Germany’s distinctive Panzerbekleidung is normally associated with the Panzer division’s tank crews, be it the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS derivative. Furthermore, it is easy to forget that this service dress was not only issued in black or camouflage patterns. It was also issued to other branches within the Panzer divisions in feld-grau, such as the Assault Artillery (Strumartillerie).
RM1604 – “WWII German SS Obersturmführer (Panzer/Self-Propelled Gun Crewman) & Pup” is a 120mm resin figure sculpted by A.Gagarin with the box-art by R.Slusarenko. The WSS officer is portrayed on a casual pose holding a puppy, grinning as it licks his face.
The special black vehicle uniform for Waffen-SS tank and armoured car crews was developed from the existing Army equivalent. Early in the war rapid expansion necessitated the issue of quantities of Army uniforms, but SS manufacture caught up with requirements and Army uniforms became less and less common in SS armoured units.
The uniform illustrated here is that of an SS-Obersturmführer (the SS equivalent of a Wehrmacht Oberleutnant or a British Lieutenant). It is a typical armoured crew uniform for the whole of the war – the practical and glamorous black uniform was popular for all types of duty and off-duty occasions, even after the introduction of camouflage clothing specifically for armoured crews. The Panzer officer has been awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class, and interestingly wears both the Panzer Assault Badge and General Assault Badge. I must admit to being rather sceptical about the wearing of both these awards together – particularly by a junior officer.
He carries the ever efficient Walther P38 pistol in its distinctive holster attached to a Wehrmacht issue M1934 officers’ brown leather belt (it was not uncommon for SS officers to replace their SS issue belt with the army opposite as the SS buckle clasp was rather weak and broke under field conditions).
Finally, WWII German SS Obersturmführer wears the ‘old style’ M1934 officers’ peaked service cap. He is presented with a second headgear option, that of a M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze.
The figure, moulded in a light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of eight (8) pieces. The kit is packaged in a soft cardboard box with the figures’ parts inside a rather oversized zip-lock bag. The box-art serves as a painting guide, and although cut-out title cuffs are provided for the figure on the box, these may prove unusable given the thickness of the card.
Figure RM1604 consists of the following eight (8) parts:Full figure, excluding head and arms;
Left and right arms;
Head sans headgear;
M1934 officers’ peaked service cap;
P38 Pistol holster; and
Overall the figure is very nicely sculpted and generally the casting is crisp and clean.
The head is well-sculpted with the face in particular being cleanly sculpted and well defined and full of emotion, with well-textured hair around the sides and rear of the head. The top of the head is left bald for easy fitment of the headgear. A rather heavy-looking casting block is positioned under the neck, and modellers should be careful when removing this.
The figure proper is well detailed and folds gather realistically given that the figure’s midriff is slightly thrust out supporting the pup. All the finer details such as insignia and awards as well as pockets, button-fly fronts, and boot laces are well detailed and very crisply and clearly cast. The only criticism, and it is a minor one which is easily remedied, I have is that the pip on the shoulder boards should probably be more centred on the board given the figure’s rank.
The casting is generally very good, although there is a very fine seam line which runs down the sides of the figure. This should be reasonably easy to rub down though. The rather heavy casting block is located beneath the feet and will need to be cut away with a razor saw or electric rotary cutting tool.
The arms, like the prior parts, are well detailed and cast. Slightly hollowed out sleeve cuffs, the SS national emblem and cuff-title on the left arms are nice touches. Both arms feature minute casting seams which can be sanded smooth and casting blocks are placed on the inside of the shoulder.
The headgear and holster are nice reproductions and neatly cast. The hats do, however, have the remnants of casting blocks attached, as well as a few near surface air bubbles, which will need to be rubbed down and then filled. The holster has a small remainder of a casting block which can easily be removed and cleaned up.
The pup, of unknown breed, is neatly sculpted, textured and cast. The one side is not detailed so as to allow for a better and closer fit to the figure. The casting block has three attachment points, namely on the head, torso and tail. There is also a seam line which runs between the casting attachment points. This together with the points of attachment will need to be cleaned and retextured once the casting block is removed. It is worth mentioning that the area of attachment on the torso will later be covered by the figure’s right arm.
A question of size
It is worth mentioning that this figure is marketed as a 120mm/1:16 scale figure, however these are two very different things. 120mm is a size, whereas 1:16 is a scale and 1:16 scale figures very rarely measure 120mm.
This figure measures in at 92mm from heel to shoulder, which if applying the scale of 1:16 means he measures approximately 1.47m and (factoring in standard head measurement ratios) would probably stand about 5’8” - 5’10”, and average height for a WWII German male.
Thus this figure is 1:16 scale and not 120mm.
While no doubt some may find this figure’s pose inanimate, I must admit to being rather fond of it. I find the addition of the face-licking puppy adds to the humanity of the figure. Furthermore, from a painters view, there are many colour schemes available as the Panzer jackets and trousers need not be painted in the colours displayed per the box-art, and the more adventurous painter may wish to portray one of the numerous SS camouflage schemes worn during this period.
The casting and sculpting is very good, with only a few, easily fixed seam lines.
This is the first figure I have had the opportunity to review from Rest Models, and I must admit to being suitably impressed by it. The inclusion of two forms of headgear was a pleasant and useful surprise, and not something often seen in 1:16 scale, or even 120mm, figure sets.
The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject: “Waffen-SS Soldier 1940-45”. Warrior 2. Bruce Quarrie. Illustrated by Jeffrey Burn. Osprey Publishing. 1993.
“Panzer Crewman 1939-45”. Warrior 46. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Velimir Vuksic. Osprey Publishing. 2002.
“The Waffen-SS (1) 1. To 5. Divisions”. Men-at-Arms 401. Gordon Williamson. Illustrated by Stephen Andrew. Osprey Publishing. 2003.