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Miniaturas Alemany - StuG III Ausf. F with Soldiers at Rest (FG 7215) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Miniaturas Alemany
Scale 1/72
Set Code FG 7215
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 5
No. of Poses 5
Aspect Medium/Tall
Additional Items StuG III Ausf. F
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Satisfactory (Super-glue Gel)
Convertibility Medium
Optimal Period 1942 - 1945


Review  

During the years of activity in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans, Miniaturas Alemany has proposed a large array of white metal figures, inside dedicated sets or together with an armoured vehicle or cannon. It is awesome the Spanish manufacturer had the incentive of supplying toy-soldiers inside the vehicle kits, the same approach would be lovely to be implemented by key producers of plastic kits such as Revell, Trumpeter, ACE etc.  As often encountered in cottage industry tender, the poses are something else than the regular figurines available in mass production sets, and certainly may attract hobbyists, especially diorama builders. One Miniaturas Alemany vehicle kit featuring a large number of figs is “StuG III Ausf. F with Soldiers at Rest”, as the title emphasizes, the assault gun being accompanied by five winter troopers in very relaxed stances. The present review will not make reference to the vehicle, also cast in white metal, but will analyse in detail the army-men forwarded, five figures definitely representing a notable number for a vehicle kit that usually encloses two or three soldiers. Likewise, it should be stressed that the StuG appearing in the images accompanying the present review is not the one supplied by the kit, but a Dragon kit with lots of aftermarket parts.

Commercialised in the classical Miniaturas Alemany package, the exterior box has the holder role for other two thicker cardboard boxes hosting the content. For additional protection, the parts are wrapped in bubble paper, so the company has taken all safety precautions the kit to arrive in good conditions. On a printed piece of paper there are supplied assembly instructions for the vehicle, but nothing on the figures although most of them involve assembly. However, the front artwork shows the StuG, the five accompanying characters being around, so the modeller gets some clues on how the final versions of these fighters should look like. Neither the vehicle nor the troopers are painted in the artwork and references in the field should be searched in other places.  

Putting together the miniatures is really easy, the arms, one torso, and two Kar98K being cast on the sprue near the correspondent pose. Most parts fit well in positions and in case some gaps emerge, depending on the size, those can be filled with white putty or other substances, including a thicker layer of paint for small ones. In order to achieve proper results during assembly, the components should be glued with cyanoacrylate, super glue gel being the best option, that adhesive creating an extremely durable bond and granting few seconds for eventual repositions.  

The manufacturer supplies three standing and two seated figures, the selected poses brilliantly matching the referred topic, most of them being also rarely met in the scale but extremely common on the front. All soldiers stay still, doing almost nothing and definitely they set out as a must have for hobbyists wanting to reproduce a peaceful winter scene. They excellent fit either in a base camp or on the front line, sitting and waiting the action to come or purely resting after a hard mission.  

The subject was fairly similarly treated by Preiser within “WWII German Infantry Resting”, but there the characters wear the summer uniform and poses are clearly different. Miniaturas Alemany dressed these soldiers in various winter clothes, two putting on the winter suit formed by parka and matching trousers and the other three have got greatcoats. Such items of garment were the most ordinary winter pieces for the WWII German troopers and many filmed and photographed references highlight the mixture of attire within the same platoon, in other words it was customary some army-men to wear greatcoats and their comrades unlike clothes.  

The greatcoat characterised the Early Part of WWII but was maintained in service until the end, various models, with small modifications, being issued and the ones from here might be the M40 or M42 pattern. As regards the two piece winter suit, the garment was developed and entered in service in 1942, based on the need of specialised clothing adapted to modern warfare. The parka received a detachable hood and both that and the matching trousers were generally produced as reversible, although non-reversible versions were delivered, too. The first winter suits were done in mouse gray colour, followed by camouflage copies issued in both Waffen SS and Wehrmacht patters. Still, the other side of the reversible models was always white, different than the camouflage smock which most of the times had one side in spring/summer and the other in autumn/winter colours. The winter suit was highly appreciated and intensively worn by all ranks and often was not sent back to depots at the end of winter season on April 15. Nevertheless, due to the presence of toques and ear protectors, specific winter items for low temperatures, these miniatures fit well in winter as well as in late autumn or early spring.  

The huge majority of footwear rests in long boots, most certainly the leather and felt winter boots, supplied to troopers for the cold season, and only a pair of ankle boots is worn by the standing solider in parka. Within the 1/72 scale, the differences between marching/jack and leather and felt boots are not so significant, but the thicker and rougher appearance of the type from here lead to winter boots. While such footwear is not common in Braille Scale, it should be taken the opportunity and paint the boots as the model intended by the sculptor and not as marching/jack boots. In addition, the winter boots were supplied at the beginning of the winter season, so soldiers might worn them in autumn or early spring, too.   

Headgear is diverse, three of them wearing the steel helmet, two having M34 overseas caps and one covering his head with a M43 cap. Likewise, all of them put on toques, a dedicated cold weather piece, designed to wrap the neck and almost all the head, leaving uncovered just the face. Furthermore, two wear another winter item, the ear protectors, device formed by an adjustable metal headband with wool covered ear muffs, in 1/72 scale looking close to head-phones but without wires. The ear protectors were disliked by the front line troopers because hampered the hearing, an essential sense on the battle field, being mostly worn in the safer conditions of the second line. Due to the presence of M43 cap and that parkas and ear protectors were available starting with 1942, it can be apprised the optimal period for these miniatures lasts from 1943 till the end of war. Nevertheless, the two figures in greatcoats and with M34 caps can be straightforwardly utilised in scenarios aiming at the Early War, of course, removing the ear protectors of the seated guy.  

In compliance with the proposed topic, all these army-men are lightly equipped, none or only few items of gear such as canteens, bread-bags, and gas mask containers being spotted on them in a random assortment. In addition, weaponry is represented by two Kar98K and one MP38/40, the soldiers also possessing the related ammunition pouches. The seated figures are unarmed but hobbyists can easily display next to them a firing weapon and even supplementary equipment, Preiser, Dragon, and Caesar making available lots of related stuff inside various hard plastic sets, also matching in size the items added to the army-men by Miniaturas Alemany.  

One of the seated fighters was sculptured together with the box he used as chair and he keeps his coat in an extremely attractive manner, just on the shoulders. Below there are noticed the tunic and trousers as well the eye-catching arranged toque and on the head he fitted ear protectors. Bearing in mind that no weapon or ammunition pouch is visible, the miniature is suitable to portray any rank, from private to officer, all of them wearing similar attire. In the left hand he holds a canteen and it seems he has just taken a sip of either water or maybe alcohol, considering the weather. Bent a little to the right, with the right palm on the knee, he rests in a very lifelike pose and it should be stressed the coat incredibly convincing lays not only on him but also around the box, proving the great care taken by the sculptor for creating natural miniatures. Similar figures are hard to get in Braille Scale, Preiser delivering an army-man wearing his tunic over his shoulders within the same “WWII German Infantry Resting”, as well as D Day in “Waffen SS Soliders – Normandy 1944”.  

The other seated trooper, dressed in M42 winter suit and with steel helmet, does almost the same thing, but he holds a cup instead of a canteen. While the left palm emerges a little too thick, he might have something to eat, a slice of bread or meat, but the position of hands impedes the identification. On the back he has only a bread bag and a canteen that is visibly under-scaled. The soldier features in front Kar98K ammunition pouches, so a good incentive would be placing near him the related weapon from the spare parts box. For this figure, the wooden box is delivered separately, so hobbyists have the choice to glue or not the fig in its place. Recommended would be not doing it because the soldier excellent sits on the box and also can be displayed in other locations such as a vehicle, chair, tree trunk, stone etc. 

Not only the seated troopers come in exceptional stances, but also the standing ones and even if staying still, they bring a special charm to any place they occupy. For the soldier in winter suit and with steel helmet, the modeller has to glue a Kar98K, provided separately, in order to achieve an awesome pose of an army-man waiting and propping his rifle in the ground. He received the correspondent ammunition pouches and on the back he has bread-bag, canteen, and gas mask container with strap sharply carved across the body.

Likewise, to one of the standing troopers in greatcoat, namely the character with M43 cap, the hobbyist must fix a Kar98K on the back on the right hand side, the sling of the weapon being emplaced in front, very visible but not a hair over-scaled. Attention should be paid in order the sling to reach the normal locations on the weapon which can be fixed with the shoulder stock up or down. The point of attraction for this mini is the bottle held in the left hand, perhaps a comrade gave it to him for taking a drought, as well as the ear protectors, a fairly uncommon item in Braille Scale.  

The other figure in greatcoat might embody a NCO while he is armed with MP38/40, his only gear consisting in the left hand side ammunition pouch. However, that item looks over-scaled and according to its size it would rather go for a StG44 than a MP38/40. The mini was designed for resting the left foot on something, the artwork introducing him mounted on the vehicle and finding there a place for his foot. Consequently, the greatcoat folds very credible and persuasively arranges around the raised leg although on the back some details near the belt are impossible to be recognized. Sculptor’s intention appears unclear while no WWII German item of gear had the reproduced shape. It might be a captured item, a part of the greatcoat or even the right hand side ammunition pouch pushed a lot behind and now staying pretty odd. The proposed position on the vehicle is not mandatory, he can keep his foot on various objects such as a box, rock, log or terrain unevenness. An option at hand would be resting his foot on the box used as seat by the comrade in parka, there is enough space in this purpose and the entire assembly looks very good.

The figurines have been released with quite fine details and anatomical proportions, faces receiving properly carved eyes, noses, mouths, to the overall great appearance of the heads bringing an important contribution the toques wrapped in dissimilar modes. The palms are acceptably sculptured and due to their size, most fit to be painted as without or with gloves, either knitted of made of leather, although due to the lower ranks of these army-men, more indicated would be the first version. The various pieces of garment have got fairly good details, buttons, creases, and other niceties being depicted by the sculptor. Anyway, the best achievement is how convincing the greatcoats are modelled, not full, as most manufacturers, including cottage industry representatives, prefer to do them. For this reason, the greatcoats plausibly fold and also allow to be perceived the lining and trousers as well as the entire uniform in case of the seated soldier. Except the canteen of the army-man holding the cup, that is under-scaled, and the MP 38/40 ammo pouch, that is over-scaled, the rest of gear emerge accurately shaped and sized, matching the dimensions of similar items provided by other companies. The weapons, particularly the Kar98K, come out extremely good, totally compatible both in terms of size and details, with the famous Preiser rifles. 

Cast and mould are fair, most fine points getting out pretty well but a large amount of flash is encountered. Still, the undesired excess is fast eliminated because this white metal is not very sturdy and any blade encounters no resistance. As a metal product, hobbyists should not forget to prime the miniatures, otherwise enamel, acrylics or artistic oils do not stay good and the painting effort might be ruined even by minor touches. After properly prepare the figs, the colours will fix and can remain on the material, a supplementary matt varnish being suggested in case the soldiers will be heavy handled. If needed, hard plastic weapons and gear made available as separate hard plastic parts by different producers may be glued on these miniatures, superglue gel greatly sticking in position plastic pieces on white metal. No bases are distributed but obviously, the seated characters do not need them and the standing ones could be emplaced directly on the diorama base or on bases from modeller’s spare box. 

Commonly for Miniaturas Alemany is issuing their figures in the tall side of 1/72 scale and the here reviewed soldiers simply reiterate the established trend. For this reason they fit well with winter comrades released by mass-production manufacturers as Caesar, Revell, Pegasus Hobbies, Strelets, Italeri, and ESCI. Still, bearing in mind the tranquil scene they aim to illustrate, better companions are to be found inside cottage industry offers, Warriors, TQD Castings, El Viejo Dragon, Juwella, Weathering Factory, and normally, Miniaturas Alemany. All these companies, as well as others not listed, put forward great WWII winter Germans in non-combat stances.  

Taking into consideration that hobbyists interested only in the figures have to pay for the included vehicle as well, the final price might be appraised as quite high. In addition, the kit is out of production and hard to find on the market at present, also in the past not being easy to get it. Nevertheless, how the Spanish manufacturer considered to approach the topic depicted inside StuG III Ausf. F with Soldiers at Rest” is stunning, the featured ideas and their implementation certainly attracting static modellers and collectors, and in some extent, gamers might be interested, too. The miniatures can be easily displayed for illustrating a small party before or after the battle, sharing a bottle of alcohol, an image of brilliant reality and frequency, scarcely met within the 1/72 scale tender.  

 

Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 10
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 8
Sculpture 8
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 8