The vast bulk of the Art of Tactic game system from Zvezda is clearly focused on the battle between Germany and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945, but with this game piece the scope was expanded to also include the British involvement, at least in the early part of the war. In the end the range of British subjects was fairly modest, but naturally it began with a set of ordinary infantry.
The box claims the whole of the 39-45 war for these figures, but it is wrong. Some elements did last the whole war, including the battledress, the 37 pattern webbing and the Mk. II helmet, all of which are modelled here. However the men all wear the pre-war respirator in the alert position, which fell out of use by 1943, and all have the short one-piece spade on the left hip, which ceased production in 1941. Other elements of note include the small pack they all have, and the rolled anti-gas cape on top. By late war too the Mk.III helmet would have been common, as well as other items of kit, so these are definitely early war figures, which from a game point of view means they are for the campaign in France up to the defeat at Dunkirk. However the rifles seem to have elements of both the SMLE Mk III* and the No.4 Mk I, the latter being only for the late war period.
The usual high level of assembly from Zvezda is in evidence here, but on this occasion we found the tolerances so fine that many parts were a real struggle to put together, and in some cases we were defeated, and cut the peg off so as to just glue the offending arm on. Being hard to force together meant some parts did not match up as well as they should, so this was quite a task to put together and not the most pleasing of results. The detail is of the usual Zvezda standard, if sometimes a bit patchy, and the poses are pretty regular but nothing of particular interest. Of course this is primarily a game piece, and while separate bases are provided for each figure as pictured, the whole lot can be placed on one base as seen here. We found this a rather frustrating kit to put together, and not quite up to the best of Zvezda’s standards, but although primarily a game piece this delivers some early war figures with kit rarely seen in our hobby so far.