Articles

Juweela_Panzerknacker_JUW27122 _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Juweela
Scale 1/72
Set Code 27122
Year -
No. of Figures 4
No. of Poses 4
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (Superglue Gel)
Conversion-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review

Juweela definitely is one of the cottage industry companies covering in an excellent manner the 1/72 German Army soldiers dressed for winter, filling in numerous gaps in the scale, particularly in terms of attire. In this regard, one set of special interest is “Panzerknacker-German WWII winter AT inf.” while it puts forward a rare interpretation over footwear. Within this set, all the army-men received jack/marching boots wrapped in cloth strips, a common practice of WWII Germans and their allies, especially on the Eastern Front, in order to keep warm and prevent sliding. Certainly the marching boots had not been designed for the hash Russian winters and due to lack of appropriate footwear, the soldiers had to manage how they could, as just stressed, a very frequent practice being the one here illustrated by Juweela. 

Except the eye-catching and rare depiction of such “field converted” footwear, an extra surprise prepared by the manufacturer rests in Zeltbahns over greatcoats, two combatants wearing like that the item. It was an extremely widespread custom of WWII Germans to put on Zeltbahns over uniforms or other garment for keeping warm, against rain or in camouflage purposes. Despite the large use, as thousands of reference images reveal, in Braille Scale such approach is really scarce, only several minis existing on the matter in the tall side of the 1/72 scale, Caesar also offering a couple of dedicated sets but those figures belong to the small side of the scale.   If the above mentioned niceties were not enough, Juweela comes with another, namely the weapon held by three of the troopers from here, also the fourth having it but in a beg, only the handle being visible. It is about Geballte Ladung, a weapon appeared in 1943 and formed by a single Stielhandgranate 24 around which there were disposed six Handgranate 43. Produced in mass quantities, that semi-official grenade is infrequent in the scale, Revell in "German Engineers" and "German Infantry" and Orion in “German Paratrooper” making it available.    

However, the title of the set highlights the anti-tank role of these fighters but Geballte Ladung was mainly employed at demolition, and only occasionally against personnel and tanks, the charge being capable to penetrate merely thin armour or to blow off tanks tracks. However, materials of the period attest usage against tanks, but for a set under this title, perhaps it had been better to get some magnetic mines, Panzerfausts, and Panzerschrecks, as regularly deployed German infantry anti-tank means. Nevertheless, those weapons are more numerous in the scale, so delivering four figures handling in diverse manners the rare Geballte Ladung is a very welcome approach, maybe just the title should have received another name. 

The set is marketed in the customary but fancy Juweela silver box, the figures being placed on a thick sponge cushion, the title, content, set code, and supplementary information being included in a sticker rolled around the box. Due to the rigorous care taken for packing the product, corroborated with the material the miniatures are made of, there is no problem the content to safely arrive at customers via mail. In fact, e-commerce seems to be the main instrument for selling Juweela sets while again, no artwork is present and the interested persons cannot get a picture of what is inside in a hobby shop.  

All the four army-men wear the familiar greatcoat, although two of them put over the famous Zeltbahn. The greatcoat was the main item of garment for winter in the first part of WWII but was worn until the end. A wide variety of models, either standard or tailor-made were encountered M36, M40, and M42 constituting the most ordinary ones. The M36 and M40 patterns are recognised after the French cuffs and in the 1/72 scale the model can be highlighted through the colour of the collar, feldgrau for the latter one. Footwear is formed by marching/jack boots wrapped in cloth strips and the largest diversity is recorded in terms of headgear, two having steel-helmets with camouflage cloth over, one has got the winter fur cap and the last wears the officer peak cap, easier the recognition of his rank. Likewise, two of them draped their heads in toques, a standard piece within the WWII German winter equipment and all of them have got the knitted five fingers gloves, for the officer modellers having the alternative of painting those as leather. In addition, a rarely portrayed accessory in the scale finds its place here, three soldiers putting on scarves, so a supplementary brilliant incentive coming from Juweela.  

As assault troops, all are fairly lightly geared and armed with personal weapons, two of them with Kar98K and two with MP38/40. Those with rifles have got the appropriate ammunition pouches but concerning the others with MPs, only the officer adjusted the right hand side pouch, his subordinate missing both. Occasionally reference images show troopers armed with rifles or MPs but without ammunition pouches, so this time, bearing in mind the overall accuracy of the set, it might be considered the sculptor on purpose omitted the ammo pouches. Gear is mostly formed by bread bags and canteens, although few other items such as a blanket or overcoat rolled on the back of a soldier and a bag for Geballte Ladung can be encountered.   

The poses are fine and appropriate for troopers employing such grenade, the sculptor succeeding to catch them in various moments of handling the Geballte Ladung, even including one inside a bag carried by the officer. Moreover, an excellent approach is recorded regarding the personal weapon setting when making use of grenades, all of them having the rifles or MPs on their backs.  

Juweela proposes the officer in an out-of-ordinary stance for 1/72 scale, throwing a StiHg-r 24. He is armed only with MP38/40 and the lack of pistol holster should not raise any question mark based on the fact KStN provided for low rank officers such as platoon commanders only MP38/40 as personal weapon. A nice addition to this figure is the bag where there is kept the Geballte Ladung, just the handle getting out but the material properly folds around the warhead, permitting a clear identification of the weapon. He complements the attack by throwing a smaller grenade, maybe to engage the crew getting out from a vehicle affected by the blast of Geballte Ladungs previously thrown by his soldiers. According to the recognized and highly appreciated practice of the WWII German commanders, also this one fights together with his soldiers in the first-line, the manufacturer greatly surprising such aspect with the miniature and underlining his bravery through an Iron Cross dangling in the left hand such on the chest.  

The other army-man armed with MP38/40 might embody an NCO preparing to prime the deadly charge, pulling a cord sharply sculptured and immediately spotted. His comrade also wearing Zeltbahn like a poncho was portrayed as running to get closer to the target, with the grenade in the right hand and with the left preventing the steel helmet to fall. In some extent both poses might be appraised as little flat, perhaps because the figures are done as single pieces, but definitely they still pass as attractive in many aspects.  

Considering it is about soldiers in attack, the set could not miss one throwing the grenade and he succeeds to perform the task in a convincing manner. A nice touch represents the two spare Geballte Ladungs hung on his chest, in a quite American manner, although as few images of the period illustrate, sometimes the WWII German soldiers kept their grenades in the same way. A proper item for a winter soldier is the fur cap and this trooper has it with the side ear lugs folded down, highlighting a freezing day.  

The overall anatomy is great, maybe just the heads are a micron too large but certainly the sculptor managed to create brilliant facial expressions, put in valour by crisp eyes, eye-brows, noses, cheeks as well as mouths, two of them having them a little opened in order to enhance the carried out actions. Moreover, palms are well done with crisp fingers even if the hands are in gloves. Attire is mostly wonderfully detailed, buttons, creases, greatcoat length, fur, and other special features are correct and easily spotted, one issue still raising the full cast of the greatcoats. In general this is not very disturbing for closed coats, most of the manufacturers approaching the item in this way. However, on dynamic figures, when the opening should be clearly noticed due to the moves done, receiving full greatcoats is not so pleasant. It is the case of the grenade thrower and the running soldier and for a superior appearance, modellers should strive removing the undesired material, as here presented. Of special note is the footwear, the created effect of cloth strips rolled around jack/marching boots reiterating the outstanding skills and knowledge of Juweela sculptor. Likewise, the fur cap and camouflage cloths of the helmets strike with top details, also the leather or rubber band used for fixation being very visible. While the rest of the equipment arrives pretty nice, the bread-bags, canteen, and MP 38/40 ammo pouch do not impress with shape and details. In terms of weapons, the grenades and Kar98Ks are good in form and size but the MPs emerge a little too long and slightly over-scaled.  

Cast as single pieces, if wanted, the base removal would require some work because Juweela’s metal is quite sturdy. Excess of metal does not exist and flash records only a low percent, modelling knife or razor blade being able to eliminate it. Priming in advance of painting is mandatory, without special treatment white metal cannot properly hold enamel, acrylics or artistic oils.

Belonging to the medium/tall side of the 1/72 scale, these minis find a huge number of comrades not only within Juweela’s notable series of winter troopers, but also in relation with various sets released by mass-production and cottage industry representatives as Revell, Dragon, Caesar, Pegasus Hobbies, Esci, Italeri, Strelets, Zvezda, and Preiser or Weathering Factory, Miniaturas Alemany, Juweela, El Viejo Dragon, TQD Castings, Tracks&Troops, MIG Productions, and D Day.   

In terms of 1/72 WWII Germans, from time to time, sets solving outstanding issues reach the market, and definitely Juweela’s “Panzerknacker” emerges as one of those. The whole appearance of these soldiers give emphasis to a very cold day to die, the close attack with Geballte Ladun, engaging either a trench, stronghold or vehicle, giving quite few  chances for survival. The unique footwear wrapped with strips of cloth, Zeltbahns over greatcoats, Geballte Ladungs, and officer throwing a grenade categorically set out as key problems for collectors, diorama builders, and wargamers, and luckily these matters have been answered here.

  

Historical Accuracy

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