by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
This is my first look at some of the excellent range of figures produced by Wolf. Hornet and Wolf are a well known established company, with Hornet heads tending to be what we hear most about. Having looked at both the Wolf figures and the Hornet figures I would best describe the difference as being that Wolf figures are cast in resin and would tend to perhaps have a more diorama focus, whilst Hornet are cast in White Metal and would possibly lean towards the single figure painter, although both can and are used across both genres.
This is a two man set of a British Army WWII PIAT Team. The figures come in a sturdy and professional card board box. On the front is the makers name, Wolf, and a good colour picture of the completed figures to aid in painting. On the rear in several languages is a brief outline of what glue to use to make the figure with and some painting ideas, plus a warning that the figures are not recommend for under 14 years old, and that chewing and swallowing them might be harmful!
The figures come in separate strong plastic bags sealed with 2 staples. They have been laid length wise in the bags and the bags folded over for added strength and to stop the parts moving around, a nice touch. A 3rd plastic bag contains the weapons and some equipment. Also included in the box is a small sheet containing a painting and basic build guide with a warning about working with resin.
The PIAT Gunner
Cast in a light cream resin this figure is depicted in a standing position, left leg forward with the PIAT rested over the right shoulders. The left hand is holding a German helmet at arms length, as in an act of looking at the said item.
The basic figure is made up of 5 parts; the body comes as a whole body less arms, head and shaft for the entrenching tool. The main body is dressed in standard Battle Dress, the top of which is covered by a leather jerkin. The BD shown beneath the jerkin is open at the neck and the trousers have nice natural folds and creases. Over the jerkin, the figure is wearing standard 37 pattern web equipment, consisting of belt, ammo pouches, small back pack and entrenching tool, short stabbing bayonet plus water bottle. The detailing of the equipment, straps, buckles and buttons on the jerkin are all very well depicted. Unfortunately, on my figure, there is a blob of resin over where the front brasses should be. The box art shows the front brasses clearly so I may have just been unlucky with this one, and a little work will be required to fix that area and replace the missing lower button. On the lower legs are a set of anklets and both the detail on these and the ammo boots is nicely done.
The short stabbing bayonet being moulded to the left hand side of the figure looses a bit of the natural shape. You can easily, but carefully, cut behind the lower end of the bayonet to free it from the torso thereby allowing the lower end to hang naturally.
Minimal clean up should be required on the body.
The arms come as separate items, the right arm is cast in light grey resin and the left in light cream resin. The right arm, bent at the elbow is designed to hold the PIAT over the figures right shoulder, it will need a little clean up to remove some flash and a slightly long thumb. The left arm is extended and holds a good representation of the trophy German helmet. Both arms have nice creases in the uniform with the cuff detail being evident. There are some seam lines on the left arms that will need to be removed.
The Head has good facial detail, the face being that of a pretty cocky young man with a half smile on his face, helmet tilted back on his head exposing a fine head of hair underneath. The head wears what I believe is a Mk II helmet and under the chin runs the chin strap, again nicely depicted.
Over all a very detailed figure in a nice pose.
The Ammo Carrier
The Ammo Carrier is cast in a light grey resin and dressed in a similar fashion to the gunner in BD and leather jerkin, this time the front brasses and lower jerkin button are clearly visible. The figure consists of 6 parts; the body cast as a whole, separate arms, head and entrenching tool. Again in a standing position, this figure also wears 37 pattern web equipment consisting of 37 pattern belt, ammo pouches, water bottle and small back pack. Underneath the backpack is a rolled ground sheet and on the left hand side the figure is shown wearing a good representation of the gas mask (respirator) container. Good buckle and strap detail is evident on all the webbing. No bayonet is in evidence, this I assume being hidden by the respirator.
Again, the crease and fold detail on the trousers and jerkin is very good. This soldier also wears anklet and ammo boots although the anklet straps are not as sharp as those on the previous figure. The small digging tool handle and holder come as separate parts. This is not the best representation of this bit of kit Iíve seen, and lacks detail and shape.
Minimal clean up should also be required on this body.
The right arm is depicted hanging down and will hold the PIAT bomb case that comes in as additional equipment cast in white metal. The right hand is attached to the bomb case. The left arm is shown at a 90 degree angle across the body and is designed to hold a No 4 rifle, again this comes as additional equipment cast in white metal.
The head is very nicely done, depicting the face of a mature older soldier sporting a fine moustache. The detail of the face looks excellent and on the head is a nice representation of a camouflaged Mk II helmet. Again the chin strap is present on under the chin.
A number of items come cast in White Metal. There are 3 parts to make up the PIAT; the main part of the weapon, the bomb holder and the support leg. The shoulder pad of the PIAT looks a bit too thick to me and care will need to be taken when assembling this weapon to get a good fit of the parts.
The PIAT bomb case is nicely finished and comes with the right hand attached to the handle. Only a little clean up on the wrist should be needed before this is added to the Ammo Carrier figure. You get 2 individual PIAT bombs that are a handy addition and could be used as necessary.
The No.4 rifle is a fair representation of the weapon, mine had a bent barrel that I straightened out with a pair of tweezers. Again, a little clean up will be required and you would need to add a sling.
Despite a number of minor flaws, I really like both the order of dress and equipment of these two figures. The poses are very natural although I am not mad about the extended left arm of the gunner and would like to have seen an alternative arm provided in the set. The quality of the casting is excellent with the exception of the blob that had formed on the gunnerís front brasses, probably, I suspect, an overspill form the lower jerkin button.
The uniforms have a very natural look about them, a bit baggy and not the perfect fit you see all too often in British figures. Both heads are interesting and these figures should paint up very well indeed and be of interest to both diorama builders and figure painters alike.
The addition of the metal equipment, I assume from the Hornet range, is not a great idea. Weapons of course can be replaced so I donít think that is a major concern and the PIAT ammo case is nicely done.
I like the proportions of these figures and they should, with a little work, be a very welcome addition to any diorama or could equally be used as a stand alone set. They have a very good soldierly look about them.