by: Rick Cooper [ ]
A new Dragon Models figure set has just been released; Battle of Kharkov 1943. And if that sounds just a little bit familiar, don’t worry; it should, as it is the fifth set of figures that Dragon Models has released from the series of titanic struggles around the city of Kharkov. This particular set depicts four of the combatants from the third battle in February and March of 1943.
The set consists of four figures, a pair of German soldiers and a pair of Soviet soldiers in what is becoming something of a trademark for Dragon Models of combining figures from opposing forces in one box. The figures in one sense mirror one another in their poses as the kit includes one German and one Russian soldier in a relaxed pose as well as one of each in an action pose, both on a knee(s) firing a SMG.
The box is the standard end opening box that Dragon Models generally favors for figure sets. There are no instructions per se other than the back of the box with CAD drawings of each figure showing where each part has been attached. The back also has the painting guide with call outs for Hobby Color, Mr. Color, and Model Master paints (darn, I don’t use any of those!). The box art is exceptional and has been painted by Dmytro Zgonnik. I know many of us really enjoy Ron Volstad but I think that Mr. Zgonnik’s work takes a back seat to no one.
Inside the box you will find five sprues in the standard Dragon light gray; one sprue that carries the figures as well as a few extras such as the Soviet weapons, one sprue with German weapons, another with German personal equipment and a pair of smaller sprues with two different styles of German entrenching tools.
The relaxed German Landser is standing in a fur collared great coat obviously on a ration run as he is carrying the large hot mess tin a couple of loaves of bread with several water bottles slung over his shoulder. The bottom part of the greatcoat is built from two pieces that attach to the body which is in the standard parts breakdown. The action figure is on both knees wielding an MP40 without the folding stock. He is wearing the winter parka with all his Gen2 gear attached. What I like in particular with this figure is the cloth covered helmet which Dragon has done a nice job with as it looks the part to my eye.
The first New Soviet Man has a really interesting, dynamic pose. He is on his right knee with his left stretched out in front to help steady him while firing his PPSh-41 with the drum magazine. This guy is wearing the white winter coverall with all his webbing and gear as well as valenki style felt boots and a ushanka type cap which will come in handy should he ever go to work for the US Post Office.
The second fellow looks less like the New Soviet Man and more like someone who didn’t completely buy into the politics of the day. He is standing in a greatcoat and smoking a cigarette while holding a Mosin Nagant rifle with the butt resting on the ground. His greatcoat is also molded with separate pieces for the lower front and rear for better definition. He also is modeled wearing the fur cap and all his gear belted around the outside of the greatcoat.
The new parts for the figures and the German personal gear are all flash free and superbly molded, the weapons sprue is still very nice but it is starting to show a bit of age as it is beginning to develop a bit of flash on a few of the parts but nothing that can’t be easily corrected. This is a bit nit-picky as you really only use the one MP 40 from the entire weapons sprue which is flash free.
I wanted to build up at least one figure to include in the review. It was an easy choice, the relaxed Russian figure would be it as I have a particular affinity for his ‘I just want this crap to end so I can go home’ look. He went together very easily with a minimum of filing or sanding to get a good fit. The bottom of the greatcoat did require a bit of putty to fill up the ever present gap but nothing out of the ordinary. I did put a bit of work into the pouch at his side hollowing it out to give a better sit against his hip. The right hand which holds the barrel of the Mosin Nagant doesn’t quite grip the weapon and you will want to put a bit of work into it to provide the proper hold on the rifle.
The ushanka needed to be hollowed out a bit as well so that it wouldn’t look like it was perched on the top of his head. I did work the base of the neck a bit to give the head a bit more of a tilt in order to add a bit more ‘life’ to the figure. Finally, Dragon Models does provide a wee small cigarette for the figure but it became a member of the tweezers launch club just before attachment so I substituted a bit of Evergreen rod; it looks more like a cigar in size but it gives you an idea of what it should look like if you take a bit more care than I did.
Dragon Models has produced another very nice set of figures, I for one like the two and two concept as I think it increases the potential for the set and for my own use. I wish they would have included a sprue of Soviet weapons and equipment but I am pretty happy with what is included and can’t really complain. Go out and buy a set!