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First To Fight

Set PL1939-071

Polish Uhlans on Horses 1939

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2019
Contents 6 figures and 6 horses
Poses 3 poses, 3 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Green
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


During the 1930s Poland started to mechanise its armed forces, but this was an expensive and slow process, and when war came in 1939 most of the cavalry were still mounted on horses. Knowing the firepower of infantry when ready to defend itself, the usual procedure was for cavalry to dismount before entering combat, although there were some occasions in 1939 when they actually met the enemy whilst still mounted. Nonetheless, their usual role was as riflemen that could deploy rapidly, but in the unequal fight in 1939 these famous mounted men could not turn back the tide of the invaders.

The Polish uniform was modern and well-designed, and was much the same for all branches of the Polish Army. These men wear the usual tunic with breast pockets and fall collar, breeches and, as mounted men, long riding boots. Unlike the infantry, most cavalry still wore the Adrian-style helmet in 1939, which is what we find on these figures, along with the webbing equipment similar to that of the Germans. As well as the ammunition pouches the men all have the gasmask canister, bread bag and bayonet/entrenching tool combination. In short, everything here is accurate and typical of the arm during that short campaign.

The set contains just the three poses, all of which are clearly relaxed and not in combat. Much as illustrated on the box, the men are riding without weapons drawn, which is essentially how they would almost always have appeared when on horseback. This is perfectly realistic, although those looking for some excitement will find none here, but this set is marketed primarily as a game marker, in which capacity it works perfectly well. One man has raised his hand to his helmet, perhaps shielding his eyes as he looks at something, but that is about all that can be said about the poses.

The horses all seem to be at the canter, so moving at some pace and certainly with more urgency than the box artwork suggests. So while these men are not in action, they are certainly going somewhere quite quickly. The horses have the correct saddle furniture, including the saddle bags and the rolled greatcoat at the front, and also the long cavalry sabre partly obscured by the saddle. All three animals are provided in two halves, which gets around a lot of problems with moulding horses in realistic poses, although here that opportunity has not really been taken, and the poses would have been almost identical had they been single pieces. Under the circumstances we would have preferred walking or standing horses, where the two-piece approach would have allowed some very realistic poses. However while these are not ideal they are adequate for the task, although the lack of any reins is a surprise and an unnecessary omission.

The sculpting of the men is not particularly pleasing. Detail is somewhat vague even though most of it is present, although the rifles are quite poor. The poses are of course quite flat anyway, and the only arm activity (middle figure with hand to his helmet) is achieved with a separate left arm and, for no very apparent reason, a separate head. All you can do here is have the head turned more or less sharply. The other two poses have their slung rifle as a separate piece, and all have a separate bayonet holder, which is quite fiddly to attach. However the hard plastic used makes gluing quite solid and easy. The horse halves fit very well, making some very nice animals that we liked more than the men. There is almost no flash, but some of the poses are a fraction too tight to fit properly on the saddles, so the figure threatens to 'ping' off the animal. The bases are a good size and are also separate, which is fine.

If you are looking for something to stir the blood then this set is not for you as it depicts the Polish cavalry doing what they mainly did, which was to scout, move and otherwise perform many of the traditional light cavalry roles practised down the centuries. Both man and horse has been correctly depicted, and while some of the separate parts felt a bit unnecessary, the concept of two-part horses is a good idea even though it was not used to create better poses in this case. The figures are not attractively sculpted, but they do the job as game pieces, so unless you are looking for cavalry figures in a fight this set will adequately deliver an important part of the Polish Army of 1939 not previously made by anyone else.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 6
Mould 9

Further Reading
"The Armed Forces of World War II" - Orbis - Andrew Mollo - 9780856132964
"The Cavalry of World War II" - Orbis - Janusz Piekalkiewicz - 9780856130229
"The Polish Army 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.117) - Steven Zaloga - 9780850454178
"Militaria (French Language)" - No.81

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