Stalingrad, the manufacturer not the battle, has released another set of resin figures for us to drool over. This time the set is a German 8cm mortar crew that is in a hurry to get somewhere. Stalingrad, based in Russia, has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the premier resin figure lines available. This particular set was sculpted, as well as painted for the box art, by Alexander Zelenkov, who seems to be the driving force behind the company. The website offers a growing number of subjects with all of them thus far focused on the fighting on the Eastern Front.
For a different perspective of this set check out Jim Starkweather’s episode of “Cracking the Box” that features these fellows. No, really check it out here
what you get
The figures are boxed in a smallish box that cleverly provides a color photo of the finished set both coming and going on the front and back of the box, just depends on your point of view as to which is which! Each figure is individually bagged in a small zip lock with their equipment and load in a smaller enclosed zip lock. Other than the box there is no painting or construction guide.
The set consists of four guys that are not letting any moss grow under their feet. They are part of an 8cm schwere Granatwerfer
34 mortar crew that appears to be either running toward, or from, the sound of the guns; you decide. Each of them is hauling an essential piece to the whole:
One carries the base plate and the sight
Another is carrying the tube
One fellow is lugging a case of ammo with an extra case strapped to his back
While the NCO is providing the portage for the bipod assembly
The crew is moving at what must be about breakneck speed for a mortar crew considering the weight of each of these pieces.
As you can see, this is a Build Review, all because I couldn’t contain myself and ended up building and painting the figure that is carrying all the ammo. Sorry. I will try to give you a breakdown of each of the other figures as well so that you can get an idea of what you’re looking at.
Let’s take a look at the NCO first. He has a fairly standard breakdown, a torso and legs with head attached. Separate arms and some of the personal equipment is a separate sculpting. The head sculpting is very well-done; for a better look than what my camera can give check out Jim’s video, which has much better resolution that than mine.
One of the things that I like is that not all of the personal equipment is separate, let’s be honest; when it is sculpted-on the figure the fit of equipment to figure is usually much more realistic. This figure is no exception, he has the bread bag and the holster for the Walther P-38 molded-on, the bread bag in particular has an exceptionally realistic look and ‘drape’ to it that I have never really seen in separately molded pieces. The bag even looks like it is only half filled.
Also, the way that Zelenkov has done the sculpting and indenting allows for a much more realistic look to the equipment that will be layered on top of the bag. This figure, like all of the others, is wearing the M-40 tunic with the sleeves rolled up.
Next, let’s target the Soldat
that is porting the gun tube. Layout for this guy is the same as the NCO, with separate arms and helmet. His personal equipment is much the same as the others, with a mixture of some molded-onto the torso with the outer-most equipment separately molded for that extra bit of correct ‘sit’ to the whole thing. A couple of things of note with this figure that I think deserve a mention: one is the way that the pose has been personalized by securing his "kit" (i.e., equipment) a bit differently than the standard: he has what looks like his gas cape wrapped around his gas mask canister, something that you rarely see in plastic figures, if ever.
The other thing that helps this figure stand out is the way that the shoulder is sculpted to show the weight of the mortar tube, much more effectively than how most figures depict heavy equipment as almost floating on the figure's shoulder. This guy should prove to be a popular one; I’ll probably finish him next.
Now let’s take a look at the poor guy humping the base plate; they probably called him “Winzig” just for fun (tiny)! Again, a well-sculpted pose that has everything you would want in a good resin figure, and possessing a great sense of movement from the uniform, if not the pose itself. The base plate and frame used to carry it are top-notch stuff. His equipment, like the others, is a mixture of molded-on and separate pieces, but all done to the highest standards. This fellow is also carrying the box that holds the sight, and the case is molded into his hand, which really helps to depict a solid fit and the correct ‘sit’ of the piece.
The last figure is the one that I put together and painted; you can see him to the right here. I really like the way that he appears to be carrying something that is just plain heavy. I love how his right arm is thrust out to act as a counterbalance to the weight of the ammo. He went together without a hitch; I used super glue to get him assembled as well as filling any small gaps (he did have something of a small space, easily fixed, with the left arm). I’m not the world’s best figure painter, but I am really happy with the way this guy turned out. He was the same as the others in that he consisted of a torso, legs, and head with separate arms and some equipment molded-on and the rest layered onto his already imposing load. The molding-on, combined with added equipment overall makes for a very realistic "sit" of the items for each of the figures.
Should be a well-received set of figures. Lots of great figures seem to be coming out of Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe over the last several years, and this set is no exception. The only two quibbles that I have is the lack of small arms, other than pistols for all. Now I could be wrong, but I would think that at least one of the crew of a mortar would carry something with a bit more stopping power. If anyone wants to tell me I’m wrong and that a mortar crew indeed carried only pistols, okay, I’m all ears. Otherwise, if you want your crew to have a bit more firepower you will need to source your own rifles or sub-machine guns.
My final nitpick is the size of these guys: it's not that they are off by leaps and bounds, they scale-out at about 5’6” or so, putting them well within the parameters of a WWII soldier. But it is just that they appear very slight when compared to every other figure on my shelf. It may well be me more than anything, but I did want to let everyone know what my impression was. In the end, even with these two small criticisms I would wholeheartedly recommend this set to anyone with even a passing interest in the struggle on the Eastern Front.