In 1943, while stationed in an Italy under the administrative control of the SS, Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler seized immense amounts of Italian camouflage clothing. The 1929 Italian pattern camouflage, or telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth"), later used to equip the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend and Leibstandarte’s own recruits, was used in the manufacture of many garments, from suits in the same cut as the “pea dot” suit to tunics in the same cut as the M44 suit. Perhaps the most famous of these garments was the camouflage coverall worn by the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend in Normandy.
35062 – “12 SS Grenadier Set” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Alpine’s owner Taesung Harmms. The two camouflage clad Hitler Jugend grenadiers are portrayed on patrol in Normandy during 1944. The poses are a departure from Alpine’s traditional more neutral pose. It is also worth mentioning that, as far as I can tell, this is the first 1/35 scale figure set from Alpine to include a MP40 submachine-gun.
Released in January 2008, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Calvin Tan (Calvin’s blog describes the set as being “12.SS Pz.Div HJ PzRgt.25 Normandy 1944”). Both figures are also available individually as figures 35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier NCO and 35061 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier.
35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier NCO
35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier NCO portrays a SS NCO leading a patrol signalling caution or a halt. There is nothing specific that would categorize the SS-Unterscharführer (the SS equivalent of a Wehrmacht Unteroffizier or a British Sergeant), identified as such by the single pip on the left collar patch, with a particular front within the HJ’s existence. That said, the Panzergrenadier NCO wears garb typical for the HJ in particular of the battles for Normandy: the combination of M1942 camouflage smock and Panzer denims made of telo mimetico.
Over his tunic and woollen pullover (worn under the tunic as visible at the neckline), the HJ NCO wears a late model camouflage smock. His camouflage trousers are field-made in Italian M1929 forest-pattern camouflage cloth, to resemble M1942 Panzer denims with an added second thigh pockets. The trousers are worn over his ankle boots.
The 9mm MP40 submachine-gun, the most common German submachine-gun of the war, and magazine pouches are usual for an NCO along with the 6x30 binoculars. The leather and canvas MP40 magazine packs are worn on the waist belt, which the NCO wears with the standard German riflemen’s “Y” straps with “D” rings and belt with NCO and other ranks’ belt buckle. He wears the pouches in the normal arrangement of three pouches either side of the buckle. Attached to his waist belt is his holstered side arm, the ever efficient P38 pistol.
The SS-Unterscharführer is presented with two heard gear options, a M1942 stahlhelm with late pattern camouflage cover, and one without.
35061 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier
35061 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier portrays a young Panzergrenadier intrepidly, and perhaps apprehensively, following his NCO on patrol. While his NCO wears gear a little more generic to the SS for Normandy, 1944, the youngster wears an item of clothing made famous by this division during this period: the one-piece, seven button Panzer coveralls, manufactured in the 1929 Italian pattern camouflage cloth.
The standard equipment of an infantryman is worn with M1911 cartridge pouches worn on both hips. Also worn on his belt are his bread bag with field flask and drinking cup (Feldflasche 31 und Trinkbecker) and folding spade (Klappspaten) in late war carrier. Tucked in his belt is a Stick Grenade (Stielhandgranaten). He carries the standard Karabiner 98k carbine.
Like his senior, the Panzergrenadier is presented with two heard gear options, a M1942 stahlhelm with late pattern camouflage cover, and one without.
The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of eighteen (18) pieces - 10 pieces for figure 35060 and eight pieces for figure 35061 respectively. 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 35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier NCO consists of the following ten (10) parts: Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms, right arm excluding hand;
Head wearing steel helmet without cover;
Head wearing steel helmet with camouflage cover;
Holstered P38 pistol;
MP40 with right hand attached; and
Arms and shoulder cradle of MP40 folding skeleton butt.
Figure 35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier consists of the following eight (8) parts: Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms, excluding hands;
Head wearing steel helmet without cover;
Head wearing steel helmet with camouflage cover;
Entrenching tool in carrier;
Field flask; and
Kar.98K, with hands attached.
The figures are flawlessly sculpted. The casting is crisp, clean, and has truly captured the highly detailed and precise sculpting of Taesung Harmms.
The heads are all well-sculpted, and each face matches the other in the pair in terms of facial detail – it is only the head gear that differentiates the two heads. The faces are cleanly sculpted and very well defined. The head gear is well proportioned and nicely detailed with even the helmet buckles and rivets clearly defined. The casting blocks are positioned under the neck on those helmets with covers, so modellers can easily remove these without fear of damaging any detail. The casting blocks are positioned on top of the helmets for those without a cover; however with the smooth surface of the helmet there is not detail to be accidentally removed. I will admit to being curious about why the casting block was positioned in one way for one helmet, and another way for the other.
The figures proper are extremely well detailed. One gets a very good idea of the hang of the coveralls, smock and trousers. Folds gather realistically for the materials portrayed. I was particularly impressed with the way in which Taesung has “pulled” the MP40 pouches to imply flexibility of this canvas set. He has even sculpted on of the pouches hanging open to add further variety to the figure! All the finer details such as SS runes, ammunition pouches, stick grenade, belts, and the binoculars as well as pockets, seams, button-fly fronts, adjustment tabs, are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast.
Recesses are provided for placement of the equipment. Casting is as one always expects from an Alpine figure: clean and crisp. There was minor clean-up required in the usual spot between the legs of each figure, but as per normal the casting blocks under the feet have been cut away and only a quick clean is required.
The arms, as with the rest of the figure, are well detailed and cast. The smock and coverall seams run along the inside of the arms, and the modeller should be careful not to confuse these for casting lines. The right hand wrist of the smock features a small notch which will facilitate the placement of the hand; the top of the MP40 just behind the right hand slides into a small notch on the smock’s right wrist ensuring correct placement. The casting blocks are placed on the inner shoulder, so the possibility of damaging any detail when removing these is minimised.
The hands themselves, that is the right hand of figure 35060 and both the hands of figure 35061, are sculpted onto the weapons. Thus the sculptor has eliminated that annoying loose grip look that seems to plague so many kit figures.
The weapons are excellent representations of the real thing. That said, the arms of the MP40’s foldable butt are quite petit and the more heavy-handed modeller may elect to rather replace these with wire. The weapons are secured to lengthy casting blocks which both support them and prevent damage prior to assembly. Caution should be practiced when severing these casting blocks lest one damages the finely detailed guns.
The other equipment consisting of field flask, folding spade and pistol holster are all very nicely detailed. While these items lack any seam lines, the casting blocks are placed to the top of the parts and should be gently removed.
Removing the pieces from the casting blocks was effortless. As always, I used a new knife blade which easily cut through the resin with ease.
Generally clean up was virtually non-existent, with only the bit of flash along the legs of each figure - nothing a sharp number 11 blade could not quickly sort out. Modellers will want to practice some caution when cleaning up the figures, as it is easy to confuse legitimate seams for casting lines.
The arms line up easily with the shoulders on the torso. There was little, if not no, guesswork involved when lining the arms up to the shoulders. Hands slid easily into the respective wrist sockets. The modeller will want to pay a bit more attention to lining up the arms and hands of figure 35061 as these are attached to the rifle.
The heads easily slide into place and, as with all Alpine figures, are to a certain degree interchangeable between the two figures. The personal equipment fits onto the figure effortlessly.
The use of Italian camouflage cloth in the manufacture of garments, both officially and in the field, was quite prolific after 1943. Yet it does not appear all that often in model kits. The same could be said for use of the one-piece Panzer coveralls. The use of this garment in Normandy is virtually synonymous with the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend, however most 1/35 scale portrayals of this division feature them in generic WWII German garb.
I am always amazed by the manner in which Taesung Harmms manages to pick out these things, the things taken for granted about uniforms and equipment or the things others choose to ignore and make them a key feature or focal point of the figure. What makes this even more successful is that you know that when purchasing an Alpine figure that Taesung does his research properly, and that you are buying a quality product, a shining star and possibly an award winning figure. This figure set exemplifies this.
For the painter, as with most SS subjects, there are a number of interesting ways in which these figures can be presented from camouflage smock over field grey trousers to camouflage smock over a broad selection of camouflage pattern trousers, with telo mimetico being but one to choose from. Similarly, although the Italian camouflage would probably best suit the HJ, Panzer coveralls were manufactured in a wide variety of colours from snow white to the various SS schemes.
Taesung Harmms has heeded the requests of modellers for more dynamic poses, and has delivered; it will be interesting to see if modellers to put their money where their mouths are and support him. I for one hope they do, as this kit is well worth the asking price!
The following references were used for this review: “Leibstandarte – Hitler’s Elite Bodyguard”. Spearhead. Michael Sharpe & Brian L. Davis. Compendium Publishing. 2002.
“Waffenn-SS Soldier 1940-45”. Warrior 2. Bruce Quarrie. Illustrated by Jeffrey Burn. Osprey Publishing. 1993.
“The Waffen-SS (1) 1. To 5. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 401. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.
“Waffen-SS in Combat”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing.
“Waffen-SS (2) From Glory to Defeat 1943 – 1945”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing. 2000.