Following the first harsh winter of 1941-42 in Russia, the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS were issued a more practical winter uniform, developed due to the shortcomings of the standard-issue winter clothing. It was in the autumn of 1942 that improved winter clothing was received by troops, this consisting of the hooded jacket, trousers, mittens, hooded toque and felt winter boots.
35010 – “German SS Grenadier - Eastern Front 1942-43” is a 1/35th scale resin figure sculpted by Sergey Travianskiy. The figure depicts a stereotypical Waffen-SS non-commissioned officer of unknown rank loading a flare pistol on the Eastern Front. The figure is inspired by the military artwork of Dmitriy Zgonnik, which has subsequently appeared in the Concord Publishing title ‘Into the Cauldron - Das Reich on the Eastern Front’ by Robert Michulec (ISBN: 962-361-170-6). Released during April 2010, the box-art is painted by Jaume Ortiz.
35010 German SS Grenadier - Eastern Front 1942-43
Over his other ranks’ field tunic (evidenced by the field tunic sleeve cuffs pulling through from under the padded tunic) this squad or platoon commander, whom Dmitriy Zgonnik states a SS-Obersturmführer, wears the M1942 white/feldgrau reversible winter suit, without the unpopular M1942 arm rank insignia – not widely worn until 1944. He also wears a balaclava, or toque, to protect his neck, face and head from the extremely cold conditions. As part of his winter gear he wears leather-reinforced felt winter boots. He wears a M42 camouflage helmet cover over his Stahlhelm.
The grenadier is armed with a 9mm MP40 machine pistol, which were normally only issued to squad and platoon leaders. He is loading his M1928 27mm Walther short-barrel flare pistol with a red brilliant smoke cartridge, taken from the canvas flare pouch he wears slung around his torso.
Other equipment consists of: other ranks belt and standard-issue leather ‘Y-straps’; canvas MP40 sub-machine gun ammunition pouches; hard-shell pistol holster; 6x30 binoculars; breadbag; mess kit; flask; bayonet; and entrenching tool.
The figure, moulded in light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of nine (9) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small card box with the figure’s parts securely in a small zip-lock bag.
Figure 35010 ‘German SS Grenadier - Eastern Front 1942-43’ consists of the following nine (9) parts:Full figure, excluding head and hands;
Left and right hands, the latter holding the flare pistol;
MP40 sub-machine gun, excluding folding stock;
MP40 folding stock;
Entrenching tool with attached bayonet;
Mess kit; and
Overall, the figure is stunningly sculpted and the casting is excellent: crisp and clean.
The head is well-sculpted, with the face cleanly sculpted and well defined. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed. A small locator pin is cast under the neck to aid fitting to the body. The casting block is positioned to the back of the helmet, so modellers should practice caution when removing this for want of damaging any detail. The casting block has most likely been placed here to facilitate the casting of the balaclava, which is pulled well forward, and the locator pin.
The figure proper is extremely well detailed. One gets a very good idea of the bulkiness of the padded winter suit. Folds gather realistically for the types of material portrayed and due to equipment positioning. All the finer details such as the canvas MP40 magazine pouch, flare case, belt buckles, and binoculars are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast. The open flare case is a nice touch. Sockets are provided for head and hand fitment, and slight recesses for placement of the personal equipment such as the entrenching tool with attached bayonet, the .mess kit and flask.
Casting is clean and crisp, with no noticeable flash. I was pleasantly surprised by the cast. Firstly by quality: having not reviewed figures from this manufacturer before I was uncertain of what level of quality of cast to expect. And secondly by the fact that so much detail and section have been cast successfully on the single piece torso where other manufacturers may have elected to cast, for example, the arms separately. A fairly heavy casting block is located beneath the feet which will obviously have to be removed.
The two hands, MP40 submachine gun and its folding stock, the entrenching tool and attached bayonet, mess kit and flask, as with the head and figure proper, are well detailed and cast. Personally I find the fingers a little square in shape, however this barely noticeable and hardly something that cannot be altered using a sanding stick. The hands both feature an extension at the wrist (I suppose one could call it a locator pin or even male connector) for fitment. Both hands are attached to the same casting block, and modellers will want to practice caution when removing the hands from it, for the hands are small parts (read: easily lost). More dedicated modellers may wish to drill out the flare gun barrel.
The MP40 submachine gun is expertly rendered as cast with no less that three attachment points to the casting block. This facilitates not only the casting, but ensures there is no flex of the part in shipping, minimizing the risk of breakage. The folding stock is a very petite part, neatly cast but unfortunately attached to a heavy block which may be difficult to remove. Modellers may even elect to replace the stock with a scratch-built wire part.
The final two parts, the mess kit and flask, are cast attached to the same casting block. As with the other parts, the sculpting and casting is excellent.
Sergey Travianskiy and Mantis Miniatures have interpreted Dmitriy Zgonnik’s excellent, but two-dimensional, artwork and made it their own by adding the rear detail, thus completing the picture and rendering that third dimension.
For the painter, as with most SS subjects, there are a number of interesting ways in which this figure can be presented. While this figure wears the Feldgrau/white reversible suit introduced during 1942-43, the Waffen-SS later introduced a reversible, padded winter suit into service during the winter of 1943-4 featuring SS autumn patterns on the one side and white on the other. As there was not noticeable difference in cut between the two versions, this figure could certainly represent the later period as well as the marketed 1942-43 period.
The combination Sergey Travianskiy’s excellent sculpting of and the high quality casting of Mantis Miniatures presents modellers with a really nice figure with a lot of painting potential. Recommended.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject:“Into the Cauldron - Das Reich on the Eastern Front”. Warrior 6534. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Dmitriy Zgonnik. Concord Publishing. 2010.
“Waffen-SS in Combat”. Warrior 6504. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing.
“Waffen-SS (2) From Glory to Defeat 1943 – 1945”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing. 2000.
“German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945”. Brian L. Davis. Military Book Society. 1973.
“Waffen-SS Uniforms in Colour Photographs”. Europa Militaria No. 6. Andrew Steven & Peter Amodio. The Crowood Press. 2007.
“Waffenn-SS Soldier 1940-45”. Warrior 2. Bruce Quarrie. Illustrated by Jeffrey Burn. Osprey Publishing. 1993.
“The Waffen-SS (1) 1. to 5. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 401. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.
“The Waffen-SS (3) 11. to 23. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 415. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2004.