The captured robust, reliable PPSh41 sub-machine gun was a favourite weapon of Heer and Waffen-SS troops engaged on the Eastern Front, and because of the similarities between its 7.62x25mm round and the Mauser 7.63x25mm round was easily supplied with ammunition. Indeed, so many were captured that the Red Army’s PPSh41 sub-machine gun, the trademark of the Soviet Army, became the second most common sub-machine gun used by Germany’s Wehrmacht.
WF35020 WWII German Infantryman, with PPSH, 1/35th scale resin figure depicts a Waffen-SS soldier, wearing late war clothing and carrying a captured sub-machine gun, directing troops or perhaps pointing out a enemy position. The figure, released under Friendship Models’ Wee Friends range of figures, is sculpted by Peter Morton.
The Waffen-SS infantryman wears the M1943 service uniform tunic and trousers and M1942 steel helmet. Interestingly he wears the cleated mountain boots normally worn by the elite German Gebirgsjäger with rolled woollen socks worn over the trousers. A lack of mountain troop insignia indicates that he is not a (current) member of such a unit, but possibly just rather fortunate in having acquired such footwear. Insignia worn consist of SS divisional cuff title, SS collar runes and rank insignia (see comments below).
This Waffen-SS soldier wears M1939 leather infantry Y-straps and heavy khaki canvas carrier for the drum magazine of the captured Soviet PPSh41 sub-machine gun he is armed with. Attached to his belt he wears one of the many slight manufacturers’ variations on the basic pattern of M1935 map case. Behind his right hip is M1931 ‘breadbag’ haversack with M1931 water bottle attached and his gas-mask case slung to the rear left. He holds a pair of 6x30 issue binoculars.
His rank is indeterminable as his collar insignia feature the piping reserved for officers, however his left collar tab, that indicating rank, bears no resemblance to an officer rank. Both collar insignia are piped, a feature reserved for commissioned officers; however the left tab features a single thick bar denoting his rank as being that of SS-Rottenführer (or SS-Sturmann if one thinks the bar too thick). He also does not appear to be wearing the national insignia or any rank insignia on his left upper arm.
The decorated soldier’s awards include two awards of the Special Badge for Single-Handed Destruction of a Tank on his right upper arm as a visible sign of his courage and skill in accomplishing one of the most dangerous of tasks: engaging enemy tanks and armoured vehicles with only light infantry weapons.
The set, moulded in light cream coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of eleven (11) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small, clear acetate clam-shell blister pack with the parts in a small zip-lock bag. A small card displaying the painted figure (two images: front; and rear) is supplied.
Figure WF35020 WWII German Infantryman with PPSH consists of the following parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Head wearing steel helmet;
Left and right arms, left hand holding binoculars;
Carrier for PPSh41 drum magazine;
M1935 map case;
M1931 water bottle;
Gas-mask case; and
Rolled Zeltbahn – an item not shown on the assembled box-art figure.
Overall the figure is well sculpted and the casting is generally crisp and clean, although .some of the detail tends toward the soft side.
The head is well-sculpted: the face is cleanly sculpted and well defined, and the headgear well proportioned and nicely detailed. The casting block is positioned on the top of the helmet, so caution should be practiced when removing this.
The figure proper seems to be a bit “hit and miss”. By this I mean the detail is all present, and all very good, however it appears a bit soft in places. For example the lower pockets of the tunic do not appear bold enough, nor does the upper front of the Y-straps. The shoulder boards are not crisply cast either, with the left shoulder board virtually blending into the tunic to its front. That said, detail such as the bread-bag haversack, trouser drapery, woollen sock texture and the cleated mountain boots is wonderfully done.
Despite the cast being somewhat soft in places, the part is very cleanly cast with no noticeable seam lines and only a miniscule (hardly worth mentioning) flash between the legs. The casting blocks are positioned beneath the feet and modellers will want to practice caution when removing these lest they damage the finely detailed cleats.
The arms are generally well sculpted, however not without their negligible issues. The drapery of the sleeves is excellent; however the divisional cuff title appears a bit too thick while, as mentioned above, the national and rank insignia badges are missing from the left upper arm (bicep). That said there does appear to be a larger fold in the cloth where one of these should have perhaps appeared and this may simply be casting issue. The right arm is also, in my opinion, too rounded at the elbow area.
The casting of the arms is satisfactory: it holds the detail well and there are no casting seams to speak of however the cast appears “dirty” at the casting block points. The left (pointing) arm features casting blocks inside the shoulder and on the binoculars. The shoulder block is virtually standard to most figures, but the binocular point is awkwardly positioned. The block, and the flash that surrounds it (in the case of the review sample), will need to very carefully be removed. There was also flash on the extended forefinger. The right arm fares better with the casting block being on the elbow. The inside of the arm is a bit rough but given that it is pressed against the body this is not an issue – although I do find it peculiar that this section was not smoothed nonetheless.
The PPSh41 sub-machine is nicely sculpted, well detailed and cast. The cast is free of flash with only the casting block to be removed. The casting block, sort of an L-shape, attaches to the stock, trigger guard and drum magazine. Modellers will need to be extremely cautious when removing the block from the trigger guard given how fine it is. The only thing modellers will need to add to the weapon is a strap – hardly something uncommon.
The remaining parts of the kit, namely the carrier for PPSh41 drum magazine, map case, water bottle, mess kit, gas-mask case and rolled Zeltbahn are well detailed and cast. In groupings of three they are attached to two heavy casting blocks with thinner points of contact facilitating easy removal.
I have assessed this kit in three areas I feel important: sculpting; casting; and subject. Thus I have assigned the following marks: sculpting – 75%; casting – 65%; and subject – 90%. Thus the average score of 76%.
The sculpting of the figure is, overall, very good. However it is the “hit and miss” nature of some of the finer details that lets it down. Things like the textured woollen socks, cleated boots, detailed PPSh and numerous awards are let down by the incorrect insignia and lack thereof. I also find it peculiar that such a highly decorated WSS infantryman holds such a low rank. That said the issues I have with the insignia are easily rectified.
The casting is perhaps where this figure is let down a bit. It is not as good as it could be: detail such as the shoulder boards, Y-straps and pockets appear soft; and the some of the casting blocks, on the binoculars and PPSh trigger guard, are positioned in such a way that much caution will need to be practiced during clean up.
The subject of the product is always an extremely subjective point to rate, and much of it goes hand-in-hand with sculpting. I like the pose of the figure: not just pointing, but directing while holding binoculars. The PPSh 41 differentiates the figure from others of a similar pose, and given the sub-machine gun’s common use is a great addition to the figure.
Despite its shortcomings this is a nice figure which, with a little bit of attention, will make a nice addition to a vignette or diorama, or even look great on its own.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject:“SS Uniforms, Insignia & Accoutrements. A Study in Photographs”. Compiled by A. Hayes. Schiffer Military History. 1996.
“Uniforms of the Third Reich. A Study in Photographs”. Arthur Hayes & Jon Maguire. Schiffer Military History. 1997.
“The Waffen-SS”. Men-at-Arms 34. Martin Windrow. Illustrated by Jeffrey Burn. Osprey Publishing. 1982.
“German Combat Equipments 1939-45”. Men-at-Arms 234. Gordon Rottman. Illustrated by Ron Volstad. Osprey Publishing. 1991.
“World War II German Battle Insignia”. Men-at-Arms 365. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Darko Pavlovic. Osprey Publishing. 2002.