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Orion - German Panzer Soldiers Set7 (ORI7207R) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Orion
Scale 1/72
Set Code ORI7207R
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 1941 – 1945

 Review 

The last of the second series of three sets expanding the most appreciated Orion’s resin line on Panzer soldiers received the inventory number 7 and goes in the same direction as its predecessors, putting forward German tankers in an unconventional but more than authentic manner for the scale. Practically, this is one central facet of the figures issued by Orion in resin, but obviously, the miniatures charm with other qualities such as intensive research, highest accuracy, perfect anatomy, and the incredible sculpture of Boris Knokhov, who carved in an almost unbelievable way all details, no matter how small those should have been.

Set 7 brings three new figures as well as a bonus one, the content being displayed in a transparent bag set on a cardboard, with a front artwork presenting the masters and the reverse featuring a coloured drawn version of the four poses, also elaborated by the sculptor with the intention of providing appropriate guidelines for painting. Issued perhaps by the most reliable source, these painting indications can be put in practice without any concern, but considering the original pieces of attire recorded lots of variants as regards colours, the hobbyist can differently finish those, too.

Next to the three new figs, the bonus miniature is one envisaged for hatch emplacements, initially made available within Set 1 of the resin series and redistributed in Set 7 in an updated manner, the single modification bringing in the proper size the former slightly smaller head. He wears the classic Panzer wrapper but the pants are different, the specific cut and characteristics highlighting it is about drill or infantry ones. In fact, such interpretation is supported by the artwork, where the item of garment is painted in feldgrau. Of course, a broad range of colours are appropriate and because he is designed to enter in a hatch, where the specific waist small details are impossible to be perceived, the trousers might be painted in black, too. With ankle boots and M34 cap, this is a medalled soldier, wearing the Iron Cross ribbon on the left hand side collar. He stays in a very relaxed stance, with arms crossed on the chest and in standard approach his elbows would rest on the cupola edge. Hundreds of pictures and films show Panzer soldiers in identical postures, so it is an extremely useful miniature, especially because the closed legs allow him sneaking through narrow openings. Moreover, the adopted position permits various settings, either keeping his elbows on something else or laying against a vehicle or other stuff. Alternatively, by simply painting the wrapper in feldgrau, this trooper will be enrolled in Sturm Artillery and can take position in a StuG or another armoured vehicle. The overall appearance of the miniature reminds about a similar one made available within the famous “German Tank Crew” by Preiser in the ‘90s and it is plausible both sculptors followed the same references. Nevertheless, there are evident distinctions between the two figs and a very nice touch to the Orion one is his haircut, with longer hair sharply getting out from the cap as well as the shirt collar staying over the tunic one and the soutache placed in the centre of M34 cap. The waffenfarbe of the soutache must be painted in accordance with the shoulder boards, pink for Panzer or armoured units, red for Assault Artillery or yellow for Signal, as those represented the main units allowed to wear the famous wrapper. Although abolished by regulations in July 1942 and requesting the removal of the existent ones, the soutache continued to be maintained on many caps until the end of war, so no special problem for using this trooper throughout the entire period of WWII.

Another figure clearly designed for hatches, and certainly restricted to such emplacements or in the close proximity of a radio mounted in vehicle or set on a table or other supports, is the one with complete communication equipment, featuring earphones connected through a metal head band, switch housing model “B” and related wires, as well as a throat microphone which is partially hidden by the collar of the tunic. The headset is depicted in an attractive position and the army-man strives to better arrange the earphones with the right hand while with the left holds something around the hatch for maintaining his balance. The palm and fingers can impressively grab a handle or the cupola edge, the miniature fitting well into larger hatches such as those of Tigers, Panthers, or StuGs. Not only the pose, but also his clothes arouse interest, the soldier wearing the second pattern 1941 HBT trousers, identifiable after the large pocket on the left thigh, M43 army tunic, M34 overseas cap, and ankle boots. The infantry M36 or M43 tunic is not so usual at Panzer troops on the battlefield, but still appears in lots of reference materials, especially in Normandy, as well as on other fronts. Most probably the here reviewed tunic is the HBT summer version and on account his attire, this army-man can join not only Panzer, but also Sturm Artillery, Panzer Grenadier, Signal, Infantry, or any unit making use of a vehicle with radio. In concordance with plenty of references, the tunic might be represented in feldgrau, reed green, gray or in various Wehrmacht or Waffen SS camouflage patterns. By reproducing the cap in black, like in the artwork, is clearly emphasised the soldier belongs to Panzer Army and accordingly, suitable would be either to depict in pink the cap waffenfabre or even to present the collar and shoulder boards as belonging to other units, occasionally Panzer soldiers putting on the first piece of garment they could get and without removing the initial insignia. On the other hand, taking into consideration the Panzer Assault Badge, Iron Cross ribbon fixed at the third button of the tunic, and the overall stance, it might be considered the miniature portrays a Panzer commander, close to or on the frontline after the pistol holster hanging on the belt on the left hand side. As earlier stressed, the figurine has been duplicated in soft plastic but that version registers a small mould fault, the left headphone featuring a minor inadvertence comparing with the resin version, which arrives in the correct form. This fig has deep roots in a fairly known photo of a Panzer commander, practically the sculptor moving in a brilliant manner the real soldier into 1/72 scale, with all details, including facial ones. Additionally, together with the previously analysed bonus figure created also for hatch, they both may outstandingly occupy the two turret openings of a Tiger or other vehicles.  

A very interesting figure, both in terms of attire and stance, is the one with the right leg raised a little as put on a wheel, track, or other vehicle part. He wears a HBT high collar working jacket with rolled up sleeves, M43 HBT working pants, ankle boots, and nothing on the head. The artwork recommends blue blouse and green trousers but due to their characteristics, his clothes can not only be painted in other colours, but also his working jacket might be interpreted as a shirt. With the right palm close to the face, the pose is really fascinating and after a careful study, an almost finished cigarette can be noticed. The gap between the thumb and index holding the cigarette strongly reiterates sculptor’s the majestic skills and his continuous beneficial obsession for top details and high anatomical correctitude. Perhaps the soldier takes a last fume before mounting on the vehicle, a tremendously realistic approach to WWII German troopers, often smoking in photos and films of the period. Because of the size and stance, the nearly finished cigarette is hardly perceived and the miniature could be taken as coughing, covering his mouth with the hand. Such interpretation particularly works for the soft plastic version of the army-man while there the cigarette is harder identified or might be confounded with flash and accidentally removed. Without any item of gear, the figure remarks through his top detailed trousers, with visible tabs and three front buttons as well as with his haircut and facial particulars. Considering the position of legs, waking is impossible for him and the trooper must be set next to an object for resting the left leg, except vehicle parts, ammo or tool boxes, rocks, logs, or walls constituting extra options. The dressed clothes give modellers the chance to deploy him not only within a Panzer unit, but in any other ground, sea or air unit or even in the Allies armies.

Introduced on May 5, 1941, the second pattern of M41 HBT uniform, characterised by the left hand side large pockets on the chest and thigh, proved to be very comfortable and functional, being highly appreciated by all units although initially that garment was issued only for Wehrmacht. The last miniature of the set, a seated one with hands crossed and looking to the right and not straight, combined the second pattern of M41 HBT trousers with the standard Panzer wrapper to which he added a M34 overseas cap and ankle boots. Designed for taking a sit on a Panther turret, he can easily find another place, both on a vehicle or somewhere else. For getting a most realistic appearance, and not for other motives, the left leg having direct contact with the vehicle was sculptured plain in that place. Nonetheless, when placing the soldier in his location, the referred area will not be spotted. This army-man has put aside any item of equipment and got Iron Cross ribbon and Panzer Assault Badge for his merits. The same things applicable to his comrade in Panzer wrapper are suitable for him as well, by painting the tunic and cap in feldgrau he will perfectly embody a Sturm Artillery crewman. In general, the M41 HBT Panzer uniform was delivered in few colours, respectively reed green or mouse grey for Panzer and feldgrau for Assault Artillery. However, due to its popularity, tailor made similar attire made of camouflage cloth in various Wehrmacht or Waffen SS patterns were fairly common on the front line, so there are supplementary and historically accurate possibilities for painting, other than artwork recommendations revealing  black wrapper and cap, mouse-grey pants, and brown ankle boots. 

All poses are carefully studied and planned, tackling extremely ordinary activities or even non-activities in which Panzer crews were implicated. The mix of clothes is outstanding, none of the troopers duplicating identical items. In spite this fact, all can go on a single vehicle or to be combined with troopers from the other Orion tenders, proposing a large number of figures in combat or working garments and prepared for warm or temperate environments. 

As usual, Boris Knokhov‘s sculpture is remarkable, the miniatures featuring a wide range of imposing details even if the scale is Braille. The noteworthy anatomy is put in valour by excellent proportions and top carved faces, where eyes, eye-brows, noses, ears, chins, cheeks, and hair look simply perfect. In the same way are done the palms, all fingers being in normal locations and gorgeously gripping. The items of clothing are properly researched and reproduced, charming with their fine details such as insignia, buttons, loops, shirt collars, natural creases, and genuine flaps and stitches. Moreover, the communication gear is crisply and entirely replicated, the size of wires, switch housing and headset being in full accordance both with reality and scale proportions.

The manufacturer has also his merits in taking the necessary measures for assuring fine cast and mould, succeeding to copy the impeccable details of the original masters on the commercial versions as well. Notable achievements in the field are the head band of the earphones, extremely thin but arriving intact and without any residuals between it and head, for a more than realistic and in scale appearance as well as the gap between the two fingers holding the cigarette, although that space is almost impossible to be spotted due to pose. The mix of qualitative resins selected for the product, practically each fig being made of a different resin, facilitated not only these accomplishments, but also the pieces land almost free of flash, with a small amount of film and no excess of material. Likewise, several air-bubbles were identified on the reviewed copy, the larger on the left leg of the soldier with arms crossed, but white putty immediately covers these. Obviously, enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils should be fearlessly employed during painting, greatly interacting with the material for a long lasting resistance despite frequent touches.

Imagined to have direct contact with the vehicle, bases would have been impractical for these resin minis and they come without though in the plastic version, except the seated one, the rest received stands. As the rest of Orion Panzer soldiers, also these belong to the tall side of the 1/72 scale and find a large number of comrades in the line of the company or in other producers’. Bearing in mind that most of the times the manufacturers of 1/72 Panzers deliver their kits without the related crew, many mass-production and cottage industry representatives have rushed to issue the necessary personnel within specialized sets. Of course, considering the premium quality of Orion Panzer soldiers, suitable completions have to be explored in sets of similar or close class, Preiser, Dragon, Warriors, El Viejo Dragon, and CMK having good stuff in the field, matching also the fine weather attire criterion. 

Orion’s German Panzer Soldiers Basic Set 7 pushes forward the topic, offering to all categories of hobbyists new figures in attractive clothes and performing normal, widely spread activities, so a product extremely valuable for any diorama or game table. Due to some extraordinary triumphs in terms of sculpture, mould and cast, this set clearly restates the team Orion-Boris Knokhov permanently pursues to provide ultimate figures, definitely some of the best WWII German tankers available on 1/72 market. Marking the end of the second series of sets delivered by the company within the resin line on Panzer troopers, Set 7 opened the gates for further continuations and in the same time ensured a significant part of the plastic set released by Orion in 2013, all the four figures being available there, too. 

 

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