This kit contains 47 grey styrene parts that will create five “mostly civilian” figures. “Mostly” because two are in uniform. One is a Hitler Jugend (Youth) or HJ, technically a civilian, and the other is an Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) uniformed regular policeman. More on these two later.
Though advertised as “German Civilians,” the first three could probably be found in any western country during WWII. You can go online and find photos of Europeans of the 1930-1940s, or watch a period movie like The Pianist to confirm the authenticity of their clothing and hairstyles. I haven’t heard any of them speak since I opened the box so I can’t identify their nationality for certain. That’s a plus for the modeler as that allows you to use them in countless dioramas or settings. I wanted civilians to populate a planned diorama of newly freed Frenchmen and women welcoming a recce unit through their town, and another scene in a German town with the young woman distracting the policeman while the young man casually tosses a grenade into an open top Armored Car, while the older woman stands in shock as she witnesses this and the HJ also ogles the young woman in distraction. You’re limited only by your imagination.
Aside from individual resin figures, there aren’t many civilians available in 1/35. The first ones I recall was one of “Partisans” by ESCI, but they were released in combat mode, though again, you could use your imagination and creativity. Other civilians have been released since then, especially lately. MiniArt, that prolific company from the Ukraine, has been especially busy. This box top has an excellent quality painting of each of the five figures, showing what they could look like. They’re repeated on the back keyed off by part numbers for construction, with paint numbers color-coded for Vallejo, Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell and Mr. Color paints. A black and white sheet shows the sprue trees and part numbers.
The attractive young woman in a knee-length plaid coat walking with purse tucked under one arm isn’t color coded for a plaid paint from any manufacturer! If painting plaid intimidates you as it did me, choose what solid color coat you want and shade it accordingly. Her nine parts go together easily and require minimal putty if you alter her exact pose. That statement applies to all the figures, though some have as few as five parts. Again, referring to all figures, very little clean up was necessary, and each figure was crisply sculpted and molded. If the kit had included a pattern of plaid water slide decals to create the plaid coat, it would have placed this kit far and above all others!
The dapper middle-aged man wears a suit and tie with a hat, the civilian/gentleman’s “uniform.” He has a molded-on mustache which could be painted as the short square Hitler ‘stache’ that was popular primarily in Germany, or paint it as another style, as you wish. He’s casually walking with his hands in his pockets (sans hands), and wears a serious look. He could just as easily be a well-attired member of the resistance that just left a stick of dynamite on a SdKfz 222 or a perfectly innocent civilian thinking to himself just what the older woman is thinking.
The older woman holds a cane in her right hand and, with her left hand on her cheek, expresses bewilderment at the ruins of her home. She wears a long, dark, indistinct coat. MiniArt based her upon a real older woman in an often published photograph. She appears on page 86 in World War Two Through German Eyes by James Lucas, published by Arms and Armour Press Ltd., which is probably out of print. The photo also appears on page 109 in The Great Book of WWII by David Miller, published by Thunder Bay Press, ISBN 1-59223-062-8. She is standing in the middle of a road in a bombed out town, with a column of American GIs passing in front of and behind her. Her photo and the illustrations show her face in profile, and the pose and outfit are just as MiniArt sculpted her. Her long coat has lost its definition in the photo so the sculptor has taken some artistic license here. He’s also removed her glasses and slightly changed her hairstyle. I noticed online that some people have criticized the older woman’s nose and hair, which you can alter if you want to become a plastic surgeon and hairstylist for a day. The real woman did have a prominent nose so, if anything, MiniArt’s sculptor deserves kudos for being a stickler for detail rather than a plastic surgeon! Her cane was very brittle and easily broken. I replaced it with some wire. This was the only construction problem I had in the entire kit.
The Hitler Jugend figure’s pose reminds me of a recruitment poster, and MiniArt’s sculptor may very well have used him as inspiration. As is or with minimal repositioning, he could be doing anything. He’s wearing shorts with long stockings and a shirt with a scarf and rolled up sleeves. I looked up Hitler Youth on Wikipedia and learned that early in Hitler’s career, the boy scouts were banned throughout German-controlled countries. The Deutsches Jungvolk (German Youth) was the HJ for boys aged 10 to 14. The HJ’s teenagers appropriated many of the Scouts activities (even the uniform was similar, though later the uniforms were very much like those of the SA, with similar ranks and insignia…), though in content and intention closely resembled military training with weapons, assault courses and tactics. Some cruelty was tolerated, teaching children to become tough to free them from weaknesses. They sowed anti-Semitism and emphasized loyalty to Hitler. In many parts of Germany, young boys were forced to join the Jungvolk and by the end of the war massive conscription and a general call-up of boys as young as 10 meant that virtually every young male in Germany was, in some way, connected to the HJ.
The Hitler Youth became active in the Marine Hitler Youth (water rescue fire brigades), the Reich Postal Service, Reich radio service, and served on anti-aircraft defense crews. In 1943, a fully equipped Waffen-SS panzer division, the 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend, was formed. The majority of the enlisted cadre was drawn from HJ between 16 and 18. They were deployed during the Battle of Normandy, earning a reputation for ferocity and fanaticism. As German casualties escalated, members of the HJ were recruited at ever younger ages. By 1945, the Volkssturm was commonly drafting 12-year-old Hitler Youth members into its ranks. During the Battle of Berlin, they were reportedly among the fiercest fighters. Although ordered to disband the HJ combat formations, this order was never carried out. The remnants of the youth brigade were "mowed down" by the advancing Russian forces; only two survivors remained.
“The HJ maintained academies … designed to nurture future Nazi Party leaders and officers, only the most radical and devoted HJ members could expect to attend. The HJ also maintained several corps designed to develop future officers for the Wehrmacht and the SS.”
“There were a few members of the Hitler Youth who privately disagreed with Nazi ideologies. For instance, Hans Scholl, the brother of Sophie Scholl and one of the leading figures of the anti-Nazi resistance movement White Rose (Weiße Rose), was also a member of the Hitler Youth. This fact is emphasized in the film The White Rose which depicts how Scholl was able to resist Nazi Germany's ideology while being a member of the Nazi party's youth movement. The 1993 Thomas Carter film Swing Kids also focuses on this topic.”
The last figure in this set is a German policeman, the “Ordnungspolizei” or Orpo (English: Order Police or Regular Police), the uniformed regular police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. He comes with a choice of heads and either a steel helmet or the traditional German police shako cap. MiniArt recommends head part B8 should go under shako part B9. The only addition is his Walther P38 black leather holster. The Polizei figure also has a choice of arms. In both cases he’s wearing gloves but depending upon the pose, he can either be asking to see your papers (“Irhe papieren, bitte!”) as Cookie Sewell mentioned in a review, or telling passerbys to “move along now, there’s nothing here to see…”. With civilian vehicles like Tamiya's Citroen, Bronco's Opel, and others now available, our Polizei could just as readily be directing traffic.
When Heinrich Himmler first took over the Police, they wore green uniforms, eventually switching to the field gray uniform. “Traditionally, law enforcement in Germany had been a state and local matter… (but as) Himmler gained authority as all of Germany's uniformed law enforcement agencies were amalgamated into the new Ordnungspolizei, whose main office became populated by officers of the SS…virtually all of the Third Reich's law-enforcement and emergency response organizations (were)... increasingly absorbed into the Nazi police system. The police were divided into the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) and the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo or security police)…the SiPo consisted of the secret state police (including the Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo)…with the Waffen-SS providing homeland-security and political-police functions.”
The Order Police played a central role in carrying out the Holocaust… providing a major manpower source for carrying out numerous deportations, ghetto-clearing operations, and massacres.
Thanks to MRC, who is the U.S. distributor for MiniArt kits, for the review sample. Thanks to MiniArt for seeing that WWII era civilians had been long neglected, and for filling the need. MiniArt seems to be very busy releasing long sought-after figure and diorama sets, and each and every kit is a welcome addition to every modeler’s collection. As I write, they are about to release a set of French Tank Crew which will be the first time anyone has done so, to the best of my knowledge. There is still the need for Japanese tank crews, and more British and American crews. And more civilians to bring life to MiniArt’s many building kits (i.e. a farmer and family, a butcher, baker, and a candlestick maker!). Thank you MiniArt for hearing us and fulfilling our needs! I can highly recommend these Civilian figures to modelers of every skill level. Not only is the subject matter very welcome, but the quality of sculpting and molding is right there with the best of them.