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Plastic Soldier

Set UMOS011

German Afrika Korps 81 mm Mortars

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2022
Contents 6 figures
Poses 6 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)


A German infantry regiment in 1940 was made up of three infantry battalions (plus ancillary services) each of which comprised three rifle companies and a machine gun company. Each of these machine gun companies was assigned six 8 cm (actually 81 mm) mortars, making 18 per regiment. Originally classed as heavy, it was reclassed as 'medium' as the obsolete 5 cm model was withdrawn and the 120 mm mortar came into service, and provided valuable fire support for infantry when artillery was not available.

The 8 cm mortar was based on the common Stokes pattern, and could be transported by three men carrying the barrel, baseplate and bipod. The model here is in two parts as seen above, which reduces the assembly required, and both parts have their own base, but the point of contact is tiny so does not make for a strong result. It is pretty accurate as a sculpt, but because the barrel and baseplate are one piece, the customer has no control over the angle of elevation, which is a pity as the angle is actually a rather unrealistic 85 degrees or so - practically vertical, which would not be safe. However if you are more concerned with the representation of the weapon than the finer details of angles then this is not a problem, as otherwise the mortar is fine, with the correct barrel length.

The three crew for each mortar are essentially the same pose, the only difference being in the headgear and angle of the head. One man is about to drop a bomb (and looks rather casual to us), another brings up a round and the third is kneeling and holding another. As poses these are all quite satisfactory, and well done. The uniform is also properly done, being the usual tunic, trousers and boots, topped with helmet or cap. Certainly in the heat of the desert such men could be rather less neat than this, but that is not to say there is anything wrong with these figures. They all have the usual 'Y' straps supporting a bread bag, water flask, gasmask cannister and entrenching tool, plus the rifle ammunition pouches at the front.

The sculpting is reasonable but betrays their metal origin as the details are not as sharp as some plastics, and the faces in particular are not pleasing to look at. The heads are also a bit big, but otherwise the proportions are not too bad and many will find them very acceptable for their table-top armies. We found no flash on man or weapon, and the little extras of ammunition boxes are a nice extra touch. It is not an exciting set, but it does the job, which is all most would want from it.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 7
Sculpting 7
Mould 9

Further Reading
"Afrikakorps 1941-43" - Osprey (Elite Series No.34) - Gordon Williamson - 9781855321304
"Afrikakorps Soldier 1941-43" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.149) - Pier Paolo Battistelli - 9781846036880
"German Combat Equipments 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.234) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850459524
"German Trench Mortars & Infantry Mortars 1914-45" - Schiffer - Wolfgang Fleischer - 9780887409165
"Infantry Mortars of World War II" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.54) - John Norris - 9781841764146
"The German Army 1939-45 (2) North Africa & Balkans" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.316) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855326408

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