By the end of the Second World War the German Army had many camouflage items, but at the start they only really had one, and that was the Zeltbahn 31. This ingenious yet simple item was essentially a triangular piece of waterproof material which could be used for many purposes but was meant primarily as a tent section and as a waterproof for the man. It is this item that features in this set from Caesar, and as it was introduced in the early 1930s it is suitable for the whole of the war. Caesar have used the term Panzergrenadier (even though they don't know how to spell it), which was only adopted in 1942, which seems to unnecessarily date the set to the second half of the war, but all the legs have the short boots and anklets, which does force these figures to be for the second half only.
Although several sets have been made that include figures wearing this item, including one from Caesar themselves, they have all illustrated that the sculptor had not understood it. Here at last we find a sculptor who does understand it, and has created parts which look very good. All the men have a belt around the waist, but their shoulder braces must be underneath as these are not visible. This means much of their kit is also likely to be carried externally - essential if they may go into action still wearing it. The various separate weapons and items of kit are all authentic, so there are no problems here with historical accuracy.
This product is part of the Caesar 'Assembly' series, so it contains a large number of components with which you are expected to construct your own figures as you wish. See our review of the first in this series, German Infantry 1943, for a discussion of this approach. The image of the sprues for this set reveal that it has much the same makeup as the rest of this series, with just the body parts being unique here. The Zeltbahn 31 is anything but tailored, so making arms and legs that fit together in any combination must have been a particular challenge, yet the sculptor seems to have pulled it off really well. There are limits of course but we were impressed with the result, although as with the others sets we found the range of poses was not as wide as we had originally expected. Still everything is clearly sculpted with good detail and no flash, so the result is a good one.
How wide a market there is for this sort of product remains to be seen, but the time taken to construct a figure means this is no way to build an army, and the resulting figures are not as natural as a purpose-designed figure in our view. However if flexibility is a big requirement and you need figures wearing the Zeltbahn 31 then this set is undoubtedly of interest to you.