by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
Germany expected an early conquest of Russia at the time of its attack on 22 June 1941, but when the expected victory did not come as easily as anticipated, the Wehrmacht soon found itself embroiled in Russia’s brutal and bitterly cold winter. A quarter of a million German soldiers suffered frostbite in that first Russian winter simply because they were ill equipped and poorly supplied with appropriate cold-weather gear. Soldiers who survived that first grueling winter actually received a medal (called the Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42, and which the soldiers often called “Frozen Meat Order”)! Every winter on the Eastern Front in the following few years was also a test of endurance.
(Quoted from the Dragon Models LTD website)
Dragon has released German Winter Combatants 1943-45, kit number 6705, a set of four figures in 1/35 scale in its '39-'45 series, Gen 2 Gear, which represent four WWII German soldiers dressed in four different uniforms during the time frame of 1943 to 1945.
THE BOX AND PACKAGINGThe box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard end-opening box with artwork of the figures on the top of the box by the artist Andrew. The bottom of the box has a very basic assembly guide in the form of photographs of the completed figures and an artwork painting guide. The sprues are sealed within clear plastic bags.
INSTRUCTIONSThere is no separate instruction sheet included in the kit. There is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box. There are a few simple mistakes made on the sheet such as not identifying the three pieces on sprue WE which are the hinges and hasp for the wooden rocket case, or indeed providing any instructions for assembling the case. Some of the accessories are not shown on the assembled figures, or even called for by number. These are simple mistakes that should have been noticed and corrected.
THE PAINTING GUIDEIncluded on the bottom of the box is a very basic painting guide. There are two brands of paint referenced. They are:
- GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Color
- GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Color.
There are no decals included in this kit.
THE SPRUESThe kit comes with five grey styrene sprues which contain 157 total pieces. The sprues come sealed in clear plastic bags. All of the pieces are attached to the sprue with a minimal amount of contact points. When I examined the sprues I didn't find any bent, broken or missing pieces nor did I find any poorly placed knock out points. (I did not find any push out (knock out) marks on the individual pieces.)
As I examined the individual pieces I found what I would consider to be a normal to minimal amount of flash however there are seam lines present. The detailing on the individual pieces is fairly decent.
Sprue 6705: 49 total pieces
- All of the pieces for the four figures – 38 total pieces
- 1 pair of German skis
- 1 pair of German ski poles with separate basket pieces for each
- 1 German Kar 98 rifle ammunition pouch
- 1 German M43 stick grenade
- 2 German M39 “Egg” grenades
- 1 German Gew 33/40 rifle
Sprue G: 60 total pieces
- 4 German bayonets.
- 4 German canteens.
- 4 German gas mask canisters with 4 separate end caps.
- 4 German gas mask cape pouches.
- 4 German rolled shelter halves.
- 4 German bread bags.
- 4 German mess kits.
- 1 German document pouch.
- 2 German STG-44 magazine pouches.
- 3 German pistol holsters.
- 3 German Model 24 stick grenades.
- 4 German helmets.
- 1 pair of German binoculars
- 1 German binocular eye piece cap
- 6 German Mauser ammunition pouches.
- 4 German MP-40 ammunition pouches, two with magazine loading tool pouch
- 1 German P-08 Luger pistol
- 1 German P-38 pistol
- 1 machinegun tool pouch
Sprue W: 30 total pieces
- 3 German MP-40 submachine guns.
- 1 German MP-40 extended stock
- 2 German MP-40 ammunition magazines.
- 4 German Mauser 98k rifles.
- 4 German Mauser ammunition stripper clips.
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 German STG-44 assault rifle
- 1 German Gewehr 43 rifle
- 2 German STG-44 assault rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 German Gewehr 43 rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 German machine gun saddle drum ammunition magazines
Sprue WE: 14 total pieces
- 1 German 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43 main body assembly
- 1 front site for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
- 1 rear site for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
- 1 protective shield for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
- 1 protection wreath for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
- 4 rockets for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
- 1 wooden case for the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43 rockets
- 3 pieces that are not identified on the instruction sheet. These turned out to be the hinges and hasp for the wooden case
Sprue 24: 4 total pieces
- 4 German entrenching tools in carriers
THE FIGURESThe kit comes with four WWII German soldiers in various winter uniforms which represent the time frame of 1943 to 1945. I assembled all of the figures straight out of the box without doing any work on them, other than to clean up the spot where I removed them from the sprue, to show all of the seam lines, flash, gaps and how the equipment fits on the figures. (I feel this is a good way to show the work required on all of them.)
Figure 1. German Gebirgsjäger with skis
The figure is made up of seven pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The figure is wearing the two-piece snow suit as well as a toque and a soft cap which are all nicely represented. The cuff on both sleeves will need to be hollowed out as they are fully closed and noticeable. The figure’s neck fits into the collar nicely and the soft cap fits on the head well. The detailing on the face is decent. There are hobnails visible on the boots. The figure is carrying a Gewehr 33/40 carbine, which was basically a shortened version of the Kar 98 Mauser rifle. If desired the modeler will have to scratch-build a sling for the carbine. The figure also comes with skis and ski poles. They are both correct versions for the time frame and country. The bindings on the skis are well done and the figure’s boots fit into them nicely. Personally I would like to have seen some photo-etch brass binding cables to make them complete. The painting guide on the back of the box shows the skis painted white with a green stripe down the middle of them, this is correct. The assembly guide shows the handle of an entrenching tool and the scabbard for a bayonet protruding below the parka. The figure is not set up for this and the only way to make it look correct would be to remove enough plastic on the leg and behind the parka to make them fit. In my opinion this can be skipped and just leave the figure without any gear other than the rifle and the skis and poles. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely done such as the buttons and the hood. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good and there are very few gaps that will need to be filled which is nice.
Figure 2. Figure with MG42 Machinegun
The figure is made up of ten pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapons. The figure is wearing an M40 Sheep Fur-lined "Kharkov" Parka which is nicely done. The waist band is a nice detail that also adds to the realism. The lower portion of the parka comes in two pieces which gives it a realistic 3-D look, however it does create gaps that need to be filled. The sleeve cuffs will need to be hollowed out, especially the left one. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely done such as the buttons, pockets, belt buckle, straps and the hood. There is a molded strap for the gas mask canister, however the canister is not called for in the instructions. The figure is holding an MG42 Machinegun (Maschinengewehr 42). If desired the modeler will need to scratch build a sling for the weapon. The machinegun is a nice representation of the actual item and fits into the figure’s right hand well with little gap. The figure comes with a pistol holster, a Model 39 Egg Grenade (Eierhandgranate 39) a machinegun tool kit, bread bag, mess kit, and canteen. The figure’s neck fits into the collar nicely and the helmet fits on the head well. The detailing on the face is average as is the molded helmet chin strap. There are hobnails visible on the boots and they are well detailed. There is very little flash present, however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good and there are very few gaps that will need to be filled which is nice.
Figure 3. Figure with Gewehr 43 self-loading rifle
The figure is made up of nine pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapons. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely done such as the buttons, pockets, the “Y” strap, belt buckle, straps, the collar and the hob nails on the boots. The figure is wearing an appropriate “great coat” for the time frame as well as a toque and both are nicely done. The helmet has the camouflage netting cover and the detailing on it is molded nicely as well. The figure is armed with a Gewehr 43 self-loading rifle, if desired the modeler will need to scratch-build a weapon sling. The figure comes with one set of Mauser Karabiner 98K rifle ammunition pouches and one set of Gewehr 43 ammunition pouches. The figure also has an entrenching tool, bayonet, bread bag, mess kit and canteen. There is a molded strap for the gas mask canister, however the canister is not called for in the instructions. There is a Stielhandgranate 24 (stick hand grenade, model 24) stuck behind the figure’s belt. The torso has an indent where the Model 24 stick grenade is placed that helps make it fit more realistically behind the belt. There is a separate belt piece with belt buckle that goes over the stick grenade once it is glued in place. The belt piece fits and aligns fairly well, but it does take a little patience to get it to fit correctly. As well as the Model 24 stick grenade there is a Model 39 Egg Grenade provided. The figure’s neck fits into the collar nicely and the helmet fits on the head well. The detailing on the face is nice and there is a molded helmet chin strap on the head however it is not very well defined. There is very little flash present, however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled.
Figure 4. Figure with 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43
The figure is made up of nine pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapons. The figure is wearing a German two-piece reversible insulated winter suit. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely done such as the buttons, pockets, belt buckle, the collar, the fly on the trousers and the hob nails on the boots. There is a molded strap for the gas mask canister, however the canister is not called for in the instructions. The neck fits into the collar nicely and he is wearing a M42 Rabbit Fur Cap which fits on the head well. He is armed with an 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43. It comes in 5 separate pieces and assembles easily. There are locator spots on the main tube to assist with putting the smaller separate parts, such as the front and rear sights and the shield, in the correct position. It is accurate and is a nice representation of the actual weapon. The weapon does not fit into the figure’s right hand at all as it should but it does fit into the left hand nicely. The only item carried in addition to the 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43 is a pistol holster. There is very little flash present, however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled. Also provided for this figure are four 8.8cm Raketenpanzerbrüchse 43 rockets and one wooden ammunition case which holds two of the rockets. The rockets are nicely done and represent the actual item well. The ammunition case is decent, however there is molded wood grain on the outside only and not on the inside. This is an inconvenience if the modeler chooses to use the case and have it shown as open. There are no instructions for the case and to assemble it the modeler will just need to do “trial and error” dry fitting until the correct assembly is determined.
EXTRA PIECESThe kit comes with several extra pieces from sprues G, W, WE and 24 that can be added to the spare parts bin. Another benefit with this is that the modeler can add any of the included extra gear that they feel that the figure he is working on could use.
CONCLUSIONAll in all this is a decent set of figures. I was impressed with the detailing, especially on the uniforms and the poses of all four figures. Another positive note is that you do get some extra items for the spare parts bin. A modeler will just need to be prepared to spend some time removing seam lines and filling the few gaps. Other than my few complaints I was very impressed with the kit and I feel that anyone who purchases this set of figures will be pleased with them. I would have no hesitation to recommend this set of figures to others.
- World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton
- World The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg
- Guns of the Reich: Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
Arms and Armour Press
- German Infantry in Action
Combat Troops Number 2
Created by Uwe Feist
Captions by Norman Harms
Uniform Illustration by Ron Volstadt