This is the first set of 1/72 military figures from Pegasus, a well established company in other fields of modelling. It is subtitled '1st SS Division LAH'. LAH is Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler ('Adolf Hitler Lifeguard Regiment'), and not surprisingly this regiment was accorded many privileges and great status, at least in theory. 1943 found them occupying southern France, but they were rushed to the Eastern front, and formed the spearpoint of 4th Panzerarmee in operation Citadel, the offensive of July 1943 that became the battle of Kursk. It is this battle that forms the setting for these figures.
Several things struck us when we first saw this product, one being the large number of different poses. Interesting ones too, not just the same old favourites to be found in so many sets for this era and others. All of them are really good, but we particularly liked the man running while holding on to his helmet, the man reaching for a grenade from his boot and the prone man about to throw a grenade. With so many poses, we would have liked to have seen more than one pose moving forward (or retreating!), and at least one figure on the march would have been welcome. However Pegasus say this is just part one of two sets depicting these men, and between them there will be about 30 poses, so hopefully the second set will fill in the gaps.
Another aspect that is immediately apparent is that these figures are made of a very soft plastic - possibly the softest plastic we have ever encountered for such figures. This is to facilitate some small undercuts which means the poses can be better despite the inflexible mould, and it does indeed appear to have worked. One drawback however is the extremities, particularly the weapons, tend to be very bendy and troublesome to keep straight. Another feature which helps improve their appearance is that most of the figures need some assembly. Most have their entrenching tool as a separate piece which fits well into a hole on the figure but will require gluing to keep it secure. A few poses also have separate heads, and again this does indeed improve the figure, though again a reasonable fit should still be glued. Thirdly, nearly all the figures are without a base. In fact, only the second figure in the third row has been provided with a base, which is separate, though we have omitted it to allow a better view of the figure. All the kneeling and some of the standing figures can stand by themselves, though they are very easily toppled, but many will need some form of base to be added. This unusual feature is again designed to allow more and better poses, though for some this will be a serious drawback.
All the men wear hoodless smocks, calf-length boots and the usual 'Y' shaped webbing, and they also appear to have camouflage covers on their helmets. All has been accurately done apart from the smocks, which have the opening running the full length of the garment when in fact it should stop above the waist (it was pulled on over the head). There is also an unconvincing cross pattern down this opening which we assume is meant to represent the draw-string, though it is not well done. Finally every man has a smart collar on show, so the smock has been tied tight around the neck but the collar of the tunic has been left visible - a configuration which we found unlikely as the smock was usually worn quite lose. That apart we found no problems with accuracy.
Most of the men are carrying rifles, and the NCO is carrying an MP40. The machine gun is an MG34, and we believe an MG42 will be included in the second set. Stick grenades are in plentiful supply. The men are carrying the correct ammunition pouches for their weapon, and all other elements of the kit are properly done. The two crew of the MG34 should have pistols, but it is unclear whether these have been included here or not (they may be hidden under the body). All the guns have the straps included, a most unusual detail to be included but it is good to see.
The sculpting is impeccable, with plenty of detail crisply and clearly realised. Clothing folds are convincing, and the overall proportions and stances are all well observed. The policy of providing separate parts means there is little or no compromise in terms of where items of kit hang, which certainly aids the natural look of these figures. Flash is very hard to find, being confined exclusively to very small enclosed areas such as between bent arms.
So, this is certainly a very interesting product from what is clearly an innovative manufacturer. Plenty of fresh thinking is on display here, though only time will tell how customers react to the super-soft plastic and the lack of bases. While we understand the objectives of this, we felt Pegasus could still have provided separate bases for all the standing figures like they did for the one pose. The strategy of making multiple sets for one subject is an interesting one, and we have long thought this would allow some subjects to be properly represented. It will be interesting to see whether this excellent move is also a commercial success.
This reviewer would have liked to have seen more variety of clothing given the difficulties of supply, even for such an elite unit, but perhaps the second part will also address that issue. A most exciting new product, and one that leaves the purchaser eagerly awaiting the next instalment.