|DRAGON - LAH Division Kleisoura Pass 1941|
A look at Dragon's latest Axis figure set...
LAH Division Kleisoura Pass 1941
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Serial Number: 6643
The not so well-known Battle of Kleisoura Pass occurred on 13-14th April 1941 when the German Leibstandarte SS (LSSAH) unit attacked Greek infantry. This narrow pass between Mt. Vitsi and Mt. Siniatsiko in West Macedonia was important as it was on the defensive line protecting Greek withdrawal routes from Albania. In fact, the Greeks had earlier captured this strategically useful pass from the Italians in January of that year. Greek casualties were heavy in the mid-April battle, and the LSSAH took 1,000 prisoners. The capture of the pass helped break the main line of resistance and allowed German troops to cut off troops in the town of Kastoria. The German LSSAH unit, which began as the Fuhrer’s personal bodyguard, was a brigade-sized formation at the time of Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece and the Balkans.
The kit contains five sprues of light grey styrene, the largest of which contains the actual body parts to make up the four figures that are the subject of the kit. The next largest sprue contains items of personal kit, and the three small sprues are of various weapons. The moulding on the body parts is quite crisp, but a little 'lumpy' and would benefit from re-working. The moulding on the kit and weapons sprues is much sharper and smoother and will require much less reworking.
Parts breakdown of the figures themselves is entirely conventional, i.e. separate upper torso, legs, arms, heads and headgear. The only slight deviation from this is the one figure carrying ammo cans that has his hands moulded with the handles of said cans already in place.
Three of the four figures are moulded wearing the Tarnjacke over their tunics, which was a loose-fitting reversible over-smock, and although this is shown on the boxart as being the model 1940 with Spring/Summer pattern, you could paint it of course, in whatever pattern you find references for.
The fourth figure represents an Officer figure and is supposedly modelled on Kurt Meyer who would have been an SS-Sturmbannführer at the time of the battle for Kleisoura Pass. He is modelled standing, shouting at something, with stick grenade in his left hand and righ hand on a pair of binoculars hanging from his neck. The binoculars are provided as a separate item, but their strap is moulded onto the figures torso....as are the collar tabs, which can just be made out. For a finer finish, it would probably be best to remove these and just paint them in. Although the box art shows he is wearing a pistol holster on his right hip, he would actually have been wearing it on his left hip as is shown correctly on the instructions on the rear of the box, which differs from the box art. The map case shown fitted to his right hip was not present on the photograph that the illustration was based on, and is shown below for reference purposes. Note that although missing from the box art and the actual figure itself, he is wearing the SS Runes on his right collar tab.
The second figure is shown crouching, left hand placed on the ground and cradling an Erma EMP-35 submachine gun provided on a small sprue, in his right arm. He too wears binoculars that are again provided separately, although the strap is again moulded in place around the torso, and he is also provided with two stick grenades to be held under his right arm. As is usual, although the box art shows a sling on his weapon, there are none provided so you'll have to make your own from some lead foil or other suitable material?
The third figure is posed stooped, carrying ammunition cans. He is wearing his Kar98k rifle on its sling at his back. The fourth and final figure is posed kneeling, readying his ZB vz.26 which is provided on a separate small sprue. This is provided with either folded or deployed bipod and spare magazines too. Apart from the Kurt Meyer figure, all three figures wear a full compliment of personal kit items that are provided on a large sprue, as mentioned, even so...there's a lot left over for the spares box!
Note that although the box art makes mention of 2nd Generation gear, the kit items supplied are not the original kit items supplied as 2nd Generation when that particular line was introduced. In some ways they're better, since some modellers complained that for 1/35th scale they actually had too much detail, e.g. the stitching on the bread bags being visible, and two separate ends for the gasmask cylinders.
A very nice figure set indeed! The Kurt Meyer figure actually does resemble him, although I should imagine most modellers will just use it to represent a generic German Officer. Of course, I have to say that my choice for figures is always for relaxed poses, although I do recognise that for figures involved in action on a diorama setting, then these would be ideal. Recommended.
My thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.