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In-Box Review
135
Defense of the Reich
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

I think I heard a joke once that goes something like this; four guys walk into a bar, one of them is a sniper, one is a Fallschirmjager, another a Volkssturm and the last one is an SS guy armed and ready. Hey, wait a minute….now I remember, it wasn’t a joke, it’s just the latest set of figures from our friends over at Dragon. And, no it wasn’t a bar; it was a box, the one that Dragon figures usually come in.

Enough of the poor comedy, Dragon has indeed released a new figure set entitled, “Defense of the Reich” which in reality is a grouping of four late war German soldiers that most probably would have never found themselves together at one time. It is actually a pretty nice concept, I know personally that often I buy a set of figures and only really want or need one or two for the project I am working on. I know I am not alone in this, so a set like this, or the recent Dragon release of the figure set “March to the West” which also combined four soldiers from across the spectrum.

Contents

What you do get in your box of four German soldiers (no officers, you can tell because none of them are pointing!) are six sprues of light gray; including one large sprue with the four figures plus a few extras goodies, the now famous ‘W’ Gen2 weapons sprue with all the usual suspects included, the equally famed Gen2 ‘G’ combat gear sprue, two small sprues with four each of two different versions of the entrenching tool, and a special sprue for the FG 42 airborne assault rifle and its accessories. One of the extra goodies is a panzerfaust 100 for the Volkssturm figure, it includes a set of decals for the weapon which should really dress it up a bit (hard to read the tiny writing but I’m guessing it is something along the lines of the famous Claymore mine dictum “Front Toward Enemy”).

the figures

The breakdown of the four figures is as follows; figure A is the Fallschirmjager figure. He is in the normal Dragon breakdown for figures along with four parts for the bottom half of his combat smock. He features very well done creasing and folds in his uniform. The second figure is the Volkssturm dude, according to the Dragon website he wears the Hitler Youth winter uniform, at any rate it is very well done, particularly around the two breast pockets. His left arm has the Volkssturm arm band and he sports what I think is the Hitler Youth triangular patch, however, there are no decals included for these, you will need to source them yourself. This guy is loaded for bear, probably not at all reflective of what the Volkssturm really had to work with; he has the very nice panzerfaust which has the option of being built with the sight popped up and ready to fire or in the more conventional safe mode for just hanging around shooting the breeze with your sniper buddy. He also carries a Kar 98k slung over his back, a knife at his side, and a pair of egg grenades hanging from his ammo pouches (which are presumably stuffed with some other small weapon, maybe a neutron bomb). The panzerfaust does deserve special mention as you have no less than six decals to dress it up (“Attention! Fire Jet!” no really, that IS what they say on the tube), it should look very nice when all done up.

Figure C is the sniper fellow, dressed appropriately in the camouflaged combat smock with gaiters and marching boots wearing the M43 field cap. He is armed with the G43 semi-automatic rifle with a ZF 4 telescopic sight fitted in order to reach out and touch someone. Again, his sculpting is superb, great creasing and folding of the uniform cloth. Figure D is the standard no nonsense SS guy, wearing the camouflaged combat smock and cloth covered helmet with marching boots and gaiters. He is armed in typical Dragon SS style with a StG 44 assault rifle in his right hand and a stick grenade in his left with another tucked into his belt. Again, another well sculpted figure of a soldier in a semi-casual pose who looks like he might be preparing to go into action.

Conclusion

Another great set of figures from Dragon that should prove very popular. I love the idea of the mix of figures that they have used a few times now. The sculpting on each of these figures is first rate, these are all really state of the art, top of the food chain, injection molded figures. The inclusion of the decals for the panzerfaust is a nice addition; I just wish that they would include those extras such as the Volkssturm arm band and badges and the weapon slings which are depicted on the superb Ron Volstad box art and the painting guide on back. All in all, a solid effort that should soon be making its way to a diorama or vignette near you!
SUMMARY
Highs: Great sculpting, Gen2 gear is first rate. Nice collection of different figures.
Lows: An unlikely grouping, but that may suit many modelers. Poses relaxed, if not a bit uninspiring.
Verdict: A good set of figures that should look nice when built and painted. Offers the opportunity to use them on a few different projects.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6694
  Suggested Retail: $14.95 US
  Related Link: DragonUSA Item Page
  PUBLISHED: Jun 20, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.70%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
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About Rick Cooper (clovis899)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2017 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. 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

hmmm.. no pe fret of weapons slings like the other Gen2 issues?
JUN 20, 2012 - 09:17 AM
There's a seemingly disconnect between the figures because Ron did the artwork for Concord, not DML (yeah, yeah, same company but an important note none the less). Ron hasn't actually produced new figure box-art for DML for a number of years now. It's only over the past 2 years or so that DML have been reproducing the Concord (and even some Osprey) artwork as kits. Normally they're selected from the same title though. This time it appears to be at least 3, perhaps even 4 different titles. I managed to identify 2, featuring the HJ and Fallschirmjager figures. The "Volksturm" figure is actually a Hitler Youth Combat Volunteer attached to a Volksturm unit. He wears a dark blue HJ winter uniform. His volunteer status is displayed by wearing a red cord around his shoulder straps. A Volksturm armband is worn over top his HJ armband and above that is worn the black district badge. He wears a HJ badge on his cap. FWIW the knife is a HJ knife. The Fallschirmjager is described as "1st Parachute Division, Italy, 1944". The uniform is fairly typical for the Mediterranean theatre from 1942 - 1945, so modellers should have plenty of use for this figure. Looks like a nice rendition of the FG42 - with the caveat that the photos aren't clear enough to see any casting issues. Is there much flash on the parts? No reference is made to the quality of the cast in the review. Despite this being an In-Box I'd still expect to see at least a preliminary assessment of the cast quality. I'm not sure why reviewers or modellers insist on banging on about the lack of rifle straps. Can nobody cut a bit of tape or thin plastic card to reproduce straps? IMO PE rifle straps are nothing but a PITA to get to hang or fit properly. Just my 2 bob... Rudi
JUN 21, 2012 - 07:46 AM
Rudi I understand your thoughts on this but it would not exactly break the bank to have included the PE straps and or decals with the sets which is in the current climate would be an extra incentive to buy the product for very limited cost to the company to include. If I am honest I would love to see the inclusion of PE buckles for the straps and decals as these cost the end user in one case and are difficult to produce in the other.
JUN 21, 2012 - 01:20 PM
I agree ... the etched straps are useless to get a nice fit. Buckles on the other hand, would be great to use with paper/foil/plastic/tape/etc straps. I always have an Aber set of buckles at home for this, but never use the Dragon straps. Decals for figures would be a great addition .... considering that Dragon figures are now > $20 in Sweden. MiniArt have includd these in some of their figure sets .... wish the other would follow!!
JUN 21, 2012 - 06:58 PM
Nice to see a little humor in our reviews. Well done, Rick!
JUN 22, 2012 - 01:37 PM
I've never been able to get a Dragon Gen2 PE weapon strap to fit properly so I use tape, but it would indeed be nice to have seen the PE included as the buckles and various other straps are always useful. All in all a great review Rick!
JUN 24, 2012 - 07:35 AM
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