Reacting to the petitions of his Italian allies, time after time routed by far smaller British forces in North Africa, Hitler deployed a Wehrmacht expeditionary corps, which landed at Tripoli in February 1941. As the German army’s experience of tropical campaigning was restricted to minor colonial operations long before, responsibility for designing a new uniform was given to the Hamburg Tropical Institute. Under pressure of time, the Institute allegedly chose to take the British army in India as its model; but if so, the wrong lessons were drawn. The uniform worn by the Afrika Korps in their early battles consisted of a cotton tunic, cut somewhat too snugly for comfort; and half-breeches resembling jodhpurs. This outfit was quickly modified in the light of desert experience, and more loose-fitting and practical alternatives were found.
FG-0001 – “German DAK Panzer Officer” is a 1/35th scale resin figure sculpted by Korean sculptor Man-jin Kim. The Afrikakorps (DAK) Panzer Officer, wearing the early tropical clothing, is portrayed in comfortable stance perhaps deploying troops. Only Neograde Military’s second 1/35 scale figure and released during January 2009, the box-art is painted by the sculptor, proving he has mastered both disciplines.
FG-0001 German DAK Panzer Officer
FG-0001 German DAK Panzer Officer depicts a senior NCO during a halt, perhaps deploying troops or offering direction. Wearing the early variation of the Tropical uniform synonymous with the DAK, consisting of tunic, breaches and high-lacing desert boots, the officer is portrayed gesturing with his right hand while holding a map in the left. It should be mentioned early in the review that the map featured in the box-art is not supplied with the figure – although this should be easy for most modellers to reproduce. Interestingly while the map is not supplied, Neograde do supply the two damaged Jerry cans shown buried in the sand in the box-art.
He wears the M1940 tropical drill tunic manufactured in a sage-green lightweight textile. The colour of all items of tropical dress varied sharply. Some batches were green, others a dark, virtually ‘mustard’ shade of tan, yet others a light sandy colour. All weathered and bleached in short order after arrival in the desert, and any one unit might include uniforms of like cut although of shades ranging through every gradation from deep tan to mid-green.
Beneath his tunic, the Panzer officer wears a tropical shirt and tie in olive cotton. The tie was seldom seen on the front line.
Panzer officers fastened the small metal skull badges from the collar-patches of the black vehicle uniform directly to the lower collar. The Iron Cross 2nd Class and Tank Assault Badge are presented in the usual way. Notably he wears the famous Afrikakorps cuff-title which was authorised late July 1941 for all German Army personnel who had served in the theatre of operations for at least two months.
Shoulder-straps are of the usual design, but the ground colour is a light sandy tan. The rank, that of Feldwebel (the Wehrmacht equivalent of a British Sergeant), is identified by the exact design here; the Tresse lines all three edges of the strap and a single white pip is worn centrally. The faded blue-grey and brown collar-patches are characteristic of the tropical pattern insignia, as is the breast eagle in the same colours.
He wears the M1940 olive cotton tropical trousers, laced at the calf; they have two slanted slash side pockets and a front fob pocket. Footwear consists of high laced leather and canvas tropical boots.
The officer wears the light, comfortable and stylish desert field cap, predecessor and direct ancestor of the 1943 Einheitsfeldmütze, and was extremely well-liked and almost unanimously worn as the preferred dress. The national emblem was woven in blue-grey thread on a dull brown background, and the cockade on a diamond-shaped patch of brown. The soutache of Waffenfarbe piping followed the upper edges of the diamond-shaped patch; here, in Panzer pink. Around the crown of the cap he wears a pair of amber-tinted sun and sand goggles.
The German Officer’s personal weapon is a P08 Luger pistol, holstered in its distinctive leather case to the rear of his belt. Around his neck he wears a standard issue set of binoculars, the modest 6x30.
The set, moulded in a pale cream coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of nine (9) pieces - five pieces for the figure, and two parts per Jerry can. The kit is supplied in a small, clear acetate jar with screw-top lid, with the kit parts packaged inside two small sealed plastic bags. As normal with most, if not all, resin figures a painting guide is limited to the box-art displayed on the jar and assembly instructions are not supplied – nor are they needed.
Figure kit FG-0001 German DAK Panzer Officer consists of the following nine (9) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms;
Head wearing Afrikamütze;
P08 Luger pistol holster; and
Two damaged Jerry cans and handles.
Overall the figure is very nicely sculpted and the casting generally crisp and clean.
The head is well-sculpted. The face is cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair visible under the headgear. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed – although I do feel that the definition of the turn-ups could be more pronounced. My sample had a pin sized hole due to an air bubble to the rear of the head, but this is easily filled. The casting block is positioned under the neck, so modellers can effortlessly remove these without fear of damaging any detail.
The figure proper is well detailed and one gets a very good idea of the snug fit of the tropical jacket and drapery of the half-breeches. Folds gather realistically for the materials portrayed. All the finer details such as insignia and awards as well as pockets, the binoculars, and even boot laces are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast. The casting is generally very good, although there is a very feint casting seam down the sides. While it has mostly been integrated into the clothing seams, such as on the trousers, it is evident on the boots. That said: it is nothing that cannot be quickly removed using fine sandpaper. Casting blocks are placed beneath the feet and need to be removed.
The arms and pistol holster, as with the rest of the figure, are well detailed and cast, although modellers may want to hollow out the sleeve cuffs slightly. Apart from the casting blocks, placed to the inside of the shoulders and top of holster, no further clean-up should be required.
The final four parts to the figure kit are the pairings of the two damaged Jerry cans and their handles. The Jerry cans appear well sculpted, with even the centre spine of the can cast finely between the two halves. The cans do not, however, include any lettering or insignia apart from the "X". Each can is slightly differently damaged; the one squashed horizontally across the middle, the other a blast hole in the one lower corner. The casting appears a bit “hit-and-miss” in that it is generally good, yet there is a bit of flash and a few air-bubble induced holes. Nonetheless, given the intended use of the cans (as part of the groundwork) and the ease to which these blemishes can be rectified, one might say these minor flaws are trivial.
Removing the pieces from the casting blocks was effortless. As always, I used a new knife blade, which easily cut through the resin with ease. The resin is a fairly hard resin, and in places the knife needed to be worked quite firmly. A particular spot where caution should be exercised is when removing the casting blocks from the shoulders – readers will note that I cut the right arm block at an incorrect angle resulting in the tip of the shoulder being left attached to the casting block.
Clean up was non-existent, with only the bit of flash being the aforementioned fine seam - nothing a sharp number 11 blade and fine sandpaper could not quickly sort out.
The arms line up easily with the shoulders on the torso, and the arms and head all have a slight dimple to assist with alignment. There was little, if any, guesswork involved when lining the arms up to the shoulders.
Although a slight indent is provided in the torso for the holster, in my opinion it still appears to sit on top of the figure, instead of nestling into the figure. Modellers may want to deeper the indent ever so slightly.
The Question of Size
Two frequent questions in modelling communities are “how tall is the figure?” and “how tall is this figure in comparison to my other figures?” These questions are raised even more so when viewing the products of a new manufacturer. While I obviously cannot explicitly help you with the latter, I can help with the former and thus by implication assist you in comparing the size of these figures with those you already have.
The average height of German males during the 1940s appears to be between 5’8” (174.5cm) and 5’10” (178.1cm). Therefore a 1/35 scale figure should measure between 49.9mm and 50.9mm, barefoot and heel to top of head.
With regards to the dimensions, I took 4 measurements: 1) foot to shoulder height; 2) foot to eye level (i.e. bridge of nose); 3) foot to highest point of head (incl. head); 4) shoulder breadth. For your convenience and the nature of the chapter I've added in my calculated "real" proportions after the measured sizes. The first value in millimetres represents the figure measurements, the second value the "real" size in metres (calculated by simply multiplying the millimetres by 0.035), and the third an imperial value (calculated by using Excel's CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit) - all values rounded).
|1. Foot to shoulder height||42||1.47||4’10”|
|2. Foot to eye level||45||1.58||5’2”|
|3. Foot to highest point of head||50.0||1.75||5’9"|
|4. Shoulder breadth||11||0.39||1’3”|
Thus, by eliminating the exaggerated height due to boot heels and the cap point, and taking the fact that the figure leans back on his left foot, I estimate the height of the figure to be approximately 50mm (1.75m or 5’9”).
While no doubt some may find the pose featured in this figure set inanimate, I must admit to being rather fond of such poses. I find such figures rather versatile whether part of a diorama, vignette or on their own.
The casting and sculpting is magnificent, with only a barely noticeable amount of flash on the figure.
For the painter, given the number of variations in the tone of the tropical uniforms materials, there are a number of interesting ways in which these figures can be presented. Furthermore, given that Panzer troops were issued with the same uniforms as infantry, and by simply removing the Tank Assault badge this set need not only be portrayed as the former.
This is the first figure I have had the opportunity to review from Neograde Military, and I must admit to being suitably impressed by it. I for one certainly look forward to Neograde Military and Man-jin Kim’s future releases. Recommended.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject: “German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945”. Brian L. Davis. Military Book Society. 1973.
“Afrikakorps 1941-43”. Elite Series. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Ronald B. Volstad. Osprey Publishing. 1991.
“Rommel’s Desert Army”. Men-at-Arms Series. Martin Windrow. Illustrated by Michael Roffe. Osprey Publishing. 1976.
“The Panzer Divisions”. Men-at-Arms Series. Martin Windrow. Illustrated by Michael Roffe. Osprey Publishing. 1972.
“The German Army 1939-45(5) Western Front 1943-45”. Men-at-Arms 336. Nigel Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.
“Afrikakorps in Action”. Bruce Culver. Illustrated by Ron Volstad. Squadron/Signal Publications. 1979.