Friday, May 8, 2009

Dragon WWII German NCO "Hans"

What were the WWII combat medics (see previous post) saving the American soldiers from in Europe? The Germans, of course. In 1999, Dragon released their FIRST 1/6 scale 12-inch Action Figure "Hans". "Hans" is a Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) Infantry NCO during Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) in 1941. Operation Barbarossa opened up the Eastern Front, which ultimately became the biggest theater of war in world history.

"Hans" was more than just a World War II German Infantry NCO. He became the new benchmark that all 1/6 scale 12-inch action figure manufacturers would aspire to emulate and improve on. It marked the new age of 1/6 in 1999 and since "Hans" debut, the 1/6 market has truly taken off in leaps and bounds. The mantle has since been passed between Dragon and BBI over to Hot Toys (for movie-related and modern military figures), DID (for World War II and historic figures) and Soldier Story (modern military figures, post World War II and recently, World War II as well).

Ladies and Gents, I give you the second "Father" of 1/6 figures (GI Joe was the FIRST) - "Hans"

A brief description of the Wehrmacht Infantry NCO (Feldwebel) "Hans" - German Armed Forces (Sergeant), his uniform and equipment on the cover inner flap

"Hans" out of box - the figure was revolutionary in its time in terms of head sculpt and body type. It certainly paved the way for the super articulated figures available today. What was really interesting was the "clacking" sound when you moved his arms - why they did that, I have no idea but it seemed cool at the time :)

Han-dsome "Hans" wearing his M35 field blouse with tresse braiding denoting an NCO from the rank of Unteroffizier to Stabsfeldwebel on the dark green collar. Around his neck is slung the standard 6 x 30 binoculars with protective lid.

On his belt is the belt buckle bearing the traditional Prussian motto "GOTTMITUNS" ('GOD WITH US') around the endorsed wing eagle and swastika emblem. For a even better detailed look, check out my post of the Takara Combat Joe WWII German Infantryman here.

He also has his pair of MP40 triple magazine pouches, ammunition for his MP40 SMG. He wears the infamous German jackboots, also called "dice shaker" marching boots.

The basic load was supported by his leather combat suspenders. The triple magazine pouches have since been improved to fully opening pouches made of cloth or leather, depending on the type worn. Takara Combat Joe WWII German, released in March 1984 already had opening leather MP40 ammo pouches but in terms of price, Dragon's was much much more affordable. Gone are the days of affordably priced 1/6 scale 12-inch collectibles.

The bare back showing the Y harness. I did not add the basic load as this "Hans" is the one that I left in the box (sentimental reasons)

Hans' M35 helmet which displays both insignias, the gas mask canister with gas cape bag strapped to it, M31 breadbag to which is strapped his M31 mess kit and water bottle, folding type entrenching tool carried in a leather frame which also holds his M1884-98 Mauser bayonet with scabbard

IMHO "Hans" was a good looking fella and I used this head sculpt for some of my other uniform sets as well, most notably my Takara Combat Joe CHP (California Highway Patrol) officer (pictures here)

The MP40 or Maschinen Pistole 40 which fired 9mm Parabellum rounds and the 32-round straight box magazines were usually carried in the triple magazine pouches. This was one of the finest SMGs to appear during the war and was eagerly sought after by soldiers of both sides.

Other WWII Germans covered earlier: Takara Combat Joe WWII German Infantryman (link here), Action Man German Stormtrooper (link here) and 'Colditz' German Stormtrooper (link here)

Takara Combat Joe figures: California Highway Patrol (CHP) - link here and SWAT (link here)

Let's not forget the German-inspired Takara Kerberos Protect Gear Panzer Cop (link here)


actfigman said...

Great pics & post as usual...I've been reminiscing over the classic Dragon figures recently so I've been surfing online to find out more on the early figure releases...they were so cool in their own way including the entire packaging,anyways i do have to mention that Hans was not the first 1/6 figure released by was actually "Klaus" Wehrmacht Infantryman #70001 but damn Hans is cool in itself...cheers!

alex teo said...

Thanks for the compliments :) actfigman, they are very much appreciated. However, I am afraid you are wrong to say that "Klaus" was the first and not Hans. Hans was definitely the FIRST DML 1/6 figure ever produced - I was there when he was released ;p Also, there was the Hans 1st Anniversary figure after one year of its release and most recently, there was the DML "Hans Leiter", Wehrmacht Infantry NCO, 34 Infanterie-Division, Operation Barbarossa 1941 (Feldwebel) - 10th Anniversary Figure released in March 2010. Dragon wouldn't make anniversary figures to mark their milestones with their second figure released. They would have gone with 1st anniversary "Klaus" and 10th anniversary "Klaus" if "Klaus" was their first figure. It makes no sense for Dragon to go with Hans if Klaus was their first :) CHEERS

actfigman said...

you have a point and i stand corrected,but isn't it strange that Klaus is designated #70001 and Hans #70002?

anyways my first ever DML 1/6 was #70021 "Dave" 1st Infantry Division, (Sergeant)'Big Red One' WWII, Normandy 1944...i blame this as the one that got me hooked on 1/6 LoL.

alex teo said...

That is a mystery I cannot understand ;p I think both figures were made at the same time but general consensus was for Hans to be first because Hans is more appealing. Klaus makes a nice number two :)

I remember "Dave" very well and I also have him. I almost bought all the Dragon 12-inch figures back then because they were really good for their time. They are still special for me even today. CHEERS

Anonymous said...

Looking for Nico Han dragon action figure....thoughts