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D-Day - German Waffen SS Officers – Normandy 1944 (72001) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer D-Day Miniature Studio
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72001
Year 2013
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Light Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945 


Review 

Thanks to the outstanding skills of particular sculptors, corroborated with the remarkable technology development, sometimes the differences in terms of details between Braille and larger scale figures are almost inexistent, the small ones sharing the same qualities. Nevertheless, such performances are achieved by a very short but selected list of 1/72 cottage industry makers and mass-production Dragon which managed to scale down few figs of their highly acclaimed 1/35 range. In a certain manner, it is an immense pleasure for 1/72 collectors to find and possess miniatures totally comparable with 1/35 scale, also the small ones having the advantages of requiring less space for display and lower price. 

D-Day Miniature Studio is a Polish resin manufacturer, specialised in 1/35 scale and which makes available several 1/72 figure sets on WWII German Army. The company does not enjoy yet the fame it deserves, in accordance with the premium miniature they issue. It is a fantastic experience holding in the palm one of their 1/72 creations and it is virtually impossible not to be charmed from the first glance by the incredible level of small details, pushed to the very limit, ideal anatomy, brilliant faces, top accuracy, and perfect cast. The combination of all these characteristics turn the miniatures incorporated within “German Waffen SS Officers – Normandy 1944” into ultimate Braille Scale soldiers, on a leading position inside the top of best all time 1/72 figures.    

For fully matching the wonderful content, D-Day proposes an elegant package for the 1/72 sets and since the very beginning, the fine quality of the cardboard box and the excellent artwork draw customers’ attention, in the same time making a promise concerning the top-notch products available inside. The blue box is printed on both sides, featuring the name and logo of the company and it emerges universal for the 1/72 range on account the artwork is represented by a sticker fixed on the package. The excellent artwork introduces the painted version of the three army-men of the set, displayed in a small vignette as chatting, and states the title of the set and its code. Likewise, it informs us that the miniatures are sculptured and painted by Pawel Krasicki, a not so often encountered thing the sculptor to paint its own creation and, in some extent, this might justify the awesome artwork. Evidently, the painting guidelines generously granted by the sculptor/painter should be followed without hesitations even if a couple of aspects appear not so crystal clear. Perhaps in the image the light when taking the photo influenced a little the original colours of few items of clothing and these will be referred few paragraphs below when starting to describe each officer individually. The miniatures are simply set in a small plastic bag, without any additional protection but the shape of the box and the way those are cast are sufficient the content to arrive in safe conditions. The pieces are arranged on thee slots, two for the bodies and one holding all heads and body parts requiring assembly. Putting together the figs is a matter of seconds, the hobbyist having to glue only the heads, one arm, and one palm. Dealing with resin, the job should be done with cyanoacrylate, superglue gel making an almost indestructible bond. Neither assembly guide nor numbered parts or similar hints are supplied but the artwork image is more than sufficient for making no mistake in adjusting in the proper manner the three heads, arm, and palm. 

As title strongly emphasises, company’s intention is to provide Waffen SS officers during Normandy 1944 and definitely this is what we get, the figure creator orienting to some specific items of clothing defining Waffen SS and evoking the referred region in a certain manner. Nevertheless, they can be deployed on all other fronts as well, but surely the period is the Late War one, after 1943. The most recommended environment is the temperate one though, in some extent, they can find a place in a chilly summer or warmer winter day. With the exception of the army-man with officer cap, the other two may act not only as officers, but also as NCOs or privates. In conformity with what these army-men dress, the set introduces two Panzer and one Infantry representatives, the officer with peak cap belonging to any kind of infantry, artillery or other terrestrial unit due to his ankle boots and gaiters. The sculptor surprises them in relaxed positions, chatting and sharing experiences from the battle-field or during a briefing session before the fight. Undoubtedly, they perfectly interact and succeed to recreate a tremendously realistic scene. 

The officer with peak cap put on him the famous Kradmantel which he wears full open, below being perceived very clear a M43 tunic, shirt, and trousers. In the artwork the tunic is painted as made of Italian camouflage, but modellers can choose another camouflage pattern for tunic and even for trousers. Issued particularly for motorcycle units since 1934, the Kradmantel was a specialised item of clothing for protecting the riders against rain, dust, dirt, and moisture. Made of rubberised cotton twill, through various features, the Kradmantel had a lay down feldgrau wool collar, a front closure with dual buttons and a unique button system for wrapping the bottom tail around the legs, a half back belt, two large diagonally angled slash hip pockets with button down flaps, and a large ventilation shoulder yoke. Except collar boards, insignia was forbidden on those mantels, and the waffenfarbe the hobbyist decides to paint both on the shoulder boards and cap will indicate the unit this officer belongs. Because utility and fancy look, Kradmantel became extremely popular and frequently worn by troopers belonging to other units although regulations set up clear interdictions on the matter. As plenty of images of the period show, officers highly appreciated the Kradmantel and proudly worn it, so it is more than great D-Day finally makes available such a 1/72 miniature. Moreover, the Kradmantel dressed by the D-Day’s officer transposes in Braille Scale all the characteristics of the garment, recording the above described specifics as well as the correct number and location of buttons, including those from the bottom of the skirt, the original shape of front closure, and the cuffs with the button system. The officer has either a broken or wounded right arm, bandaged and supported by a strap rolled around the neck. Modellers may highlight a wound through painting some blood on the bandage but as also the artwork reveals, perhaps it is about a broken arm, such accidents being frequent on the font-line. The stance adopted by the officer is really perfect and ideally lifelike, the whole attitude being supported by the separate head that can be set in various positions and angles. To this figure the left palm should be glued in its place but the choice of leaving it aside, as the arm stays below the Kradmantel, might be valid, too. It is awesome the sculptor considered to release an officer wearing Kradmantel and enriched the hobby with an awesome miniature, filling in a key gap of Braille Scale tender on 1/72 WWII Germans.    

The other two resin soldiers embody Panzer officers, one of them staying still with both hands deep in the pockets while his comrade signals something by pointing with the left hand. To this not only the head, but also the left arm should be glued, of course, various angles being possible for the head and just a little play with the height of the arm, dictated by the normal joint between arm and shoulder. The officer preferred the U-Boot leather jacket, M41 HBT Panzer uniform trousers, M43 cap, and ankle bots, being also the single army-man of the set clearly endowed with a weapon, a pistol in the holster. The combination of his items of clothing is very attractive, in spite the fairly wide-spread distribution of leather U-Boot jackets among Panzer troopers, in the 1/72 scale the offer illustrating the subject appears very limited. Nevertheless, the gap can be covered by reverting to U-Boot crew sets, but there, most of the times, the figures wear the full leather suit formed by jacket and trousers. Those items were also integrally utilised by some Panzer units after 1943, when large stocks of leather were confiscated from Italy and the tailored garments were delivered to U-Boot and Waffen SS, many of those reaching the 12th Panzer Division in Normandy. However, the clothes grouping proposed by D-Day is more attractive, the M41 HBT Panzer trousers being immediately spotted after the large pocket on the left thigh. Usually those trousers were available in two colours, namely reed green or mouse gray and a feldgrau version was issued for assault artillery units. In addition, similar cut pants were tailored using camouflage cloth in various Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, and Italian camouflage patterns. At the beginning, the 1941 HBT Panzer uniform was supplied only to Wehrmacht units but because of the front large pockets, both the tunic and its matching pants becme extremely popular among front line soldiers and in Waffen SS such items were very desired and appreciated, too. The sculptor/painter finished the trousers as made of Italian camouflage, but as previously mentioned, hobbyists have broad options for painting those. The sharply carved eagle on the left hand side of the M43 cap emphasises officer’s membership to Waffen SS and for enrolling him in a Heer unit, the eagle must be removed and the trousers to be painted in the appropriate colour. Although extremely easy, the transformation is not recommended because it will be a pity loosing the opportunity of having a perfect Waffen SS Panzer crewman.     

The officer with both hands in his pockets and M34 overseas cap put on the Panzer wrapper, shirt, trousers, and ankle boots. Special to this figure are his pants which certainly are not the standard Panzer model issued together with the wrapper, but another type. The artwork does not help us too much, the trousers appearing as made of the same material as the wrapper. However, according to the their larger cut, way of folding, lack of back-pockets, and stitches clearly noticed above the knees, a more appropriate interpretation would be leather pants, often dressed by Panzer units in the Late Stage of war, including Normandy. Same as the U-Boot leather jacket, the matching trousers composed the attire delivered for engine section and some deck personnel of U-Boot, black for engine workers and gray for the others. Although in general the Panzer units received black leather suits, occasionally those made in gray leather were supplied as well, some images of the period highlighting the situation. Unarmed, the officer decided to use a pair of suspenders to better secure and also put his wrapper into the trousers, the larger cut allowing such wear. A particular remark should refer to the wrapper, even if the title accentuates it is about a Waffen SS figure, fact supported by the eagle set on the upper left arm, the shape of collar defines Wehrmacht and not Waffen SS. The Panzer wrapper was slightly different for Waffen SS and Wehrmacht, which had a larger and with pointed ends collar while on Waffen SS the collar was smaller and with rounded tips. A seam down the middle of the back featured the Wehrmacht wrapper and the Waffen SS had none. Moreover, the Wehrmacht version wrapped more and the front edge was cut back diagonally while the Waffen-SS model didn't wrap so much and was cut straight down, but such dissimilarity is hardly perceptible on an 1/72 mini. Anyway, the minor issue of the wrapper does not affect with anything the accuracy of the figure especially bearing in mind that quite often Waffen SS Panzer soldiers and officers dressed the Heer model, perhaps due to limited stocks of dedicated SS wrappers. Numerous historical photos, including some of most famous Waffen SS Panzer commanders, as well as filmed materials present them wearing the Wehrmacht wrapper, the eagle being displayed either in the correct place for SS or simply let in its initial position, on the breast right side. This officer is undoubtedly very skilful, on the left hand side of the chest he proudly set an Iron Cross ribbon as well as an Iron Cross and a Panzer Assault Badge. On top of all these complex sculptured details, the hair sets out as a marvellous reproduction, the haircut, with few hairs waving in the air being one of the best we have the occasion to encounter in 1/72 scale, when looking at him we almost feel the wind breeze touching his hair. Considering the outstanding details abounding on the mini, the remarkable accuracy of the clothes and of the other items as well as the impressive anatomy, it can be easily assessed that we are in the presence of a 1/72 masterpiece, an imposing achievement in terms of sculpture and cast. 

As emphasised several times along the review, the sculpture of these miniature is faultless, impeccable both in terms of anatomy and attire. Facial details impress with their perfectly carved eyes, eye-brows, noses, mouths, cheeks, chins, and ears which thanks to a marvellous cast are a little further from the heads, paying attention to the human nature. Likewise, it should be marked the stunning hair and haircuts, fully complementing the charm of these miniatures. As all the body-parts, palms are in scale and respect the normal proportions, fingers being flawlessly set and defined in spite the tinny size. The items of clothing emerge extremely accurate and crisp, featuring all specific characteristics, including small ones such as buttons, shoulder and collar boards, eagles and other insignia, stitches, pockets as well as noteworthy creases, correctly folding. Incredible is also how the collar ends of the Kradmantel stay, a little raised and at a distance from the coat. Moreover, the space between the fold back lapels and the mantel are visible very clear, a terrific performance for Braille Scale. 

Obviously, the outstanding quality of these figures had to be supported by a perfect mould and cast, the producer succeeding to fulfil the difficult task in a brilliant manner, not only that all details carved on the minis, even intricate ones, are spotlessly done, but also the pieces are virtually flash-less and no excess of material is encountered. Furthermore, not even the smallest air-bubble could be discovered on the reviewed sample, so except few seconds allocated to take out the parts from the slots and clean the thin amount of flash, hobbyists have nothing to do for preparing the figures for painting. The assembly is extremely simple and parts go admirable in position, the top quality resin terrifically accepting not only cyanoacrylate but also enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, retaining the artistic effort despite heavy handling. These figurines are without bases but benefit by an extraordinary balance, great for checking, before permanent sticking, how they fit in the designated positions either in a diorama or on a vehicle. The two tankers can instantly find a place on a Panzer, StuG or other armour as well as the Infantry officer, joint briefing sessions held even on a vehicle characterising the WWII German Army, as lots of references attest. Designed for static modellers and collectors, the figures might greatly work on the wargaming table if the price does not represent an impediment. 

Released in the tall side of the scale, these officers find lots of soldiers to command, both in Infantry and Panzer units. Good examples in the field, featuring similarly sized and quality figures, are sets made available by mass-production and cottage industry reps as Dragon, Preiser, Orion, Warriors, Mantis, Kami de Koro Koro, TQD Castings etc. Moreover, it should not be ignored the sets on U-Boot crews accommodating troopers in protective leather suits, CMK, Andrea, Hecker and Goros making considerable efforts for supplying such crewmen. On the other hand, the officer in Kradmantel can act as a commander of a motorcycle unit, troopers wearing the same item of clothing being reachable inside Armourfast's "WWII German Zundapp Motorcycle" and "WWII German BMW with Sidecar", MIG Production’s “German Kradmelder”, El Viejo Dragon’s “German Recon Group”, Martello International’s Halt!Feldgendarme”, TQD Castings’s “1944 Ardennes Waffen SS Command”, Preiser’s "Military Police. Guards", Hasegawa's "Schwimmwagen & Kettenkrad" and in conformity with the size, he definitely goes best with the Preiser and TQD Castings versions.         

It is almost unbelievable how the sculptor succeeded to transform three figures doing almost nothing into some of the most attractive miniatures available in Braille Scale. Pawel Krasicki’s deep attention to the most insignificant aspect, the outstanding sculpture skills and knowledge on WWII Germans as well as the great care in reproducing each and every detail, no matter the size, combined with an ideal cast and first quality material impose these figures as true masterpieces. Charming in their simplicity, in brilliant lifelike poses and on the crest of accuracy “German Waffen SS Officers – Normandy 1944” forwards something special in the field, a set that must be closely considered by all collectors, diorama builders, and gamers whishing to own or use ultimate figures in 1/72 scale, fully comparable with large scale counterparts. The requested price might be initially regarded as quite restrictive, those wanting to purchase these 1/72 officers having to pay around 12 Euro. Nevertheless, the minis deserve any penny paid and the impressive quality fully rewards the financial effort, transforming into a true sensation even the simple act of holding in the hand these works of art.

 

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