by: Rick Cooper [ ]
I think I heard a joke once that goes something like this; four guys walk into a bar, one of them is a sniper, one is a Fallschirmjager, another a Volkssturm and the last one is an SS guy armed and ready. Hey, wait a minute….now I remember, it wasn’t a joke, it’s just the latest set of figures from our friends over at Dragon. And, no it wasn’t a bar; it was a box, the one that Dragon figures usually come in.
Enough of the poor comedy, Dragon has indeed released a new figure set entitled, “Defense of the Reich” which in reality is a grouping of four late war German soldiers that most probably would have never found themselves together at one time. It is actually a pretty nice concept, I know personally that often I buy a set of figures and only really want or need one or two for the project I am working on. I know I am not alone in this, so a set like this, or the recent Dragon release of the figure set “March to the West” which also combined four soldiers from across the spectrum.
What you do get in your box of four German soldiers (no officers, you can tell because none of them are pointing!) are six sprues of light gray; including one large sprue with the four figures plus a few extras goodies, the now famous ‘W’ Gen2 weapons sprue with all the usual suspects included, the equally famed Gen2 ‘G’ combat gear sprue, two small sprues with four each of two different versions of the entrenching tool, and a special sprue for the FG 42 airborne assault rifle and its accessories. One of the extra goodies is a panzerfaust 100 for the Volkssturm figure, it includes a set of decals for the weapon which should really dress it up a bit (hard to read the tiny writing but I’m guessing it is something along the lines of the famous Claymore mine dictum “Front Toward Enemy”).
The breakdown of the four figures is as follows; figure A is the Fallschirmjager figure. He is in the normal Dragon breakdown for figures along with four parts for the bottom half of his combat smock. He features very well done creasing and folds in his uniform. The second figure is the Volkssturm dude, according to the Dragon website he wears the Hitler Youth winter uniform, at any rate it is very well done, particularly around the two breast pockets. His left arm has the Volkssturm arm band and he sports what I think is the Hitler Youth triangular patch, however, there are no decals included for these, you will need to source them yourself. This guy is loaded for bear, probably not at all reflective of what the Volkssturm really had to work with; he has the very nice panzerfaust which has the option of being built with the sight popped up and ready to fire or in the more conventional safe mode for just hanging around shooting the breeze with your sniper buddy. He also carries a Kar 98k slung over his back, a knife at his side, and a pair of egg grenades hanging from his ammo pouches (which are presumably stuffed with some other small weapon, maybe a neutron bomb). The panzerfaust does deserve special mention as you have no less than six decals to dress it up (“Attention! Fire Jet!” no really, that IS what they say on the tube), it should look very nice when all done up.
Figure C is the sniper fellow, dressed appropriately in the camouflaged combat smock with gaiters and marching boots wearing the M43 field cap. He is armed with the G43 semi-automatic rifle with a ZF 4 telescopic sight fitted in order to reach out and touch someone. Again, his sculpting is superb, great creasing and folding of the uniform cloth. Figure D is the standard no nonsense SS guy, wearing the camouflaged combat smock and cloth covered helmet with marching boots and gaiters. He is armed in typical Dragon SS style with a StG 44 assault rifle in his right hand and a stick grenade in his left with another tucked into his belt. Again, another well sculpted figure of a soldier in a semi-casual pose who looks like he might be preparing to go into action.
Another great set of figures from Dragon that should prove very popular. I love the idea of the mix of figures that they have used a few times now. The sculpting on each of these figures is first rate, these are all really state of the art, top of the food chain, injection molded figures. The inclusion of the decals for the panzerfaust is a nice addition; I just wish that they would include those extras such as the Volkssturm arm band and badges and the weapon slings which are depicted on the superb Ron Volstad box art and the painting guide on back. All in all, a solid effort that should soon be making its way to a diorama or vignette near you!