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Valiant

Set VM006

German Paratroops

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2012
Contents 24 figures
Poses 8+ poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25.5 mm (= 1.84 m)

Review

As with several other World War II German subjects, the Fallschirmjäger has been a very popular subject for figures of all kinds. Their exploits in the capture of Crete and their rescue of Mussolini rank as their most famous actions of the war, but they were to be found in many theatres, although after 1941 they usually served as an elite infantry, with jumps limited to small-scale operations. Like other paratroopers they considered themselves the best, and were proud of the distinctive elements of their uniform, even as these gradually disappeared later in the war. Although there are now some decent sets available, this subject used to have a reputation for poorly made figures. Would this set be one of the best, or a throwback to the sorry early efforts?

A quick look at the sprue will tell you that there is quite a lot of gluing in store here since most of the figures have separate arms or heads. This is done partly to allow for better poses without unwanted plastic, and partly (especially in the case of the heads) to allow some choice for the customer. Although there are only eight poses pictured above there is a lot of room for mixing pairs of arms between torsos, so our examples are just that – examples of what can be done, but other poses are just as possible. Most of the heads are separate, and here we have a choice of heads with the classic paratroop helmet (with or without a cover) or a sidecap, as well as complete freedom to position the head in any direction. All this goes a very long way to making the most of the relatively few basic parts on the small sprue, which many will find pleasing.

The general look of the figures is much the same as previous Valiant releases. They have that rather fuller figure that you generally find in metal figures or, more recently, most 28mm figures. The heads are larger than is strictly anatomically correct, and they are a little taller than would have been the average, although thankfully not as bad as some earlier Valiant figures. We are not big fans of this style, but many people are, so you really have to decide for yourself from looking at the photos. On a more technical level the detail is very good and there is only quite a small amount of flash in some places. Misalignment of the mould causes some unfortunate results, particularly around the faces, but again nothing too terrible. All the putting together must be glued, but this presents no problems and the hard plastic allows for a very solid bond.

We can have no complaints about the accuracy of the uniforms, because everything here is fine. The men wear their usual jump smocks, which in most cases at least seem to be the type 2 version. They all wear the second pattern boot too, with its seam down the side, and as we have already said the helmets are properly done and come in covered or uncovered versions. One man has a grenade in his pocket, but we would have liked to have seen more bulging pockets, although we were pleased to see the figure with the distinctive ammunition bandolier round his neck.

The weapons are pretty well done too, with the usual assortment of rifles, MP40 submachine guns and one MG34. This last comes on a bipod, which is fine, but the gunner is feeding the very short ammunition belt himself. This certainly happened, although the necessary arms to make another prone figure to act as the number two feeding the belt would have been very worthwhile in our view. The weapons, and such items of kit as are visible, are again all appropriate.

So while the style of figure is a matter of personal preference, these figures will match the rest of Valiant’s output better than they will many of the other sets we have reviewed. However accuracy is excellent and the ability to mix-and-match elements to make your own poses makes the most of what is on offer. In total then this has to be one of the better sets on this subject, and a welcome addition to the Valiant range.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 8
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"Fallschirmjäger: German Paratrooper 1935-45" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.38) - Bruce Quarrie - 9781841763262
"German Airborne Troops 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.139) - Bruce Quarrie - 9780850454802
"German Soldiers of World War II" - Histoire & Collections - Jean de Lagarde - 9782915239355
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
Magazines
"Military Illustrated" - No.96
"Military Illustrated" - No.153

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