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Zvezda

Set 6180

German Elite Troops

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2014
Contents 5 figures
Poses 4 poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

Every army has its elite troops, and the German Army in World War II was no different, but what is actually being depicted in this set is the Waffen-SS, and presumably the reason this is not part of the name is political, or perhaps sets with the word 'SS' in the title sell less well. The Waffen-SS got priority when it came to new clothing and weaponry, and these figures wear camouflage smocks and helmet covers - items that appeared on these men well before they were common in the Army. The officer wears a peaked cap rather than a helmet, and everyone still wears the long marching boots, which matches well with the stated period of 1941 to 1943. Kit is quite minimal, with the men having just canteen, mess tin, bread bag and entrenching tool/bayonet, but this is reasonable. The straps and ammunition pouches are properly done too, so no accuracy issues.

The officer's pistol and the men's rifles are fine (and really nicely sculpted), but the second figure pictured demands more attention. He holds a submachine gun that is not the MP38 or MP40 we usually see held by Germans. Even with the excellent sculpting of this set this weapon could easily be one of several, and looks a bit like both the Solothurn S1-100 and even the Lanchester, but must in fact be the ZK-383. This excellent weapon was developed and produced in Czechoslovakia and, once Germany conquered that country in 1938, it was issued exclusively to the Waffen-SS, who used it only on the Eastern Front. So it helps to distinguish these troops from ordinary infantry, and as far as we know this is the first time that this weapon has been modelled in this scale. In fact by looks alone this could also be the MP 28/2, another good German submachine gun popular with the troops. However by 1941 this weapon was very rare, so while a perfectly good model of one, it would be very unlikely to be found in use after 1941.

The poses are very mundane but perfectly adequate, particularly as this is primarily a game piece. Each figure comes with an individual base, but as usual there is also a large base on which all of them can be arrayed as shown here. Every figure has some assembly requirement, but this is easily done and the joins are all excellent with no need for glue. This of course makes the poses even more natural and means there is no unwanted plastic, while the superb sculpting is matched by the flawless mould production, meaning there is no flash anywhere.

While Zvezda are reluctant to call this set what it is, the Waffen-SS were an increasingly important element in the war on the Eastern Front, and so any game involving this campaign would need such figures. As a game piece these poses are fine, although modellers will find them rather dull if still perfectly usable. The quality of production is flawless as usual, and the clothing and weaponry are spot on. A good set for a controversial but inescapable subject.


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