artistic oils, but also allowing a correct cast, without air-bubbles and a very limited level of flash and thin film. Not the strongest but not the most fragile, the material can resist to various shocks but little attention should be paid when removing the figures from the slots, some boots might break if the operation is made in a rush. The position of legs, with both soles on the ground confers an excellent stability to the minis but as for all resin products, there and no bases supplied.

Encompassed by the tall side of 1/72, the minis find quite numerous comrades staying still within various mass-production and cottage industry sets, on the matter distinguishing MIG Production’s “German Fallschirmjager”, ESCI’s “German Paratrooper”, Revell’s “German Paratrooper”, Zvezda’s “German Paratroopers 1939-1942”, and Dragon’s “3 Fallschirmjäger Div. & Pz.VI KingTiger – Ardennes 1944 Part 1 and Part 2”. Likewise, the size of all these figures is almost the same, so no problems arise concerning compatibility. One miniature with parachute outer cover is delivered by Revell and several troopers with the same item are met inside Preiser’s "German Paratroopers, Pilots and Ground Crew", those figures being noticeably thinner, at the border between 1/72 and 1/76 scales, so not the perfect match with CMK’s soldiers.

Barely encountered in the scale, Fallaschirmjagers with harness and parachute outer covers target a special topic and in spite limited utilisations, it is more than good modellers have such options thanks to CMK. Gathered in the same place, these figs can form a fine starting point for a vignette and as it has been highlighted in the above paragraph, similar poses are pretty numerous in the scale. A draw-back of the kit, at least in my box, rests in the absence of the slot with other parachute outer covers and the MP38/40. In addition, it would have been brilliant the manufacturer to provide some drop-containers and other gear employed by WWII German Paratroopers, CMK supplying extra equipment and items inside various sets such as “U-VII crew (provision)” and “U-VII armament crew in port”. In this light, “Fallschirmjäger WWII” emerges as a lost opportunity for receiving the so rarely encountered paratrooper particular gear. Still, the lack of sensitive parts corroborated with the scarce presence of FJs with parachutes in the 1/72 scale transform the product in a quite tempting offer not only for diorama builders and collectors, but also for gamers although the price is restrictive, three figs for more than 7 Euros.

 

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 9
Mould Quality 9
Sculpture 9
Recommendation/Utility 9
Reviewer’s Opinion 9