by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
Blitzkrieg warfare, once released upon the world, proved to be a very effective principle and tactic. The German military used it to their full advantage, and the end result was a shocked world and several military advantages and victories for Germany, none more complete or starling than the defeat of France in 1940. Part of the Blitzkrieg warfare machine was the use of all of the military units acting in support of one another, with all having the same objective or goal in mind. The German units involved included cavalry, military police, engineers and well-trained front line units such as the Waffen SS, just to name a few. As history has proven, the combination of military units acting as one cohesive body was very effective.
The Western Front of World War II encompassed Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Dragon has released “March to the West: Western Front 1940” with four figures and “Gen 2” gear representing German soldiers in four different uniforms from four different military units on the Western Front in 1940.
THE BOX AND PACKAGING
The box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard open end one with artwork of the figures on the top by the artist Andrew. The bottom has a very basic assembly guide in the form of photographs of the completed figures, and a painting guide. The kit comes with five grey styrene sprues containing 160 total pieces. sealed within clear plastic bags. There is no separate instruction sheet included in the kit. There is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box.
All of the pieces are attached to the sprue with a minimal amount of contact points. When I examined each sprue, I didn't find any bent, broken or missing pieces, nor did I find any poorly-placed knock out points.
Sprue 6703: 52 total pieces
- All of the pieces for the four figures
- 1 magazine pouch for the MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun
- 1 German Daimon or Pertrix flashlight
- 1 German military police traffic wand (Winkerkelle)
- 1 German Model 24 stick grenade
- 2 belt pieces and belt buckles
- 1 pair of Zeiss goggles
- 1 Rohrladung 3kg Stahl (similar to a United States “Bangalore torpedo”)
- 1 Nb.K.39 smoke canister
- 1 German K98 bayonet
- 1 German K98 bayonet sheath
- 3 German Model 24 stick grenades
- 2 German Model 43 sick grenades
- 1 German entrenching tool head
- 1 German entrenching tool handle
- 1 side cap
- 1 helmet with cover
- 1 canteen
- 1 canteen cup
- 3 gas cape pouches
- 2 Czech ZB26/ZB30 ammunition magazine pouches
- 1 German pistol holster
Sprue G: 60 total pieces
- 4 German bayonets.
- 4 canteens.
- 4 gas mask canisters with separate end caps.
- 4 gas mask cape pouches.
- 4 rolled shelter halves.
- 4 bread bags.
- 4 mess kits.
- 1 document pouch.
- 2 German STG-44 magazine pouches.
- 3 pistol holsters.
- 3 German Model 24 stick grenades.
- 4 helmets.
- 1 pair of binoculars with separate eye piece cap
- 6 Mauser ammunition pouches.
- 4 MP-40 ammunition pouches, two with magazine loading tool pouch
- 1 P-08 Luger pistol
- 1 P-38 pistol
- 1 machinegun tool pouch
Sprue W: 30 total pieces
- 3 German MP-40 submachine guns.
- 1 MP-40 extended stock
- 2 MP-40 ammunition magazines.
- 4 Mauser 98k rifles.
- 4 Mauser ammunition stripper clips.
- 1 MG-34 machine gun
- 1 MG-34 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 MG-34 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 MG-42 machine gun
- 1 MG-42 machine gun bi-pod
- 1 MG-42 machine gun ammunition feed tray cover
- 1 STG-44 assault rifle
- 1 Gewehr 43 rifle
- 2 STG-44 assault rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 Gewehr 43 rifle ammunition magazines
- 3 machine gun saddle drum ammunition magazines
Sprue WD: 13 total pieces
- 1 captured Czech ZB26/ZB30 machinegun
- 3 Czech ZB26/ZB30 ammunition magazines
- 1 ZB26/ZB30 machinegun bi-pod with legs folded
- 1 ZB26/ZB30 machinegun bi-pod with legs extended
- 1 German MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun
- 1 MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun upper receiver, bolt forward
- 1 MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun upper receiver, bolt to the rear
- 4 MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun ammunition magazines
Sprue WD: 4 total pieces
- 4 entrenching tools in carriers
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 fairly decent.
The kit comes with four soldiers in different uniforms. I assembled all of the figures straight out of the box without doing any work on them 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. Reiter (cavalryman) 1.Kavallerie-Division, Holland, May 1940: The figure is made up of six pieces for the main body, not counting the gear and weapons. He is wearing the correct jacket and cavalry breeches for the time-frame represented. The figure’s neck fits into the collar nicely, but his soft cap doesn’t sit perfectly on his head; there is a gap that needs to be filled. The detailing on the figure’s face is decent. There are hobnails visible on the boots, and they are well-detailed. 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 filling, which is nice. The figure is carrying a Kar98 Mauser rifle; if desired the modeler will need to scratch build a sling for the Kar98. The weapon fits into the figure’s right hand well. It will also fit into the left hand, though that hand doesn’t close around the weapon perfectly. The detailing on the clothing and other molded items is nicely-done. Items that stand out in my opinion are the eagle insignia on the right chest, the buttons, pockets and the “Y” equipment strap. There is a molded-on strap for the gas mask canister as well. One of my favorite features of this figure is the cavalry spurs (Kavalleriesporen). They require a little clean-up but are a nice feature.
Figure 2. Unterfeldwebel der Feldgendarmerie (military policeman), Belgium, May 1940: This figure is made up of six pieces for the main body. The torso and the legs have an indent where the military police traffic wand (Winkerkelle) is placed. The indent has two benefits in my opinion: first, it makes the traffic wand look more realistic behind the belt. The second is that the indent helps align the torso with the legs for proper positioning. There is a separate belt piece with buckle that goes over the traffic wand (Winkerkelle) once it is glued in place. The belt piece fits and aligns nicely.
The figure is wearing a Kradmantel rubberized motorcycle coat which is nicely-detailed and represents the actual garment very well. The Kradmantel has molded stitching/seam lines, which help align both of the figure’s arms, placing them in their proper positions. There is a Duty Gorget (Ringkragen) and chain molded on the figure’s chest, and its detailing is fair. The Duty Gorget was used to identify the individual as a military policeman. The figure is carrying a German MP.28 Bergmann submachine gun. You will need to scratch-build a sling if so desired.
The submachine gun is a nice representation of the actual item, and comes with two different upper receiver pieces, giving the modeler the choice of showing the weapon with the bolt in the forward or the rear position. The instructions do not show the placement of the upper receiver. The modeler can also choose to show the weapon with or without an ammunition magazine in-place. The MP.28 Bergmann fits into the figure’s right hand well with little gap.
The figure also comes with one Bergmann magazine pouch, Daimon or Pertrix flashlight and a pistol holster. The figure’s neck fits into the collar nicely, and the helmet fits on the head well. The Zeiss goggles that go on the helmet are fair in my opinion; I feel that they stick out too far and sit at an odd angle. The helmet has no molded strap for the goggles, so the modeler will have to scratch-build one if the goggles are used. The detailing on the figure’s face is average, and there is a molded helmet chin strap on the head, though it is not very well-defined.
Hobnails are visible on the boots, and they are well-detailed. 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. One feature of the figure that I really like is the left foot being up off of the ground. This helps give him a look of movement/action.
Figure 3. Unteroffizier, Panzer-Pionier (combat engineer), 7.Panzer-Division, France, June 1940: This figure is made up of six pieces, and the detailing on the clothing and face is nice. The figure is wearing the armoured pioneer variation of the black panzer uniform, and carries a Rohrladung 3kg Stahl (similar to a United States “Bangalore torpedo”), along with a Nb.K.39 smoke canister. The Rohrladung 3kg Stahl fits into the figure’s right hand great, and there is no gap. The fit is tight enough that it actually “snapped” into place when I was doing the assembly. The Nb.K.39 smoke canister has no handle, as it is molded on the figure’s left hand. The handle is not realistic, as it is a single flat piece of styrene; however, with very little trimming, it could be made to look like the actual handle.
The figure is armed with a MP-38 submachine gun slung across his chest; a Model 24 stick grenade is stuck behind his belt, and he has a pistol holster on his left hip. There is a sling for the submachine gun molded onto the figure’s chest. The torso and the legs have an indent where the Model 24 stick grenade is placed. As with the military policeman figure, the indent has two benefits in my opinion: first it makes the grenade look more realistic placed inside his belt. And second, the indent helps align the torso with the legs for proper positioning. There is a separate belt piece with buckle that goes over the stick grenade once it is glued in-place. The belt piece fits and aligns nicely.
The jacket has an overlap that also helps to align the pieces correctly, and helps hide the gap where the pieces join. The figure’s neck fits into the collar well, and the helmet sits on the head with no gaps or issues. There is a molded chin strap on the figure’s head, which is visible under the chin, but not on the sides of the face. There are nicely-molded hob nails on the boots, a molded strap for the gas mask canister, and (my favorite detail) the figure’s necktie. There is very little flash present, though the usual seam lines will need to be removed. Overall, the fit of the pieces is good with minimal gaps to be filled.
Figure 4. SS-Oberschütze (senior private) SS-Totenkopf-Division, France, June 1940: The fourth figure is made up of six pieces for the main body, and once again, detailing on the clothing is nice. The figure is wearing a camouflage SS smock (Tarnjacke) 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 figure’s coats and jackets in other sets. This would add more realism to it.
The drawstring and the elastic band at the waist are nice details that also add to the realism. The helmet has the camouflage cover, and the detailing on it is molded well. There is a molded chin strap, though it is only partially-visible on the right side of the face and under the chin. It is faintly visible on the left side of the face. The figure is armed with a captured Czechoslovakian ZB26/ZB30 machinegun. If desired, the modeler will need to scratch-build a sling for it. The end of the weapon’s barrel is already drilled-out. The machinegun can be displayed with the bi-pod legs extended or folded. It rests on the ground with the end of the barrel in the figure’s left hand. The weapon does not fit into the hand well, and the hand is not closed-enough to look realistic. The figure also comes with the Czechoslovakian ZB26/ZB30 machinegun ammunition pouch, which is nicely detailed.
The figure’s face is decent, and the neck fits into the collar great with the helmet sitting on the head with no problems. The pose shows him drinking from a canteen, which fits into the right hand with no gaps. Other detailing that is nice includes the hobnails on the boots and the “Y” equipment strap. There is also a molded strap for his gas mask canister. I found very little flash present, but the usual seam lines will need to be removed. The overall fit of the pieces is good with few gaps requiring to be filled.
The kit comes with several extra pieces from sprues G, W, WD and 6703 that can be added to the spare parts bin. These include the four entrenching tools from sprue 25.
All in all, this is a decent set of figures. You get four different styles of uniforms, which are nicely-detailed. I was impressed with the detailing and the poses of all four figures. 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 will be pleased. I would have no hesitation to recommend this set to others.