I was working on posting Part 3 of this Cavalry series but I couldn’t reconcile myself with the alien face on the officer in Part 2. As PSR pointed out, “there are a few areas of unwanted extra plastic where a separate arm or head would have been a better approach.” This is one of those flaws in a set with otherwise “excellent sculpting.” I tried to paint the top of the left side of the face to make it look like hair but the result was still unsatisfactory so I reworked it with a hobby knife — my first plastic surgery (lame pun intended).
While I was at it, I gave the horse a white blaze and painted the stirrups.
I’m much happier with it now.
As I indicated previously, Part 3 will cover German cavalry odds and ends.
As promised, this second installment on WWII cavalry is the Waterloo 025 “WWII German Cavalry (Set 1).” Happily, the title implies the existence of a Set 2, which – not so happily – has yet to be released. Plastic Soldier Review (PSR), the most authoritative 1/72 scale plastic soldier website, described this set as follows:
“The general standard of sculpting is excellent, with great proportions and all the detail you could want – the sculptor has even gone to the trouble of including a watch on the wrist of the man signaling from the saddle.” PSR concludes: “[T]his is a really nice set with excellent sculpting and almost flawless accuracy, so apart from our comments on avoiding excess plastic there is really nothing to dislike about this attractive set of figures.” http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=2045
First, here’s a photo of the unpainted figures from PSR. I note that the set came with three other dismounted cavalrymen, which I did not photograph as I intended to focus on those with horses.
This first photo shows all three cavalrymen from a distance. Please keep in mind that the figures are greatly magnified, which reveals all their flaws. To the naked eye, they look far better.
Yep, those are apple trees. I don’t know whether they can coexist in the same terrain with pine trees but, oh well, there you have it. Note the feedbag hanging from the neck of the officer’s horse. Note also that the soldier with his right hand up is supposed to have a map in his left hand.
Note the watch on the figure with his hand up – likely the only watch in 1/72 scale (at least with respect to WWII figures).
Here’s a close-up photo of the officer.
I’m unhappy with the left side of the officer’s head and plan to rework it at some point.
I clipped the bases on these figures but, unlike the Revell figures, it was a monster to get them to stand. I had to use a log to prop up the horse of this soldier.
I hope you enjoyed the photos. The next cavalry installment will be of German odds and ends.
Nope, this is not a post about the Panzerjager Tiger Sd.Kfz. 187 Elephant. This is about Elephas Indicus, the Asian elephant, which can be domesticated, unlike its African cousin, Loxodonta Africana.
I have had my sights for some time on recreating several WWII photos that feature Asian elephants enlisted in the war effort, so I set out to find the perfect elephant in 1/72 scale. As always, my primary resource was the Plastic Soldier Review (PSR) website, where I instantly learned that there were seven 1/72 scale elephants. The photo below is a graphic summary.
I immediately dismissed the Airfix African Elephant (#2) since it’s the wrong species and the LW (#6), which PSR described as a “real mess” with characteristics from both Asian and African elephants. I also discounted the Zvezda (#7), as it has armor molded onto the body of the elephant. It’s impossible to determine the relative size of the remaining four from the picture so I bit the bullet and ordered all four, hoping one would fit the bill. Here they are, shoulder to shoulder, from largest to smallest.
I was unconvinced, as they didn’t look particularly realistic and, in addition, were out of scale. The typical Asian elephant is about 9 feet tall at the shoulder. As the photo above graphically demonstrates, the Lucky Toys figure (far left) is way overscaled (about 10 feet 6 inches), easily towering over its brothers from another mother, while the Airfix figure (far right) is significantly underscaled (about 5 feet 10 inches) — a pygmy elephant, if there were such a thing. The two others just don’t look the part. The Coates & Shine figure (second from left) looks rather cartoonish, while the legs on the Hat elephant (second from right) appear to me too long and wooden. So the search continued.
Enter PaleoSculpt Realistic 3D Models, a company I found on the internet that sculpts anatomically accurate models for museums. As it turns out, the company can print their models in any scale on a 3D printer. To my delight, the cost of a 3D-printed elephant in 1/72 scale was actually less than the price of any of the various figure sets I had previously bought to pilfer the elephant. I ordered it and when the figure finally arrived it exceeded my expectations. Scaling out at 8 feet 10 inches, not only is it virtually the perfect height, but it very much looks like an elephant from trunk to tail.
Here he is — painted and sanded to get rid of the 3D horizontal print lines — with his brothers. What a difference! You’ll be seeing this baby in a photo recreation soon.
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.
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.
PSRdescribed 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.
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.
I 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.
I hope some of you found this interesting. I intend to present the Waterloo 025 WWII German Cavalry set in Part 2.
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.
Here’s the recreation.
Here’s the color photo.
For those interested, here’s the source of each piece:
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:
I actually have a number of these already and will be using them in future posts.