by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
The “Blue Division” was a unit of Spanish volunteers serving in the German military during World War II that fought Soviet forces on the Eastern Front. The “Blue Division was designated as the 250. Infanterie-Division in the Wehrmacht, but since the soldiers could not wear the official uniform of the Spanish military, they created their own uniform. This consisted of the red berets of the Carlists (a Spanish right-wing political group), khaki trousers of the Spanish Legion (an elite unit of Spain’s army), and blue shirts of the Falangists (a political party for the Fascist movement in Spain). The blue shirts they wore is where the nickname "Blue Division” originated.
The “Blue Division” fought from 1941 through 1944, when it was ordered to return to Spain. However, some members of the “Blue Division” chose to remain in German service, and were sent to different German units, fighting on until the end of the war. Dragon has released a set of “German ‘Blue Division’ Spanish Volunteers, Eastern Front 1942-43” with Gen 2 Gear showing four Spanish volunteers on the Eastern Front.
THE BOX AND PACKAGING
The box the kit comes in is the typical soft open-ended one with artwork of the figures on the top, and the bottom a very basic assembly guide done with photographs of the completed figures. Painting is from the artwork. There is no separate instruction sheet, and as noted the assembly guide on the box bottom is basic, including not including instructions for all of the pieces.
DECALS & painting
There are no decals included in the kit. Three brands of paint referenced:
- GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Colour
- GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Colour.
- Model Master Color.
The kit includes four grey styrene sprues with 130 total pieces. 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 items other than the German P-38 pistol which had a bent barrel.
- All of the pieces for the four figures (36 total pieces)
- 1 German multi-head grenade with separate handle
- 2 German Teller anti-tank mines
- 1 German stick grenade
Sprue G (all of the items unless noted are German-issue)
- 4 bayonets.
- 4 canteens.
- 4 gas mask canisters with separate end caps.
- 4 gas mask cape pouches.
- 4 rolled shelter halves.
- 4 bread bags.
- 4 mess kits.
- 1 document pouch.
- 2 STG-44 magazine pouches.
- 3 pistol holsters.
- 3 stick grenades.
- 4 helmets.
- 1 pair of binoculars with eye piece cap
- 6 Mauser ammunition pouches.
- 4 MP-40 ammunition pouches, two with the magazine loading tool pouch
- 1 Luger pistol
- 1 P-38 pistol
- 1 machine gun tool pouch
- 3 MP-40 submachine guns.
- 1 MP-40 extended stock
- 2 MP-40 magazines.
- 4 Mauser 98k rifles.
- 4 Mauser ammunition stripper clips.
- 1 Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun
- 2 Soviet PPSH-41 drum magazines
- 1 Soviet Degtyarev DP machine gun
- 2 bipod legs for the Degtyarev DP machine gun
- 1 drum magazine for the Degtyarev DP machine gun
- 1 bi-pod piece for the Degtyarev DP machine gun
- 2 Soviet PPS-42/43 submachine guns
- 1 folding stock for the PPS-42/43 submachine guns
- 4 Soviet SSh-40 helmets
I was surprised to find that no entrenching tools came with these figures.
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. I did not find any push out (knock out) marks on the individual pieces. The detailing is fairly decent.
The kit comes with four figures. I assembled all of them straight out of the box without doing any work to hide or remove seam lines, flash, gaps and to show how the equipment fits on the figures. I felt this would be a good way to show the work required on all of them.
Figure 1: Kneeling wearing a greatcoat and holding the PPSH-41 submachine gun. The figure is made up of ten total pieces, not counting the weapons and equipment. The Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun is in two pieces, and fits into the figure’s hands well, though the hands are open rather than more closed around the weapon (which is typical for most figures anyway). If desired, the modeler will need to scratch-build a sling for the gun. If desired, the modeler could probably replace the PPSH-41 with one of the provided Soviet PPS-42/43 submachine guns, such as the PPS-42/43 with the extended folding stock, which should work fine.
There is a molded strap for the gas mask canister on the figure’s torso, and he is provided with a German multi-head grenade. The detailing on the grenade is fair, and in my opinion isn't much different than the one that comes in the old Tamiya German Weapons Set #35111. The great coat is nicely done and comes in four separate pieces which make for a realistic 3-D appearance. There are locator holes for the coat pieces on the figures legs and locator pins on the separate coat pieces which make it easy to place them correctly. The look is nice and there are minimal gaps to fill.
The figure wears a unit patch on the right shoulder, and other areas of detailing that are decent include the buttons, belt buckle and sleeve cuffs. The boots have hob nails that are done fairly well. The pose of the figure is nice and the neck fits into the collar with minimal fit issues. The helmet fits onto the head tightly, and a molded chin strap on the figure’s head completes the effect. Detailing on the figure’s face is decent with very little flash, though there are the usual seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with few gaps that will need work.
Figure 2: Standing holding the Soviet Degtyarev DP machine gun. The figure is made up of ten total pieces, with a good pose showing him carrying a Soviet Degtyarev DP machine gun (in five pieces). The machine gun fits into the figure’s hands well (other than that the hands are open as opposed to being more closed around the weapon). His two-piece snow suit is nicely done, and has a separately-molded hood. The instructions fail to show the hood is a separate piece. The overall detailing of the snow suit is nice, with seams, reinforced elbows & knees, pockets, and a drawstring for the hood.
The detailing on other items such as the belt buckle, buttons and face is decent, however the detailing on the Y strap is not done very well. The figure has an indentation on its right side which a stick grenade fits into, and there is a separate belt piece which can then be glued over the grenade handle for a realistic appearance of a grenade stuck inside the belt. There is a locator pin behind the belt buckle to help in placing it correctly. But I couldn't get the belt to fit in place properly due to the grenade, which makes the belt piece too short. The modeler will have to thin the handle of the grenade some, scratch-build a belt section or just fill in the small gap.
The boot bottoms have hob nails (a good touch), and the figure’s neck fits into the collar well. The Ushanka cap has a patch on the front, and it goes on the head without problems. There is very little flash present, however there are the usual seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with few gaps requiring filling.
One compliant I have with the construction of this figure is that there is no mention of machine gun part number 15 in the instructions. I had to experiment with it to figure out how it fit onto the weapon: the part has a flat bottom, a "V" shaped-top and sloped sides. The "V" goes up into the notch at the bottom of the machine gun towards the barrel end of the weapon with the flat side pointing down. The two bipod legs then attach to the sloped sides (one on each side). One other minor complaint is that the photograph of the finished figure in the assembly guide shows a sling swivel on the butt of the machine gun. There is none on the actual piece.
Figure 3: Lying on his left side holding the Mauser 98K rifle. The figure is made up of ten pieces excluding the gear and weapon. He is wearing a fleece-lined great coat, which comes in three separate pieces to give the bottom a 3-dimensional look. The coat collar is a separate piece as well, and the figure’s neck fits into the collar well. All of the separate coat pieces come with locator pins which match up to the locator holes in the torso and legs, making for proper positioning of the various parts. The overall look is nice with minimal gaps to fill. The detailing of the fleece on the collar, cuffs, and bottom of the coat is good.
The figure carries a Mauser 98K rifle, and the modeler will need to scratch-build a sling for it. The rifle does not fit into the left hand as shown in the assembly guide; some work will be required to open the hand to make the rifle fit correctly. The overall detailing is decent on items such as the buttons, belt buckle, pockets, clothing seams, hob nails on the boots and the figure’s face. The head has a molded chin strap for the helmet (which fits well), and a molded binoculars strap on the chest. There is very little flash, but the usual seam lines. The overall fit of the pieces is good, but there are gaps that will need to be filled.
Figure 4: Kneeling holding the two Teller anti-tank mines. The figure is made up of seven total pieces, and the detailing on the clothing and face is nice. The figure is wearing the two piece snow suit, and detailing on different items of the suit is nice (such as the hood, seam lines, reinforced elbows and knees, pockets and the hood drawstring). The hood/collar is a separate piece, though this is not shown in the assembly guide. The figure’s neck fits into the collar well, and the helmet fits snugly. There is also a toque head scarf.
The figure has a Mauser 98K rifle slung on his back. There is a molded rifle sling on the torso of the figure, however if desired the modeler will need to scratch-build the portion of the sling that attaches to the rifle, an oversight that Dragon should have corrected. The figure is carrying two German Teller mines, one in each hand. There are handles for the mines molded in the figure’s hands, so the handle on the mines need to be removed if the mines are to be shown being carried. The detailing on the mines is nice, and they are good representations of the actual items.
The overall detailing is decent on items such as the buttons, belt buckle, hobnails on the boots and the figure’s face. There is very little flash present, but seam lines will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good, but there are the usual gaps needing putty.
Finally, there are several extra pieces from sprues G, W and WA that can be added to the spare parts bin.
This is a very nice set of figures. It represents soldiers dressed for the Ostfront well, and I like the fact that the figures are in different uniforms, which helps create a more realistic scene. I was impressed with the detailing and the poses of all four figures. A modeler will just need to be prepared to spend some time removing seam lines, filling the few gaps, and making a few adjustments to some of the pieces. I dislike the missing items on the instruction sheet, but on the positive side, you do get several extra items for the spare parts bin. I would have liked to have seen some decals for the helmets and the shoulder patch included.
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.
Thanks to Dragon-Models Limited for the review sample. Be sure to mention that you heard about it here when ordering.