Italy 1943-45

Dragon 1:35 Figure Set #6348
Review by Terry Ashley

This latest set of figures in the “Generation 2” series continues the high standard of the previous Gen2 releases with set providing four figures from the Italian campaigns of 1943-45.

The set consists of 289 parts in grey plastic for the four figures, their personal equipment and weapons and is complimented by a small etched fret with 23 parts for the weapons slings and a varied selection of uniform details.

The figures and equipment are moulded in normal hard plastic which makes removing the small moulding seams fairly easy while allowing for superb details to be included. To top this off items such as the gas mask canisters, meal tins and water bottles are moulded with separate caps and are hollowed out using slide moulds for superb detail definition.

The figures all wear the 1943 pattern tunic typified by the simplified pockets, open lapel and four buttons down the front with all wearing field caps and ankle boots, some with gaiters in fairly relaxed poses.

Detail on the figures is excellent with just minor moulding seams to be removed from the legs, arms and hands and being in hard plastic makes this job easier but some care will be needed removing the seam from the fabric folds to not compromise the details.

Uniform details includes trouser and arm fabric seams with good definition on the pockets and webbing where applicable with realistic fabric folds with the boots also including well defined lace and hob nail details.
As with previous Gen2 figures all the collars, lapels and lower sections of the tunics are in separate parts that allow for very well defined undercuts and overlap details when assembled.

Each figure actually comes with two alternate heads that are split in two front and back to allow the facial features to be nicely done but there is a large join seam between the two head sections that will have to be smoothed out completely which could be a little tricky to not damage the facial and ear detail. The promotional photo indicates the join line follows the chin trap line which is fine if you use the alternate steel helmets provided but as the figures all come with field caps the join is left exposed requiring removal.

Despite this little anomaly the facial features have excellent anatomical features as do the hands and after cleaning the minor mould seams are ready to go with those holding weapons having the fingers moulded to hold the weapon snugly but you may want to pose the weapon while attaching the arms/hands to ensure a natural sit.

Breakdown of the figures is as before has the legs moulded separately with separate boots while the upper torsos have separate front and back sections with one piece arms which in turn have separate hands all with locating lugs that make fitting them in the right orientation very easy.

Added to the basic body structure are the separate lower tunic sections as mentioned above and you should take careful note of the part numbers to ensure you fit the correct sections in the right place on the figures, each section has a square locating lug to help it line up correctly.

Personal Equipment:
Added to the figures is a good selection of personal equipment such as water bottle, bread bag, pistol and ammo pouches and small equipment bags with more than enough for each figure and plenty left over for the spares box or to use in a diorama setting.

The equipment such as the small satchels have excellent stitching, buckle and strap details included on both sides as before with other items such as the meal tins and water bottles have separate caps which are hollowed out using slide moulds for superb details.

These are again superbly detailed with a good selection of weapons included with two Kar98 rifles which have separate bolts that give you an alternative of the bolt pulled back or in the normal position and also included inside breech details if you wish to show the weapon stripped. Also included are twelve 5 round clips with very well defined rounds to use as required as well as etched slings provided for added detail.

Finally there is a superbly detailed MG34 and MG42 provided with separate breech covers that can be shown open or closed and the cooling holes on the MG34 barrel jacket are very well defined as well as the muzzle hollowed out slightly as with the other weapons and there is also ribbing on the butt stock. The barrel detail on the MG42 is also well defined on both sides and the top as well as the muzzle hollowed out slightly.

Added to this are a few ammo boxes with superb details on both ends and separate carry handles on top with one box open with finely detailed rounds and the open lid having details on both sides with again separate carry handle. There are also four round ammo drums as alternatives and two lengths of 7.62 ammo belts with very well defined rounds and attachment strips. About the only nitpick here is the separate ammo belts are a bit larger than the rounds in the open ammo box. Alternate open or closed tripods are also included for the MG34 if you wish to use these and they also have superb details included for good measure.

As well as looking good the weapons dimensions match the actual size very well in 1:35 scale;
The MG34 and MG42s actual length is 1220mm (34.85mm in 1:35) and the kit guns measuring in length 34.85mm (give or take a fraction of mm) which is basically spot on.
The Kar98s actual length is 1110mm (31.7mm in 1:35) and the kit Kar98 measures in length 31.7mm.

Also included are additional stick grenades with 4 Model 24 Stielhandgranate and 4 Model 43 Stielhandgranate plus 6 smaller Egg" Grenades Model 39 Eihandgranate that have nicely represented detail only requiring careful painting.

I have assembled two of the figures (figure A and C) to test the fit of the parts because with so many separate parts there can sometimes be problems but the fit of the parts was very good with most small gaps able to be filled using normal liquid cement during assembly and no additional filling was needed on the two figures assembled.

As mentioned above it is best to test fit the weapon where applicable while attaching the arms and hands to ensure a realistic and snug fit.

On figure A I substituted the steel helmet proved to alleviate the head join seam after the neck strap is added but there were no other issues during assembly.

Figure C is designed sitting on a chair provided which fits together easily with the promotional blurb indicating this is newly tooled so if you have an older tolled chair you could probably trade it in?

The assembled figure sits very naturally on the chair but there were a couple of more prominent gaps at the sides of the lower tunic sections due to the complex nature of the tunic in the sitting position but overall the tunic creases are well done at the front in particular. There is one small issue in that the right arm sits too high above the leg as the sleeve is not squashed down with the weight of the arm and you may want to trim a little off the underside of the sleeve for a more natural sit.

There is the prominent head join as mentioned and the field cap is slightly too small for the head and doesn't sit quite right but again using the steel helmets provided will overcome both issues.

Finally there is the personal equipment that you can added as required with some webbing and attachment straps included on the figures and some minor trimming may be needed when attaching the equipment but the usual test fitting will determine if any is required. The separate stick grenade on figure D had a separate belt section to fit over the grenade handle for a more natural fit.

Added detail is included with the etched frets which include the gun slings for the MG34, MG42 and Kar98 which can be bent to a natural sit that will stay in place plus a selection of shoulder tabs and belt buckles but the instruction don't mention any of these but you can use them at your discretion.

The instructions are a small sheet with superb colour illustrations from Ron Volstad that include the part numbers as well as a basic painting guide which will help during and after assembly but take care when identifying the separate tunic sections as there are a lot of lines and numbers which makes identifying the part a little difficult at times.

Etched fret

Another superb set of injection moulded figures with superb anatomical features and excellent details on the uniforms enhanced by the separate sections on the tunics plus the good overall fit of the parts and superb details on the personal equipment all adds to the overall experience.

Added to this are the superb weapons which would have to be among the best you will see in injected plastic with the separate bolts mechanisms being a standout feature as are the indented muzzles and the inclusion of etched slings adding further detail. The minor issue with the head join is easily overcome either by filling or using the steel helmets provided and the relaxed poses can be used in just about any setting.

This set will be very welcomed for the Italian theatre or any later war period as well as any one just wanting a set of excellent figures, equipment and weapons.

Highly recommended 8.5/10

The Sprues:

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Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service fromRainbow Tenfor the review kit.

Page created December 13, 2007