Although this set is part of the Preiser Military range it is certainly peaceful in nature as it depicts a modern German Army band. The box claims 51 figures but in ours we found enough parts to make 59, and that gives a clue to one of the most important aspects of this set. To understand it you have to look at our picture of the sprue (see above), from which you will see there are a lot of pieces here. To begin with there are 59 bodies, all standing still and all with no head or arms. These wear a smart tunic and trousers, and therefore reflect what passes for parade uniform in many armies these days. The set also includes a very large number of heads, which are wearing a variety of headwear including berets, peaked caps and helmets. This too helps to broaden the range of possibilities for this set. The brass-coloured sprues (yes, they really are moulded in a metallic brass colour) contain all the musical instruments and associated arms. Using this colour means the instruments look like they are brass, although of course so do the arms of the men, so you wouldn't really want to show these figures without some sort of paint job. Finally there are a number of drums in a grey colour, and a couple more instruments in a silvery-grey colour.
That is a lot of putting together, but it does allow a great deal of flexibility both in the appearance of the men and the make-up of the band. The front of the box gives a nice impression of what these figures would look like all painted, and the same is true of the back of the box. The accompanying instructions go to some lengths to explain what parts can be put together to create various kinds of musician, and also suggests some line-ups for military and Fire Brigade bands. Our solitary trumpeter figure pictured above is merely a taster of what is on offer, and certainly a lot of work has gone into this particularly large set.
The sculpting is of the usual high Preiser standard, and the naturally very small instruments are particularly well done, helped by the hard plastic that allows very delicate models. Putting a whole band together will certainly take some time, and most are likely to want to paint them too. This is further helped by the inclusion in the set of a number of dry transfers of various banners and logos appropriate to a German band. Unfortunately the set is currently only made in 1/87 scale, so the figures are rather small compared to most on this site, but if you can live with that then this set promises a lot of pleasure assembling and painting it, and an impressive display at the end.