Here Comes the Cavalry: WWII Horses in 1/72 Scale – Part 1

Although cavalry charges were virtually a thing of the past by the start of WWII, the horse continued to be used extensively for transportation of materiel, artillery and, of course, troops. It is estimated that Germany and the Soviet Union employed 2.75 and 3.5 million horses, respectively, during the war.

Given these significant numbers, it is quite surprising that so few 1/72 WWII cavalry sets have been produced – about six, by my count – plus some odds and ends. I’ll attempt to present each set, one at a time, during the next few weeks.

We’ll start with what is probably the best set that includes horses produced thus far – the Revell 02515 German Artillery set.  

Revell 02515 German Artillery of WWII

First, here’s a photo of the unpainted figures from Plastic Soldier Review (PSR), the fabulous 1/72 scale plastic soldier website. I note that the set came with seven other figures firing the artillery, but I did not photograph them as this post focuses on those with horses.

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers
Photo used with permission from Plastic Soldier Review.

This first photo is of the set as it was intended, with six horses pulling the limber, which in turn pulls the 10.5 cm le FH 18 Light Field Howitzer.  

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers

PSR described this set as follows:

“Revell have consistently shown that they are the masters at producing artillery sets, regardless of era, and this one does them proud once again. The Revell trademark quality runs right through these pieces, with good detail, excellent realism and almost no flash. The mounted figures could even be of some use portraying German cavalry. . . . [This is] an outstanding set which is well loved and rightly so.” http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=443

In fact, as PSR suggests and as many collectors have concluded, I found the set more satisfying with the three mounted soldiers as cavalry separated from the limber. I do realize that it’s unlikely that the two horses alone could pull such a heavy load but the mounted figures are so beautifully sculpted that it’s a shame not to have them as stand-alones.

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers

Note that while I removed the bases from the horses, Revell engineering is so precise that the horses stand without any problem. They’re a joy.

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, SoldiersI should point out that the set came with two guns, one with the trails closed for hitching to the limber, and one with the trails open ready for action. As mentioned, I also note that the set actually comes with seven other figures engaged in the act of firing the Howitzer. I may do a post on the five 10.5 cm le FH 18 Light Field Howitzers that I have in 1/72 and may display them at that time. For those interested, the fawn came from the Merten 2410 set.  

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers

02515, 1/72, Artillery, Cavalry, German, Horses, Revell, Soldiers

I hope some of you found this interesting. I intend to present the Waterloo 025 WWII German Cavalry set in Part 2.

Planes, Camels and Donkeys: Transport in North Africa

This photo is from George Forty’s Afrika Korps at War, a serendipitous find years ago at the Strand Bookstore “18 miles of new, used, and rare books” in New York City. Anyone who has not been there should put it on their list when visiting New York. The contrast in this photo between modern transport and centuries-old transport in North Africa during WWII is striking.

Hobby Master HM HA1812 1/72 DAK Afrikakorps Afrika Korps Bf 110 & Camel and Donkey

Here’s the recreation.

Hobby Master HM HA1812 1/72 DAK Afrikakorps Afrika Korps Bf 110 & Camel and Donkey

Here’s the color photo.

Hobby Master HM HA1812 1/72 DAK Afrikakorps Afrika Korps Bf 110 & Camel and Donkey

For those interested, here’s the source of each piece:

  • Aircraft: Hobby Master HA1812, Bf 110E-2, ZG 26 “Horst Wessel,” North Africa, 1941;
  • Arab: Hat 8250, Taaishi Camelry;
  • Camel: Airfix 01719, Arabs;
  • Donkey: Matchbox P5008, ANZAC Infantry.

At some point I intend to reshoot this scene with an unsaddled camel and more Bedouins.

According to PSR, the “donkey” in the Matchbox set may actually be a mule.  Here’s a close-up to help settle the issue. :-)  22 Donkey L (800x553) - Cropped

Water Fill-up: Everyday Life in the Deutsches Afrikakorps in 1/72 Scale

Some time back, I bought a CD entitled Through Their Eyes from a seller in the UK. The CD is a compilation of three private photo albums of Afrikakorps members that contain hundreds of candid photos. Some of the photos are quite interesting; some not so much. Some are high quality; some less so. Regardless of the quality, the disk was a veritable gold mine of photos that captured everyday life in the Afrikakorps.

The photo below is of a scene that probably took place behind the lines in North Africa on a daily basis — filling up the ubiquitous jerry cans with the most precious commodity in the desert: water (some would say fuel was even more precious). The photo is copyrighted by James Payne. It is reproduced here for discussion purposes.

Hobby Master HM HG3911 1/72 Afrika Korps DAK Opel Blitz Truck & Water Fill-up

Here’s the recreation.

Hobby Master HM HG3911 1/72 Afrika Korps DAK Opel Blitz Truck & Water Fill-up

I’ve concluded that these recreations sometimes look better when more is included so this color photo encompasses the entire truck. I clipped the base of the figures to try to make them look more realistic. They do look better, in my not unbiased opinion.

Hobby Master HM HG3911 1/72 Afrika Korps DAK Opel Blitz Truck & Water Fill-up

For those interested, here’s the source of each piece:

  • Truck: Hobby Master HG3911 Opel Blitz with 20mm Flak 38, DAK (canvas cover from another HM Blitz);
  • Figure standing on wooden plank: Preiser 72509 German Air and Ground Crew;
  • Figure filling up jerry cans: Airfix 1755 Luftwaffe Personnel;
  • Figure kneeling drinking water: Caesar H070 Afrika Korps;
  • Water tanks: Woodland Scenics D212 Fuel Tank Kit;
  • Palm trees: Woodland Scenics plus several unknown Chinese brands;
  • Retaining wall: IMEX 519 Battlefield Accessories;
  • Jerry cans: ValueGear V03D Jerry Can/Tarp Roll Set German;
  • Sand: 150-101 Kinetic Sand by Waba Fun; and
  • Plank: The soldier with the pith helmet is standing on a plank made of real wood — it’s a coffee stirrer. Very Happy

Here’s the notional picture. What a difference a little paint can make.

Hobby Master HM HG3911 1/72 Afrika Korps DAK Opel Blitz Truck & Water Fill-up

“You Know a Donkey by Its Ears” (Arab Proverb): The Donkey in 1/72 Scale

The donkey has from time immemorial served man as a pack animal. A number of WWII photos I intend to recreate include donkeys, so I set out to find what was available in 1/72 scale. Of course, I went to Plastic Soldier Review, the best plastic soldier website on the web. Here’s a compilation of what I found: 

1/72 Donkeys
Photo used with permission from Plastic Soldier Review.

I actually have a number of these already and will be using them in future posts.

sPzAbt 505: Charging Knights on Metal Chariots, Eastern Front 1944

This 1944 Bundesarchiv photo is of Tiger No. 312 of the famous Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505, with its distinctive charging knight.

Easy Model EM 336220 1/72 Tiger Tank sPzAbt s.Pz.Abt. 505 horses

Here’s the recreation.

Easy Model EM 336220 1/72 Tiger Tank sPzAbt s.Pz.Abt. 505 horses

Here’s the scene in color.

Easy Model EM 336220 1/72 Tiger Tank sPzAbt s.Pz.Abt. 505 horses

For those interested, here’s the source of each piece:

  • Tank: Easy Model 36220, Tiger I Late Type (s.Pz.Abt.505-Russia, 1944);
  • Soldier: Forces of Valor 83091, German SS Cavalry Division (Eastern Front, 1942);
  • White Horse: Revell 2514 Soviet Cossacks;
  • Log on the hull of the Tiger: Well, that’s from my backyard. Very Happy