Staying warm appears to have been a challenge to soldiers throughout time. A fairly common practice is to wear as much of one’s uniform, both issue and non-issue, as possible. Taesung Harmms and Alpine Miniatures 35089 “German Panzer Crew Set” is an excellent example of a Heer tank crew doing just that: layering clothing. The commander wears two field tunics, while the crew member wears a boiler suit over his field uniform.
35089 “German Panzer Crew Set” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Taesung Harmms. The two Panzer crew members are portrayed aboard a Panzerkampfwagen V (“Panther”): the Unteroffizier stands through the open commander’s cupola holding the cupola rim; while the crew member is seated on the barrel cradling a puppy. Released during August 2009, the box-art is painted by Calvin Tan.
Both figures are also available individually as figures 35087 German Panzer Commander and 35088 German Panzer Crew with Puppy.
35087 German Panzer Commander
35087 German Panzer Commander depicts a late war Panzer junior non-commissioned officer standing in the commander’s cupola of a Panzerkampfwagen V, hands holding the rim. There is nothing specific that would identify the NCO with a particular late-war front although he wears garb not uncommon during the latter parts of the war: the combination of a privately tailored camouflage field tunic and black Panzer denims.
The Unteroffizier (the British equivalent being a Lance-sergeant), his rank denoted by his shoulder straps, wears a privately made field tunic in splinter-pattern camouflage, resembling the M1944 field blouse in cut, with added breast eagle. Interestingly this is worn over his black Panzer tunic, which is revealed by the collar having being folded over that of the field blouse. His standard issue black “Norwegian” style trousers are tucked into leather lace-up ankle boots. He wears a holstered P38 pistol on his standard issue leather belt.
The NCO is presented with two headgear options; he wears the black Panzer Feldmütze with headphones, and offers the M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap (sans headphones) as an alternative. The headphones are the Funkhaube A pattern for use by armoured vehicle crews. The throat microphone (Kehlkopfmikrofon) worn by tank crews is not visible – it may be covered by the Commander’s neck scarf.
35088 German Panzer Crew with Puppy
35088 German Panzer Crew with Puppy is portrayed seated on a (Panzerkampfwagen V) gun barrel cradling a puppy.
The Panzer crewman wears the one-piece boiler suit. The working dress one-piece boiler suit was manufactured for armoured vehicle crews and could be worn over the black Panzer clothing or its lightweight denim summer equivalent. Usually no insignia was worn on this garment, and it was frequently used when engaged in messy maintenance work. It was also used in winter months, as in this case, to add an additional layer of clothing in an attempt to stay warm.
He also wears a woollen roll-neck sweater under his overalls, woollen gloves and lace-up ankle boots. Attached to his standard issue leather belt is a P38 pistol in its distinctive soft-shell pistol holster.
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 eleven (11) 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 35087 German Panzer Commander consists of the following six (6) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms;
P38 soft-shell pistol holster;
Head wearing black Panzer Feldmütze with headphones; and
Head wearing M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap.
Figure 35088 German Panzer Crew with Puppy consists of the following five (5) parts: Full figure, excluding head and left arm;
P38 pistol holster;
Head wearing M1934 enlisted mans’ Feldmütze field cap; and
Head wearing M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap.
In true Taesung Harmms form the figures are splendidly sculpted and the casting is crisp and clean, as it always is from Alpine Miniatures.
The four heads are well-sculpted, and both pairs of faces share identical facial details – it is only the headgear that differentiates them. The faces are cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair visible under the headgear, which itself is well proportioned and nicely detailed. The casting blocks are situated under the neck for all four heads, so modellers can remove these relatively easily without fear of damaging any detail. There is a minute bit of flash between the headphones and the head, understandably given the complexity of casting the piece, which will need to be removed. While on the subject of the headphones, while modellers will most likely add the headphone wiring, it should not be necessary to replace the overhead strap (for lack of a better term) with photo-etch or similar as the resin part is convincingly thin enough.
The figures proper, i.e. torsos and legs, are exceptionally sculpted and folds gather convincingly for the materials and garments portrayed. The clearly defined gathering of folds on the Commander’s trousers particularly stood out to me to this regard: the drapery and bagginess of trousers which are slightly too long for the wearer and tucked into boots demonstrate this. All the finer details such as the two overlapping field tunic collars, shoulder and collar insignia which stand proud, textured woollen gloves, bulging pockets due to a seated position, the enlisted man’s belt buckles are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast.
The integration of the right arm and puppy into the torso of figure 35088 German Panzer Crew with Puppy has both advantages and disadvantages: the former ensuring a closer, more integrated fit; the latter being that the puppy cannot be removed without some difficulty.
Casting is, on the whole, exceptional. That said, while both figures are flash free, there is a very fine seam running along the rear left buttocks flowing from the holster recess on the belt. This is frankly negligible and hardly worth mentioning, as it is: firstly covered by the holster; secondly virtually under the figure; and thirdly extremely quick and easy to remove. As per usual the casting blocks beneath the feet of figure 35087 have been cut away and no more than a quick clean-up is required. A small casting block across figure 35088’s boot soles as well as a small “knot” beneath the one buttock is present and will obviously need to be removed.
The figures’ arms, as with the rest of the kit, are well defined and cast. The bulkiness of wearing two field jackets is evident by the size of the cuffs and sleeve folds. 35087’s arms feature the casting lugs placed on the inner shoulder and elbow of the left and right arms respectively. 35088’s left arm casting lug is placed on the rear bicep, with a fine, easy to remove point of contact.
The pistol holsters are as always finely detailed and cast, with only the casting lug at the top requiring removal.
Modellers would be short-sighted in thinking that this set of figures can only be used to “accessorise” a Panzerkampfwagen V. The figures can be used with most vehicles, as demonstrated by Calvin Tan’s (the box-artist) portrayal of the crew aboard a Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun (see Calvin’s blog: Perspectives in Miniature).
The sculpting is Taesung Harmms at his best, and as we have come to expect from Alpine the casting is superb.
This is another outstanding pair of figures from Taesung Harmms and Alpine Miniatures. The quality of the cast and the usefulness 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.
“Panzer Crewman 1939-45”. Warrior 046. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Velimir Vuksic. Osprey Publishing. 2002.
“The German Army 1939-45 (5) Western Front 1943-45”. Men-at-Arms 336. Nigel Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2000.