This is another in the wide range of Preiser World War Two Germans, which seems to suggest they are intent on depicting the Germans in every conceivable situation (not that we are complaining). This time we find a full mortar team lined up as if on parade, carrying the mortar in its various parts for movement to wherever it is required.
Reading from left to right our first figure is carrying the barrel, followed by one carrying the support and then one with the baseplate. The fourth man, with binoculars (and therefore presumably leader of the team), carries items of uncertain nature, while the pose with three copies all carry ammunition. That makes seven figures in all, and the box frequently tells us that there are seven figures in the box. However there is an eighth - the final figure - who carries nothing but has one hand out as if holding something. The box instructions admit the existence of this last figure, but indicate it should be ignored and discarded, although why we cannot tell. Certainly it looks rather odd holding the hand out like that without holding something, and presumably he was originally intended for some specific purpose such as handling the horse pulling the cart. For whatever reason however he is still on the sprue but cast out by Preiser.
This is one of those occasions when a set of figures is described very precisely, and the poses exactly match what is promised. All the men are at attention and 'lined up' as the box puts it, so there really is nothing more to say except that the poses perfectly deliver the box title. Even the final pose, which Preiser would like us to ignore, is perfectly good, particularly if you add a horse and suitable infantry cart from elsewhere.
The mortar being carried is of the 81mm calibre variety, which was usually transported on a horse-drawn cart but could be carried by the crew in this way when necessary. Each pressed steel container held four bombs, and it was usual to carry 24 such rounds between the crew, which exactly matches the three figures in this set.
All the men are neatly turned out in tunics and high jackboots, giving them an early war appearance, which is reinforced by the size of the mortar barrel, which was shortened later in the war. Where their load allows they all carry the minimum standard items of kit, so along with the uniform they are all quite authentic for the early years of the war.
Unusually for Preiser these men mainly come in one piece. As can be seen from the sprue there are a few parts to put together, but for the most part this is less of a kit than most offerings from this company. With the simple nature of the poses the use of multiple parts was largely unnecessary, so apart from the lack of any bases these figures are quick to assemble and soon ready to go. The level of detail and proportions are great as always, and there is no flash nor any discernible ridge at the mould join.
While the subject is not the most exciting these simple figures do exactly what the box claims and do it perfectly well. Another high quality product from this most prolific of producers.