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Built Review
135
Don Cossack Balkans 1944
German Don Cossack Balkans 1944
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by: Randy Harvey [ HARV ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Don Cossack was a frontier military organization from the end of the sixteenth century until the early twentieth century. The name Cossack was widely used to describe "free people" as opposed to others with different standing in a feudal society such as peasants, nobles, clergy, etc. The word Cossack was also applied to migrants and bandits. During World War II the Don Cossacks mustered the largest single concentration of Cossacks within the German Army as the XVth (15th) SS Cossack Calvary Corps. A great part of the Cossacks were former Russian citizens who elected to fight not so much for Germany as against the Soviet Union. The XVth (15th) SS Cossack Calvary Corps included the 1st Cossack Division and the 2nd Cossack Division. Dragon has released a set of figures which represent two Don Cossacks with their mounts during World War II.

contents

The box that the kit comes in is the typical soft cardboard open end box with artwork of the figures by artist Dmytro Zgonnik on the top of the box. The bottom of the box has the assembly guide and a painting guide. The sprues are sealed within clear plastic bags.

There is no separate instruction sheet included in the kit, there is only the basic assembly guide on the bottom of the box. I would have liked to have seen a decent assembly guide included as the basic guide does not detail everything which leaves some guess work when assembling everything. There are no decals included in this kit.

Included on the bottom of the box is a painting guide. There are three brands of paint referenced. They are GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Colour, GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Colour, and Model Master. There is a basic painting guide for the horses and the uniforms, however it does not contain a detailed painting guide for the uniform details such as shoulder patch, hats, piping on the pants, nor does it cover the personal gear and weapons such as the sabres, etc. I feel that Dragon could have produced a better guide for painting.

The kit comes with four sprues of grey styrene which contain 124 total pieces and one fret of photo-etch brass with 8 total pieces. The sprues come sealed in clear plastic bags. All of the pieces are attached to the sprue with a minimal amount of contact points. I have seen some kits where it seems like the sprues contain more plastic the pieces that make up the kit. However that is not the case with this kit which makes for easy removal and less clean up of each piece. When I examined the sprue I didn't find any bent, broken or missing pieces. The individual pieces are numbered on the sprue.


review

As I examined the individual pieces I found what I would consider to be a normal to minimal amount of flash however there are seam lines present. I did not find any push out (knock out) marks on the individual pieces. The detailing on the individual pieces is nice, crisp and defined.

The kit comes with two World War II Don Cossacks and their mounts. I assembled the figures and horses straight out of the box without doing any work on them to show all of the seam lines, flash and gaps. I felt this would be a good way to show the work required on all of them.

The Riding Cossack:
The riding Cossack figure is made up of eleven total pieces with personal gear. The detailing is nice and defined on all of the pieces. The body parts fit together well and there are minimal seam lines present. The face is nicely rendered and there is a tuft of hair sticking out from under the left side of the cap. The uniform is detailed with things such as the piping on the pants legs, the unit patch on the left shoulder and the hob nails on the boots. The Astrakhan Papacha cap is nicely detailed as well, however a little time cleaning up the head and cap to get the two pieces to fit together is required.

The Shashka sabre and scabbard is nicely represented, however a scabbard frog will need to be scratch built to show it as attached to the belt. The figure has a Mauser 98k rifle slung across his back and there is a sling for the rifle molded on the body. A modeler may chose to remove the sling and scratch build one for a more realistic appearance. The ammo pouches do not conform to the body so they will have to be bent slightly to make them fit flush. The main problem with the figure, as I have also mentioned in the write up of his horse, is that the figure does not sit flush in the saddle. Some attention to this will be required to make him sit right. Overall, the figure is nicely done.

The Riding Cossack's Horse:
The horse is made up of seven total pieces with three additional pieces which are the saddle bags and the shelter half. There is very little flash and some seam lines present. The overall fit of the pieces is good with the exception of the neck to the body. They do not fit flush which leaves a gap to be filled. The body halves fit together well and the tail mounts well. The ears are a separate piece which will need to be added, this creates another gap to be filled as well. The detailing on the mane, tail, ears and body are decent. The bridle is nicely detailed as well.

One area that I felt should be shown, which isn't, is the horse's genitalia. Without trying to sound obscene this is something that should be shown as it is just one more step towards creating a realistic looking horse. The saddle goes together well and represents a cavalry saddle nicely and mounts well on the horse. There is an additional piece of sprue on the right side of the saddle which needs to be removed.

The saddle bags have nice detail, however there isn't a placement guide for them. The saddle does not come with complete stirrups. There are the photo-etched pieces but you will need to scratch build the remainder of the stirrups with paper or some other similar type medium. The same is true with the reins, the modeler will need to scratch build these as well. Once I completed the construction I noticed that the rider does not fit flush with the saddle, the saddle bags need to be adjusted so that they are not in the way of the riders legs. So some altering of the figure and some adjusting of the saddle bags will be required. Overall the horse is nicely done.

The Standing Cossack:
The standing Cossack figure is made up of eleven total pieces with personal gear. The detailing is nice and defined on all of the pieces. The body parts fit together well and there are minimal seam lines present. The face is nicely rendered complete with a moustache, and there is a tuft of hair sticking out from under the left side of the cap. The uniform is detailed with things such as the piping on the pants legs, the unit patch on the left shoulder and the hob nails on the boots. The Astrakhan Papacha cap is nicely detailed however a little time cleaning up the head and cap to get the two pieces to fit together is required.

The Shashka sabre and scabbard is nicely represented however a scabbard frog will need to be scratch built to show it as attached to the belt. The figure has a Mauser 98k rifle slung across his back and there is a sling for the rifle molded on the body. As with the first figure, a modeler may choose to remove the sling and scratch build one for a more realistic appearance. The ammo pouches do not conform to the body so they will have to be bent slightly to make them fit flush. Overall the figure is nicely done.

The Standing Cossack's Horse:
The horse is made up of eight total pieces. There is very little flash and seam lines present. The overall fit of the pieces is good with the exception of the neck to the body. They do not fit flush which leaves a gap to be filled. The body halves fit together well and the tail mounts well. The ears are a separate piece which needs to be added, this creates another gap to be filled as well. The head has a separate lower jaw which also needs to be added, this is a nice detail as it allows you to see the horse's teeth and tongue since the mouth is shown as open. The detailing on the mane, tail, ears and body are decent. The bridle is nicely detailed as well.

The saddle represents a cavalry saddle nicely and mounts well on the horse. There is an additional piece of sprue on the right side of the saddle which needs to be removed. The saddle does not come with complete stirrups, there are the photo-etched pieces but you will need to scratch build the remainder of the stirrups with paper or some other similar type medium. The same is true with the reins, the modeler will need to scratch build these as well. Overall the horse is nicely done.

Photo-etched Brass:
The fret contains eight total pieces and these are to make the stirrups with. The photo-etched brass detailing parts have nice crisp detailing and they have a minimal amount of fret attachment points. The pieces were in good shape and were not bent or twisted, and were easy to remove. The bottom portion of the stirrup has locator indentions for placing the upper portion of the stirrup. After I had them assembled I tested them with one of the figures to make sure that the stirrups are the right size for the rider's feet, they are and the feet fit nicely. These are a nice representation of cavalry stirrups.

Extra Pieces:
The kit comes with several extra items such as weapons and personal gear. The detailing is fairly decent on all of the pieces. Included are;
  • 2 Mauser 98k rifles with the option of open or closed bolts. (nice detailing on the bolts).
  • 12 stripper clips of Mauser 98k rifle ammo.
  • 6 German helmets.
  • 6 German bayonets that are sheathed.
  • 1 German bayonet that is unsheathed but you do get the sheath as well.
  • 6 German entrenching tools in their carriers.
  • 1 German entrenching tool out of the carrier that comes in two pieces. The head and handle are separate pieces that can be assembled in the modeler's desired position.
  • 6 German mess kits.
  • 2 German mess kits that have the lids removed so that they can be shown as open or being used.
  • 6 German canteens with the drinking cups removed.
  • 6 German gas mask carriers (canisters) with open ends.
  • 1 pair of binoculars with a separate eye piece cover.
  • 1 spare horse head that is to be used on the standing Cossack's horse if you desire the horse to be looking straight ahead.

    conclusion

    It isn't what I would call a perfect set of figures, however it is a nice product. I would have no hesitation to recommend it to others. This set could be used to easily create a simple diorama.

    References:
    World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia, Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013 Published in 1977 by Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton
    Wikipedia
SUMMARY
Highs: A subject that isn't widely modeled.Nice poses for creating a relaxed scene.Nice detailing on the parts.The amount of extra pieces included.
Lows: No instruction sheet or painting guide other than the basic guide on the box. The amount of gaps that need to be filled, especially on the horse's necks.No measurements or basic blue prints for making the stirrups and reins.
Verdict: All in all this is a decent set of figures. It represents the German Don Cossacks nicely. A modeler will just need to be prepared to spend some time filling gaps and scratch building a few items such as stirrups and reins.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID:  6588
  Suggested Retail: $15.95 MSRP
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 02, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright 2017 text by Randy Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Sorry about the poor photography. I need to get a better camera or learn how to take better pictures. Not sure which!! Thanks for looking everyone. HARV
JUL 06, 2010 - 08:40 AM
Randy thank you for the review and build of this product, the build has really made some of your text clear in terms of the build. DML could have learnt from Zvezda on how to attach a horses head to its body using a V profile rather than straight across. I have one critique of DML figures and that is that due to their efforts to obtain accuracy of both the body profile and equipment the figure and equipment have a horrible fit when put together, why they cannot make the equipment to fit the figure is beyond me. The result is either a lot of extra work on the part of the modeller or a poor fit of equipment which seems to be floating on the figure.
JUL 06, 2010 - 09:24 AM
remind me to write a tutorial on how to scratch-build a horse-wang. I kid, great review btw, this kit, like any dragon kits, seems really flexible; for instance, if i want to portray an early-war unit, or even soviet cavalry, it seems like a few adjustments could take me there.
JUL 07, 2010 - 12:14 PM
You're welcome Darren and thank you. I appreciate the feedback. Yeah Jacob, I know. Probably a weird thing to point out but I guess I can't help it due to the fact I come from a ranching background. I guess that is just something country kids tend to notice!! Ok, ok, no sheep jokes now please!!!! Thank you, Like I told Darren, I appreciate the feedback. All of the feedback I get helps me with future reviews. Thanks, HARV
JUL 07, 2010 - 09:11 PM
Good review Randy. You mentioned one of the things that annoys me about DML figures - the fact that the ammo pouches sit proud of the uniform. It's very hard to get them to sit realistically.
JUL 08, 2010 - 04:18 AM
Thank you Pat. I appreciate the kind feedback. I enjoy the feedback as it makes me want to keep writing reviews. Thanks again, HARV
JUL 09, 2010 - 10:44 PM
Thanks for the excellent review Randy. The strange thing about the kit is that DML choose not to use the large PE-set from their 1st Cavalry division and German Cossack Cavalry sets. Peter
JUL 10, 2010 - 12:14 AM
Thank you for the kind feedback Peter. I appreciate it. Thank you also for the information. It would have definitely been a better decision on Dragon's part to include the fret of photo-etch from the German Cossack Calvary set instead of the less useful sprue of extra weapons and gear. The PE would have saved the modeler from having to scratch-build the extra required pieces. Thanks again for everything. HARV
JUL 11, 2010 - 06:01 PM
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