H001 – “Panzer Crew Heads & Hands”
, consisting of four heads and four hands, is the first set in a new accessories product line by Alpine Miniatures
. The four heads, all previously released in Alpine figure sets, wear a selection of German Army tank crew headgear. The headgear includes the early Panzer beret as well as the three more common types of headgear worn by armour vehicle crews. Accessory set H001 was released during November 2009.
What’s in the Box?
The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of eight (8) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small, clear acetate box with all parts in a single small zip-lock bag. A small card displaying the painted heads, as well as the unpainted hands, is supplied.
Accessory set H001 consists of the following eight (8) parts:
Head wearing Feldmütze field cap (H001a);
Head wearing Schirmmütze service cap (H001b);
Head wearing Schutzmütze Panzer beret (H001c);
Head wearing M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap (H001d); and
A Closer Look
It should be mentioned that these heads are not new products; each head has previously been released, though as part of an existing (at time of writing) WWII German Panzertruppen figure set.
H-001a is originally from figure set 35015 “German Tanker in Summer”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with box-art by Joaquin Garcia Gazquez. He wears the Feldmütze field cap, which sits at an angle off to the right of the head. The face is bears a neutral expression with the head turned slightly to the right (approximately 2 o’clock).
H-001b is originally from figure set 35026 “Early WW2 Panzer Officer”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with box-art by Jaume Ortiz Forns. The head is fitted with the ‘old style’ M1934 officers’ peaked service cap (Schirmmütze) with the wire frame removed. The face bears a neutral expression and faces approximately 10 o’clock.
H-001c is originally from figure set 35027 “Early WW2 Panzer Crew“, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with box-art by Jaume Ortiz Forns. H-001c wears the early black Schutzmütze Panzer beret. The face bears a neutral expression and faces approximately 2 o’clock.
H-001d is originally from figure set ”35029 “SdKfz 251 Driver”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms and box-art painted by Calvin Tan. H-001d wears a reversed M1943 Einheitsfeldmütze field cap. The face bears a neutral expression and faces approximately forward (12 o’clock).
Modellers would be short-sighted thinking that this set can solely be used for Panzer troops or even exclusively Heer. With the exception of the head wearing the Panzer beret, there is actually nothing (structurally) that denotes the heads as Panzer crewmen as these forms of headgear were worn by other branches of the German Army (the difference lies in the colour of the piping). In fact, by replacing the insignia these heads can easily be converted to those of Waffen-SS troops.
The heads, as we have come to expect from Taesung Harmms and Alpine Miniatures, are all superbly sculpted and the facial features excellently defined. The head gear is well proportioned, and nicely detailed. The casting is flawless, with no flash present on sample items. The casting blocks are placed under the necks of heads H-001a and H-001b, whereas heads H-001c and H-001d have the blocks placed atop the headgear (this facilitates undercuts when casting the item).
The four hands (two left and two right hands) are supplied attached to a single casting block. The set includes a (right and left) pair of open, slightly cupped hands and a (right and left) pair of balled hands (fists). Each hand is supplied with a sizable section of forearm making them easier to either fit up a fully extended sleeve or used with slightly rolled sleeves. There is nothing specific that identifies the hands of being of any specific nationality, period or race, and can thus be used on virtually any suitably scaled figure. The casting is as with all Alpine products exceptional, with only a negligible, fine tendril of flash attached to one of the forearms (in fact, it is so negligible I am not even sure why I have mentioned it).
Addressing the Inevitable
As I noted when reviewing Alpine Miniatures’ H002 “US Tanker Heads & Hands”: the decision to include four heads and two pairs of hands has been questioned on various modelling forums. This is in all probability due to modellers being used to head sets including five or more heads, and handsets being sold separately. A further regular question has been why four heads and only two pairs of hands, and not four (pairs of hands)? This is perhaps due to a mistaken belief that each head is to be matched to a pair of hands.
For those that may have missed the above review, I shall repeat the explanation by the owner of Alpine Miniatures, Taesung Harmms, behind the “four heads; four hands” decision.
“I included four hands in place of a fifth head. I felt the four hands would be more useful than another head. It would have been much easier for me if I had simply included five heads and no hands a la Hornet sets. I am certain many modellers would be unhappy had I included 8 hands and raised the MSRP. However I really want to keep the MSRP of these sets at a similar level as the competition.”
As I mentioned when reviewing Alpine Miniatures’ H002 “US Tanker Heads & Hands”, while these sets are terrific for those modellers not in possession of the previously released figures, those who have the original figure sets may seek new, previously unreleased heads. That said, the heads selected for this set are all from relatively early figures from the Alpine Miniatures catalogue, and many newer modellers may not own these figures (or may have long since used them).
The sculpting is Taesung Harmms at his best and predictably Alpine Miniatures’ casting is outstanding. It is nice to see a head set which offers modellers one of every significant form of headgear worn by German Army tankers, and as mentioned above these can easily be modified for other branches of service. Naturally the hands are generic enough to be used with virtually any true 1/35 scale figure.