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Forces of Valor - German SS Cavalry Division (7239) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Forces of Valor
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7239
Year 2007
No. of Figures/Horses 4/1
No. of Poses/Horses 4/1
Additional Items 1 Cart, 1 Street lamp, 1 Barrel
Size Tall
Material Soft Plastic
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Excellent (Super-glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1944 - 1945

 

Review  

After a long period when the only set that could be used for 1/72 German Cavalry in WWII was the great Revell's "German Artillery" realized in collaboration with Preiser, in the last two years several offers on the matter appeared, trying to fill the gap in the scale. Examples on the topic are Hat's "German Mounted Infantry", CMK's "Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry", MODELLTRANS’ “Floryan Geyer 8 SS Cav.Div.” and FOV's "German SS Cavalry Division", but still there is plenty of room, none of them succeeding to satisfy the customers from different points of view. 

The last mentioned set is aimed to be analyzed here, but in spite an impressive name, it includes only one horse, a real disappointment in this regard. Indeed, with few exceptions like the “legend” of the brave Polish, the cavalry in WWII stopped charging the enemy and in battles such units were fighting dismounted. Nevertheless, inside a set on such theme, we would rather prefer to see more mounted soldiers than on foot. In this case, almost all the figures from WWII German sets may be employed as cavalry units, but completely missing the distinctive element, the horse.

Moreover, a better name for this set should have been chosen, the one and only mounted figure having no relevance for such a title. A better one could be "MG34 Team and rider", revealing more correctly what the set incorporates. Actually, this is not the only mistake of the title, the manufacturer selecting a totally inappropriate year (1942) for some weapons and other items found on these soldiers. For instance, the first delivery to troops of the initial model of Panzerfaust (30) started in August 1943 while the model presented here (Panzerfaust 100) reached the army just in November 1944. In addition, the gaiters worn by a trooper situates the set in the Late War period, even if all are dressed in M36 tunic. 

The set comes pre-painted, but distinctively from the previous FoV WWII Germans, this time the colors are better selected, at least with no bizarre additions. On the other hand, painting is quite poor, small details are not realized and everyone, with little effort, succeeds improved results. In my view, the best painted item by the factory is the horse whose basic color might be kept although the owner takes the decision to upgrade the set through his hand painting.      

Beside the figures and continuing its tradition in the scale, FoV has also included some diorama accessories such as a cart, a street lamp and a barrel, more or less useful on the topic. I suppose as not being the only one that would happily miss these accessories in the favor of a larger number of mounted soldiers. While the street lamp and barrel could be found some other else, the two wheels cart is quite an interesting model and might have at the first glance some connections with the cavalry subject. Likewise, with some conversions and extra pieces as well as a horse donkey or mule, the cart can be used for transporting different stuff or a wounded soldier.

The figures are made of soft plastic, close to rubber and to the material used by Pegasus Hobbies and HaT in some of their multi-part sets while the accessories are done in hard plastic. Mixing different kinds of plastic inside the same set represents an unordinary advance in the scale, although the final result is pleasing. The box allows the customer to see the content and behind the items there is an art work representing the ruins of a city.

Regarding the troopers, all wear the M36 tunic and regular trousers, at two covering the boots, one has marching boots and another shoe ankle boots with gaiters. On all heads there are steel helmets, possibly covered with camouflage cloths. Two soldiers may be used all over the WWII, the soldier with gaiters and the one with Panzerfaust are suitable only for the Late part, even if they wear the early war tunics. Despite the title which makes reference to Waffen SS, taking into consideration the fact that most of the images taken in the late war period shows such troopers wearing during combat camouflage attire, these figures are dealing better with Wehrmacht. 

The uniforms mainly address the figures for warm periods, idea enhanced by the private with rolled sleeves. Nevertheless, taking into account their thickness, it facilitates posting of these soldiers and in colder environments, except the one with rolled sleeves whose appearance in such a region would look strange. 

With reference to gear, all possess "Y" straps, while the presence of bread bags, canteens, gas mask containers, mess tins and Zeltbahns varies from figure to figure. Weapons and gas mask container straps are also visible, as well something indefinite, looking like the cloth case for reading map kit (Kartenwinkelmesser 27) or medical kit (Verbandpäckchen) on one mini.      

In spite of being just several soldiers, the firing endowment of the set is increased from the standard MG team firepower by two Panzerfaust 100 and together with the rider, includes three Kar 98K, one MP40, one MG34, as well a pistol inside its holster. The figures have the appropriate ammo pouches and both the MG gunner and the loader have around their necks MG cartridge belts. In fact, along the cartridge belts, the set features all the common cases for MG 34 ammo, namely the 50 rounds charger as well the MG cartridge belts metal container. 

Related to poses, these depict a MG team formed by three members walking and a nice mounted soldier. The walking figures are quite common, still good and useful, the MG gunner pose being quite rare encountered in soft plastic sets. He carries his MG34 in one of the most featured ways in reference pictures, namely on his shoulder holding it by the bipod. Moreover, he has the specific items of a MG gunner such as pistol holster, MG kit case as well a cartridge belt around the neck. The loadert has elements emphasizing his role like MG metal container for cartridge belts as well another spare belt around his neck. In concordance with KStN, he has a Kar98K, but the most interesting thing at this figure, unique in 1/72 soft plastic sets, are the two Panzerfausts held in one hand. The MG ensemble is completed by another trooper, probably the commander of the squad taking into account his pose and personal weapon. Pointing to a future position where to be installed the MG, he holds his MP40 in a relaxed attitude, underlined and by the fact that his weapon misses the charger, another not so often seen issue in scale.

Nevertheless, the stunning success of this small set is represented by the mounted soldier, not because of the rider, but the horse is really amazing, perhaps one of the best encountered in Braille. An astonishing thoroughbred high horse, a really jumping sport one, and even if it is just walking still electrifies the viewers. Its head expression as well proportions and muscles are extremely well detailed, making a strong impression. Even the saddle, the blanket beneath the saddle and the rolled one are properly done as well the harness. The reins and mess tin attached to the right holster are a little over-scaled, but at least the reins may effortlessly be made to look thinner. It should me mentioned the fact the rider holds the reins in his hands, a realistic and rarely approach for 1/72 mounted figures.                   

In general, the German Army used horses for recon missions and the present rider also confirms this, looking like a genuine scout, due to his binoculars on the chest and the Kartenwinkelmesser 27 attached to the gas mask container. He has not the standard map case, but such an item could be inside the left holster of the saddle. With the Kar98K on his back, he also adopts a tranquil stance, watching the comrades while passing them by.  

The uniforms are fair while small details such as buttons and creases are relatively clear. Anatomy is reasonable with palms of the MG loader a little too big, but the rest of the bodies and the facial expressions are satisfactory. Furthermore, there are no differences in gear, weapons body parts size at these soldiers which should be enclosed in the tall range of the scale.  

Flash comes in small amounts but may be removed without trouble and excess of plastic appears just at the end of the rider's weapon, fact that can be ignored. As it was previously stressed, the manufacturer used two kinds of plastic for producing the set and for the figures was chosen the soft one. A small space between the shoulders and the arms clearly proves that the soldiers had at the beginning separate arms and were subsequently glued by the factory. Nevertheless, the small gap does not taint the final product and can be filled very easy, the same operation being necessary for covering an undesired result from the mould materialized in two tinny gaps in the arms of some figures. Even if the figures come pre-painted, there is not necessary to remove the preceding paint if it is taken the decision to repaint them. The plastic well accepts the paint, but it has a little tendency to give a gloss aspect to it. All soldiers come based and also is the street lamp. For those wanting to remove them, it is good to know that it can be done extremely fast and with the exception of the horse, all the rest stand without bases if they are appropriately cut.   

From the point of view of uniforms and height, the present set match best, through others, with Imex "German Troops", Pegasus Hobbies "German Mortar Teams", Hasegawa "German Infantry Attack Group", Atlantic "German Infantry", but also with Esci "German Soldiers", Revell "German Armoured Infantry", as well as most of Preiser sets with reference to the German army in WWII, although including a little shorter minis. Definitely, to them may join the same diorama soldiers dressed in camouflage garment and late war tunics such as Pegasus Hobbies "Waffen SS - Set 1", Caesar "German Infantry Late War"&"German Infantry with Winter Gear" and Italeri "German Elite Troops".

Designed in principal for collectors and wargamers, FoV's "German SS Cavalry Division (Eastern Front 1942)" proves as a real asset and for diorama builders, meeting some standards of quality. Except the title which does not affect at all the value, another draw-back of the set is its high price, particularly increased by a not notable painting. On the other hand, the main attraction is embodied by the horse, in my opinion a leader in the scale, an eye-catching item which will determine many collectors, diorama and wargaming fans to take off the wallet and pay the price.       

 

Historical Accuracy 9
Anatomy 8
Poses Quality 8
Details Quality 8
Mould Quality 8
Sculpture 8
Recommendation/Utility 9
Reviewer’s Opinion 8