This is far from being the first set of World War II German infantry that we have reviewed, and it won’t be the last, so this set has a lot of competition for the attention of enthusiasts of that conflict. The exploits of the German army between 1939 and 1945 need no retelling here, but in general they were well respected by friend and foe, even though the political goals of their masters were certainly not. In the end they were asked to do too much - having to invade the vast Soviet Union and defeat the Red Army while latterly coping with the Allied invasions in Normandy and Italy proved impossible, but they remain a subject of fascination for many today, making them the most popular subject for plastic figures.
With so many German Infantry sets already around there must have been some discussion about whether to repeat useful poses already made or provide something different. The result seems to be something of a compromise, and with mixed results. We liked many of the poses, with those advancing (top row) being particularly natural in appearance. However we fail to see much value in the kneeling figure firing his pistol, and would certainly question the decision to include so many of this pose on a sprue. The first figure in the second row is priming a grenade, while the prone soldier to his left is about to throw one. Next there is another prone man, this time using what looks like a Raketenwerfer 54 anti-tank gun, also known as the Panzerschreck. The Panzerschreck could be fired whilst prone, but the operator's legs had to be angled to the left to avoid the back blast area, which was about nine metres in length. This figure, were he to fire his weapon now, would find his behind and legs very much at risk from the back blast, so this is a poor pose. The weapon required a two-man crew - the second man observed the target and loaded the weapon - and possibly the last man in this row, covering his ears, could be that second crewman. The soldier between them holds the familiar Panzerfaust, but he does so with his hands very close to the warhead. The bottom row begins with a man apparently being shot, but we felt this was not a convincing posture. The surrendering man is better, as are the rest in that row.
Almost all the men wear long jack-boots and are neatly attired, giving them the appearance of early war troops. However several of the weapons, including the StG44 assault rifle carried by one man, only appeared after 1943, which creates something of a mismatch. Still the uniform is well done and accurate, and the kit is OK too, although most of the men are surprisingly lightly kitted. Weaponry too looks OK, with occasional problems like some simplification of the Panzerschreck being due to the limitations of the mould.
The sculpting is pretty good, with plenty of accurate if rather shallow detail. The prone anti-tank gunner has been achieved by making the whole figure in two halves, which works well, and the standing firing figure also has a separate arm to improve the pose. Otherwise all the figures are single-piece, which is a problem for the radio man, who’s right arm is poorly defined and would have benefited from being a separate piece too. On our example we found flash to be quite variable, ranging from none at all in many places to a very pronounced ridge along some seams.
This set does not seem to offer anything particularly new, but it is another useful product for fans of the subject. The mixed signals about early/late war are a problem for some of the figures, as are a few of the poses which many will find of little use, but the sculpting is fine and accuracy is good too. Not the greatest set ever made then, but still worth bearing in mind for future Wehrmacht projects.