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Dragon - 3 Fallschirmjäger Div. & Pz.VI KingTiger – Ardennes 1944 Part 2 (DN7362) _________(BRF)

 

Manufacturer Dragon
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7352
Year 2008
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items King-Tiger, Weapons, Gear, Optional Heads
Size Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Easy
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 

Review 

When Dragon launched their first 1/72 figure set on WWII Germans, perhaps it was tied covering a gap in the scale, for a very long period the fans aching for an accurate set on the famous Fallschirmjäger, correctly dressed and with properly shaped helmets. Furthermore, the company did not limit to a single set, but issued and its second part under the same complex name “3rd Fallschirmjäger Divison + KingTiger Henschel Production - Ardennes 1944”, but of course mentioning “Part 2”.

Since the beginning the content of both kits have made a strong impression among the target groups, and it is normal to be like that while all the 1/72 Figure Pro series issued by Dragon are scaled-down versions of their illustrious 1/35 figure sets, the manufacturer succeeding to move in the smaller scale nearly all details featured on the larger minis, reiterating that barriers between the two scales are almost inexistent with the support of nowadays technology.

Furthermore, the smaller scale figures have got a bonus from their producer materialised in a vehicle to accompany or serve as base for the troopers. As title of both sets emphasise, not only to Part 1, but also to Part 2 Dragon allocated the same vehicle, a Henschel King Tiger. This definitely represents a draw-back of the series dedicated to Fallschirmjäger because almost all interested parts would buy at least one time both Parts, in this way acquiring much too many versions of the same Tiger II. It looks like the company had an over-production of Henschel King Tigers and certainly has found the best commercial manner to diminish the stocks. According to Dragon, the vehicle should be regarded as a “bonus”, but although much cheaper than if bought individual, some of its costs are reflected in the price asked for the Figure Pro kits. Nevertheless, in offering the same vehicle for both sets the manufacturer is fully covered, the poses of all Fallschirmjäger figures being inspired after a series of reference images taken in Ardennes while riding a King Tiger. In addition, those images present soldiers copied in both sets as mounted on the same tank, so for a perfect depiction of reality, both sets are necessary.   

In spite delivering an identical vehicle, Part 1 and Part 2 deserve their money, proposing not only incredibly detailed and in dissimilar minis, but also the sprue of figures as well as those with separate gear and weapons are multiplied one time, so a huge amount of premium sculptured equipment to remain for the spare box.

The kit is marketed in the large box type having as front artworks one taken from the 1/35 kit featuring the soldiers and another with the King Tiger set in center. Practically, the same vehicle is included on both Part 1 and 2 boxes, the difference being given by the troopers. Also the image with the weapons enclosed on the back of the box is identical with that already presented in Part 1, but obviously the photos with the troopers are unlike. The box takes in two sprues of figures, two sprues of equipment, two sprues of weapons as well as the sprues of the vehicle, decals and assembly guide, so a very similar content as for Part 1. Evidently, the assembly instructions differs only for figures and as the previous one, give complete information on how to put together and paint the army-men as well as the King Tiger.

The here presented review does not take into attention the vehicle, rather sticking to the figures, but modellers interested in it might find first-rate ones on various web-sites.

As previously pointed out, the parts for theFallschirmjägers are supplied on two identical sprues, the modeller having the great opportunity to assemble them both in standard and converted poses, especially bearing in mind that the figs are multi-part, with separate busts, legs, arms, heads, weapons, and gear. It should  be highlighted Part 2 is more suitable for conversions while all troopers stand, in Part 1 two sit, one leans against the turret and just a single one stands, so narrower spaces on the matter. The standing soldiers can be easily converted in various purposes including, but not limiting, to guarding or combat. For this reason, not only Dragon body parts, weapons and gear are useful, but also Preiser or even several Caesar ones, all those being in hard plastic as the figures, easily gluing in place with any standard modelling glue (polly-cement). Exactly like the sprue of figures from Part 1, also the present one incorporates except the body parts, the same four optional bare heads, one Sten Mk2, one knife, one glove, one mess-tin attached to a folded bread-bag and three Fallschirmjäger helmets, one with camouflage cloth and two with foliage nets.

The sprue of equipment comprises 4 entrenching tools, 4 shovels, 4 bayonets in sheaths, one binoculars, 4 mess-tins, 4 canteens, 4 gas mask containers, 4 gas mask containers with rolled gas cape pouches, 4 Zeltbahns, 4 bread bags, 4 gas cape pouches, 8 Kar98K ammunition pouches, 4 StG44 ammunition pouches, 4 MP40 ammunition pouches, 2 Gewehr43 ammunition pouches, 2 map cases, 1 MG gunner case, 2 pistols holsters for 9 mm P-08 Parabellum/P-38 Walther, 2 pistols holsters for 7.65 mm Walther, 1 pistol holster for 6.35 mm Sauer and two Kar98K bandoleers. The MP40 and StG44 ammunition pouches are on pairs, the ones for left hand side pouch having the additional small pocket stitched to the left side and the others for the right hand side pouch without small pocket. A remarkable feature of the large majority of Dagon’s gear represents detailing on both sides, although the inner ones would not be perceptible after gluing in position, those might support the hobbyist to correctly emplace the item as well as if set as thrown on the seat of a vehicle, table, etc.

The armament sprue includes 3 Gewehr43, 3 Kar98K, 1 MG34, 1 MG42, 2 folded and 2 opened bipods for MGs, 1 StG44, 1 MP40 with shoulder stock folded, 1 MP40 with shoulder stock opened, and a Sten Mk2, its side magazine being delivered separately next to it. On the same sprue but in a separate location, there are supplied 4 standard and 4 Fallschirmjäger steel helmets. 

Originating from the same images, these troopers are again in relaxed stances while riding the Tiger II, like their colleagues from Part 1, most of them smoking. Only one does not do it, preferring to stay still and watch his comrades, one smokes and the other two figures are designed for recreating a brilliant assemble, one offering a fire from his cigarette to a pal in a tremendously natural manner. Definitely during WWII cigarette consumption reached its climax, an impressive number of photographed or filmed materials stressing the idea. It is normal to be like that, cigarette often being the only friend of the soldier, calming him down in difficult or boring moments, during brakes or even in combat and too many times, put into his mouth by a friendly comrade, remaining unfinished. It is Dragon’s plus point of depicting reality as it was, in a spectacular manner, although at first glance these soldiers do almost nothing, in fact they carry out one of the most frequent activity, much more than combat. Diverging than in the artwork, cigarettes are not featured but the positions of palms and the hard plastic material allow the owner to easily fit scratch-built ones, the facile approach being some made of melted hard plastic sprue.

As their colleagues from Set 1, also these ones dress the classic uniform, with Jump smock, paratrooper trousers, ankle boots and Fallschirmjäger helmets, attire in full accordance with the images of the period and with the one that served as model. Instructions advise to add to these troopers three Gewhr43 and one StG44 but except the bandoleer forgot providing guidelines for the ammunition pouches. Of course, that can be easily corrected by the modeller otherwise it would be hard to believe that these Ardennes soldiers would have gone to war without ammunition. Photographed paratroopers making use of StG44 are quite rare, and the images Dragon used for achieving these poses are some of those. Of course, bearing in mind the role of Fallschirmjäger after 1941, more as an elite infantry than air-bone units, then their weapon and gear endowment become closer to infantry, existing plenty of information with paratroopers wearing infantry steel helmets, equipment, footwear, and trousers. Guidelines for setting the gear are presented, and those could be followed or the hobbyist to add those as he desires, but with paying attention to historical accuracy. For this reason, it would be wise pistol holsters not to miss, pistol representing a personal weapon of paratroopers as a specialized unit.

Putting together the standard poses is a real pleasure, the parts finely fitting in their locations and leading to some impressive stances with very human movements and attitudes. Because of these reasons, assembling figures from one spue as indicated by manufacturer is almost mandatory as it is for the second spure to carry out conversion actions.

Sculpture and the outstanding level of small details immediately impress, attire being perfect carved and featuring accurate length for smocks, pockets, even the gravity knife one, creases, and stitches. The proportions of the human body are entirely kept, with the exception of bare heads which emerge a hair over-scaled. Faces express human feelings through marvellous sculptured eyes, eye-brows, noses, mouths, ears, and hair-cuts. No finger is missing and hands normally grip weapons or bend as holding cigarettes. Gear and weapons are in the same line with the figures, revealing unbelievable amount of small details like straps, buttons, and buckles. Casting is faultless not only in terms of details, but also regarding flash, the product coming clean of flash and excess of material, quite normal based on the multi-part solution adopted. Painting raises no problem, the material immediately accepting and holding enamel, acrylics or artistic oils even during heavily handling. 

Famous companies like Preiser, ESCI, Orion, Italeri, Caesar, Zvezda, CMK, and  MIG Productions depicted the well-known Fallschirmjäger, but Dragon’s it is the one succeeding to offer the most real appearance of those units as well as the most accurate and detailed. In terms of best compatibility Zvezda would be the closest, obviously after the comrades from Part 1 together with whom the second Part was created. Perhaps the future Pegasus Hobbies WWII German Paratroopers would put forward great companions for the Dragon versions.  

Incorporating two sprues of impressively detailed figures with a huge potential of conversions, the kits on Fallschirmjägers represent exceptions within Dragon’s Pro Figure series. Furthermore, the supply of plenty items of gear and weapons on the accompanying sprues bring a major contribution for increasing the general valour of the set, exactly like its predecessor. Created for diorama builders and collectors, these minis are easily turned into combat or other stances closer to wargaming, so it might represent a point of attraction for gamers, as well. Likewise, gathering on the same vehicle the paratroopers of Part 1 and 2, perhaps the smoke of their cigarettes will overcome the one produced by the King Tiger itself, but just like that situation was, fully acknowledged by the reference photos from where these awesome poses descend. Except courage, intensive training, and front line practice, one of the main strength of Fallschirmjäger relied on comrade spirit and friendship, the two Parts of the series dedicated by Dragon to them reveling in a brilliant manner exactly such relations.    

 

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