H002 – “US Tanker Heads & Hands” is Alpine Miniatures’ second accessory set, consisting of four heads and four hands. The four heads, all previously released in Alpine figure sets, wear the M1942 “Rawlings” tankers helmet. This helmet was officially adopted as the standard Armored Forces helmet in 1942, and is now synonymous with US tankers of this period. Accessory set H002 was released during November 2009.
What’s in the Box?
The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of eight (8) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small, clear acetate box with all parts in a single small zip-lock bag. A small card displaying the painted heads, as well as the unpainted hands, is supplied.
Accessory set H002 consists of the following eight (8) parts:Two heads (H-002b and H-002c) wearing M1942 tankers helmet with dust goggles;
Two heads (H-002a and H-002d) wearing M1942 tankers helmet without dust goggles; and
A Closer Look
It is worth mentioning that these heads are by not new products; all four heads have previously been released, albeit as part of existing (at time of writing) US Tank Crew figure sets.
H-002a is originally from figure set 35010 “WW2 US Tank Crew #2”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with box-art by Calvin Tan. The M1942 tankers helmet is worn over a M1941 wool knit cap (the M1941 wool knit cap was frequently worn under the M1942 tankers helmet and M1 helmet in cold weather), with the short stiffened visor visible. The face is one of a veteran (the original figure wears Sergeant stripes) who wears a slight smirk across his face.
H-002b is originally from figure set 35019 “WW2 US Tanker w/ Tommy Gun”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with box-art by Calvin Tan. The M1942 tankers helmet is worn with dust goggles. The face bears a neutral expression and faces front (12 o’clock).
H-002c is originally from figure set 35034 “US Tank Crew in Winter #2”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms with him also doing the box-art. The M1942 tankers helmet is, like H-002b, worn with dust goggles. The face however wears a slight scowl with a tuft of hair poking out from under the helmet (over his right side brow), and is slightly twisted to face approximately 2 o’clock. This twist is reflected in the sculpting of the neck.
H-002d is originally from figure set 35052 “WW2 US Tank Crew #2”, sculpted by Taesung Harmms and box-art painted by Artur Miniszewski. Like the other three heads the M1942 tankers helmet is worn, albeit without embellishments like the rest of the quartet. The face bears an expression I can best describe as ‘concerned’, and cranes slightly forward facing slightly to the left (approximately 10 o’clock).
The heads, as expected from Taesung, are all excellently sculpted and very well defined. The head gear is well proportioned, and nicely detailed. The casting is near flawless, with only a miniscule amount of flash at the base of the neck (where the helmet meets the nape of the neck) of head H-002c. The casting blocks of all four heads are placed under the necks.
The four hands (two left and two right hands) are supplied attached to a single casting block. Each hand is supplied with a sizable section of forearm making them easier to either fit up a fully extended sleeve or used with slightly rolled sleeves. While the hands can obviously be used with appropriately sized figures of any nationality, period or race, one holds a .45 cal Colt M1911A1 pistol (the standard issue side arm to US Armed Forces during WWII), making it distinctly more American. The casting is as with all Alpine products exceptional, however there are fine tendrils of flash attached to the forearms. That said, these are so fine they are barely worth mentioning.
Like all Alpine 1/35 scale products these heads and hands are ‘true’ 1/35 scale. What does this mean in terms of usability? It means that these heads and hands will work well with any figures that are true to 1/35 scale however in the case of over- or undersized figures, to the state the obvious, these parts in turn may appear under- or oversized respectively.
Addressing the Inevitable
The decision to include four heads and two pairs of hands has been questioned on various modelling forums. This is probably due to modellers being accustomed to head sets containing five heads, and hand sets being sold separately. Another common question has been why four heads and only two pairs of hands, and not four? This is perhaps due to a misconception that each head is to be matched to a pair of hands.
However who better to explain the rationalization than the owner of Alpine Miniatures himself, Taesung Harmms? “I included four hands in place of a fifth head. I felt the four hands would be more useful than another head. It would have been much easier for me if I had simply included five heads and no hands a la Hornet sets. I am certain many modellers would be unhappy had I included 8 hands and raised the MSRP. However I really want to keep the MSRP of these sets at a similar level as the competition.”
While great for those modellers not in possession of the previously released figures, those who have the original figure sets may have sought new, previously unreleased heads. That said, one can certainly understand the decision to reuse existing products for the initial launch of the range: it does not require substantial capital investment by Alpine for new product development, minimising the risk of launching a new product range. Hopefully as this product range establishes itself Alpine will release heads unique to these sets.
The sculpting is Taesung Harmms at his best and predictably Alpine Miniatures’ casting is outstanding. The current revival in WWII US Army subjects should make these heads very popular, and of course the hands are generic enough to be used with virtually any true 1/35 scale figure. Recommended.