Articles

CMK - Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry (F72180) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer CMK
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72180
Year 2007
No. of Figures/Horses 2/2
No. of Poses/Horses 2/2
Additional Items None
Size Medium
Material Resin
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Excellent (Super-glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review  

Since the human being succeeded to tame the horse, one of the main designations for this noble animal has been as a trustful partner in war. Starting from the ancient period, cavalry was perceived as an elite unit and played a major role in all battles till the appearance of vehicles powered by engine and great rate fire power weapons. Nevertheless, even in such conditions, horses were involved in huge numbers during the WWII, and it should be underlined that it was both the war implying the largest number of horses ever known and the last one in which horses occupied a central position.

In spite of being known as having one of the most mechanized army, the Germans still granted key duties to the oldest mean of transportation, the horse. The places where most of them served were always the roughest such as Russia or mountain areas, the terrain conditions requiring an important contribution that could be brought only by horse, a contribution also revealed inside tons of reference materials of the period. Nevertheless, the horse did not restrain only to such zones, they were found all over the sectors where the German Army fought, being used not only for pulling artillery pieces, wagons or field kitchens, but also creating cavalry regiments, brigades, divisions, inside Wehrmacht and even Waffen SS-generally perceived as Elite.

The history of German Cavalry in WWII began in 1939 and ended in 1945, thing that highlights the great appreciation and importance of Cavalry in the view of German commanders, the mounted units covering tasks such as reconnaissance, attacks against advancing or retreating enemy and fast interventions for filling the gaps in the front lines or occupying key objectives. Inside Wehrmacht there were established many Cavalry divisions, regiments, corps and brigades while two of the most well-known Waffen SS mounted units are the 8th SS Cavalry Division (Florian Geyer) and 22nd SS-Freiwilligen Kavallerie Division (Maria Theresia).

At 1/72, the impressive number of horses used by Germans is merely reflected inside few sets with a number of figures far capable to portray a Cavalry unit while gathering the soldiers from all these sets, we hardly get eleven poses of German mounted troopers.

On the one hand, CMK's set on the topic is one of the scantiest from the point of view of number of poses, but on the other hand, due to high quality pieces and conversion possibilities, it probably depicts the best the WWII German Cavalry in the scale. Manufactured in resin, the set includes only a couple of fighters and their horses, and taking into consideration the fragility of material, it is more addressed to diorama builders and collectors than wargamers. Inside the CMK common small box, it can be seen what we purchase, some quality figures and horses coming on separate sprues. Each rider has separate head and arms which are on the same sprue with the body as well as a weapon for one of them. Horses will also require assembly because their heads are on other sprues. The last two sprues are identically and incorporate some equipment for both the horses and soldiers, namely the two pouches attached to the saddle, the rolled blanket and two gas mask containers. At first impression, it may be strange to have two gas mask containers for each soldier, but most probably, the manufacturer's intention was to provide one containing the gasmask for the man and one with the Paardengasmasker PFE 38, a special gasmask for the horse used together with separate goggles. For joining the pieces, super glue gel is the most recommended, it has great success and creates a really strong bond between them.

Though entitled "Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry", judging after the camouflage patterns and collar boards showing the ranks, the artwork of the box portrays two Waffen SS soldiers and not Wehrmacht troopers. Nevertheless, due to the fact that both units had the same type of cloths, the owner of the set has to decide in which army to enlist his soldiers, the difference being done according to the particular camouflage patterns and collar boards. Both soldiers wear M38 camouflage smock, riding breeches, marching boots and on heads one has the M43 field cap and the other the steel helmet that may be painted with camouflage cloth even if this is not so evident. There are several interesting aspects found on both camouflage smocks, the soldiers wear them loose and not tight, allowing in this way to be seen the tunic and are also rolled them up till the waist. Such a detail is rarely encountered in scale in spite of often appearance in reference materials. In addition, the collars of the tunics are visible and supply enough space for collar boards. The same garment was seen at German soldiers in all the seasons, but bearing in mind the thickness of the uniforms, these figures are more designed for warm periods. 

Concerning the gear, both have "Y" straps, canteen, bread bag and gas mask container, last item being given separately and may be glued in its place or not. The soldier with M43 cap worn in an out of ordinary, but funny and realistic pose, has on his back a MP40 and one ammo pouch for his weapon. Likewise, he also has a map case and binoculars on his chest, equipment showing that he is an NCO. An out of the ordinary aspect is that to his weapon is not fixed the ammo charger. His colleague with steel helmet received a Kar98K, but he lacks the ammo pouches for his weapon. A pleasant and good thing is that on the bodies are clearly seen the weapons straps. According to custom in scale, the stirrups were sculptured on their boots and are also more than visible. The poses accurately depict two riders, greatly fitting the saddles and in a calm attitude on stopped horses.  The NCO holds in both hands the reigns while the other soldier points to something, holding in the other hand the reigns. These soldiers interacts pretty nice and will look fine in a diorama or vignette implying German Cavalry in WWII.  Furthermore, with slight differences, almost the same figures are encountered in 1/35 Dragon set entitled 8th SS Cavalry Division "Florian Geyer" (6064), and either both sets had the same source of inspiration or the Dragon figures were decreased by CMK to 1/72.

At their turn, the horses, more precisely the stallions according to some more than relevant details, are well detailed and properly geared, with M25 saddles, blankets beneath the saddle, girths and bridles. As it was mentioned above, the rolled blanket emplaced at the back of the saddle as well as the M34 left and right pouches attached to the saddle are separate pieces and may be glued or not in their places. Most of the reference materials from the period feature these items, but there are several cases when these miss. Inside the left pouch, known as Pferdegepack (horseshoe pack) were kept horseshoes, nails, brush and other items for horse while inside the right pouch, Reitergepack  (rider pack) the soldiers had their personal stuff. Likewise, photos of the period shows that on the right pouch the German soldiers used to attach the mess tin, a detail also found inside the present set. Horses are finely proportioned, staying in stopped positions, with all legs on the ground, fact that facilitates great stability and discards the need of bases. Their facial expressions as well as the manes and tails are well sculptured, looking like real horses and match very nice with their riders. A problem is the lack of reigns at both horses, a major issue that can be solved scratch building them from hard plastic hot melted sprue or wire. Again super glue gel must be used with great finality, hard plastic and resin responding extremely well to such adhesive. Without reigns the riders will look strange, and in pursuit of accuracy, a little effort must be done, improving a lot the aspect of both the riders and the horses. As it was said earlier, the heads of the horses need to be glued and they did not perfectly fit the trunks, a small gap remaining between them. The fast solution is the use of putty, the hardest, requiring more time is to file, but for a better look, one of these is almost necessary. 

Small details such as collar boards, buttons and creases are easily noticed on the uniforms of these soldiers having fine anatomy and acceptable facial expressions. At such expensive figures, it would be odd to find discrepancies between sizes of gear, weapons or body parts, and of course, it is not the case here. Flash appears in really small amounts and excess of resin is not present at all, but two or three tinny air bubbles on the bodies of horses could be seen. In resin the enamel finds the ideal material which accepts any paint exceedingly well. It should also be pointed out again the care that it must be accorded at detaching the pieces from the sprues, resin is easily breakable and the owner will regret a lot the rush.

Likewise, the size of the body parts, weapons and gear is almost exactly the same with the Preiser's sets, and based on the fact that we are in the presence of a multi-part set, attractive conversions using parts from the last named company are reachable. Nevertheless, the high price of the present set can be a problem in this regard. Furthermore, from the point of view of sizes and garment, these figures perfectly match with those included in Pegasus Hobbies' "Waffen SS Set 2" as well as HaT's "German Mortar Team" and "German MG Team", the emplacement in the same diorama of all these figures being highly recommended. In addition, 1/72 German mounted soldiers are found inside Hat's "German Mounted Infantry", FOV's "German SS Cavalry Division", and Revell's "German Artillery", but the CMK set matches the best from the size criterion with the figures and horses from Revell, even if the uniforms are different.

CMK's "Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry", suitable to represent as well Waffen SS, is one of the first choices for those wanting and needing 1/72 German mounted troops. Its first class quality and the garment worn by these figures will determine many collectors, diorama builders and even wargamers to make efforts for getting it. Moreover, the conversion endless possibilities corroborated with the usage of hard plastic pieces will straightly lead to obtaining some soldiers appearing in representative and well-known reference materials of WWII.

 

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