by: Henk Meerdink [ ]
introductionThe latest Dragon kit to receive the 'Premium edition' upgrade is the 'Panzergrenadiers Arnhem 1944' figure set. It combines the old sprues that hold the figures, with the new 'Gen 2' sprues that hold the weapons and equipment. The set consists of four figures, in observant, anxious poses, as if cautiously approaching a possible enemy engagement. Despite the title, these figures can of course be used to depict Panzergrenadiers of of a variety of SS Panzer Divisions, in a variety of late war scenarios.
For this review I have built the figures, with the equipment, but without the weapons. I will review each figure individually, and comment on general issues at the end.
building the figuresApart from the odd small gap, and the expected mould lines on arms and legs, the figures built up quick and with minimal fuss. Being an older kit, the moulding is not as sharp as we have come to expect, but still perfectly acceptable for plastic injected figures. All the heads have molded on chinstraps, and these, as well as the facial features are rather soft. But this is an inherent issue with injection moulded plastic figures, and whilst the heads are usable, many may opt to replace them with resin heads. The hands are pretty good, clean moulded, perhaps just a bit large for one figure.
This figure is obviously the section leader, carrying the MP40 in his hand and a document/map case on his belt. He wears the M43 jacket, with four unpleated patch pockets, and collar patches and shoulderboards. This figure does not have a sleeve eagle moulded on the sleeve and the collar patches are not very well defined. The trousers lack any detail other than fabric folds, and as such resemble the M37 trousers, rather than the later M43 'Keilhosen', who's most obvious feature would be the re-enforced seat stitching, which is absent on the figure. These trousers can be painted in either Feldgrau or Pea pattern camouflage, as the early camouflage trousers (M44) were produced like the M37 trousers. The figure wears the short ankle boots, with canvas gaiters. His equipment consists of the bread bag, canteen, folding entrenching spade, the map case and MP40 ammo pouches. He also has a Stick Grenade tucked into his belt.
The kneeling figure wears a jacket which could be either the M43 or M44 (camouflage), as signified by the four unpleated pockets and shoulderboards, but lack of collar patches. Whilst the M44 jacket was not supposed to be worn with either collar patches or shoulder boards, these instructions were often ignored, and photographic evidence shows different outfits. The supposed sleeve eagle is very poor. He wears the same trousers as the first figure, and wears the classic high 'Jack Boots'. He carries a 98K rifle and standard equipment of bread bag, canteen, folding spade, bayonet and 98K ammo pouches.
This figure has an upright, walking pose. He wears a jacket devoid of collar patches and shoulderboards, so this one can be assumed to depict the M44 camouflage jacket. Moulded detail is a mix, with some fine detail on the top pockets and creases, but again a poor sleeve eagle and the left arm is not a smooth fit. Trousers and boots are as per figure one. He also carries the bread bag, canteen, spade and bayonet. In addition he is shown to carry his mess tins on top of the bread bag. His weapon is the 98K rifle, and he also has a Stick Grenade tucked into his belt.
This figure wears a jacket with both collar patches and shoulderboards, and a partly moulded sleeve eagle. Same trousers and boots as figure one, but his pose exposes the soles of his boots, which are very badly moulded. An attempt has been made to mould the hobnails, but not very successfully. The left arm, which he leans on whilst holding a Panzerfaust in the right hand, does not fit as well as it should. When the arm and shoulder fit flush, the hand does not touch the floor. If you move the arm so that the hand touches the floor, the shoulder does not line up properly. This figure has a G43 rifle slung on his back and also carries the bread bag, spade, canteen and bayonet.
The equipmentThe new sprues are a big improvement over the original sprues, with the much crisper detail and options of opened up ammo pouches and mess tins etc. The new helmets now have correct rivet detail on the outside, although for real accuracy the vent holes would need to be drilled out. The breadbags have very pronounced stitching detail, which remains a subject of discussion.
The new weapons, with options of opened or closed bolt actions and separate magazines, are very nice. The only item that lets this otherwise excellent set down is the Panzerfaust shipping crate. The bottom and front have very nice, if a touch rough, wood grain detail, but the sides, rear and inside have not. Likewise the lid is detailed with wood grain on the outside, but not the inside.
The small fret of Photo-etch contains rifle slings, two safety pin rings for the Panzerfausts, and the rope handles for the crate. The sheet of decals has stenciling for three Panzerfausts (although only two are included in this kit) and for two shipping crates. As the decal will not be easy to apply to the rough texture of the crate lid, it would have been nice if the PE fret from the 'Hohenstaufen' set had been included, as that has a stencil to paint the marking on the lid. The photo below shows both frets.