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In-Box Review
135
LAH in the Ardennes Set 2
Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes and LAH Grenadier in the Ardennes
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by: Rudi Richardson [ TAROK ]

Introduction

Waffen-SS troops in the Ardennes offensive displayed an eclectic look in uniforms; an assortment of types of WSS uniforms was worn giving a hotchpotch appearance to the soldiers. There was also a shortage of suitable Waffen-SS winter clothing issued in this campaign – precedence for cold-weather attire went to the Eastern Front.

35098 – “LAH in the Ardennes Set 2” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Taesung Harmms, the owner of Alpine Miniatures. The set features two Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler (LAH) officers, the first representing SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Diefenthal while the second depicts a LAH NCO, typifying the many diverse uniform appearances of the WSS during the December 1944 engagement on the Western Front. Released during January 2010, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Calvin Tan.

Both figures are also available individually as figures 35096 Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes and 35097 LAH Grenadier in the Ardennes.

35096 Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes

35096 Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes depicts SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef “Jupp” Diefenthal during the LAH’s deployment to the Western Front, in particular: the Ardennes. The Waffen-SS equivalent of a (British Army) Captain, SS-Hauptsturmführer Diefenthal was later awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions during this operation while in command of III Battalion, 2nd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 1st SS Division Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler. The Waffen-SS Officer, clad in a combination of Waffen-SS clothing and cold weather clothing, stands with his right arm raised, perhaps giving direction or waving troops forward, while holding what appears to be a Kartenschultzhülle in his left hand.

Diefenthal wears one of the numerous variants of sheepskin winter overjackets. This particular pattern features elasticised cuffs. The WSS Captain wears camouflage trousers, field-made in Italian M1929 forest-pattern telo mimetico camouflage cloth, tucked into his short-shaft marching boots. Around his neck, tucked into his jacket, SS-Hauptsturmführer Diefenthal wears a woollen scarf.

The German Officer’s personal weapon is a P38 pistol, in a soft leather case to the rear of his Wehrmacht issue M1934 officers’ brown leather belt. As mentioned previously, Diefenthal holds a map protection cover (Kartenschultzhülle), composed of two panels of clear celluloid joined by a leather frame in which a folded map is placed, in his left hand.

35096 Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes is presented with two heard gear options: the ‘old style’ M1934 Schirmmütze, without stiffening, and M42 Feldmütze field cap. Most period photographs appear to depict Diefenthal wearing the Schirmmütze.

35097 LAH Grenadier in the Ardennes

35097 LAH Grenadier in the Ardennes is portrayed in a fairly casual stance, perhaps discussing tactics or being briefed by his superior during a lull in the LAH’s short involvement in the engagement. There is nothing specific that would categorize the Grenadier with a particular front within the LAH’s existence, or indeed with a particular WSS division. That said, the LAH soldier wears garb typical for the WSS during their late war engagements on the Western Front: the hotchpotch combination of a variety of styles of clothing and inadequate cold weather protection.

35097 wears the M44 (dot pattern) camouflage drill jacket. The camouflage drill jacket was manufactured as a replacement to the camouflage smock in the late war years. It was made to the same design as the M43 field blouse with a five-button front, plain pockets and the straight pocket flaps. As regulations stipulate only the SS sleeve eagle insignia is worn on the left arm. Beneath the camouflage jacket this the soldier appears to be wearing a field grey service blouse, barely visible but betrayed by the sleeve cuffs which stick out from under the drill jacket. The M42 service trousers, which close at the ankle with a drawstring, are worn loose over his ankle boots. Additional cold weather clothing exists of a balaclava and woollen gloves.

He carries the Sturmgewehr 44 also known as the MP44 assault rifle, which was designed to give the German soldier greater fire power and to eventually replace other German manufactured rifles and sub-machine guns. His personal equipment consists of the M1940 tropical canvas infantry support straps, SS enlisted man’s belt, one MP44 canvas magazine pouch (fairly common in the late war), a standard issue set of 6x30 binoculars, P38 pistol in a soft leather case and the M1935 map case.

He is presented with two headgear alternatives: a M42 SS steel helmet with; or without fitted camouflage cover.

The Kit

The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of fourteen (14) 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 35096 Josef Diefenthal in the Ardennes consists of the following six (6) parts:

  • Full figure, excluding head and arms;
  • Left and right arms, with Kartenschultzhülle cast in the left hand;
  • Head wearing Schirmmütze;
  • Head wearing M42 Feldmütze field cap; and
  • P38 Holster.

    Figure 35097 LAH Grenadier in the Ardennes consists of the following eight (8) parts:

  • Full figure, excluding head and arms;
  • Left and right arms, the latter sans right hand;
  • Head wearing steel helmet without camouflage cover;
  • Head wearing steel helmet with camouflage cover;
  • Sturmgewehr 44 with attached right hand;
  • M1935 report/map case; and
  • P38 Holster.

    The Figures

    The figures are overall extremely well sculpted and, as we have become accustomed to from Alpine Miniatures, the casting is exceptional.

    The faces of each pair match in terms of facial details and it is merely the headdress that differentiates the pairs. In fact, in the case of 35097 it is literally only the addition of the camouflage cover that differentiates the one head from the other: even the balaclava folds match. The faces are exceptionally sculpted: cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair visible under the headgear of 35096. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed. The casting blocks are positioned under the necks of all four heads, so modellers can effortlessly remove these without fear of damaging any detail.

    Despite the scale, one is able to see the resemblance between the 35096 character faces and photo references of SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Diefenthal.

    The figures proper are exceptionally well detailed. One gets a very good idea of the relative bulkiness, and by implication the warmth offered, of the sheepskin winter overjacket, particularly when comparing it to the inadequate camouflage drill jacket worn by 35097. Folds gather realistically for the types of material portrayed. All the finer details such as insignia, belt buckles, ammunition pouches and binoculars are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast. Recesses are provided for placement of the holsters, both above the left buttock. 35097’s right upper thigh also features a rectangular locating recess for the document case.

    Casting is as one always expects from an Alpine figure: clean and crisp, with the only clean up being a few fine tendrils of flash between the legs of figure 35096. As per usual the casting blocks beneath the feet have been cut away and no more than a quick clean-up is required.

    The arms, map-case, holsters and Sturmgewehr 44 are, like the rest of the set, meticulously sculpted and expertly cast. For some particular reason the quality and clarity of the sculpting (and supporting cast) of the hands on these two figures really stands out to me; the hands and digits really are exceptional on this pair of figures. The casting blocks are placed on the tricep and Kartenschultzhülle of the right and left 35096 arms respectively. Figure 35097 finds its arm casting blocks placed on the elbow and inner shoulder of its right and left arms respectively. The casting blocks of the holsters and NCO’s map case are positions at the tops of the pieces, with 35097’s holster and map case attached to a single block. The Sturmgewehr 44 is cast with no less that five (5) fine casting block attachments. This facilitates not only the casting, but ensures there is no flex of the part in shipping, minimizing the risk of breakage.

    Conclusion

    WWII German, or even Waffen-SS, miniatures are certainly not a unique subject, but what sets Alpine Miniatures’ figures apart from the rest is the manner in which Taesung (and his sculptors) pick up on the very many nuances present in German uniformology. This figure set by Alpine Miniatures is another terrific example of the various aspects of the late war WSS uniform and the manners in which it was worn.

    While many armour modellers will without doubt rebuke the pointing and neutral poses of these figures, from a figure modeller point of view these poses serve to display the masterful sculpting and the historical accuracy with all the many fine details of the figures.

    For the painter, as with most SS subjects, there are a number of interesting ways in which these figures can be presented due to the great range of Waffen-SS camouflage schemes or even simply revert to Feldgrau. It goes without saying that the character head can be replaced with a generic alternative should the modeller not wish to depict SS-Hauptsturmführer Diefenthal. Add in the masterful sculpting of Taesung Harmms and the high quality casting of Alpine Miniatures and modellers are presented with a really nice set of figures.

    As denoted from the title, this is the second “LAH in the Ardennes” set of figures from Alpine Miniatures, the first set depicting Joachim Peiper and a LAH NCO. It would be unsurprising to see these two Ardennes sets released as a numbered limited edition set at some point, much in the same way the Kharkov set was.

    Recommended.

    References

    The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject:

  • “The Waffen-SS (1) 1. To 5. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 401. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.
  • “The Waffen-SS (3) 11. To 23. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 415. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2004.
  • “The German Army 1939-45(5) Western Front 1943-45”. Men-at-Arms 336. Nigel Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.
  • “Waffen-SS Uniforms in Colour Photographs”. Europa Militaria No. 6. Andrew Steven & Peter Amodio. The Crowood Press. 2007.
  • “Waffen-SS (2) From Glory to Defeat 1943 – 1945”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing. 2000.
  • “German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945”. Brian L. Davis. Military Book Society. 1973.


  • SUMMARY
    Highs: Excellent representation of the hotchpodge appearance of the WSS soldier during the Ardennes campaign. Stunning sculpting as always from Taesung Harmms.
    Lows: Some modellers may not favour the neutral poses.
    Verdict: Another fantastic sculpt from Taesung Harmms with his amazing eye for detail and Alpine's high quality casting. Recommended.
    Percentage Rating
    95%
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: 35096, 35097, 35098
      PUBLISHED: Jul 20, 2010
      NATIONALITY: Germany
    NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
      THIS REVIEWER: 85.47%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.33%

    Our Thanks to Alpine Miniatures!
    This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
    View Vendor Homepage  More Reviews  

    About Rudi Richardson (Tarok)
    FROM: VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

    I'm a former Managing Editor of the Historicus Forma historical figure modelling website. While my modelling and history interests are diverse, my main figure modelling focus lies in Sci-Fi, Pop-Culture, Fantasy, Roman and WW2 German subjects. I'm a firm believer that armour and vehicles accessorise...

    Copyright ©2018 text by Rudi Richardson [ TAROK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.



    Comments

    Thanks for publishing, Bro!
    JUL 19, 2010 - 06:57 PM
    My pleasure. It is always great reading your reviews... although WW2 is not my forte, I love the touch of historical info as well as all the details on the uniforms and equipment. Thanks for the review mate, Mario
    JUL 19, 2010 - 07:24 PM
    Excellent review as always Rudi! Many thanks Mark
    JUL 19, 2010 - 08:33 PM
    Thanks for the compliments, gents, you're welcome
    JUL 19, 2010 - 10:52 PM
    Thank you for the great knowledgeable review! No one else goes into such detail. It's nice to know that someone actually recognizes and appreciates all the small and subtle details I put into my figures. Thanks again!
    JUL 21, 2010 - 04:12 PM
    I'm sorry we lost some of the responses in this topic due to the website glitch; it is always good to see people read the reviews and make comments about it. Thanks for this Taesung; I'm sure Rudi is blushing, but we are also very proud to host his reviews on HFM. I feel Rudi's reviews are among the best on the Internet as they combine high quality pictures with very serious research on all aspects of the figure... I must admit I'm more into large scale stuff and I'd love to see Rudi reviewing Alpine's 1/16 figures as well. Any chance of that, guys? Cheers, Mario
    JUL 21, 2010 - 08:29 PM
    why not?
    JUL 22, 2010 - 04:00 AM
    Great! I'd love to hear Rudi's opinion on Alpine's forthcoming 1/16 Fallschirmjager sniper figure. I usually do modern stuff, but your FJ is one of the very few WW2 figures I'm really interested in painting. Mario
    JUL 22, 2010 - 09:58 PM
    We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
    Thanks.
       

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