With an extensive range of game pieces for their Art of Tactic system, including several planes, it makes sense to produce a piece such as this, representing the ground crew that were vital in keeping such planes in the air. Perhaps the rules call for such a piece to be present before planes can operate, but while the designer could have chosen a handful of generic poses such as we find in other Luftwaffe sets, instead they went for something much more interesting.
Upon opening this set the eye is immediately drawn to the large bomb loader pictured in our top row. Although a kit of few parts the result is a very decent accurate model of a typical bomb loader with a bomb that is about 22 mm in length, including the tail, so is probably the SC-250 - one of the most commonly used German bombs of the war. The man on the left is pulling this by the handle, while the other man is holding the bomb itself and helping to guide the whole contraption.
The second row has some much more general poses. To match the armourers of the top row we have here a man carrying a jerry can (Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister), a mechanic reaching down to his toolbox and another man with a barrel of fuel, oil etc. Each of these highly useful figures has been given their own base, and would be a common sight on any airfield. The bomb loader crew have not been given bases, but the set includes a large base so that all the figures and equipment can be posed together, making the game marker. This is fine as a game piece, but ridiculous as a real model since the men all get in each other’s way. Still it shows the bomb loader to good effect, and with some deft knife-work you could adapt the base just for the loader and crew.
The two men moving the loader are stripped to the waist, while the others wear fatigues or overalls, and all wear the side cap. A very simple uniform, but very practical and perfect for the subject. The sculpting is Zvezda's usual clean computer-design, with multiple parts for the figures making some perfectly natural poses but some small areas where the mould has failed to reach, resulting in some small loss of detail in those places. The various parts fit together extremely well without need for glue, although it is fair to say that the whole set takes a little time to put together, which is half the fun for some customers!
With the bomb loader this is a surprising and bold design for what could have been a very conventional and rather dull set of mechanics. The quality of the build is beyond reproach, and accuracy is also faultless, so yet another very small but interesting addition to the WWII figure range from Zvezda.