All figures are supplied unpainted (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
||Plastic (Very Hard)
The mortar was a very welcome support weapon for the infantry of World War II that was as mobile as they were and could deliver in places where artillery was not available. The Soviets used vast numbers of mortars, including many 82mm models like that in this set, which makes it a natural part of the Art of Tactic game system Zvezda are building up. In fact this weapon was part of the range of game pieces quite early on (see here), but this later product shows the same with a winter crew, and this time we only get one mortar but a more substantial crew.
The four-man crew all wear the M35 greatcoat that would have been normal for the specified period of 1941 to 1943. Helmets of course are on all the heads, and each man carries his water bottle and gasmask case, while each has slung his rifle across his back, although none of the figures have any sign of the rifle sling by which this is achieved. These men are a bit too neat and uniform for our taste given the difficulties of supply at the time, but everything is authentic and properly done. The mortar too is nicely done, with lovely fine components that look great but require care to put together to avoid breakage. All the men too have an element of assembly, but the parts fit well if at times a little fiddly to push home.
We picture each figure individually above, but of course they only really make sense round the mortar itself, for which a single large base is provided. This is fine, and of course the whole thing is intended as a game component anyway, so when all is put together as here you get a really nice little scene. One man is feeding a bomb into the tube, while another on the other side of the tube covers his ears in anticipation of the noise. A third, lying behind the bomb-feeder, is passing up the next bomb while a fourth is dragging up more ammunition. The poses, aided by the multi-part design, are all great and the whole thing works really well. Zvezda’s usual faultless sculpting and production values are of course on show too.
While you might wonder at the need for a second (all be it much nicer) model of the same thing for a wargame, for modellers this is a nice piece and a nice boost for winter Red Army forces.