Articles

Warriors - German Grenadiers Winter Dress Set1 (72004) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Warriors
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72004
Year ?
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Medium
Material Resin
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convertibility Easy
Optimal Period 1942 -1945

 

Review   

If it were to be done a top of most frequent WWII German clothes appearing in reference materials, then this would look like this: tunics, smocks, great coats and parkas. It is somehow normal that parkas to occupy such a position in the top, not only because the item entered in service in 1942, but also due to its primer designation, as garment for cold periods. According to regulations, parkas were distributed to all German soldiers for the winter season, starting with 15 September and had to be returned to depots for repairs, and cleaning on 15 April, being redelivered the next year. Nevertheless, situations in the field contradicted the regulations, parkas continuing to be seen on troopers all over the year, including warm environments. The first Russian front winter experience, when a huge number of German soldiers suffered or found their end because of cold, forced the Germans to develop a new piece of garment, the parka, item reaching the troops for the first time in autumn of 1942. Many pieces of clothing produced for the German Army in WWII had reversibility as characteristic feature, and also parkas possessed that attribute. The first models were released in mouse gray (registering close variations of shades of gray) on one side, the other being white. After 1943 the mouse gray colour was replaced with camouflage colours, either diverse Waffen SS or Wehrmacht or even Italian camouflage patterns emerging on parkas. Considering the great importance and role of parkas during WWII, in the last years, several important manufacturers of 1/72 figures have started to produce soldiers dressed in such items, trying to fill a major gap of German tiff in the scale. For a long period, Esci's "Nebelwerfer 41" crew were the only figures covering the topic, but at present we can find soldiers dressed in parkas in Revell's "WWII German Infantry", Italeri/Revell's "German Elite Troops", Italeri's "PAK 40 AT Gun with servants" as well as in HaT's "WWII German Bicyclists" and "WWII German Mounted Infantry". In addition, Caesar is for the moment the only soft plastic producer who released a set where all the figures wear parkas, namely "German Infantry with Winter Gear". Even if gathering all these troopers in the same place, their number is not sufficient to cover the need of soldiers dressed in parkas, and in this respect several resin or white metal manufacturers have approached the subject. From all these, a company definitely distinguishes through a large offer and quality products, Warriors, manufacturer acknowledged as one of the most representative and important producer of large scale figures. They happily took the decision to accept the provocation of Braille Scale and to enrich it with some of the best 1/72 soldiers ever seen, thanks to the marvellous sculpture of Bill Chilstrom. Probably identifying the lack of figures wearing parkas, Warriors dressed in this way all their figures depicting German infantry soldiers. They are integrated in four fabulous sets containing four infantrymen each, the topics being grouped around two main issues, marching and mounted on vehicles soldiers. Likewise, it is good to know that either the marching or mounted army-men subjects received two sets, part one and two.

The present reviewed set, "German Grenadiers winter dress Set # 1" opens the series related to marching troopers, an extremely useful topic especially due to the fact that tenders of figures dressed in parkas coming from different manufacturers aim in most cases soldiers in combat poses. Furthermore, on the one hand, poses of infantrymen marching in peaceful areas, not affected by fights, emerge from plenty films or photos of the period, and on the other hand, the subject is merely reflected in the scale, the most significant offer coming from Preiser, a key company, recognised not only for the quality of their products and multi-part approach of figures, but also for inspiring their poses from reference photos. With "German Infantry Advancing" and "Advancing Grenadiers with MG 1939-1945" Preiser gave a proper answer to the matter and brought us some stunning soldiers. 

This set from Warriors shares many aspects with the just named Preiser sets, high quality, multi-part approach as well as similitude of some poses being common elements. Fortunately, there is a key difference between them, Preiser figures being designated for warm periods and dressed in M36 tunics, while the Warriors soldiers are, as title underlines, mainly addressed to cold periods and wear parkas. The four figures come in a small transparent box having as artwork a diorama showing them passing near a Panzer IV. In spite of a product requiring assembly, neither instructions nor numbered parts are provided, the only guidelines for putting together and painting the content being the artwork of the box. The soldiers on the artwork photo appear pretty small and it must be looked very careful to see how the manufacturer grouped the arms to the bodies. Nevertheless, assembly is not so difficult, because only heads, arms and shovels ought to be glued. Furthermore, in conformity to the ammo pouches, a single figure may receive the arm holding a MP40, while the other arm for the same trooper comes on the same sprue with the arm holding the weapon. For the rest of figures, each arm is on a separate sprue and also on individual sprues are the shovels. All heads are located on a single sprue, but each of them perfectly fit to any figure through a pin and hole system. The same system seems to appear at some arms and bodies, but it was not so well designed or moulded, and in fact if existed, it still would have been completely useless because the arms fit perfect the bodies.     

With reference to the poses, all of them illustrate marching soldiers and are quite close to a number of images of the period that could represent sources of inspiration. As stated before, all these troopers wear M42 parkas, regular trousers, marching boots and have their heads covered by steel helmets with a size allowing the representation of camouflage canvas, even if this aspect does not clearly appear. Only a single head has the strap of the helmet sculptured, but if desired, nothing stops us from painting them for the others, too. Likewise, the smocks are untied till the last button and in this way it can be noticed in the neck area some cloth that due to the small size, may be either the collar of the tunic or the toque wrapping the neck. Toques were an important item of the winter tiff, a circular knitted pullover scarf covering the neck and almost all the head, leaving unprotected just a tiny part of the face.  A large number of reference photos show German soldiers dressed in parkas having the toque in such a position, placed around the neck and not pulled on the head. As a result of close colours similarity between toques and tunics, it is not of foremost importance what decision the modeller will take for representing the item under the parkas of these figures, especially because the collar board on the tunics could be covered by the hoods. Another major element of the parkas are the winter hoods which were detachable, reversible and in general having the same colour or camouflage patterns with the parka. Nevertheless, being detachable, the camouflage patterns of the hoods could diverge from the patterns of the parka, situations when a soldier replaced his hood with another being more than possible. As it was previously described, the parkas may be painted in mouse gray, white or different Waffen SS or Wehrmacht camouflage patterns, plenty of diversity being allowed. The soldiers are well equipped, all having Zeltbahns, mess tins, canteens and two have also gas mask containers. Furthermore, on separate sprues the manufacturer provided shovels with bayonets attached for all the figures, so the owner has the option of attaching or not this item. "Y" straps do not appear very clear because the hoods and creases of the parkas could cover a large part of those. Likewise, assessing the position of gear on these soldiers, it is recommended that the modeller to paint the "Y" straps, especially in the front side, and an unique figure that can miss them is the man with MP40 for the reason that his gear could be sustained just by the belt. Meanwhile, the minis have correct and nicely sculptured ammo pouches, three receiving pouches for Kar98K and another possessing the appropriate ammo pouches for MP40, with the left hand side pouch featuring the additional small pocket stitched to the left side.

The weaponry of the set includes one MP40, three Kar98K, one Faustpatrone 30m klein, two StiHg-r24 (one in the left boot of a figure and another stitched under the belt of the soldier with MP40) and also one hand holds a MG ammunition container. If Kar98K or MP40 are common weapons, Faustpatrone 30m klein is extremely rare depicted in the scale, Panzerfaust 30, 60 or 100 being found in several sets, but Faustpatrone 30m is almost inexistent at 1/72 figures.  Faustpatrone 30m klein (First-Cartridge Small) is the precursor of the more known Panzerfaust weapons, and entered in service in the summer of 1943, at one year after the research of a new antitank weapon was initiated. Faustpatrone 30m can not be confound with Panzerfaust 30, even if both of them were efficient from maximum 30 meters, the component making the easy the difference being represented by the warhead, at Panzerfaust the diameter of the warhead is much bigger and has another shape. In spite of the appearance of Panzerfaust series, improved generation of similar weapons, Faustpatrone continued to be manufactured till the end of war. 

While the figure with MP40 pouches restricts us for granting him other arm than the one holding the appropriate weapon, the rest of arms can be mixed as we wish and without fearing that we can make a mistake and get a soldiers with other weapon than the one in accordance with his ammo pouches. All the right arms sustain weapons, more precise a MP40, a Faustpatrone and two Kar98K while two left hands are free and other two hold a Kar98K and a MG ammo case. The best is to mix the right hand with Faustpatrone with the left hand having the Kar98K, otherwise the figure will remain without personal weapon. Likewise, the body proposed by the manufacturer for receiving these two arms is the one with grenade in the boot, but also the other two bodies with Kar98K ammo pouches are suitable for them. Some may wonder about the presence of a MG ammo container, because no weapon for it is provided, but on the other hand, this set should be regarded in connection with Set 2, where a MG34 is put forward.

As being addressed more to diorama builders than wargamers, there are not given any bases, but such devices could be scratch-built from different materials, a good choice being clear plastic. Of chief importation is the care required when removing the parts from sprues, resin is delicate and can easily break. Enhanced attention should be granted also when taking off the content from the box, some fragile parts like the barrel of a weapon, might crash during transport and it would be a pity to lose it. The figures are cast in a white high quality resin, brilliant accepting super glue gel which makes a truly strong bond between the parts requiring assembly, so a potential client must not worry concerning this aspect. Furthermore, resin admirable takes enamel, maintaining the proprieties of the paint and not adding any glossy appearance. It even provides the adequate base for enamel, capable to resist at heavy handling of the figures. Flash is in very small amounts, excess of resin does not exist at all and a fine film covers some parts. Either the flash or the film are quickly and effortless removed, but the resin was cast with several minor air bubbles which can be covered during the painting process with enamel, or even before this operation with a hair of putty. Additionally, in my copy a casting problem occurred at the left boot of the figure with grenade in it, the heel missing. The mistake should be corrected through scratch building or covered in the environment, if the figures are emplaced on a diorama or vignette. However, such a fault might not repeat in other copies of the set. As just underlined, no excess of resin is present here, especially because the helmets and all gear on the soldiers look like being done as separate parts and then emplaced in their positions, thus these parts emerge very real. Due to their sensitivity and also for offering an alternative to the modeller, the shovels were done as separate parts and can be glued in various positions for enhancing the move.

Sculpture is really impressive, uniforms are exceptionally well detailed, having some of the best creases in the scale, correct number of buttons on parkas, remarkable hoods and gorgeous fine points on the unbuttoned part of parkas, hanging exactly like those would do on real garment. If these were not enough, the faces are also extremely detailed, with beautiful noses, lips, eyes and eyebrows. At their turn, bodies are incredibly well proportioned while the palms have clearly identified fingers. According to the size of bodies, gear and weapons, the present minis can be enclosed in the middle to tall size of 1/72 figures and in this respect they perfectly match with most Preiser products related to WWII Germans, but even Pegasus Hobbies's Waffen SS Set2 provide good companions for the Warriors soldiers, and the same thing achieve some Minaturas Alemany or El Viejo Dragon figures. In the first part of the review there have been nominated several 1/72 sets containing troopers dressed in parkas, but most of them are entering in the tall category of 1/72. Even if it can be said that they fit with Warriors stuff, such thing can cause a little trouble on a small diorama, but compatibility is easily reached in a large setting. Nevertheless, it is recognised that in most cases, the figures sculptured by the same person match the best and for this reason, corroborated not only with identical size of gear, weapons or bodies, but also similar uniforms, the top comrades for the present army-men should be looked for in the brother set ""German Grenadiers Winter Dress Set # 2" and in the two sets of "German Tank Riders in Winter Dress", of course all of them manufactured by Warriors and sculptured by Bill Chilstrom.     

Being delivered in parts, with separate arms and heads, definitely there are facilitated conversions, the easiest options for such operations being other hands taken from various Warriors sets, not only from the interlinked set, but also from German Tank Riders in Winter Dress series. In addition, Preiser and Dragon palms holding a large range of items, heads or even separate weapons or gear that abound in sets of those manufacturers can be successfully deployed for bringing more diversity to Warriors figures. Superglue gel would be again profitable because its capacity of good fixing hard plastic with resin. Through conversions there might be achieved bright new and extremely interesting poses from these Warriors minis, but I consider that the manoeuvre is unnecessary as long as somebody is not in possession of more copies of the same set. 

For a long time "Made in USA" has been representing for Europeans and others the perfect synonymous of high quality goods. These words are also printed on the box of "German Grenadiers Winter Dress Set # 1", and this is what we get from inside, some of the best 1/72 figures ever encountered. Unfortunately, during the last period, less and less times we have the pleasure to see on any kind of products "Made in USA", issue reflected in the Braille Scale, too. Still, we have Dragon China, with a quality similar in many cases with US stuff.

 

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