by: Keith Middleton [ ]
In this set Dragon has produced yet another set of German Waffen SS soldiers standing and gazing off into the distance. Some might yawn and say big deal, another set of Germans, but I am very impressed with the quality of this entry in Dragon’s 1939-45 line of figures.
This set, which I want to emphasize is not a Generation 2 set of figures, is packaged in the traditional Dragon side-opening box. The attractive box art reveals four figures, two obviously wearing winter uniforms, a third wearing an SS camouflage smock (which I would not think qualifies as winter clothing, at least on the Eastern Front), while the fourth wears a curious assortment of clothing that I also do not think qualifies as winter clothing. Due to this mixture it is unlikely that the modeler will be able to use all four figures in the same scene. The back of the box has both the assembly instructions as well as the painting guide. Paint references are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints.
Upon opening the box, one finds four sprues wrapped in plastic. The four figures come on a single sprue. The detail on all of the parts is excellent. In addition, I did not observe any visible flash. To say the least, the faces on these figures are superbly done. A big drawback to this set are the substantial sprue attachment points and mold seams. While Dragon once again attempted to run the mold seams in natural locations, they are so large that the modeler will have no choice but to remove them. Because both the attachment points and seams are so large and noticeable, they may prove troublesome to remove without damaging surrounding detail.
Next comes Sprue G, which contains various items of equipment including canteens, ammunition pouches, bread bags, grenades, helmets, etc.
Sprue W holds the weapons and related gear. This set includes an MG34, an MG42, a Sturmgewehr 44, MP40 submachine guns, KAR 98k rifles, and a Gewehr 43 semi-automatic rifle. Finally, there is an unmarked sprue that holds four entrenching tools.
This set includes four Waffen SS figures. As already mentioned, the figures are not designed to be used together in a single scene. The heads are beautifully done and each has distinct features and expressions.
Figure 1 is a puzzling figure. He is wearing what appears to be a Wehrmacht 1944 pattern uniform tunic with the Waffen SS eagle on the left arm. He is also wearing what I think are panzer troops’ pants due to the existence of the pocket on the front of the left thigh. My best guess is that the pants are made from Italian camouflage cloth. Finally he is wearing a single button variant of the SS version of the 1943 field cap.
Figure 2 is wearing a complete reversible padded winter oversuit. The box art shows it with the oak leaf autumn colors side out, but the modeler could choose to make it the white side showing. He is carrying a slung KAR98K rifle. This will present the modeler with a challenge: fabricating a sling out of some material as the set does not provide any photo-etch straps. Finally the figure is wearing standard woolen gloves.
Figure 3 is wearing a second pattern SS camouflage smock possibly in the “blurred edge” camouflage pattern with a matching helmet cover. He is carrying a Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle. He is wearing field gray pants tucked into short shaft jackboots, which were probably a relative rarity by 1944-45.
Figure 4 is wearing a reversible padded winter parka that was first introduced in the winter of 1943-44. The box art again shows the gray brown oak leaf autumn pattern on the outside. The figure is wearing field gray pants tucked into felt-topped boots. He is carrying an MP40 submachine gun and a Panzerfaust. The set includes a nice set of decals for the Panzerfausts.
For purposes of this review, I assembled Figure 3. The assembly process took some time due to the fact I had to remove the mold seams and sprue attachment points. With that exception, the figure assembled without difficulty, the fit of the parts was excellent, and his stance looks very natural and not stiff at all. In terms of height, the figure measures out at just under two inches, which translates to about five feet eight inches.
Simultaneous with this review, I reviewed Master Box’s Iraqi Checkpoint figure set. I also assembled one of the figures in that set. You can see the two figures side by side in the accompanying photograph. To me, there is no comparison in the quality of the two figures. Dragon has truly achieved the distinction of producing such high quality figures that they are making resin figures (at least of World War II German soldiers) almost obsolete.