by: Todd Michalak [ ]
One of Dragon Models newest figure sets is the German Infantry Bivouac Figure Set. This figure set is designed around a three-man anti-tank crew at rest. Soldiers in the German Army were issued Zeltbahn (tent quarter) to be used as a combination of rain gear as well as for constructing tents for shelter while not on the move. The individual Zeltbahn can be combined with others to create larger sheltering structures as depicted in the box are of this set.
5 - Grey Colored styrene sprue trees
1 – Small photo etch sheet
The German Wehrmacht Bivouac sprue included with this set includes all of the parts for the construction of the three figures, three piece Zeltbahn as well as some small personal gear parts. The figures are made up with the standard 6-piece construction with the exception of two of the figures require the supplied hats to complete the heads. The three soldiers are dressed down and relaxed; two are shown wearing shirts with suspenders, standard issue field trousers and boots while the third figure is dawning a pullover tunic.
The Zeltbahn, or tent, is comprised of 3 parts, the two main gabardine sections have a slightly wrinkled appearance and there is one center support pole included. For the gear supplied with the figures, there is a flattened bedroll and two packs, one open and one in the stowed position.
Included with this set is Dragon Models standard compliment of gear and weapons through the use of their Sprue G & W giving more than enough personal gear than is actually needed. These items being loose are ideal for personal placement into a vignette or diorama. Added to this set are two separate sprue trees of standard issue shovels. The small photo etch sheet provided contains two straps to be used on the unopened pack provided on the sprue.
If you have built up Dragon Models figure sets before you will find these figures to be much the same in the way of construction as seen before. After some minor clean up, the parts have an overall general good fit. The seam fit on the three figures is close when parts are brought together and the details are crisp; however, on the two standing figures, the mold seam lines are a bit heavy and where the sprue gate attachments were located are not the friendliest to work with. But with some time and patience, a sharp #11 and a couple of good sanding sticks bring things around soon enough.
All of the extra gear is pretty straightforward for clean-up and with the exception of the usual clean-up and mild details on the weapons, the parts are molded cleanly overall. Most of the added gear was designed for use on the constructed figures, so items such as the small bread bags are slightly curved as to attach to the rounded midsection of the figure bodies. This is simply corrected in most cases after submerging the part in hot water to soften the plastic and then press into shape.
All in all, the overall construction of these figures was quick and easy and resulted in three nicely detailed figures with a Bivouac scene. Please note that the only painting instructions included with this set are on the back of the box and give short reference to Aqueous Hobby Color, Mr. Color and Model Master Color. Besides the back cover, the box top is the only reference guide given; however a quick search online can dig up the colors needed to finish the figures clothing and even the tent close to what was seen with the period coloring.
These small figure sets are essential for many vignette and diorama scenes. The figures are nicely posed and the extra supplies included with the set are welcomed to complete the feel of the relaxed downtime while setting up a bivouac.
The set seems to be missing the inclusion of any jackets that would have been not too far away from the men as they set up camp. I think this is one of the only things that confused me a bit but with a little thought and patience and a small amount of molding clay or putty a couple of small jackets could be made up easy enough I suppose.
While the possible addition of perhaps at least a small mess setup would truly complete the set a bit more, this is a great little scene and not only would work collectively, the pieces could seamlessly fit into any diorama with little to no trouble at all.