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German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941

DML 1/35 German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941 - Gen2 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Images by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941 - Gen2 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6216 Primary Media 294 parts (211 in grey styrene, 83 in etched brass)
Pros Gen2 "magic" worked on both horses and riders, very nicely rendered animals Cons All horse furniture is etched brass and may prove difficult for intermediate level modelers or below to install
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $14.98

First Look

German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941
German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941
German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941
German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941
German 1st Cavalry Division Russia 1941

Over 40 years ago a small French company, who began making premiums for insertion into cans of ground coffee, branched out into Napoleonic figures in the odd scale of 1/30. They prospered and to this day Historex of France is considered one of the premiere companies in the world making styrene kits of Napoleonic era figures and related wagons and artillery.

When it came to making horses, Historex created one of the most enduring systems to create a model horse going. They molded the horse itself in seven parts: two sides, head and neck, ears, fetlock, mane and tail; six initial horses were created, based on twelve body halves and six head/hair sprues. By creating a number of different combinations of parts, an infinite variety of horse positions could be modeled. Later, more were added to create a wider variety, including giving the horse modeler a option on the gender of the animal.

Others tried, such as Airfix in 1/32 and ESCI, Zvezda and DML in 1/35 but most other horses were rather inflexible and static. Now DML has used their "Gen2" system on horses in this new kit, and the results are the first ones to approach Historex.

DML provides two horses and riders in this kit. Each horse consists of ten separate parts: sides, face, ears, mane, tail and separate hooves with horseshoes in place. The horses are well detail with even vein detail modeled and two faces are provided for each one to change the horse's personality as well. The hair is somewhat static, but most Historex modelers understand the concept of pyrograveur styling using a hot pin to "fluff" up the hair and create a more natural look from styrene. This is done by using a heated straight pin to separate strands of plastic to form "hair" and add both body and depth to it, so when painted and drybrushed it looks more like natural hair.

The horses each come with a blanket molded on their backs, as well as a pack saddle and riding saddle that fits on top of it. The horses are also provided with bedrolls, packs and other kit as needed.

However, all horse furniture is etched brass, which is somewhat tricky to use in such circumstances and the first step for all flexible items (e.g. cinches, reins, leads, bridles, etc.) is to anneal them over an open flame to make them easier to manipulate. The hardware (bits, horseshoes) is also etched brass as well, so you may wish to remove them from the fret before annealing.

The figures are typical of the DML Gen2 series. Each rider comes in 19 parts: torso (2), legs (2), boots (2), hands (2), head (2), collar, shoulder straps (2) and coat skirt (4). However, this kit offers no option hands or faces/heads for different poses.

The kit has the now-standard German kit sprues GA and GB with all of the normal German infantry kit (canteens, ponchos, mess kits, bread bags, gas mask canisters, bayonets, helmets, etc.) as well as one weapons sprue WA with two Kar 98K rifles with separate bolts and ammo clips.

Cover art is by Ron Volstad as are the painting instructions, which are as usual very well done. But in this case it would have helped if DML had provided more than a single page flyer with a finished rider and only foolscap outlines of how the bridle and reins assemble.

Overall this is another great effort by DML but once again one where the directions do not provide a way to get the most out of the model for first-time figure modelers or those not experienced in either doing horses or working with etched brass.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.