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Desperate Defense: Korsun Pocket 1944

DML 1/35 Desperate Defense: Korsun Pocket 1944 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer DML
Subject Desperate Defense: Korsun Pocket 1944 - Gen2 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6273 Primary Media 405 parts (309 in grey styrene, 96 etched brass)
Pros DML takes styrene figures to an entirely new level of complexity and sophistication, incredible levels of detail Cons Some modelers may not care for level of complexity involved per figure (three times the parts per basic figure)
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $14-$18

First Look

The Germans called it the "Korsun Pocket". According to the "Soviet Military Encyclopedia" (Vol. 4, pp. 376-378) the Soviets called it the "Korsun-Shevchenkovskaya Operation" and designated it as the combat operations fought on the "right bank" section of the Ukraine between 24 January and 17 February 1944. During it the 1st and 2nd Ukranian Fronts (commanded by Vatutin and Konev, two of the best Soviet commanders) surrounded the German 1st Panzer Army and 8th Army and in an offensive operation proceeded to surround them and wipe the forces out. The Soviets claimed the Germans lost 73,000 men (18,500 were POWs) and more than 15 divisions, 8 of them Panzers. (They did not give their casualties in this work, but they also suffered heavily from later items.)

The Germans thus fought what would be considered to be a desperate winter defense, and some of their forces did manage to escape (such as General von Manstein, the overall commander of Army Group South in the battle). DML has now released a set of six figures in winter uniforms from this battle, but they have done something quite different.

The new figures are labeled as "Gen2" figures, which is DML's way of indicating a new level of sophistication and complexity from past releases. This is based on DML's "slide molding" techniques, and the new details make me happy I recently got new glasses with a better close prescription!

Each figure is now broken down into more finite parts. Formerly, the basic figures had an average of six main parts: head, torso, legs, and arms, and on occasion two to four lower coat/jacket parts. The new ones consist of 13-17 parts: face, head, collar, torso front and rear, legs, hands, feet, and two to four coat/jacket tails. The face separates at the helmet chin strap line, but it has to be noted that if soft caps are offered in the accessory sprues this will have to be removed. Shoes have sole details and the collars consist of one or two parts to ensure "overlapping" or layered look effects.

The kit uses what apparently is DML's new "building block" production strategy: generic sprues that can be inserted in any kit as needed. The latest vehicle kits came with "TA" and "TB" generic outer vehicle materials (OVM, e.g. tools) that were made using these new molding techniques. This one has "GA" and "GB" generic German equipment (G for "Gear") sprues. GA covers entrenching tools., canteens, mess kits, gas mask canisters, bayonets, and helmets; the mess kits, canteens, and canisters are molded in multiple parts so that they may be displayed in open condition. GB covers bread bags, holsters, ponchos, and ammo pouches. Note that ALL items have details on both sides, e.g. not designed for one side to be cemented to the figure and never be seen again.

The same goes for weapons, which now even have relieved muzzles in 1/35 scale (get a magnifying glass, as you have to see this one to believe it.) WA (German Weapons A) has two Kar 98 rifles, twelve five-shot clips, and two bolt assemblies (open or closed). WB covers the MP40, Gw 43, and MP44, all with the same level of detail. WC is a generic machine set with one subsprue for the machine gun (here an MG42) and the other for its related items, such as ammo boxes, ammo drums, two 50-round belts, and carrier items. With the five-round clips and the 50-round belts, each round is picked out and is detailed down to the level of necking the casing and the link details.

The etched brass parts cover the various uniform accessories, rank badges and awards, to include belt buckles, epaulets, combat badges, close assault badges, tank destruction badges, and four Iron Crosses 1st class and two Knight's crosses.

Overall this is a stunning set and will really give the modeler the chance to elevate figures to a class by themselves. Even though DML clearly had the best styrene figure sets on the market, they have apparently decided to give some of their competitors something to chase after – again.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA of DML for the review sample.