** The "Das Reich" Division took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union from 22 June 1941 onwards. What followed was a stunning series of victories that swept "Das Reich" and other German units across the vast Russian steppes to the very gates of Moscow. However, stiffening Soviet resistance and frigid winter conditions eventually brought the momentum of the assault to a grinding halt. After refitting in France, the division returned to the Eastern Front and participated in combat in places like Kharkov and in the momentous Battle of Kursk in July 1943. After this, "Das Reich" was involved in the bitter retreat back to the borders of the Fatherland, including episodes such as the effort to relieve the Korsun Pocket, as well as combat in Hungary. **
** Quoted from the Dragon Models LTD website
Dragon has released Das Reich Division Eastern Front 1943-45, kit number 6706, a set of four figures in 1/35 scale in its '39-'45 series, Gen 2 Gear, which represent four WWII German Waffen SS Das Reich Division soldiers during the fighting on the Eastern Front from 1943-44.
The box and packaging
The box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard open end box with artwork of the figures on the top of the box by the artist Dmitriy Zgonnik. The bottom of the box has a very basic assembly guide in the form of photographs of the completed figures and an artwork painting guide. The sprues and the fret of photo-etched brass are sealed within clear plastic bags.
The instruction sheet
There is no separate instruction sheet included in the kit. There is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box. There are a few simple mistakes made on the sheet such as numbers completely missing in regards to pieces that go on the figure. These are simple mistakes that should have been noticed and corrected. There is no guide or instructions for the photo-etched brass pieces. I feel that for first time photo-etched brass users a simple guide would be helpful.
There are no decals included in this kit.
The painting guide
Included on the bottom of the box is a very basic painting guide. There are three brands of paint referenced. They are:
- GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Color
- GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Color.
- Model Master Color.
The kit comes with three grey styrene sprues which contain 131total pieces. The sprues come sealed in clear plastic bags. All of the pieces are attached to the sprue with a minimal amount of contact points. When I examined the sprues I didn't find any bent, broken or missing pieces nor did I find any poorly placed knock out points.
There is also one fret of photo-etched brass which consists of 8 total pieces. The pieces were in good shape and not bent or twisted.
41 total pieces
- All of the main body pieces for the four figures – 24 total pieces
- 2 pieces that make up the 27mm flare canvas ammunition pouch
- 1 M42 flare pistol
- 1 collar piece for Figure 1
- 1 hood piece for Figure 1
- 2 M42 steel helmets
- 1 Russian PPSH-41 submachine gun
- 1 Russian PPSH-41 submachine gun drum ammunition magazine
- 1 Russian PPSH-41 submachine gun drum ammunition magazine pouch
- 1 document or log book for Figure 3
- 1 M1943 black wool cap for Figure 3
- 2 headphone earpieces for Figure 3
- 1 M1938 field cap for Figure 4
- 2 pairs of German 6x30 binoculars
60 total pieces
- 4 German bayonets.
- 4 German canteens.
- 4 German gas mask canisters with 4 separate end caps.
- 4 German gas mask cape pouches.
- 4 German rolled shelter halves.
- 4 German bread bags.
- 4 German mess kits.
- 1 German document pouch.
- 2 German STG-44 magazine pouches.
- 3 German pistol holsters.
- 3 German Model 24 stick grenades.
- 4 German helmets.
- 1 pair of German binoculars with 1 separate eye piece cap
- 1 German binocular eye piece cap
- 6 German Mauser ammunition pouches.
- 4 German MP-40 ammunition pouches, two with magazine loading tool pouch
- 1 German P-08 Luger pistol
- 1 German P-38 pistol
- 1 machinegun tool pouch
30 total pieces
- 3 German MP-40 submachine guns.
- 1 German MP-40 extended stock
- 2 German MP-40 ammunition magazines.
- 4 German Mauser 98k rifles.
- 4 German Mauser ammunition stripper clips.
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 German MG-34 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 German MG-42 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 German STG-44 assault rifle
- 1 German Gewehr 43 rifle
- 2 German STG-44 assault rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 German Gewehr 43 rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 German machine gun saddle drum ammunition magazines
Photo-etch brass fret
8 total pieces
- 4 headphone headbands
- 4 throat microphones
As I examined the individual pieces I found what I would consider to be a normal to minimal amount of flash however there are seam lines present. I did not find any push out (knock out) marks on the individual pieces. The detailing on the individual pieces is nice. I noticed that this set does not come with the separate sprue of German entrenching tools which has become the standard for most of the other recent German figure sets.
The photo-etched brass detailing parts have nice crisp detailing and they have a minimal amount of fret attachment points.
The kit comes with four WWII German Das Reich Division soldiers on the Eastern Front during 1943-45. They are based on the artwork of Dmitriy Zgonnik for the Concord Publications Company book, 6534, “Into the Cauldron, Das Reich on the Eastern Front” by Robert Michulec & Dmitriy Zgonnik. I assembled all of the figures straight out of the box without doing any work on them, other than to clean up the spot from where I removed them from the sprue, to show all of the seam lines, flash, gaps and how the equipment fits on the figures. I feel this is a good way to show the work required on all of them.
Figure 1: SS-Obersturmführer
The figure is made up of eight pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The figure is wearing a reversible winter suit and the cold weather toque on his head. He has on a M42 steel helmet with cloth cover which fits on the figures head well. Of interest to me is the fact that he is wearing the felt and leather “sentry” boots designed for cold weather. He is armed with a 9mm MP40 submachine gun(machine pistol) for which there is a molded strap over the right shoulder and has a three pouch MP38/40 magazine pouch to go with it. On his leather infantryman’s belt is a holster for the M42 flare pistol that he is holding in his right hand. My favorite detail on this figure is the M42 flare pistol shown with the breech open. The modeler may wish to drill out the barrel for additional realism. In addition to the flare pistol is a canvas ammunition pouch for carrying the 27mm flares for the flare pistol. The open flap on the flare ammunition pouch is a nice touch and adds yet more detail to this figure. The M42 flare pistol fits into the figures right hand nicely. The figure also has a bread bag, mess kit, canteen and a pair of 6x30 binoculars hanging around his neck, for which there is a molded strap. The figures neck fits into the collar nicely. The separate collar and hood pieces fit onto the torso well, however they do not fit together well and leave gaps that need to be filled. The detailing on the figures face is decent. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely done such as the pockets, buttons, equipment and weapon straps and the “Y” equipment harness. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good and there are very few gaps that will need to be filled which is nice.
Figure 2: SS-Sturmann
The figure is made up of six pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The detailing on the clothing is nice. The figure is wearing a M42 camouflage SS smock (Tarnjacken) which is nicely done. The flair at the waist helps to make it look realistic; however I would have liked to have seen that portion of the smock in separate pieces, like Dragon has done with other figures coats and jackets in other figure sets, to add more realism to it. There are foliage loops on the chest, back and both sleeves which are correct. The drawstrings and the elastic bands at the waist, wrists and chest are nice details that also add to the realism. The helmet has the camouflage cover and the detailing on it is molded nicely as well. The figure is carrying a captured Russian PPSH-41 (Pistolet-Pulemyot Shagina) submachine gun which can be shown with or without the separate ammunition magazine in place. If desired the modeler will need to scratch build a sling for the submachine gun. The submachine gun is a nice representation of the actual item. The Russian PPSH-41 submachine gun fits into the figures right hand nicely however the left hand isn’t closed around the barrel as shown on the instructions. The figure comes with one 7.62x25mm PPSH-41 drum magazine pouch, bread bag, mess kit, and canteen and M1939 leather infantry support straps attached to the enlisted man’s leather belt. The figures neck fits into the collar nicely and the helmet fits on the head well. The detailing on the figures face is average and there is a molded helmet chin strap on the head however it is not very well defined. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good and there are very few gaps that will need to be filled which is nice.
Figure 3: SS-Oberscharführer
The figure is made up of six pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The detailing on the clothing is nice. The figure is wearing a two-piece M1944 dot-pattern camouflage tunic with matching trousers tucked into a pair of standard lace-up ankle boots. Beneath the dot-pattern tunic the figure is wearing a shirt and tie. The figure is also wearing an enlisted man’s/NCO’s M1943 wool cap which was the standard head gear after 1943. Also on the figures head is a pair of Dfh.b(Doppel-Ferhohrer Model B) headphones. There is a molded cable for the headphones on the upper torso and on the lower torso as well which helps line up the upper and lower halves of the figure. The headphone earpieces are molded styrene and the headband is photo-etch brass. The fret of photo-etched brass included with this set of figures also includes throat microphones however this figure is not shown with one. Then again I don’t see any reason why a throat microphone couldn’t be added if so desired. The figure has a 9mm P38 hard-shell leather holster attached to a leather infantryman’s belt. The figure has a pair of 6x30 binoculars hanging around his neck, for which there is a molded strap. The figure has what appears to be a document or log book in his right hand which fits into the hand very nicely. The figures neck fits into the collar nicely and the wool cap fits on the head well. The detailing on the figures face is average. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled.
Figure 4: SS-Untersturmführer
The figure is made up of six pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapon. The detailing on the clothing is nice. The figure is wearing a M44 (dot-pattern) camouflage drill jacket which is nicely done. The flair at the waist helps to make it look realistic. However I would have liked to have seen that portion of the smock in separate pieces, like Dragon has done with other figures coats and jackets in other figure sets, to add more realism to it. Beneath the drill jacket the figure is wearing the M42 SS field blouse as well as a toque which is being worn as a scarf and not up over his head. The figure is also wearing a standard pair of officer service trousers tucked into officer boots as well as a M1938 field cap. The figures face is decent and the neck fits into the collar nicely. The M1938 field cap fits on the head good and the detailing on it is molded nicely. He is armed with a 9mm MP40 submachine gun (machine pistol) which fits into the right hand very well and with little gap in the left hand. If desired the modeler will need to scratch build a sling for it. The figure comes with a canteen and a M35 report/map case, which there is a molded strap, attached to the enlisted man’s leather belt with M1939 leather infantry support straps. The figure has a pair of 6x30 binoculars hanging around his neck, for which there is a molded strap. There are molded hob nails on the boots however they are faint and poorly done. There is very little flash present however there are seam lines which will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled.
The kit comes with several extra pieces from sprues G and W, as well as the unused pieces on the fret of photo-etched brass that can be added to the spare parts bin. Another benefit with this is that the modeler can add any extra gear that they feel would benefit the figure he is working.
All in all this is a decent set of figures. I was impressed with the detailing, especially on the uniforms. Another positive note is that you do get some extra items for the spare parts bin. A modeler will just need to be prepared to spend some time removing seam lines and filling the few gaps. Other than my few complaints I was very impressed with the kit and I feel that anyone who purchases this set of figures will be pleased with them. I would have no hesitation to recommend this set of figures to others.
Thanks to Dragon-Models Limited for the review sample. Please be sure to mention that you saw the kit reviewed here when ordering.
- Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton, “World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia”; Squadron/Signal Publications; #6013; 1977.
- Ian V. Hogg, “World The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII”; Saturn Books Ltd.
- George Markham, “Guns of the Reich, Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945”, Arms and Armour Press
- Norman Harms, “Waffen SS in action”; Combat troops Number 3; Squadron/Signal Publications
- Uwe Feist, captions by Norman Harms, uniform Illustration by Ron Volstadt, “German Infantry in Action”; Combat Troops Number 2; Squadron/Signal Publications
- Gordon Rottman, Ramiro Bujeiro, “Waffen-SS in action”; #6534; Concord Publications Company
- John Keegan, “Waffen SS – the asphalt soldiers”; Weapons Book No. 16; Ballantine’s Illustrated History of World War II
- Gordon Williamson, “SS – The Blood-Soaked Soil – The Battles of the Waffen SS”; Motorbooks International
- Editors of Time-Life Books,”The Third Reich, The SS”; Time-Life
- Robert Michulec & Dmitriy Zgonnik, “Into the Cauldron - Das Reich on the Eastern Front”; #6534; Concord Publications Company
- Dragon Models web site