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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Introducing the German Paratroops

The German Fallschirmjäger were an elite formation in the German armed forces. They took part in several important airborne operations in the early years of the war, such as the invasion of Denmark (apparently the first time airborne troops were ever used), the invasion of Norway, the glider landings on the roof of the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael, the invasion of the Netherlands, and the invasion of Greece. Their main role was to drop ahead of the main attack to capture key objectives such as airfields or bridges. They fought with such tenacity that the allies gave them the nickname of 'green devils'. Perhaps their most dramatic airborne mission took place during the invasion of Crete which was a division-size operation combining glider landings and parachute drops. Together with a division of mountain troops, they achieved victory, but at such a high price that from that point onwards, they were only used as ground infantry in places like Monte Cassino, France, and actions in the East, including the final battle for Berlin. Ironically, it was after the 'success' of the Crete campaign, that the allies began to take more seriously airborne assaults and increased the size and role of their own units. In terms of available figures, until recently only Airfix and 21st Century had produced them. As of September of 2013, there is a new player in town, with Pegasus Hobbies having released 10 very welcome new poses.

Airfix German Paratroops - Part I
As usual, Airfix did a nice job with the sculpting and the poses. In contrast with most of their WWII sets, they actually made 14 poses for this set, which is great considering the lack of additional vendors. The size of these figures is slightly smaller than the rest of the Airfix 1/32 figures, but it's still acceptable.

Airfix German Paratroops - Part II
The set includes a good number of automatic weapons, which was a good way to give airborne units a bit more firepower. The prone guy firing the machine gun seems taken directly out of the rubble of Monte Cassino as shown in this picture. The only guy that I would have done differently is the guy wielding his rifle. He is holding it too close to his body, not like you would if you were swinging, but I can see how they had to keep his left arm this way due to the restrictions imposed by the mold making. 

21st Century Toys German Paratroops
21st Century Toys released several series of German troops around 10 and 8 years ago. Most of the figures in each set were German infantry, but each set had 1 or 2 German Paratroops and after a while I ended up with 7 different poses. As you can see, the uniform is not consistent, but since they are already pre-painted I am not going to worry about painting them over. Also, for some reason, several of them seem to be off-balance. Having said that, they still represent a good addition to the Airfix figures.
Pegasus Hobbies German Paratroops - Part I
A nice complement to the existing paras. An officer with a cap to lead them, a man with a heavy MG firing off the hip, and a very much needed panzerschreck. In terms of scale, they are a very good match with the existing Airfix figures. Perhaps the head/helmet is a bit smaller, but it's not going to be very noticeable. Once they are painted they will mix well with the others.

Pegasus Hobbies German Paratroops - Part II
In terms of sculpting, they are just the way I like them. Lots of action in these poses. All of them engaging the enemy and their bodies leaning the way they are supposed to and plenty of detail on them. In terms of new weapons, the panzerpfaust is also a welcome addition to the unit and will be put to good use in close quarter combat against Allied armor.

Action Casting German Paratroops
These are some nice and interesting figures. In particular, I like the man throwing the grenade. It is nice how he is leaning back while his lower legs lean slightly forward. The level of detail on these figures is also quite good, with quite a bit of gear on the figures accurately represented. If you pay attention you can see some of the casting imperfections, but I hope that once they are primed, painted and they get their protective coating, those will be less obvious.

Unknown German Paratroops
These are some figures which came with a building I purchased. They were already painted, although I suspect that might have been done by the previous owner. The scale and the sculpting is fairly decent. Unfortunately, there are no identifying markers in terms of who made them. So if you happen to know, please leave a comment.


  1. The Airfix guy with the "Machine gun" actually has an Fg42, it was specially made for German paratroopers, about 5000 were made, very cool that they made a figure with it.

    1. Wow, that's a nice bit of info. Thanks for sharing it and definitely nice that Airfix made it part of the set!