by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
On June 22, 1941 the German Army launched the invasion of Russia codenamed Operation Barbarossa. The city of Smolensk was an important objective, as it was on the main route to Russia’s capitol, Moscow, which was Hitler’s main objective. The battle for Smolensk was considered to be a swift and complete German Army victory, and the 10th Panzer Division was one on the major players in this critical action.
German General Heinz Guderian was an important and intelligent German general during World War II. His ideas on the role of tanks and aircraft in warfare, and the crucial roloe of radio communication on the battlefield were used in the development of the German Blitzkrieg type of warfare. Guderian took part in the invasions of Poland, France and Russia where the Blitzkrieg tactics proved very successful, but was later removed by Hitler when the two clashed over strategy.
Dragon has now released a set of figures for Panzer-Regiment 7 of the 10th Panzer-Division, Smolensk 1941 in 1/35 scale (kit #6655).
The box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard open-end one with artwork of the figures on the top by artist Ron Volstad. Inside are:
2 grey styrene sprues which contain 56 total pieces
2 frets of photo etched brass parts
The box includes sprues for four figures representing three World War Two German panzer crew members, and a bonus fourth figure of German General Heinz Guderian. The bottom of the box has a very basic assembly guide in the form of photographs of the completed figures and a painting guide. The sprues are sealed within clear plastic bags.
Sprue B: 33 total pieces
- All of the pieces for the four figures (18 total pieces)
- 1 pair of binoculars
- 1 pistol holster
- 3 side caps
- 2 headphone ear pieces
- 2 jerry cans with separate handles and caps
Sprue A: 23 total pieces
- All of the pieces for the Guderian figure.
- 1 extra pair of boots.
- 1 baton
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. 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 overall is good.
THE PHOTO-ETCHED BRASS FRETS:
- 4 headphone headset bands
- 4 throat microphones
- 3 jerry can center piece inserts
The brass has nice, crisp detailing, and a minimal amount of fret attachment points. The pieces were in good shape and not bent or twisted. One negative: there is no guide or instructions for using and assembling the pieces for first time photo-etch users.
I assembled all of the figures straight out of the box without doing any work on them to show all of the seam lines, flash, gaps and how the equipment fits. I felt this would be a good way to show the work required on all of them.
Figure 1: Standing Panzer commander with headphones
The figure is made up of eleven total pieces, and is wearing the Panzer uniform and side cap, both of which are nicely-represented. There is a molded strap for the binoculars on the figure’s torso, as well as throat microphone and headphone cables. The cables are molded so that they go with the PE headphones and throat microphone once they are added to the figure. Other areas of detailing that are nicely-done are the belt and belt buckle, buttons, pocket flaps, the shoulder epaulettes, the collar rank, the eagle insignia and the Panzer Assault Badge.
The detailing on the figure’s face is decent, and the neck fits into the collar well. The boots have hob nails that are done fairly-well. The pose of the figure is nice, and all of the pieces fit together well, which leaves very few gaps to fill. There is very little flash present, however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The photo-etched brass throat microphone and headphone headset band look good, and fit well, however there are no instructions for the photo-etched brass pieces. I do think that the headphone headset band is too long and should be shorter so that it would fit closer to the top of the head. If desired the modeler will have to scratch-build a portion of the binoculars’ strap so that you can attach them to the molded-on portion of the strap on the figure’s chest.
Figure 2: Standing Panzer crew member with hands on his hips
The second figure is made up of eight total pieces, and is wearing the same Panzer crew member uniform and side cap as the first figure. He comes with a pistol holster, and the areas of detailing that are nicely done include the belt & belt buckle, buttons, pocket flaps, the shoulder epaulettes, the eagle insignia and the collar rank. The detailing on the figure’s face is good for styrene, and there are other details like hobnails on the boot bottoms. The pose is interesting, and all of the pieces fit together well, which leaves very few gaps to fill. Once again, the figure’s neck fits into his collar well, and the hands rest on his hips helping to create a realistic pose. There is very little flash, but the usual seam lines. If used in a diorama, a modeler could put the two jerry cans next to the figure to make it look like he was carrying them and has set them down to take a break.
Figure 3: Sitting crew member
The figure is made up of seven pieces, and like the two figures above, is wearing the Panzerwaffe uniform and side cap. Unlike the other two figures, this one has the uniform jacket removed and is wearing the Panzer crew shirt with the sleeves rolled-up. Areas of detailing that are nicely done include belt and buckle, buttons and the pocket flaps. The detailing on the figure’s face is decent, and once again, the boots have hobnails. The pose is nice, and all of the pieces fit together well, leaving very few gaps, including the fit of the neck into the collar. Flash is minimal, but seam lines are present. I like the fact that the figure isn’t wearing his jacket and is just in his shirt. It helps keep the crew from looking exactly the same, and help makes for a realistic scene.
Figure 4: General Heinz Guderian
The general is composed of 21 total pieces, plus a second pair of boots. One pair has hobnails, while the second does not. The detailing on the clothing and face is good— the head comes in two pieces, as does the torso, though I don’t see the reason for this. Once constructed, there is a very obvious gap on the head that will need to be dealt with. The hands are also separate from the arms. I was not sure for the reasoning behind this at first until I constructed the figure: with the hands separate, they fit into the hollow ends of the overcoat sleeves and look very realistic. The overcoat is very nicely-done and comes in seven separate pieces (not counting the arms), which overall makes for a realistic 3-D appearance. There are locator holes for the coat pieces on the figure’s torso and locator pins on the separate coat pieces, making them easy to place correctly.
As with the other figures, there are few gaps to fill, though the fit of the head into the collar is only fair leaving a gap (though the peaked cap fits on the head well). The overall detailing is decent, including piping on the trouser legs, however they are covered up by the overcoat. That is a shame, as the trousers are nicely done. The figure also comes with a baton that can be added if desired that fits into the hand fairly well (though the hand will need to be closed-up to make the grip more realistic). There is very little flash, but the usual seam lines. The pose is nice; I really like the overcoat, as the way it is molded looks very realistic and almost gives a feeling of movement to the figure.
The jerry cans
I was very disappointed with the jerry cans: overall, they look fairly decent, but surprisingly the photo-etched brass inserts intended to replicate the weld seam line on German gas cans ruin them. The inserts require three locator holes to match up with the locator pins on one of the jerry can halves. However, the brass pieces only have two holes and only one of them will align with a locator pin. The other is too high, and the third one is not present. Once in place, the brass piece is too large and it sticks out. Dragon should have left the jerry cans out of this set of figures in my opinion.
There is no separate instruction sheet included in the kit. There is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box. There are no step-by-step instructions for constructing the coat on the Guderian figure, and there is no guide or instructions for the photo-etched brass pieces, which I feel would be helpful for first time photo-etched brass users.
DECALS & painting guide
There are no decals included in this kit. The bottom of the box is the painting guide, with the usual three brands of paint referenced:
- GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Colour
- GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Colour.
- Model Master Color.
This is a very nice set of figures that represents typical Panzer crew members and General Guderian. 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 and filling the few gaps, but my only major complaint is the jerry cans and the lack of a guide or instructions for the photo-etched brass for first time PE users. On the positive side, you do get a few extra items for the spare parts bin. Overall 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 USA for providing this review sample. Be sure to tell them you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.