This PE set from Lion Roar of China is of particular value to modelers of injection figures where the detail tends to be sometimes soft, even at large scale, especially with older kits. Much more practical than decals or dry transfers, the PE insignia gives some texture to even cloth patches (like sleeve chevrons) that the former two cannot.
The PE fret arrived taped to a stiff card that was printed in a blue-black gradient, which shows off the outline of the insignia well. This card, along with a folded Dragon-style instruction sheet, comes in a simple transparent plastic packet. The whole works had been posted in a padded manila envelope and there was no damage of any sort.
The fret consists of 158 pieces, which combine to make 111 individual items of insignia. Included also, are two personal accessories – a wristwatch and a pocket watch. None of these are numbered.
I do not have much experience with PE, so I can’t compare the quality of the etchings or the thickness of the metal itself. I can only observe that it seems thick enough to be sturdy, but thin enough to model both cloth and metal insignia.
The A4-sized instruction sheet is in black & white, and on one side has some rudimentary suggestions for placement of the insignia. This covers just over a dozen badges and is far from complete. The other side of the sheet lists out the individual insignia, along with illustrations of each one. Again, this is incomplete. Many items are not listed, and several are listed incorrectly. This instruction sheet is the kit’s only real failing. While experienced modelers of German WW2 figures will have no trouble identifying most of the insignia, a newcomer might have to spend some time on research.
This is what you get (these are the correct insignia, identified after research, and not the list provided with the set):
2 Heer belt buckles
2 SS belt buckles
2 Luftwaffe belt buckles
5 Heer/SS sleeve rank chevrons
6 pairs of Heer/SS shoulder boards (1 officer’s, 2 Großdeutschland)
1 Heer/SS signaler’s sleeve patch
1 Heer/SS Mountain troops Edelweiss sleeve patch
1 Heer/SS Jäger sleeve patch
2 Heer/SS Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen (Infantry Assault Badges)
1 Heer/SS Allgemeines-Sturmabzeichen (General Assault Badge)
1 Heer/SS Bandenkampfabzeichen (Anti-Partisan Badge)
2 Heer/SS Panzerkampfabzeichen (Tank Combat Badges)
2 Heer/SS Nahkampfspange (Close Combat Clasp)
1 Heeres-Flakabzeichen (Flak Badge)
3 SS Totenkopf service cap badges
3 Heer Danziger Totenkopf service cap badges
4 Heer eagle service cap badges
3 Luftwaffe eagle service cap badges
5 Heer eagle breast badges
3 Luftwaffe eagle breast badges
12 pairs of SS collar patches (1 pair officer’s, 3 pairs Totenkopf – in the latter case, Lion Roar have mistakenly depicted both patches with Totenköpfe, and in order to depict rank the modeler will have to use a rank patch from another SS pair)
2 Verwundetenabzeichen (Wound Badges) – these are designated “Spanish Civil War Wound Badges” by Lion Roar, but the differences between this and the post-1939 badges are too minor to be identified at this scale and so can be used as the latter.
1 Erdkampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe (Ground Combat Badge)
2 Luftwaffe Fallschirmschützenabzeichen (Paratrooper Badge)
1 Luftwaffe Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Aircraft Commander or Pilot Badge)
1 Kriegsmarine Flotten-Kriegsabzeichen (High Seas Fleet Badge)
1 Kriegsmarine Kriegsabzeichen für Minensuch-Sicherungsverbände (War
Badge for Minesweepers and Escort Vessels)
1 Kriegsmarine U-Boot Kriegsabzeichen (Submarine War Badge)
1 Kommandanture Ringkragen (Gorget)
1 Bahnhofwache Ringkragen (Gorget)
1 Heer Feldgendarmerie Ringkragen (Gorget)
3 Ritterkreuze des Eisernes Kreuzes (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross) – this medal is mistakenly listed as the Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes by Lion Roar
3 Eisernes Kreuz 1.Klasse (Iron Cross 1st Class)
3 Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes (War Order of the German Cross)
1 Reichsportabzeichen (National Sports Badge)
1 SA Wehrabzeichen (Military Sports Badge)
1 Kriegsverdienstkreuz mit Schwertern (War Merit Cross with Swords)
1 Krimschild (Crimean Shield)
1 Demjanskschild (Demyansk Shield)
1 Kubanschild (Kuban Shield)
1 Cholmschild (Cholm Shield)
1 Lapplandschild (Lapland Shield)
1 Narvikschild (Narvik Shield)
1 pocket watch
Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? And it is.
The etching on all the insignia is exquisite, and very crisp. It demands some very skillful painting for the coloured cloth patches. Both the pocket watch and the wristwatch are unusual additions to the set, and in the former case, it can be used either open or closed. There is even a national eagle etched into the cover. The flashiest of the pieces are the gorgets, which require a bit of bending to get the final shape. Here, again, the chains that the gorgets hang from are very delicately done. The only real folding needed is on the square belt buckles, the ends of which need to be crisply folded to fit the heavy uniform belts.
I could find only two noticeable errors in the insignia itself, and strangely, they are both to do with two of the more famous items. The first is the Iron Cross 1st Class, which looks a lot chunkier than it does in photographs. The second is the ‘GD’ device on the shoulder boards, which doesn’t quite match up with actual examples.
My biggest problem, however, is in Lion Roar’s actual choice of which insignia to include in this set. Some high usage badges are very few in number (or have been left out altogether) in favour of some very obscure items, a couple of which might never even have been issued or worn. It is also obvious that this set is aimed mostly at modelers of SS and Heer figures, as the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine seem a bit neglected.
Here are some of the more glaring gaps:
There are no SS sleeve eagles, and no helmet flashes of any sort. There are no DAK insignia, and no Heer collar tabs. No cuff titles of any sort. Not even a single Tank Destruction sleeve badge. Also, only service cap badges are provided, but none for any other type of headgear. There are no Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine rank insignia. And no Luftwaffe versions of the Close Combat Clasp. These are just my observations, and I’m sure others will find more gaps.
I would have preferred to see a few more of the more commonly issued badges too: For example, there are only two each of the Infantry Assault and Tank Combat badges, the Wound Badge, and the Heer/SS Close Combat Clasp.
Instead, Lion Roar has opted for exotic insignia like the Anti-Partisan Badge, a piece of insignia that was apparently rarely worn. It also includes pieces like the SA Military Sports Badge and the National Sports Badge (the latter so rare that I could not even find a photograph of one). While these badges might have been worn, it would have been rare to see them and so their use by a modeler is limited. The campaign shields that are part of this set also seem a poor choice when taken with the fact that national sleeve shields (for non-German SS units) have been left out entirely. The Lapland Shield, for instance, wasn’t even approved until after Hitler’s death, and none were issued before the end of the war.
Well worth the price, and a ‘must buy’ for anyone building 1/16 German WW2 SS, Heer, or Fallschirmjäger figures. However, given the peculiar selection of insignia, if one is to make this set last for more than a couple of figs, it’s recommended that you buy at least two sets, maybe three.
A very useful item for the large-scale figure modeler, and well worth buying. In fact, buy two.
My background is ex-Sri Lanka Army (infantry), and I am now an advertising art director, and parttime writer. I am a military history buff, and am specifically interested in the 20th Century to the present.
I am primarily a fig modeller, concentrating on 1/16 because I love all the extra details ...