by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
Kharkov in Russia was one of those cities that changed hands several times on the Eastern Front during WWII. It was eventually occupied by Russian force, permanently in August 1943, so these figures represent Panzergrenadiers fighting a losing battle to hold the Russian army back.
As in the original release of these figures by Dragon which was called 'Waffen SS Panzer Grenadiers - Kharkov 1943' (#6509), the box contains four figures, three of which are standing and the fourth is crouching in a firing position. That's where the similarity ends however, as this set includes new weapons sprues, new heads, and a photoetched fret. In fact the only thing that was in the original release is one sprue that contains the body's of the figures, plus some of their personal gear and weapons, none of which you will actually use, since these are all replaced with second generation mouldings on other sprues..... which of course means more for the spares box!
All four figures are wearing fur-lined parkas, with what look like M37 wool trousers. Three of the figures are wearing helmets, and the fourth a field cap with a balaclava pulled over the top. One of the standing figures is armed with an MG42, two (including the kneeling one) with the Kar98, and the other standing figure with an MP44 Assault rifle. Moulding is exceptionally clean, no flash whatsoever.
The photoetched fret includes slings for all the rifles etc., also insignia, helmet chinstraps, belt buckles etc., some of which will require you to remove items already moulded on, but this isn't difficult.
This set will produce loads of high quality parts for the spares box too, for example, there are 6 x 2nd Generation helmets included, MP40's, canteens, Gasmask cylinders, and bayonets. These 'extra's' are all in addition to the left-over equipment from the original release. There are four newly-sculpted heads supplied in the set, which are made from a slightly harder version of the Ds100 vinyl, which again, offer more choice since the original heads are still in the set. One of the nicest things about the set, are the two perfectly flash-free belts of MG ammunition, I just wish Dragon would make these from Vinyl!
If this set is any indication of what we can expect with 'Premium' kits from Dragon, I can't wait for more! Fantastic! Very highly recommended indeed!
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample