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MODELLTRANS - Floryan Geyer 8 SS Cav.Div. (MT72901) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer Modell Trans Modellbau
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72901
Year -
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
No. of Horses 2
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Superglue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

Review

As a manufacturer of some of the best aftermarket parts for 1/72 WWII German vehicle kits, expectations were very high when hearing ModellTrans Modellbau was going to issue a figure set. In most parts, the set has fulfilled the desires of target groups, the company succeeding to generate even from the first attempt one of the best offer on 1/72 WWII German cavalry, the only draw-back coming from the quite poor cast, the product registering too many air-bubbles.

Unfortunately, in Braille Scale the notable number of horses used by Germans during WWII is scantily represented inside few sets, far insufficient to properly depict reality. With over 1,100,000 horses in service each year, WWII German Army employed the largest number of horses during a war in the history of mankind. The noble animal not only drew vehicles, but also saw action in Cavalry units belonging both to Wehrmacht and Waffen SS on all fronts the German army fought. Deployed in the most difficult terrains, Cavalry units had as main tasks reconnaissance, attack against advancing or retreating enemy and fast interventions for filling gaps in the front lines or occupying key objectives.    

Two of the most famous Waffen SS mounted units were 8th SS Cavalry Division (Florian Geyer) and 22nd SS-Freiwilligen Kavallerie Division (Maria Theresia) and because of increased accessibility in forests or other hard reachable areas, some cavalry platoons/regiments were given the mission of combating partisans, thing that cast a shadow over the units implied. Modell Trans has titled the set "8 SS Kav.Div. Florian Geyer" a division established in 1942 with 40% Volksdeutsche from Sibiu and Banat region (Romania), people well-accustomed with the use of horses. Fighting only in Central and Eastern Europe, the division was completely destroyed during the fight for Budapest in 1945. Statistic data clearly emphasise that in the Late War period the number of horses serving with the German Army had been increased, a normal fact-finding due to Allies strategic bombardments of motor vehicle factories, but let untouched the horse-breeding farms. Likewise, the simple maintenance and resources for propulsion available in almost any moment, not like the precious petroleum, represented other elements for enhancing the role of horses in the cruel conditions in which they and their masters were to fight.

Several tenders of horse-drawn vehicles exist in 1/72 mass production and cottage industry catalogues, but in terms of WWII German Cavalry, those are even more limited, together with the present reviewed set, CMK’s “Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry”, FOV’s “German SS Cavalry Division – Eastern Front 1942”, and HaT’s “WWII German Mounted Infantry” illustrating the only choices in the field. Likewise, Revell’s “German Artillery” which practically scales-up to 1/72 three 1/87 Preiser sets, proposes four excellent riders dressed in M36 uniforms, but only one on individual horse, the rest riding the horses drawing a leFH Limber 18 and cannon. In addition, in 2012 it seems Waterloo 1815 is going to launch a new set or sets on the matter, “WWII German cavalry (Set 1)”, with riders wearing the Early War uniform. Analysing the just mentioned sets, it might be said that CMK is the closest to Modell Trans, the figs perfectly completing both in terms of attire, level of sculpture, number of soldiers and animals. Still, Modell Trans interpretation looks a hair above, featuring excellent anatomy of horses and soldiers as well as impressively carved clothes, gear, and weapons.

The kit is delivered in an unsafe manner for resin products to travel, in a plastic bag stapled on a piece of paper providing on one side the name of the set, emblem, and logo of 8th SS Cavalry Division and on the other side an image with the two figures mounted on their horses and information on the company. Each human and horse come on individual slots and the two left arms are supplied on a distinct one. Putting together the minis means almost nothing and the arms cannot be confound, the modeller having to pay attention just to allocate the weapon in accordance with the ammunition pouches. Arms go very fine in places and for best results, super glue gel is highly recommended, not only creating a very strong bond between pieces but also giving few moments for further readjustments.    

The two cavalrymen wear M38 camouflage smocks, breeches, M43 caps, and riding boots, attire perfectly transposing in the scale the one dressed by real soldiers of the division and illustrated by plenty of reference images, including a famous coloured one published in Signal. Breeches were the specialised trousers of mounted personnel and had the seat and crotch reinforced with a leather panel, later replaced by a field-grey wool one due to leather shortage but a nice touch would be painting the inner side as reinforced with leather. Except Pea Dot and Leibermuster, the smocks fit to be painted in all Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter Waffen SS camouflage patterns or Wehrmacht ones as well as white, the same items of clothing being worn in all seasons. As in all other sets on riders, the spurs, stirrups and related straps are sculptured straight on the boots. Designed for mounted troops, the riding boots (Reitstiefel) featured minor changes than regular marching/jack boots represented by narrower and higher leg as well as a small, extended, leather crescent at the heel for securing the spurs in the proper position. By regulations, mounted troopers had to wear spurs on their boots, the most common version being M31 and both these riders have them fixed in the correct locations.

Lightly geared while some items hang by the saddles, the two soldiers are armed with Kar98K and MP40, benefitting by appropriate ammunition pouches as well. The army-man with Kar98K has got bread bag, canteen, gas mask container, and binoculars on the chest while his comrade with MP40 received bread bag, gas mask container, Zelbahn, and a rolled blanket or item of clothing. The poses are fine for riders, one simply holding his MP40 in the left hand and looking down to the same side, perhaps to a dismounted comrade while the other with mouth wide open, signals something with his left hand. Moreover, these cavalrymen properly go into saddles and it is not mandatory gluing them in position. Especially if modellers add in their hands reins unsupplied by manufacturer, both figs will wonderful portray cavalrymen during a recon mission or reporting after it, though large arrays of utilisations are suitable, too.

At their turn, horses are very natural, excellent proportioned and looks like duplicating two horses existing in the outstanding Revell/Preiser “German Artillery”, but with dissimilar kit. Having blankets beneath, the M25 saddles feature the M34 left Pferdegepack (horseshoe pack) and right Reitergepack (rider pack) pouches as well as different items of gear the troopers preferred to hang there than on their belts. Inside Pferdegepack were kept horseshoes, nails, brush and other items for horse while inside Reitergepack the soldiers carried personal stuff. Here, each horse has behind the saddle a rolled blanket and steel helmet with camouflage cloth and on the right side of the saddle a shovel. Likewise, one of the horses has got a mess-tin on the right and on the left side a canteen, the other animal featuring only on the left side a map/dispatch case. In fact, thi canteen determines the allocation of horses, obviously the soldier with MP40 and without canteen having to ride the horse with canteen. Nevertheless, in case of having more sets and for bringing further diversity to the minis, nothing refrains the soldier with rifle and canteen to ride this horse. The modeller shall choose to let or remove the canteen either from the horse or soldier and for better hiding the surgery, another item of gear might be set in that place. The animals move at pace or slow trout extremely normal, with one leg up from the ground, so they and their riders are in a clam environment, at least for the moment. Anatomy is gorgeous with very fine proportions, clear but not over-accentuated muscles, and awesome detailed manes, tails, and head expressions enhanced by the open mouths. In spite the tiny space, the sculptor had an overwhelming performance, the viewer nearly hearing the sniff and seeing lips trembling. The shape of heads, the location of noses, eyes, and ears, the size of hoofs and overall anatomy meet the characteristics of the breed provided to the army by Eastern Prussia farms.

The horses received proper girths and bridle but miss reins, determining the positions of the soldiers to appear odd when mounted. Because of that,  it is really indicated the hobbyists to try adding some scratch-built reins, photo-etch, plastic or other materials ideally fixing with super glue gel on resin. With the same adhesive eventual extra gear made available on separate sprues by several manufacturers in various kits might be added both on horses and figures. The most advocated accessories and body parts are Preiser while the weapons and equipment of Modell Trans figs have exactly the same sizes and forms, giving the impression that Preiser items were cast in resin.

The product arrives almost flash-less, retaining just a small amount of thin film but with serious issues concerning air-bubbles, plenty of them located in places where are hard to hide or simply damaging the figures such as on the head or on the palm, completely destroying it. Likewise, on two identical sets it has been noticed that air-bubbles emerge in different locations, one of the sets clearly having less or smaller ones. Furthermore, the present resin is extremely fragile, so a lot of attention has to be paid when detaching all pieces from the slots as well as to avoid accidental drops, any fall directly and implacably leading to breaks. On the other hand, painting is a true pleasure because enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils become almost part and parcel with the resin and will remain there even after heavy handling. Upgrades and conversions are also a joy, especially if having Preiser parts, but definitely the standard poses are both nice and accurate. The horses come on bases but those are not mandatory, the horses better and more natural appearing directly fixed on the diorama or vignette and perhaps it would be good to know that legs display confers a fine balance even without special stand. 

Encompassed by the tall side of 1/72 scale, these riders will find plenty of un-mounted comrades dressed in camouflage smocks to accompany in the battle as well as a couple mounted from CMK. They will also look amazing next to an armoured vehicle as informing the commander where the enemy is located or in a advancing or retreating column. Bearing in mind the little assembly involved, the attractive but rare subject in 1/72 scale, and the multiple utilisations, the product really pleases the target groups despite the work required to fill in with putty or white glue the air-bubble holes and the extra care accorded when handling these minis.

A true partner of the WWII German soldier, never disappointing and often following him till the bitter end, ModellTrans Modellbau endeavor sets out as a key opportunity in recognizing in 1/72 scale the major and bravely role of horse within WWII German Army.

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 10
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 10
Mould Quality 7
Sculpture 10
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 9