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Osprey Modelling 23: Modelling Waffen-SS Figures

by Calvin Tan

Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-837-5, 80 pages.

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This is a much-wanted book. Most modellers have enormous problems in painting the complex Waffen-SS camouflage uniforms, and Calvin Tan has provided four examples here with copious tips on how to paint them as well as on modifying and detailing commercial model figures. After a brief introduction stressing that this is not an attempt to glorify the SS but a guide for modellers, he begins with an SS-Sturmann of 1st SS-Panzer-Division at Kursk in 1943. First he gives notes on using acrylic paints and on the techniques to use for camouflage uniforms in general. Then he takes the reader through all the steps in modifying a Hornet white metal figure to the exact configuration wanted, adding accessories from other makers and improving them too. Next comes a demonstration of how to paint the face, followed by one of painting the “plane tree” camouflage pattern on the figure’s uniform smock. He tops this off with a clear diagram of the pattern and recommended mixes of Vallejo paints for each colour needed, and finishes by showing how to build a scenic base.

Next is an SS-Scharfuehrer of the same Division in Normandy, 1944, and wearing jacket and trousers in “dot pattern” camouflage. This one involves modifying to the Panzer crewman’s outfit the uniform of the Hornet figure chosen as well as adding new equipment to it, and again all the steps are described and illustrated in great detail. The pattern diagram is included too, with recommended Vallejo paint mixes. Next is a pair of infantry Grenadiers of 12th SS-Panzer-Division, again in Normandy in 1944 and this time using polystyrene figures from Dragon Models Ltd. Full details of how to modify their poses and change their uniforms by using epoxy putty are included, with yet more tips on modifying commercial weapons and equipment. This time two camouflage patterns are used, the “oak leaf spring pattern” and the “Italian camouflage cloth”, and both are shown as patterns with recommended paint mixes as well as demonstrated.

The final chapter deals with the scratchbuilding of a figure, an SS-Schuetze f 3rd SS-Panzer-Division in Vienna in 1945. Mr tan gives full directions on how to make the basic figure armature and clothe it with epoxy putty, even how to model its hands though he uses a commercially-available head rather than expecting the reader to learn how to model a face – something best left to experts. The figure wears camouflaged trousers in the “oakleaf autumn pattern” and once again there are not only full notes on how to paint it but also a pattern diagram and recommended paint mixes. This one uses a much more complicated display base, but like all the other figures here there’s a good description of how it was built to guide modellers in creating their own scenic bases. Finally there’s a list of all the suitable figures and accessories available at the time the book was written, with supplier’s websites, and one of helpful reference books and websites as well.

This book is an essential reference for anyone wanting figures in camouflaged uniforms to go beside their model tanks or as stand-alone figures. Even those who have a distaste for the SS will find the principles of painting camouflage uniforms clearly set out, with many useful ideas on modifying figures to create individual poses and details instead of simply accepting those provided by the manufacturer.

Highly recommended!

John Prigent
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