The basic uniform worn by the Italian soldier from 1940 to 1943 saw only a few minor changes during this period. An ordinary soldier of 1943, be it rank and file or officer, would to most observers appear exactly the same as he had when Italy entered the war in June 1940.
35035 – “Ufficiale R.E. 1940-43” is a 1/35th scale resin figure sculpted by Nino Pizzichemi. The Ufficiale Regio Esercito (Italian Royal Army Officer), typically attired for Italy’s early war European engagements, is portrayed twisted slightly to his right holding a pair of binoculars in his left hand. The box-art is unadorned and shows only unpainted resin figure.
35035 Ufficiale R.E. 1940-43
35035 Ufficiale R.E. 1940-43 depicts an officer of undeterminable rank, perhaps of an Artillery branch, twisting to his right perhaps instructing a gun crew to direct fire.
The open-collared tunic of the Italian soldier underwent a number of minor, mostly cosmetic changes from the early M1933 model to the eventual M1942 model. The most notable change being to a change in colour of the collar! The collar of the M1933 had black cloth facing on the top half of the collar with the division collar patch or mostrine sewn to it. The later M1940 tunic saw the replacement of the black collar with a plain grey-green one; mostrine were still worn. All models of the tunic had four front buttons for officers (three front buttons for other ranks), and two breast and two skirt pockets of pleated patch type with single-button flaps (photographs appear to indicate that tunics with both three-point and rectangular flaps were produced).
Officers’ tunics were of the same basic design as the other ranks’ but were better made from superior material (the other main difference being the above mentioned four front buttons). At the beginning of the war most were made from a gabardine material called ‘cordellino’. This appears in photographs lighter than the grey-green uniform, and was often a strikingly light grey. It is not clear which model tunic this officer wears. Nor is it clear what the Officer’s rank is. His rank should be shown by the insignia on his lower sleeves. This, however, is not represented.
Under his tunic he is wearing the cotton grey-green officers’ shirt and tie, both of which are of superior quality to those of the rank and file.
Officers typically wore breeches made of cordellino gabardine material, with two black stripes down the sides flanking a central piping in branch colour (these are not present in this case). More practical (and cheaper) in the field were breeches made from a good quality wool material, or even pantaloons, again made from better quality wool.
Stiff black leather gaiters were worn by mounted units, artillery, armoured and transport units. His boots are better quality officers’ versions of the M1912 pattern ankle boot.
The Army Officer is presented with two headwear options: the Italian Army field cap; and a steel helmet. The field cap worn almost universally by the Italian Army was the very popular bustina. This was a sidecap with a front visor/flap which was generally worn folded up, and ear/neck flaps which were usually fastened together over the crown by means of a button. Officers’ caps were originally made of cordellino garbadine but later from wool; the side flaps were fastened with press studs instead of a button. His rank should be shown by the gold woven star in a gold ‘frame’ on the left side, and his unit by the gold wire front badge of the infantry branch with the number in the centre. Once again, this is not represented.
The standard steel helmet used by the Italian Army throughout the period was the M1933 which was introduced in that year. This was painted grey-green; until 1942 it usually had a black stencilled branch of service badge on the front with the number of the unit in the centre.
The Ufficiale is armed with a 9mm Beretta M1934 semi-automatic pistol, the favourite sidearm of the Italian Army, holstered on his ‘Sam Brown’ type belt.
The set, moulded in a light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of five (5) pieces. The kit is supplied in a small, soft cardboard box, with the kit parts packaged in a zip-lock bag. As mentioned above, the box-art features the unpainted figure, thus modellers will be expected to research the subject further before undertaking painting – something modellers should be doing regardless.
Figure kit 35035 Ufficiale R.E. 1940-43 consists of the following five (5) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms;
Head wearing bustina; and
Head wearing M1933 steel helmet.
Overall the figure is nicely sculpted and the casting generally crisp and clean.
The heads are both well-sculpted, although not the same. In addition to being differentiated by the headgear, the head wearing the sidecap also wears a full goatee whereas the helmeted head does not. The faces are cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair noticeable under the headgear. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed. The casting blocks are located under the neck.
The figure proper is well detailed and one gets a very good idea of the fit of the tunic and drapery of the breeches. Folds gather realistically for the materials portrayed. Finer details such as the pleated pockets and buckles are neatly represented and crisply and clearly cast. The pistol holster is cast attached to the figure and looks the part. Overall the casting is generally very good, although there was a defined casting seam running the length of the right side of the sample figure from shoulder to ankle. That said: it should be easy to remove using fine sandpaper or a needle file. Casting blocks are placed beneath the feet and need to be removed.
The arms, as with the rest of the figure, are well detailed and cast. The left hand is cast holding the binoculars, which are a very fragile part – in fact the binoculars in the sample kit were broken upon arrival (but can be easily repaired). Apart from the casting blocks, placed to the inside of the shoulders, no further clean-up should be required.
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. Due to the large casting blocks I was careful to brace each piece while cutting through the smaller casting blocks. Clean up was non-existent, with only the bit of extra work being the aforementioned fine seam - nothing a sharp number 11 blade and fine sandpaper could not quickly sort out.
The arms line up easily with the shoulders on the torso. There was little, if any, guesswork involved when lining the arms up to the shoulders. The deep collar allows for easy fitment of the heads.
The Question of Size
Two frequent questions in modelling communities are “how tall is the figure?” and “how tall is this figure in comparison to my other figures?” These questions are raised even more so when viewing the products of a new manufacturer. While I obviously cannot explicitly help you with the latter, I can help with the former and thus by implication assist you in comparing the size of these figures with those you already have.
The average height of males during the 1940s appears to be between 5’8” (174.5cm) and 5’10” (178.1cm). Therefore a 1/35 scale figure should measure between 49.9mm and 50.9mm, barefoot and heel to top of head.
With regards to the dimensions, I took 4 measurements: 1) foot to shoulder height; 2) foot to eye level (i.e. bridge of nose); 3) foot to highest point of head (incl. head); 4) shoulder breadth. For your convenience and the nature of the chapter I've added in my calculated "real" proportions after the measured sizes. The first value in millimetres represents the figure measurements, the second value the "real" size in metres (calculated by simply multiplying the millimetres by 0.035), and the third an imperial value (calculated by using Excel's CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit) - all values rounded).
|1. Foot to shoulder height||38mm||1.33m||4’4”|
|2. Foot to eye level||44mm||1.54m||5’|
|3. Foot to highest point of head||48.5mm||1.70m||5’6”|
|4. Shoulder breadth||12.5mm||0.44m||1’5”|
At 48.5mm, even with the exaggerated height due to boot heels and the cap point, this figure is small in stature. Initially I hoped that it might simply mean the figure represents a short man. Unfortunately this is not the case. Comparisons to other resin and plastic 1/35 scale figures showed this figure to be notably smaller (almost petite in comparison). It is not merely the height and breadth of the man, but the equipment represented by the pistol holster and binoculars which are smaller than their contemporaries.
While no doubt some may find the pose featured in this figure set inanimate, I must admit to being rather fond of such poses. I find such figures rather versatile whether part of a diorama, vignette or on their own.
The casting, aforementioned flaw notwithstanding, and sculpting is very good. That said, the size of the figure in comparison to other “true 1/35 scale” figures is a negative as it does not appear the figure is merely small in stature due to the size of equipment such as the holster and binoculars. The absence of rank insignia and breech stripes and piping is another point against the figure, but should be reasonably easy to correct for most modellers. The lack of rank and insignia may indeed be seen as an opportunity by some to assign their own rank and division to this figure thus increasing its versatility.
This is the first figure I have had the opportunity to review from Allarmi! , and I must admit to being suitably satisfied by it in spite of the above.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject: “The Italian Army 1940-45(1) Europe 1940-43”. Men-at-Arms 340. Philip S. Jowett. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2000.
“World War II Infantry in Colour Photographs”. Europa Militaria No. 2. Laurent Mirouze. Windrow & Greene. 1990.