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Extratech - SS-soldier killed in action (EXB72010) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Extratech
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72010
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 1
No. of Poses 1
Additional Items Base with debris
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 – 1945

 

Review   

In order to resist on a crowded market and attract as many clients as possible, a niche manufacturer must identify rare subjects and come with special features or with highly detailed figurines. Such a company, combining all these aspects, is Extratech which in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans lists some topics of great interest, often including photo-etched parts for their marvelously sculptured and accurate resin miniatures. Nevertheless, figures are not the only activity of Extratech, the Czech producer being also focused on 1/72 plastic and resin AFV kits as well as diorama items and model kit accessories as photo-etched detailing sets, decals and conversion sets.

No matter the periods, wars always produce casualties, and despite the unpleasant topic, this is of foremost importance, especially for hobbyists wishing to depict in their dioramas or games this sad but omnipresent side. Although comprising thousands figures in unique poses, the comprehensive register of 1/72 WWII Germans does not include many options in terms of casualties, so the matter is of concern and often modellers have to appeal to the conversion method in order to obtain some dead troopers. Leaving aside the Ykreol complete set on the topic titled“German Casualties-Berlin 1945”, which unfortunately does not provide very good miniatures, some casualties in authentic stances can be found within Pegasus Hobbies’ "Waffen SS 1943 - Set 2", “Germans in Berlin 1945”, and “War against Fascism” as well as Imex’s “German Troops”. In other words, and bearing in mind Imex’s set was developed in collaboration with Pegasus Hobbies, practically only this company has manifested preoccupations in the field and delivered realistic related poses inside mass-production 1/72 WWII German sets. 

Taking into consideration the need of casualties, Extratech issued a distinctive kit under the name “SS soldier – KIA 1944”. One figure sets are not widely spread in Braille Scale, though some figure producers like Kami de Koro Koro or TQD Castings had the courage to release such offers. However, a single figure might be encountered in various vehicle kits or provided free of charge, as bonus by different e-shops or forums, but that situation is certainly different than selling one soldier packet as an individual set. Of course, such tenders must have something special or to depict a personality in order to be commercially proof. Fully understanding the situation and showing good knowledge of the market, Extratech forwarded a really special offer, completely transposing in the scale a dead German soldier as he appears in a photo taken in Normandy. The manufacturer did not limit in depicting the exact pose and clothes of the trooper, but also the entire setting where the army-man found his end, as emerging in the reference image. For this, a base with cobble stone, debris, and a section of a fence or wall where added, the sculptor paying lot of attention even to the smallest detail, succeeding to recreate and arrange the debris and small stones just like in the picture.  The soldier and the base supply to modellers enough resources for recreating a touching and dramatic small vignette, but both or just the miniature can integrate in some larger dioramas.

The kit entered the market inside a clear plastic bag attached on a cardboard featuring the manufacturer and the title, the “KIA” abbreviation evidently meaning killed-in-action and this is what hobbyists get here. The package gives the opportunity to see the top quality of the product since the purchase, in case it is done in a traditional shop. Both the figure and base do not require assembly and a pleasant surprise awaits the hobbyists between the sheets of the cardboard, respectively a printed copy of the original image that inspired the sculptor. Furthermore, on reverse of the paper there is stressed along with other data that the reference image was taken from page 72 of SS Armour – A Pictorial History of the Armoured Formations of Waffen SS by Robert C. Stern, Squadron/Signal Publications, with the description “The ultimate price, an Unterscharfuhrer of Leibstandarte, left behind in Falasie, was flushed out and killed by advancing Canadian troops, 16 August 1944”. Even if it is a black and white photo, this is a most useful guideline for painting the figure and the diorama base. More historical correctitude cannot be achieved, thus Extratech should be highly appreciated for such authentic approach to the subject. The image is very dramatic and fairly known for those interested in the topic, and it is great seeing how truthfully the manufacturer succeeded to transpose the whole scene in resin. 

From the same piece of paper we learn the kit was designed by Milos Antfeist, the same person sculpturing most of Czech Master Kits (CMK)’s wide range of 1/72 figure sets. Modellers familiarized with the products of that company might have noticed from the first glance the close similitudes between the present fig and CMK 1/72 soldiers, the provided note fully justifying that impression. 

Dressed like in the original photo, in tunic and trousers, with Zeltbahn over the uniform and shoeing ankle boots, his clothes are a little teared. Except belt, “Y” straps, and left hand side MP ammo pouch no other gear, weapon or even helmet are available for him. Initially, the ammo pouch might look somehow strange while it features the pouches for two magazines instead of three, but this detail is in full accordance with the picture, where are visible just those, the third being covered by the Zeltbahn creases. The back of the figure lacks details, a normal approach considering that those could not be seen and in this way the casualty better lies on the ground.

 As title and photo description highlight, it is about a Waffen SS soldier, fact attested by the camo pattern of the Zeltbahn as well as by the collar boards and armband, more exactly that NCO belonging to 1 SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. However, it is not mandatory to depict him as a Waffen SS soldier, painting the Zeltbahn appropriately, he is easily turned into a Wehrmacht representative. The armband does not emerge neatly sculptured, so it might be removed with a simple intervention, just like with flash. In terms of the period, the ideal one is 1943-1945 due to the ankle boots. As in the real photo, no weapon is noticed around, perhaps the heavy wounded NCO abandoned his weapon and gear and crawled to a more covered place to spend the last minutes of his life, before dying near a stone ruin in Normandy. Nevertheless, modellers can easy spread around gear and weapons, Dragon, Preiser and Caesar having in hard plastic lots of related stuff. 

With deep roots in a genuine WWII image, the pose is extremely authentic and touching, rousing compassion for the poor man. Gluing the figure on the pavement is optional and, before painting, recommended would be studying a little the original photo in order to see the camo pattern and small details as the armband, collar boards, straps, etc. In that picture there can be also noticed some blood on the hand and face thus, for a more dramatic and truthful appearance, hobbyists should consider adding it.

Mostly covered in the Zeltbahn, the anatomical proportions look excellent and the impressive facial details, with sharply carved eyes, eye-brows, nose, open-mouth, ears, and hair as well as the afflicted expression bring an important contribution to the drama of the entire scene. Palms show perfectly sculptured fingers and their turn, clothes are top-notch depicted, with a plus for the creases of the Zeltbahn, looking exactly like in the image.

As a top resin maker, Extratech provides a fairly clean miniature, flash and seam lines as well as excess of material almost not existing both on the figure and diorama accessory. Just few small air-bubbles could be noticed on the product, but not in annoying locations and are immediately fixed with white putty or other materials. The resin is of very good quality and enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils wonderfully integrate and remain there despite severe handling. 

The dimensions of head and body send this NCO in the tall side of 1/72 scale and there are lots of figures similarly dressed and implied in fighting activities. Anyway, it is not obligatory the comrades to be identically outfitted, the miniature works fine with troopers wearing either summer or cold weather attire because Zeltbahn was an all season piece of garment. This army-man can be utilized next to other dead comrades, Pegasus Hobbies, Imex, and Ykreol illustrating in 1/72 scale this unpleasant face of war, or be deployed together with soldiers in action, still fighting on the battlefield, a broad range on the matter being available. From the point of view of size and clothes, maybe troopers included in particular Italeri, Pegasus Hobbies, and Revell sets are the most recommended as well as some CMK miniatures, as previously pointed out, the two companies appealing to the services of the same sculptor. In addition, it is not necessary to emplace the figure in a combat diorama, the fig perfectly match in a scenario with German or Allies soldiers passing by, such scene emerging even better, basically in that way the original photo was taken by the Canadians on August 16, 1944.

With an emotional and tremendously realistic offer in the field of casualties, Extratech captures the interest of hobbyists and their “SS soldier – KIA 1944” might be assessed as one of the best WWII German casualty available in Braille Scale. Despite the quite high price, it is a tender that provides everything for a first-class vignette, exactly like in the reference image that was used for recreating the scene and should be considered by gamers and diorama builders wishing to reproduce the true face of war, leaving aside the glorious and propagandistic aspects.

 

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