In their bold operations in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Crete, Italy, and the first exhausting days of the Normandy landings, the German Fallschirmjäger fought with distinction and honour, in spite of substantial losses. Frequently on the verge of annihilation they regrouped and continued to fight with heroism until the final days of the Reich. Their devotion to their unit and comrades and doggedness on the front lines earned them the respect of friend and foe alike.
16010 – “Fallschirmjäger Sniper” is a 1/16th scale resin figure sculpted by Taesung Harmms, the owner of Alpine Miniatures, depicting a young German Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) sharpshooter. Released during August 2010, the box-art is painted Sang Eon Lee, his second such for Alpine Miniatures.
16010 Fallschirmjäger Sniper
16010 Fallschirmjäger Sniper is depicted quickly reloading while advancing, seemingly in the middle of uttering “scheiße”, perhaps having missed a shot. There is nothing particular about the character’s appearance which would place him at during any particular engagement other than the fact that he wears a second pattern Luftwaffe paratrooper smock.
A brief word on the jump smock version references used throughout this review. Three distinct patterns of smocks were used by German parachute units, with a number of variations being based on two of these patterns. The early type of jump smock introduced by the German Army for use by its own parachute force was a garment quite different from the two subsequent Luftwaffe models. Although very similar in general appearance, the two Luftwaffe models differed basically in that the first pattern was a step-in type garment whilst the latter buttoned down the entire length of the front of the smock. The smock versioning convention appears to vary between authors, with the Army smock often being referred to as the Type 1 (or Pattern 1), and the two Luftwaffe versions being Type 2 and 3 (or Pattern 2 and 3 respectively). For the purposes of this review, any references to the jump smocks refers specifically to the Luftwaffe jump smocks and as the first and second pattern Luftwaffe paratrooper smocks respectively, thus acknowledging the fact that the Army smock was a garment in its own right.
The German airborne marksman wears the second pattern Luftwaffe Fallschirmschützenbluse (paratrooper smock). The second pattern Luftwaffe parachute smock was originally manufactured in green splinter-pattern camouflage material, but later in the war it was produced in a tan water-pattern camouflage finish. The green splinter-pattern smocks were first introduced in time for issue to troops taking part in the Dutch campaign and the attack on Rotterdam; the tan water-pattern version was brought out shortly after the battle for Crete.
In addition to unbuttoning down the entire front of the garment there were two large zipper-fastened pockets set into the smock at an angle high up on either side of the chest near to the shoulders. Two thigh pockets were positioned horizontally across the front of each leg to the garment and these were also zip-fastened, all four pockets being concealed by means of ‘letter box’ flaps which lay over the pocket openings. A number of this particular pattern were manufactured with a special built-in holster positioned on the right hip at the rear of the smock.
Underneath the smock the paratrooper wears the wool uniform which was often worn in action by German paratroopers. The blue-gray ‘Fliegerbluse’ collar displays the two yellow collar patches which feature the two Gefreiter’s ‘wings’. The jump trousers feature a vertical pocket for the gravity knife on the right thigh, which has a triangular flap with two studs. The field dressing was carried in a vertical fob pocket on the left leg and sealing with three pressure studs. The paratrooper wears the standard issue lace-up ankle boot with its eight pairs of eyelets; the black jump boots have twelve pairs of eyelets.
The Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger helmet, when first introduced, represented a new and revolutionary development in military protective headwear. Its shape and construction was especially designed to meet the needs of the German paratrooper bearing in mind his unique role: the helmet provided the wearer to a certain extent with protection against head wounds from shrapnel and gunfire; it was designed and manufactured to resist the hard landing from an air drop; at the time it was so shaped as to prevent any part of the helmet from becoming fouled with rigging or parachute harness lines.
A distinctive cloth cover of regulation pattern was officially and often worn with the Fallschirmjager steel helmet. It was normally manufactured from the same coloured material as the wearer’s camouflage smock and was of a fairly simple non-reversible construction. It was manufactured in four panels, each cut from a single thickness of printed camouflage material, with the addition of an oval shaped piece of material forming the crown. Some patterns of cloth covers had four simple wire hooks stitched to the lower end of each of the seams between these four panels; other covers, such as this one, had six wire hooks. The cover was fitted tightly over the body of the helmet and attached to it by the wire hooks which fastened under the helmet rim.
Our marksman is armed with the mainstay of the WWII German armed forces: a Mauser Kar. 98k. As a sharpshooter he has fitted it with what appears to be a 4x Dialytan scope. His side arm is a Luger P08 pistol, holstered in its distinctive holster, this one a hardshell variant.
The field gray light gas mask bag is slung over the left shoulder and worn on top of the individual equipment. It is secured to the belt by a metal hook. The gas mask bag was on exclusive issue to paratroopers. Its flap closes with two studs; the runner of the zipper down the side is fitted with a plastic tab for better grip.
Other equipment consists of a Luftwaffe belt/buckle and infantry y straps, to on which he wears two sets of three standard cartridge pouches. It is worth mentioning at leather equipment issued to the Luftwaffe was brown in colour. He also wears a scope case attached to his belt. Due to a lack of reference material on this particular piece of equipment, I was not able to confirm if the case does actually feature a belt clip; those photos I saw show it with a canvas strap attached to the case with the standard “D” ring.
The figure, 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 marketed in a green card slip-top box with the parts packaged in four separate zip-lock bags. The box top features box-art displaying the full-length painted figure, as well as the two alternative head shots.
Figure 16010 Fallschirmjäger Sniper consists of the following fifteen (15) parts:Head wearing Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger helmet without camouflage cover;
Head wearing Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger helmet with camouflage cover;
Torso from waist up, excluding head and arms;
Legs, excluding boots, with torso from waist down;
Left and right arms, excluding left hand;
Left and right boots;
Two sets of three M1933 cartridge pouches;
P08 pistol hardshell holster;
A 4x Dialytan telescopic scope;
Dialytan scope case;
Mauser Kar. 98k rifle with attached left hand; and
Overall the figure is extremely well sculpted and, as we have become accustomed to from Alpine Miniatures, the casting is exceptional. In fact, the casting is devoid of flash.
The two heads are identical, headwear notwithstanding; the faces of the two kit heads are identical, and the heads differentiated only by the fact that the one helmet wears a camouflage cover while the other does not. The face depicts that of a fairly young man who had been in the field for a while, as noted by the fringe which has come loose under his helmet, hanging across his brow. As a side note, when researching this piece the sculptor interviewed a former German paratrooper and WW2 veteran: the errant lock of hair and standard issue ankle-boots are a tribute to that soldier, who noted that the first thing he did when returning from a particular anti-partisan engagement in Italy was get a haircut and buy a new pair of boots. The sculpting, and subsequent casting, of the head is excellent, with many fine details such as the bared teeth and flared lips as the soldier mutters a curse, the intricate helmet chin strap, and the tightly pulled helmet cover. The casting of the heads is impeccable, with only the casting blocks to be removed. The casting blocks are positioned under the neck and on the top rear of the helmet of the covered and uncovered helmeted heads respectively.
The upper torso is exceptionally sculpted with plenty of detail to admire. The infantry ‘Y’-straps’, belt and gas-mask bag draw the layers of clothing in appropriately, and some of the details include the belt buckle, collar tab insignia, and the shoulder height pockets. An easily overlooked, but appreciated, detail and testament to the skill and attention to detail of the sculptor is the wing of the national insignia which sticks out from under the intersection of the right Y-strap and the gas-mask bag strap. The piece features a locator lug under the torso which will mate with the lower torso for accurate fitment, as well as small inverted ‘nipples’ for arm placement. The raised collars aid the fitment of the head. The remnants of a pour-plug is located on the right shoulder, are should be easy to remove.
The lower torso and two legs, sans boots, are cast as a single piece. The materials portrayed are finely reproduced and the drapery is excellent. The sculptor portrays the implied weight of the supplied personal equipment by way of indents in the appropriate places, which also serve for positioning the parts correctly. The recessed locator plug on the torso mates with the aforementioned upper torso lug for fitment, and the waist area features several plugs for placement of equipment such as the scope case, which rests over the smock’s integrated holster, and hard-shell pistol holster. The joint for the boots is concealed by the drapery, or bloom, of the trousers as they are drawn into the boots. For those modellers who may struggle to differentiate the left from right boot, fear not: the locator lug and corresponding plug for each pair (that is boot and leg) are unique, and by test fitting the part beforehand one will note the correct (or incorrect) fit.
The arms are, like the previous parts, well sculpted and meticulously cast. Drapery is excellent, succeeding in creating the image of rolled sleeves on slightly bent arms. The right hand, that hand drawing the rifle bolt, is finely sculpted - something which cannot go with mention. As noted previously the left hand is not attached to that arm, but to the rifle. The left wrist and inner shoulders feature small nipple which serve as locator lugs. Whilst the parts are void of flash and cast seams, the casting blocks are placed at the rear of the shoulders.
The remaining personal equipment parts, that is to say the two sets of M1939 cartridge pouches, scope case and leather pistol holster as well as the boots are all, at the risk of sounding redundant, exceptionally sculpted and cast. The scope case is a rare piece of equipment not often seen in both period photos and in scale miniatures, and is thus a pleasure to view. As noted above, those memorabilia pieces uncovered in researching this review indicate that it was usually carried around the body by way of a strap. That is not to say however that it did not have a belt clip – in fact knowing German field equipment of that time (and the lengths to which Alpine Miniatures go in terms of research and accuracy) it is highly probable that it did. The boots are excellent reproductions of ankle boots and feature locator lugs, each one unique from the other, which mate with the legs. The boots are attached to a fairly heavy pour block, and modellers should practice caution when removing these parts.
The final three parts are those which make up the rifle: the Kar.98k rifle; telescopic scope and rifle sling. The rifle, a beautifully sculpted part, is attached to no less than five (5) pour points, which not only assists production, but also secures the part to the pour block for safe shipping. The scope is also attached to a fairly sizable pour however the point of contact itself is thin and can easily be cut through. The addition of the rifle strap is a curious, albeit welcome, addition to the kit, as modellers are accustomed to not being supplied this piece of equipment. With a fairly large pour in the centre of the strap modellers will want to very carefully remove the strap from its large pour block.
This was the first 1/16 scale Alpine Miniatures figure I have had the opportunity to review, and I must say that I am impressed with the level of detail the sculptor presents us with. Only his third figure in this scale I am happy to say that Taesung Harmms delights us with the quality of his sculpt – if one is amazed by the level of detail in his 1/35 scale figures, then this figure is truly a treat. This figure is yet another fantastic of the various aspects of German WWII uniformology, with the nuances picked up upon in only the way Taesung does.
For the painter, there are unfortunately not a great many ways in which to paint this figure, with this model of the jump smock being produced in a limited variety of camouflage schemes. That said, Jaume Ortiz Forns’ (who has done many box-art commissions for Alpine Miniatures) and Daniel Alfonsea Romero’s “Modelling Fallschirmjäger Figures”, published by Osprey Publishing, is an excellent reference and resource for those modellers interested in this subject.
I cannot fault this figure: the accuracy is spot on; the pose is very well captured and figure well proportioned; and the casting is impeccable. Recommended.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject:Davis, Brian L. German Parachute Forces 1935-45. New York: Arco, 1974. Print.
Davis, Brian L. German Army Uniforms and Insignia: 1933-1945. London: Brockhampton, 1992. Print.
Baxter, I. M., and Ronald Volstad. Fallschirmjäger: German Paratroopers from Glory to Defeat, 1939-45. Ed. Tom Cockle. Hong Kong: Concord Publications, 2001. Print.
De Lagarde, Jean. German Soldiers of WWII. Trans. Jean-Pierre Villaume and Alan McKay. Paris: Histoire & Collections, 2005. Print.
Forns, Jaume Ortiz, and Daniel Alfonsea Romero. Modelling Fallschirmjäger Figures. Ed. Robert Oehler. Great Britain: Osprey, 2006. Print. Osprey Modelling 31.
Quarrie, Bruce, and Velimir Vukšić. Fallschirmjäger: German Paratrooper, 1935-45. Oxford: Osprey, 2001. Print. Warrior 38.