The first four years of WWII saw very little change in the basic uniform and equipment of the German Infantryman, with most changes due to economic cutbacks. This set of figures from Alpine Miniatures is an excellent example of both the early-mid war German infantry commissioned and non-commissioned officers.
35083 – “German Infantry Set” is a set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Yukio Honma, this being his second pair of 1/35 scale figures for Alpine Miniatures. The two Wehrmacht Infantry Officers, both wearing early war clothing, are portrayed in fairly relaxed stances: the commissioned officer looking through a pair of binoculars; while the other poses with his right hand holding his lowered rifle and the left over his binoculars. Released during April 2009, the box-art is painted by Man-Jin Kim, his first such commission for Alpine Miniatures (subsequent to this release he has done more).
Both figures are also available individually as figures 35081 German Infantry Officer and 35082 German Infantry NCO.
35081 German Infantry Officer
35081 German Infantry Officer depicts an early war junior officer either lowering or raising his binoculars, perhaps surveying an enemy position. During the Early War all Army officers (except platoon leaders) in the field wore the standard steel helmet, officers’ field tunic, brown belt, breeches and riding boots. However on 31 October 1939 all officers below general officer in combat units were orders to wear the other ranks’ field tunic, black belt, trousers and marching boots, so as not to be too conspicuous to the enemy.
This Infantry Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant) partially complies with these orders: he wears the other ranks’ M1935 field tunic with officers’ collar patches, shoulder strap rank insignia, breast eagle and various awards (strangely he wears his Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon from his third button and not the regulation second), officers’ breeches and officers riding boots (distinguishable from the marching boot by a longer, straighter shaft). He also wears the M1934 officer’s service belt with a Luger P08 pistol holster and one of the many slight manufacturers’ variations on the basic pattern of M1935 map case. He holds a pair of 6x30 issue binoculars.
In addition to the M1938 officer’s Feldmütze field cap tucked in his belt, the officer is presented with two helmet options: the M1935 steel helmet with or without M1935 camouflage helmet cover.
35082 German Infantry NCO
35082 German Infantry NCO is portrayed in a casual stance with tunic sleeves rolled, lightly equipped as if on a short reconnaissance patrol, with one hand on his lowered rifle and the other on his binoculars.
This section leader, an Unteroffizier, wears the standard other ranks field uniform consisting of other ranks’ M1935 field tunic with dark collar, stone grey (Steingrau) service trousers, black leather marching boots and black leather belt and M1911 leather infantry equipment suspenders (‘Y-straps’). Attached to his belt are two sets of M1933 black leather cartridge pouches, M1931 ‘breadbag’ haversack, and M1931 water bottle. As a section leader this NCO is wearing the standard field equipment with 6x30 issue binoculars. He carries the Mauser 98k 7.92mm calibre rifle – section leaders were not normally issued submachine guns until 1941 – and a M1924 stick-grenade, known as the ‘potato masher’, in his left boot.
Interestingly the NCO does not carry the regulation required minimum equipment such as gas mask case, mess kit, shovel and bayonet – something which is not often seen.
The infantryman is offered two headgear options: the M1935 steel helmet; and the M1934 enlisted mans’ Feldmütze field cap.
The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of fifteen (15) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small, clear acetate box with each figure’s parts inside its own small zip-lock bag. A small card displaying the painted set of figures, as well as the individual figures is supplied.
Figure 35081 German Infantry Officer consists of the following eight (8) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms, excluding hands;
Left and right hands holding binoculars;
Luger P08 pistol holster;
M1935 map case;
Head wearing M1935 helmet without camouflage cover; and
Head wearing M1935 helmet with camouflage cover.
Figure 35082 German Infantry NCO consists of the following seven (7) parts: Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Full left and upper right arms;
M1931 water bottle;
Mauser 98k with lower right arm;
Head wearing M1935 helmet; and
Head wearing M1934 enlisted mans’ Feldmütze field cap.
Overall the figures are well sculpted, and as we have become accustomed to from Alpine Miniatures, the casting is crisp and clean.
The heads are all well-sculpted, and both faces in the twosome match in terms of facial details – it is merely the headdress that differentiates the pairs. The faces are cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair visible under the headgear of the Feldmütze wearing head. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed – although I must admit to being 100% certain if the helmets are M1935 or M1940 given the manner in which the ventilation holes are represented, and thus I have referred to it as being the former. The casting blocks are positioned under the neck for one head for the covered helmeted and Feldmütze heads, so modellers can effortlessly remove these without fear of damaging any detail. The uncovered helmeted heads have the casting blocks positioned on the helmet, so caution should be practiced when removing these.
The figures proper are well detailed and one gets a very good idea of the fit of the early field tunic, and the officers’ breeches and other ranks trousers. Folds gather realistically for the materials portrayed. All the finer details such as shoulder and collar insignia, belt buckles, and binoculars are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast. Recesses are provided for placement of the officer’s holster, on the left hip. 35081’s right upper thigh also features a rectangular locating recess for the document case, while 35082’s bread-bag has a long locating recess for the placement of the water bottle.
Casting is as one always expects from an Alpine figure: clean and crisp, with the only clean up being the usual minuscule amount of flash between the legs of figure 35081 German Infantry Officer. As per usual the casting blocks beneath the feet have been cut away and no more than a quick clean-up is required.
35081’s arms, hands and binoculars, M1935 report/map case and pistol holster, as with the rest of the figure, are well detailed and cast. The arms have small notches in various positions which facilitate a snug fit to the body as well as equipment. The casting blocks are located on the outer elbows of the arms, wrists for the hands/binoculars and at the top of the holster and map case. Other than very fine seams running along the top of the hands from the thumb to wrist, an understandable seam given the nature of the part, the parts are free of casting seams.
The remaining parts of figure 35082 German Infantry NCO, namely left arm, upper right arm, right forearm and rifle, and water bottle, are as with the rest of the kit parts well sculpted and impeccably cast. The left arm features a small notch which allows for placement over the belt-mounted ammunition pouches, which the rolled up right sleeve is recessed to allow for the forearm to slot in realistically. The casting blocks are located on the outer elbow and inner shoulder of the left and right arms respectively, and on the bottom of the water bottle. The rifle features a large bracing casting block with attachment points at the butt, trigger guard, stock and muzzle of the rifle. Modellers will want to be very careful when removing these, particularly the trigger guard and muzzle points, for fear of damaging the part.
Removing the pieces from the casting blocks was effortless. As always, I used a new knife blade, which easily cut through the resin with ease.
Clean up was non-existent, with only the bit of flash being the aforementioned smidgen between the legs of figure 35081 - nothing a sharp number 11 blade could not quickly sort out.
When fitting the arms, modellers will want to align the tunic folds of the torso with those represented on the arms/shoulders. This should be done with care particularly when fitting figure 35081’s arms as incorrectly fitted arms will result in the hands/binoculars not being able to be correctly fitted.
Assembly of the figures revealed two small issues, one per figure. When fitting the map case to the front right hip of figure 35081 it was evident that the rectangular placement “lug” on the rear of the case was much too long for the reciprocating crevice on the torso. In order for the case to fit flush against the tunic the map case lug will need to be trimmed.
Placement of the water bottle to the receiving indent on the bread bag is assisted by a channel into which the water bottle’s strap fits. This channel is cut slightly too long though, and once the water bottle it fitted a small bit of it can be seen above the drinking cup (water bottle’s lid). This will need to be filled using modelling putty or similar filler.
The heads easily slide into place and, as with all Alpine figures, are to a certain degree interchangeable between the two figures.
While some may find the poses featured in this figure set inanimate, I find the figures rather versatile as they can be used in a variety of scenes. This set need not be represented as infantrymen per se, nor limited in terms of time period as early war uniforms were worn virtually throughout the war. This figure set by Alpine Miniatures is a terrific example of the various aspects of the early-mid war German European theatre uniform.
As we have become accustomed to from Alpine, the casting and sculpting is magnificent, with only a barely noticeable amount of flash on one figure. The map case and water bottle “issues” mentioned in the text are easily corrected.
In terms of painting, trousers could be painted in the initial stone-grey or the early feldgrau (only difference between the M38 and M40 trousers was the colour as the pattern remained the same). Similarly, the primary cosmetic difference between the M36 and M40 tunics being the collars colours.
This is another excellent pair of figures from Yukio Honma and Taesung Harmm’s Alpine Miniatures. The quality of the cast, and the versatility of the subject should prove to be very successful. Recommended.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject: “German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945”. Brian L. Davis. Military Book Society. 1973.
“German Army Uniforms of World War II in Color Photographs”. Wade Krawczyk. Motorbooks International. 1995.
“Uniforms of the Third Reich: A Study in Photographs”. Arthur Hayes & Jon Maguire. Schiffer Military History. 1997.
“The German Army 1939-45(1) Blitzkrieg”. Men-at-Arms 311. Nigel Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 1997.
“German Combat Equipments 1939-45”. Men-at-Arms 234. Gordon Rottman. Illustrated by Ron Volstad. Osprey Publishing. 1991.