Amongst the most coveted of non-issue Luftwaffe flight suits was the home-produced black leather suit with distinctive zip-fastened slash pockets. With the occupation of conquered nations countless alternatives were readily available from civilian outlets wherever the pilot, and thus Panzer officer and crewman, was stationed and differences in cut, fastenings and pockets were prolific.
35086 – “German Heer Panzer Crew Set” is a set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Krisztian Bodi. The two Heer Panzer crew members are portrayed in fairly relaxed stances: the commissioned officer wearing a leather aviator’s suit with hands behind his back; while the other indicates direction with a raised, directing right hand. Released during June 2009, the box-art is painted by Man-Jin Kim, his second such commission for Alpine Miniatures.
Both figures are also available individually as figures 35084 German Heer Panzer Crew #1 and 35085 German Heer Panzer Crew #2.
35084 German Heer Panzer Crew #1
35084 German Heer Panzer Crew #1 depicts a late war Panzer officer wearing, interestingly, a Luftwaffe one-piece leather flight suit. The figure is inspired by a photograph of a Heer Panzer officer standing next to a Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma heavy armoured car in Czechoslovakia.
This Panzer Officer wears one of the many slight manufacturers’ variations on the basic German-made black leather flight-suit. The garment was an expensive choice, and many chose not to adorn it with awards or even the breast eagle; here only the breast eagle is displayed.
He wears a pair of 10x50 Zeiß binoculars slung around his neck while his distinctive P38 soft-shell pistol holster is attached to his standard issue leather Officers belt. The officer is presented with two headgear options: the ‘old style’ M1934 Schirmmütze; and M1938 officer’s Feldmütze field cap.
35085 German Heer Panzer Crew #2
p>35085 German Heer Panzer Crew #2 is portrayed in a fairly casual stance directing attention ahead with a raised right arm.
This tank crewman wears a buttoned up M1942 Panzer jacket without pink collar piping but with the M1934 pink-piped skull collar patches and shoulder straps. He has a black Wound Badge and silver tank combat badge He wears M1942 reed-green herringbone twill Panzer work trousers with a large thigh pocket, ankle boots, brown officers belt, and P38 pistol.
The crewman is offered two headgear options: the M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap; and the M1934 enlisted mans’ Feldmütze field cap. The M1934 field cap was introduced in black cloth during 1940 and was identical in construction to the field-grey version.
The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of thirteen (13) 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 35084 German Heer Panzer Crew #1 consists of the following seven (7) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms, excluding hands;
Left and right hands clasped;
P38 soft-shell pistol holster;
Head wearing M1934 Schirmmütze; and
Head wearing M1938 officer’s Feldmütze field cap.
Figure 35085 German Heer Panzer Crew #2 consists of the following six (6) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms;
Luger P08 pistol holster;
Head wearing M1934 enlisted mans’ Feldmütze field cap; and
Head wearing M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap.
On the whole the figures are superbly sculpted and, as expected from Alpine Miniatures, the casting is crisp and clean.
The heads are all well-sculpted, and both pairs of faces match in terms of facial details – it is merely the headwear that distinguishes them. The faces are cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair (particularly the two Feldmütze heads which both have fairly thick, wavy hair) visible under the headgear, which itself is well proportioned and nicely detailed. The casting blocks are positioned under the neck for all four heads, so modellers can effortlessly remove these without fear of damaging any detail.
The figures proper are excellently sculpted, and folds gather realistically for the materials and garments portrayed. All the finer details such as shoulder and collar insignia which stand proud, the enlisted man’s belt buckle, and the officer’s binoculars are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast.
The sculptor has succeeded in portraying the bulkiness of the one-piece leather flight suit. While I would have preferred to have seen a few of the zippered pockets rendered on the piece, the lack of them is not incorrect due to, as noted above, the many variants seen in these suits. The indented spot for the holster assists placement, but more importantly helps accentuate the bulkiness of the suit.
Figure 35085 German Heer Panzer Crew #2 is similarly stunningly sculpted, with plenty of small details to admire, such as the right tip of the breast eagle sticking out from under the closed jacket front; the raised collar tabs (Totenkopf) detail; the thigh pocket, open with the tab tucked into the pocket which itself has contents (perhaps a box of cigarettes). The drapery in general is excellent, and shows the contrast between the close fitting Panzer jacket and the baggier work trousers.
Casting is, overall, excellent. That said, while figure 35084 is virtually flash free (there was a smigdeon between the legs which is hardly worth mentioning), there is unusually more flash than normal (for an Alpine figure) around the legs of figure 35085. This however is extremely thin, can simply be flicked off with a sharp blade and frankly negligible. As per usual the casting blocks beneath the feet have been cut away and no more than a quick clean-up is required.
The figures’ arms, as with the rest of the kit, are well defined and cast. 35084’s arms feature the casting lugs placed on the inside of the shoulders, while 35085’s casting lugs are placed inside the shoulder and under the bicep for the left and right arms respectively. In the case of figure 35084 (the officer), flat spots on inside of forearms for facilitate a closer fit to the body, thus again emphasising the size of the suit. The cuffs are also recessed to allow for fitment of the hands. Something that really stands out on these two figures is the hands themselves, which are well defined and cleanly cast.
The pistol holsters are as always finely detailed and cast, with only the casting lug at the top requiring removal.
While some may find these figures rather limiting, I actually find them quite versatile. 35084 German Heer Panzer Crew #1 certainly need not only depict a Heer tanker, but a Waffen-SS tanker who were renowned for their use of leather gear, or even an aviator –he does after all wear a Luftwaffe flight-suit.
As we have come to expect from Alpine, the casting and sculpting is superb, with only a negligible amount of flash on one figure.
This is another exceptional couple of figures from Kristian Bodi and Alpine Miniatures. The quality of the cast and the versatility of the subject should prove to be very popular. 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.
“Luftwaffe Air and Ground Crew 1939-45”. Men-at-Arms 377. Robert F Stedman. Illustrated by Mike Chappell. Osprey Publishing. 2002.
“The German Army 1939-45 (4) Eastern Front 1943-45”. Men-at-Arms 330. Nigel Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 1999.