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'Fragile Alliance' Axis Forces Balkans 1943

DML 1/35 ‘Fragile Alliance’ Axis Forces Balkans 1943 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject ‘Fragile Alliance’ Axis Forces Balkans 1943 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6563 Primary Media 127 parts (124 in grey styrene, 3 etched brass)
Pros Four new figure poses including one Italian soldier Cons “Comic Opera” poses of two figures odd to understand
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $10.95

First Look

It is pretty well known that the cooperation between German and Italian forces in WWII was pretty much what could be considered a “shotgun marriage” in that neither one particularly liked or trusted the other. The Italians did not have the equipment or training to stand up before the Allies and the Italians seemed to feel that in any battle the Germans would sacrifice them first rather than German forces. This was the same in Russia, North Africa, the Balkans and Greece, and eventually in Italy itself.

This new set of figures from DML provides for this sort of tension, as it presents an Italian soldier and three obvious SS troops (with the now common CE nod of no runes or directly identifiable insignia on the box art) having a discussion.

Nominally figures tend to come in two types of poses - “action” where the figures are doing something of a combat nature and “static” where they are standing around or relaxed. But in this case, whereas two of the SS figures are standing and observing, the Italian and the SS NCO are having an argument. But the poses are pure “Comic Opera” ones which look straight out of Central Casting for WWII Warner Brothers films! The Italian is “talking with his hands” (my bet, having grown up with Italian-Americans, is that it starts off with “A ba ...” but we will not go there) and the German’s pose is reminiscent of the arrogant pilot in “Sahara” (“Ja, Ja, Tobruk kaput!”) I am not sure how popular these two will be but they are pretty much stereotypes which is unfortunate.

Mechanically each of the figures is DML “Gen1" – head, torso, arms and legs, plus accessories. Weapons are provided for each nationality and a good variety is included. The SS men come with what looks to be an oil can, a magazine rack for machine gun drums, and what appears to be a German Merimite can (an insulated carrier for hot food, in German service usually for soup). Both of the casual soldiers are wearing smocks and helmets, the Italian is in a mountain-style uniform with high socks, and the petulant NCO is in standard field dress.

Artwork is by Carlos Chaga. Directions on this kit are “stick here” with a reproduction of the box art for color reference.

Overall it appears while DML still produces the best figure sets in plastic around they may be running short of German subjects – perhaps they could turn their attention to other sets such as Commonwealth tankers or artillerymen, which are still in short supply.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • 6563 41 Four figures and basic kit
  • G 60 German kit (helmets, ammo pouches, canteens, bread bags, etc.)
  • MA 3 Etched brass
  • W 14 German weapons - 4 x Kar 98K, 3 x MP-40
  • WA 5 Italian Generic Weapons - Carcano carbine, Beretta submachine gun, light MG
  • 4 German entrenching tools