German Elite Troops

Kit #: 6180 Preview by Rob Haelterman

German infantry sets have been produced by the thousands by uncountable manufacturers but sets in hard plastic depicting early Waffen-SS troops are somewhat rarer. What is more common, though, is the use of a euphemism to describe the Waffen-SS, here called "elite troop", which they were, in a morbid way.


In this box you get two sprues carrying 5 figures, in 4 different poses. The sprues also contain a base to support all five figures and five individual bases (always handy when painting), a wargaming flag and an unidentified "ridge".

For once, the boxtop is slightly misleading as it shows a figure peeking around the corner (which would have been a very useful pose), while the back shows a figure running (which I consider slightly less useful). It is the latter that we get (twice) in plastic.
Together with the instructions there will be little doubt about the way these figures assemble, however. Diorama potential is somewhat lower than in other sets, as two poses are rather relaxed, while two other are combat poses.

The boxtop says "1941-1943". Personally I would have put "1939-1943", as the figures are wearing the very typical pull-over smock that was already worn by the Waffen-SS in the early years of the war. (Later in the war, a slightly different Wehrmacht pattern also appeared.) The smock was already (in very limited) use at the beginning of WW2 and the Waffen-SS participated in (very limited numbers) in the Polish campaign, so 1939 would have been possible. They were definitely worn by the Waffen-SS by the time it entered France. In 1944, production of the smock was discontinued, by which time other camouflage clothing would have become a common sight. Note that the smock was worn over the standard uniform and had no collar or insignia. The collar that is seen is that of the Feldgrau uniform underneath.

The figures have convincing poses, but are somewhat incongruous, as already mentioned. All are travelling with limited gear and are not even wearing the gas mask canister. The figures appear to wear the taller boots, which are an indication of an early war setting again. Three of the figures are armed with the standard Kar98k rifle, of which two are running (with bayonet fixed to the rifle); one is firing while crouching; one is cautiously observing, holding (what seems to be) an MP28/2, which is a very rare piece of equipment (even more so in 1/72) and would not be used long after the start of Barbarossa. The last one is observing the surroundings with his binoculars, pistol at hand. He is most likely a senior NCO, based on the battered-looking Schirmmütze that he is wearing.

Obviously, these sets are aimed at the wargaming community (with a stats card -not shown-, flag and base) and while this might drive up the cost due to extra parts not needed for static modeling, it also reduces the cost due to a larger sales potential. Besides, I actually like the bases as they are very practical for handling the figures during painting, while the flag is a good source for thick plastic when scratchbuilding.

Casting and detail is really good, except at the level where the two mold halves meet. In this area some resculpting will be necessary. The joints between the parts will also need a bit of attention, but as the plastic react well to MEK, they can easily be smoothed out.

As far as I can tell, these figures have accurate anatomy, gear and uniforms, even if they are a bit on the tall side (around 6 feet). The drawstrings at the cuffs are particularly well done.
No longer does the moniker "wargaming" on a box put dread into the hearts of the static modeler.



Review sample purchased by the author.


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Article Last Updated:
10 August 2017
08 April 2021

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