Articles

Orion - German Panzer Soldiers Set5 (ORI7205R) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Orion
Scale 1/72
Set Code ORI7205R
Year 2012
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Cream / Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 – 1945

 Review 

After the noteworthy success of first four sets on Panzer soldiers belonging to the quite new established resin line, Orion took the wonderful decision to expand the range and brought on the market similar troopers. In this purpose, the company continued the fruitful collaboration with Boris Knokhov, the author of all Orion resin masters, and issued a series of three sets in the first months of 2012. Still, the novel arrivals introduce an original thing, if the first four sets featured just three miniatures, the following ones put forward four figures, more precisely three new stances and another one, considered as bonus, being offered free of charge by the producer. Those bonus figs had already been made available inside previous sets, the reason of duplicating the troopers in case representing the lobby activity carried out by the sculptor in order that his remarkable work not to be reduced by casting mistakes, particularly on account the faults were minor and easy to fix. However, it must be appreciated the complete readiness of the company to provide a proper answer to those matters and the repaired figurines were supplied as bonus inside the following Basic sets. No matter the miniatures are cast as single piece, the level of detail is top notch and put in valour the impressive sculpture of these soldiers, inspired by notorious and not so known images from WWII.

In addition, the four sets of the continuation of Basic Panzer sets record a fresh development in terms of artwork. The first offers received a simpler one consisting in a black and white image of the masters, the new ones maintaining the same front artwork but on the back showing colour drawings of all toy-soldiers. Created by the sculptor as well, that image should be assessed as a precise painting guideline, perfectly depicting not only close colours of the original clothes worn by the Panzer army-men which were taken as models from various WWII references, but also other small details like collar boards, Iron Cross ribbons, or medals. In this light, the submitted painting guide should be followed without hesitations although the final result might reveal another look than the customary well-known all black Panzer uniform. Nevertheless, the proposed appearance is highly accurate and realistic, the Panzer troopers often dressing on the frontline various items of clothing, either combining or not pieces of garment of their black uniform.

On the other hand, in summer 2012, Orion kept surprising the WWII German fans with a fantastic soft plastic set titled “German WWII Panzer Soldiers (Basic Set 1)” which practically duplicates in cheap plastic the much more expensive resin figures previously included inside the seven sets of the line available at that moment.  Miniatures from all those tenders were selected to constitute the thirteen pose plastic set, the producer choosing from each resin offer a single, a couple, or all three poses. Moreover, the front and back artworks of the soft plastic set are mainly based on those deployed for the resin line, grouping the designated poses in the same picture. Likewise, it should be mentioned that all figures from Basic Set 5, here reviewed, have been included inside the soft plastic “German WW2 Panzer Soldiers Basic Set 1”.

The first of the next three set series of WW2 German Panzer Soldiers Basic sets, and the fifth in the entire range, comes in the classic transparent plastic bag and with the new style cardboard artwork. The package confers no protection during transportation, but due to the good quality resin, corroborated with the lack of very exposed parts, and with little luck, the troopers might reach the customers undamaged. Nevertheless, wise it would be checking before opening if the figurines are intact, otherwise special attention should be granted in order to identify in the bag, recover, and glue in its place, any broken piece.

The front artwork shows the three new poses followed by a “+” for delimiting the bonus miniature, this time a Panzer commander initially displayed within Basic Set 2 of the series. By its inclusion, the producer tries and fully succeeds to repair a casting mistake encountered at the first issue, respectively the end part of the index the officer points with was missing there. At present, the miniature arrives with his entire finger in place, and the same appearance he has in the soft plastic version, as being duplicated there, too. Such pose is met in more reference images, in particular in a series of photos taken when an officer gave guidelines to a crew in maintenance activities. Easily identified after the peak cap, this officer is an expert on account the Iron Cross and the two ribbons, Panzer Assault Badge, and Wound Badge, all awards being arranged on the left side of the wrapper. This is the only figure of Basic Set 5 smartly dressed, in standard Panzer uniform and with Panzer tie, item sporadically worn on the front line, not only at parades. He shoes boots and is armed with a pistol in holster on the right hip. In a calm but severe attitude, the miniature is suitable for various roles, either in combat or back line, coordinating maintenance activities or giving other orders to his subordinates.

The new figures introduced by Basic Set 5 are one soldier in coverall and two wearing the combination Panzer wrapper with infantry or working trousers. Both the artwork which illustrates the pants painted in feldgrau, and the cut and small details of the trousers worn by the troopers clearly emphasise these are not the Panzer model, but others, perhaps the M33 HBT working pants. Nevertheless, bearing in mind it is about Braille Scale figs, corroborated with the existing similitudes in terms of cuts and details, the trousers can be painted in various shades of green or gray, as infantry or drill ones, plenty of films and photos of the period demonstrating that Panzer soldiers often combined various pieces of uniforms.

One bareheaded tanker dressed like that bends in front and reaches out his left hand, being more than suitable to mount on a vehicle, trying to help a colleague from the ground to get on the vehicle or to load ammunition. Obviously, this soldier might perform other activities as well, such as calling somebody inside the tank, propping his left hand on the hatch. The wrapper follows the move in a more than realistic manner, rising a little at the back, just enough for perceiving the horizontal fit adjustment strap and related buckle of the trousers, a perfect element reemphasizing sculptor’s special aptitudes.

The other soldier wearing Panzer wrapper and infantry or working trousers has got M34 overseas cap and comes seated in a very common position, straight, with legs crossed and arms resting on the body. He put on a belt but without pistol and shoe ankle boots, portraying a conventional Panzer crewman, also decorated with an Iron Cross ribbon and a Panzer Assault Badge. The miniature is suitable to take a sit in various locations on a vehicle but he can find a place in a chair, barrel, fence, tree-trunk etc.

Nevertheless, the most interesting figure of the set from attire point of view is the soldier in coverall, an item of garment often dressed by Panzer troopers. Over twenty models of coveralls, officially delivered by army depots, tailor made, of civil origins or even captured were worn by WWII German soldiers, and the type here proposed seems a standard pattern. This coverall has a large flapped chest pocket on the left hand side, elastic cuffs, waist adjustment tie and the artwork shows a breast eagle on the right, a detail that can be added or not when painting the miniature because often those items of clothing had no insignia. Coveralls were cut larger and could be worn over uniform as well, but our figure has only shirt below and the open collar and bare head indicate a warm environment. The soldier keeps his left hand deep in the pocket while the right rests on something pretty tall such as a vehicle, building or fence. He stays in an extremely lifelike pose and the miniature copies a Panther crew member, possibly even the commander of the tank, as illustrated by a fairly known image of the period. Such interpretation is further enhanced by the brilliant facial details and haircut, closely reproducing the real soldier in reference. Moreover, a nice touch is the pistol holster worn in front on the left hand side, from here we can draw the conclusion that he is in mission, either on or very close to the frontline.

Carrying out activities in connexion with numerous vehicles, images and films shot during WWII often present Panzer army-men in coveralls, either during maintenance activities or in battle. Crewmen of heavy tanks like Tiger and Panther, very exposed to breakages, frequently dressed in combat items of clothing designed for maintenance. Regulations enforced that the WWII German soldier had to receive a work or fatigue suit together with the uniform, the work attire being issued in a huge number of shapes, cuts, and colours. Likewise, the tankers carrying out heavy tasks as maintenance got work suits and obviously, for Panzer troopers, coveralls were widely spread.

Due to the way they are dressed, just as the entire Orion’s resin line, these Panzer crewmen aims at warm or eventually, temperate climates. The Panzer wrapper, with larger and pointed ends collar, seam down the middle of the back, front edge cut back diagonally, as well as breast eagle, enhance that sculptor concentrated on Wehrmacht troopers. However, bearing in mind that Waffen SS also often put on the Heer wrapper and not their specific one, cut straight down, without the seam down of the back and with smaller and rounded tips collar, after removing the breast eagle and possibly paint it on the left sleeve, these tankers can straightaway join Waffen SS. Of course, the mini in coverall raises less issues in establishing his membership, particularly if not painting the breast eagle. Such items of garment offer the hobbyist the chance to select the colours he wants, including various camouflage patterns, not just the ones recommended in the artwork. Additionally, by painting the wrapper in feldgrau, these Panzer soldiers will be instantly transformed into more than authentic Sturm Artillery troopers.

The poses are extremely lifelike and the huge assortment of clothes registered within the crewmen of a Panzer, attested by huge numbers of references, makes possible to emplace these four figs on a single tank. Nevertheless, the miniatures have to be regarded in a border sense, in conjunction with the other offers in the line. The eight Orion resin sets issued until now propose an impressive range of attire, and if possessing those, hobbyists might find many ways for combining the Panzer army-men, according to type of clothes and performed activities. For instance, a good choice could be grouping the soldier in coverall with others wearing fatigue attire for reproducing a genuine scene of a vehicle in maintenance.

Masterly sculptured by Boris Knokhov, the scale fidelity and unbelievable level of small details really impress, uniform insignia, buttons, buckles, shirt collars, natural creases and authentic flaps and stitches exciting the viewer from the very first contact with these miniatures. The overall proportions of bodies are fine and faces received perfect features, eyes, eye-brows, noses, mouths, ears, and hair being crisply carved. At their turn, palms astonish not only with their size, but also through the premium quality of the fingers, bending in the expected manner.

Mould and cast may rise few issues, though most often these are great and put in valour the sculptor’s work at its true value. On the two sets purchased for the present review, the quality of the cast slightly varied, few air-bubbles being discovered as well as in one set, a larger hole on the right leg of the soldier in coverall, more precisely the one presented in the images accompanying the review as converted, wearing a black overall and a different head with M34 overseas cap. Nonetheless, the potential casting mistakes can be fairly easily solved with white putty or similar materials. Some flash and thin film are encountered on the pieces, but a sharp blade effortlessly removes the undesired things. In spite cast as single pieces, excess of resin completely misses and the material utilised is of high quality, not breakable and superbly hosting enamel, acrylics or artistic oils, retaining the painting effort in proper conditions even if the troopers are intensively handled. As a resin product mostly targeting figs designed for vehicles, these crewmen arrive without bases, but both the officer and the soldier in coverall can perfectly stay on the ground, too. Anyway, all the standing miniatures have got a good balance and stand without additional support, essential features for better checking how they would go in the envisaged locations. Principally addressing static modeller builders and some collectors, the resistant resin and the excellence of poses and attire may attract gamers as well, even if the four figure set is quite expensive.

Belonging to the tall side of 1/72 scale, the present tankers not only supremely match their comrades from Orion’s line, but also the large number of Panzer soldiers released by mass-production and cottage industry. Bearing in mind the remarkable quality, recommended would be also top figures, Dragon, Preiser, El Viejo Dragon, and CMK providing excellent answers in the field, complying from the point of view of fine weather clothes, too.

The continuation of the resin line proved to be a marvellous idea and the following sets demonstrate the manufacturer has gained more experience and learnt the lessons of the first four sets of the series. In addition, starting with the here reviewed set, the company has introduced new and attractive concepts for the following offers, namely four figures  as well as a back artwork giving first-rate painting instructions. The top-notch miniatures included within Basic Set 5 simply reiterates the notable research work for highest accuracy and the exceptional abilities of the sculptor in recreating full details, no matter the size, essential attributes of the world-wide praised Orion’s 1/72 Panzer soldiers. 

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