by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionTaesung Harmms, owner and sculptor of the majority of Alpine Miniature figures, based in New Jersey, USA, has built a solid reputation for producing high quality resin figure sets. This set of two figures #35044 is bound to enhance this reputation, and each of them is also available separately as #35042 - SS Panzer Recon Officer, and #35043 - SS Panzer Recon Crew.
the figuresI have to say it for those of you unfamiliar with these figures, that the packaging of Alpines figures just oozes quality. The two figures are supplied in a transparent polycarbonate box, each of the figures separate bagged and a small insert showing photographs of the completed, painted figures, along with another of Alpine's latest releases.
Inside that bags are the parts that go together to make up two complete figures that can be posed together to make up a reconnaissance officer and crewman. The arms, heads and pistol holster's of each figure are supplied as separate parts, each still connected to a small pouring block. The only tiny amount of flash I could find was between the legs of each of the figures, but I do mean tiny, and with one swipe of a scalpel blade it was cleared. The torso of each figure is free from a casting block, although the soles of the feet of each figure is where the block was attached, and these did require a little cleaning up of residue, which was very easy because of it's location.
The moulding blocks on the arms were also quite easy to remove, apart from the left arm on the Officer. This wasn't perfectly clear where the casting block ended and the arm began, and as a consequence I took off a little too much leaving a gap between the arm and the torso when it was fitted. Easy to remedy with a little super glue which was then sanded back. I have to say, having built Alpine figures before, that the fit of the arms on both figures was as near perfect as it could be. Apart from the mistake I made on that one arm, absolutely no filler whatsoever was required for an absolutely perfect fit. Well done Taesung!
Another touch I particularly liked, was the way that the Officer's hands fitting to the binoculars was achieved. As you can see from the photographs, both hands were cast already holding the binoculars, each wrist then being fitted positively into the cuff of the figure's sleeves. This left another perfect fit, between the hands and the binoculars, which as most modeller's will know, is particularly difficult to achieve. Taesung has even sculpted a wedding ring onto the Officer's left ring finger, and a wristwatch on his wrist!
Each of the figures in this set comes as usual, with two heads and and therefore a choice of headgear. My only gripe was that the head wearing the peaked Officer's cap was attached to it's casting block by the top of the cap, unlike the rest that were attached by their necks. I suspect technical reasons and avoiding air bubbles was the reason, and when I removed the casting block, I was glad to see that it with a few moments work, the area where it had been joined was unmarred.
The first of the figures, the SS Panzer crewman, is wearing a camouflage smock over his tunic, with the collar outside, and has a stick grenade in his belt. His right arm is raised as if to indicate a direction. The choice of head for this figure is camouflaged field cap or sidecap. The Officer figure is standing holding binoculars to his chest, again wearing the camouflaged smock, with the collar out. The choice of heads for this figure is either Officer's peaked cap or field cap. Both figures have collar insignia appropriate to their rank.
conclusionI didn't think Taesung could improve the quality of his figures, since I thought so highly of them to begin with. He has. The parts fit is perfect, and they just look so in proportion. They just look 'right'. Very highly recommended indeed.