Articles

Orion - German Panzer Soldiers Set8 (ORI7208R) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Orion
Scale 1/72
Set Code ORI7208R
Year 2013
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Light Gray
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1943 – 1945

 Review 

The first seven resin 1/72 WWII German Panzer Soldiers Basic sets issued by Orion in two sequences of four and three constituted the source for an extremely tempting soft plastic tender, each of those sending one or more representatives to that mass-production set which made a strong impression over the market, instantly becoming one of the most popular offer in terms of Panzer crews. It is normal to be like that bearing in mind the manufacturer succeeded in a outstanding way to cast in soft plastic the top detailed but much more expensive resin troopers. Anyway, at few months distance after the launch of the plastic product, Orion released the eighth in the resin line, conferring great expectations to modellers in terms of a potential second plastic proposal while the resin sets still include lots of poses not made in plastic yet and the box of the plastic Panzer men clearly states Set 1.

In the artworks of the last three sets was highlighted those feature three poses plus another as bonus. At its turn, the eighth set also puts forward four miniatures but without mentioning anything concerning the potential bonus one. As many modellers might recall, the bonus approach started to be developed with set number 5, the sculptor and the manufacturer trying to fix various minor errors encountered at toy-soldiers from the first four offers. All poses of the eight set are bright new, but it seems the one holding the sledge hammer might represent the bonus, being a reinterpretation of a figure from Set 2 which did not fully satisfy the sculptor, who strived in the next sets either to repair or to completely redesign all those figs. Thus, Set 5 proposes the officer but with the pointing finger correctly cast while Set 7 accommodates a completely reformed version of the soldier in shirt and M43 cap. Considering two poses of Set 2 have already been redelivered, just the third one, dressed in drill attire and holding a sledge hammer with both hands remained on the list. Set 8 encloses a reinterpreted version of that army-man, the new one wearing shirt, working trousers, and M34 overseas cap, also the position of the body being totally different although he keeps holding the sledge hammer with both hands. However, it should be pointed out the figurine with sledge hammer from Set 2 is all right, nothing being wrong with it either in terms of sculpting or cast, but it looks it did not please the creator. On the other hand, strange is the miniature from Set 8, which was intended to correct his predecessor, records a casting mistake, the three sets purchased in the purpose of the present review missing the top of the hammer. The part was not broken during transportation because it was not in the bag, it simply did not exist in all sets. For repairing the fault, the trooper in reference received here the absent part exactly from the comrade which wants to replace. Nevertheless, if not having at disposal such minis, similar hammers are inside various vehicle kits, useful being those with separate tools. If not already having spare ones, it is not mandatory to include all tools on the vehicle, so hobbyists wanting to fix the error have enough resources at disposal.

Generally, the package of Set no. 8 is identical with the rest of the resin line, a common plastic bag fixed on the top between a folded cardboard with the artworks. Except not stressing anything about the bonus, the pack comes out with something new, namely both on the front and back tags are provided black and white photos of the masters. Sets 5 to 7 recorded a different approach, on the reverse being delivered a special drawing made by the sculptor with the aim to supply appropriate guidelines for painting. In a certain manner the previous approach was more beneficial and it looks like the manufacturer rushed to launch on the market the product, giving no time to Boris Knokhov to finish the drawings. Nevertheless, references for painting the figures are easy to get and a most useful one could be the back artwork of the soft plastic set, where the sculptor presents his interpretations over the colours in which the different items of garment can be painted.

Orion’s Panzer unit accustomed the clients with poses inspired by images taken during WWII and Set 8 makes no exception, too. Apart the soldier with hammer prepared for maintenance activities such as track fixing or something else, the set forwards an officer with Panzerfaust on the left shoulder, another officer or NCO with binoculars and map case as well as an advancing trooper. If the army-man with hammer can be enrolled in any unit, including Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine, his comrades can go only to Panzer, Sturm Artillery or Signal while they wear various types of Panzer uniforms allowed only for the just stated entities.

The officer, recognised after the peak cap, put on the standard Panzer uniform, marching/jack boots and has got pistol in holster. His relaxed pose is extremely interesting while rarely can be encountered in Braille Scale Panzer soldier holding a Panzerfaust. Possibly the stance relies on one from a photo shot in Ardennes, revealing a WWII German infantrymen in camouflage smock keeping the Panzerfaust exactly in the same manner and talking with some dismounted Panzer crewmen, at least one of those being also portrayed by Borris Knokhov. Nevertheless, the method proposed by the sculptor is even more exciting, often Panzer troopers having to fight as infantrymen and used related weapons, either when the vehicle was damaged on the battlefield or when they had to go in reconnaissance missions or had not at disposal any functional vehicle to rush into combat.

At the first glance it might be funny seeing a Panzer man holding an infantry weapon designed to destroy armoured vehicles, but the appearance is more than realistic and as previously pointed out, such figure finds lots of locations to be deployed, including the famous Battle of Berlin where Panzerfausts, handled not only by soldiers of all units but also by children, women and old-men, created heavy losses to the Red Army. However, in case modellers do not want a Panzer officer with a Panzerfaust, the weapon can be immediately removed while it is connected to the fig only in his palm, slightly touching the shoulder, too. If not satisfied by the obtained stance, then replacing the entire left arm with one fitting the purpose of the modeller emerges as a viable solution.

Another fascinating miniature is the officer or NCO wearing the 1941 HBT Panzer uniform and M43 cap, not because his attire, which definitely is more attention-grabbing than the standard Panzer uniform, but due to the map/dispatch case he keeps on the right hip. Except that item, he also has got pistol in holster and binoculars on the chest. Films and images of the period sometimes show Panzer troops, especially commanders or dispatches, carrying map cases in various locations on the belts, but until now mass-production or cottage manufacturers missed that opportunity. Nevertheless, Orion has familiarised the hobbyists with out-of-ordinary and more than useful approaches, so it identified the gap and greatly covered it. Obviously, the pose is based on a WWII photo and the overall stance has nothing unusual but it is achieved in a top manner. The officer or NCO stays still, resting his left hand on the binoculars and the right on the map case. The sculptor appears to manifests a preference for such stance while a figure in a fairly similar pose, but totally different dressed and geared, was done for Mantis Miniatures’ “WWII German Officers (Late War)”, Boris Knokhov sculpting that set, too.

Putting on the standard Panzer uniform, the fourth miniature of Set 8 received a special touch as well, the soldier being surprised while walking. According to the role and tasks of armoured vehicle personnel, in general 1/72 producers depict those men relaxing, mounting/dismounting or carrying out maintenance activities as well as various things a crewmember could do in a hatch. Clearly walking and not running, the figure emanates full determination judging his pace and straight attitude. Similar Panzer troopers are hard to spot in the scale, maybe the El Viejo Dragon solder carrying a canister and the Preiser’s running soldier waving a signal pistol in his right hand being comparable to this one in terms of paces. Nevertheless, in the scale there are few other Panzer soldiers that could be assessed as walking, but due to their small paces, they might stay still or move just on a very short distance on the vehicle. This time the marksman clearly marches longer, maybe to talk to a comrade from another vehicle or to his own Panzer for going into action.

There are more clues highlighting the sculptor’s intention to provide a Late War crew, the M41 HBT Panzer uniform, the M43 cap and the Panzerfaust, a weapon appeared in 1944 and judging the size of the warhead it might be about the 30 or 60 m type. Likewise, the warm environment is more than obvious envisaged, one soldier being in shirt with rolled-up sleeves and his comrades wear the wrappers loose.

Originality, accuracy, and outstanding sculpture to even the smallest detail have become attributes characterising most of Orion’s Panzer soldiers resin line, and obviously Set 8 could not diverge from these self-enforced goals. Anatomy is excellent, with fine proportions and the facial particulars charm with top carved eyes, eye-brows, noses, mouths, chins, cheeks, and ears. Likewise, palms and fingers are masterly modelled, fingers crisply emerging and naturally gripping. If we want to be severe to the extreme, maybe only to the position of the palm holding the binoculars we might comment a little upon, but definitely nothing annoying with that hand. Clothes are irreproachable, fully accurate and complexly detailed, featuring very small fine points such as trousers and shirt buttons, horizontal fit adjustment strap, stitches, pocket flaps etc. Moreover, attire naturally folds and creases are in the normal locations, gorgeously shaped. Extra pluses should be granted for the perfectly sculptured shirts, with incredibly carved collars, and for the footwear, with visibly delimited soles and heels, and obviously, ideal shapes. At their turn, the various pieces of equipment and weapons are in scale and with complete features.

Regarding mould and cast process, generally these are great, replicating on the commercialised product the stunning attributes of the masters. Flash and seam lines are kept at a very low level and excess of material could be encountered just in a couple of locations, but all these can be eradicated in few minutes without any troubles. In addition, remarkable is that only few air-bubbles were discovered on the three sets bought for the present review and those emerged in unimportant places. However, there are several other things to note concerning the mould, especially at the advancing soldier. During cast the arms of the figure were sustained by shafts and the manufacturer did not remove those, so the modeller must do it. Although made of high-quality resin, the wrists of that crewman, particularly the right hand one, are thin and sensitive. When trying to cut the resin bar, no matter how careful the operation is performed, it is virtually impossible not breaking one wrist. In case such situation interferes, there is nothing to worry about, after properly cleaning, the palm can be put back with cyanoacrylate. Super glue gel is the recommended adhesive, both for similar accidents as well as for further conversions including arms and heads swapping or supplementary gear and weapons additions. Likewise, due to the fairly exposed part of the Panzerfaust and the lack of protection provided by the package, in one set the weapon arrived broken. Of course, even for such cases cyanoacrylate has the proper answer for repairing the damage.

The resin utilised for making the product is certainly not flimsy but little attention could be beneficial when detaching the miniatures from the slots for avoiding any ankle or footwear breaking. Even if some of them are envisaged for utilisations on the ground, around a vehicle, no base is provided. Nevertheless, stands are generally not wanted by diorama builders and because the figs have not a good balance, these must be glued in positions in order to properly stand. The material hosts in a marvellous manner enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils without previous preparations and maintains the initial characteristics of paints even exposed to multiple touches. Mainly focusing on static modeller builders and specific collectors, bearing in mind the interesting poses, garment, gear, and weapons as well as the fairly resistant resin, some gamers might be attracted by this set, despite its expensive price. 

With reference to compatibility with other 1/72 figs, it is more than obvious the Panzer soldiers from Set 8, encompassed by the tall side of the scale, ideally match with the similar troopers previously delivered by Orion, both in resin or soft plastic. In addition, a wide range of Panzer crewmen, produced in plastic, resin, and white metal, fully compatible in terms of size and attire with Orion’s ones, are submitted by various manufacturers. Through these, there can be e mentioned the entire range of Preiser, Dragon, El Viejo Dragon’s as well as some related tenders or figs supplied by Caesar, Zebrano, D-Day, Retrokit, Warriors, and Esci/Italeri.

Coming after the highly-acclaimed soft plasticGerman WW2 Panzer Soldiers Basic Set1” number eight in Orion’s resin line on Panzer soldiers, not only introduce matters of great interest and attraction, but also give hopes for a second plastic set. With the four new poses here proposed, within the resin Set 1 to 8 there are exactly 13 stances that have not been duplicated in plastic yet, more precisely the number of poses included in the first soft plastic collection. Nevertheless, there is more than possible not all of these to be introduced in a potential new plastic offer, especially bearing in mind that it seems Set no. 9 is on the way and it might not only appear before, but also send some of its figs to the plastic tender. Anyway, no matter that all or only some of the figs featured by Set 8 will be made in plastic, definitely numerous hobbyists prefer the resin versions and because its special qualities, the content deserves to enjoy full attention from all parties interested in the topic. 

 

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