Though World War II is often seen as a mechanised war, many armies continued to rely heavily on horses for pulling guns and vehicles, and this included the Germans. Nonetheless horse-drawn models are quite rare as most attention is paid to the famous Panzers, so this set from Revell was a considerable surprise. That surprise has frequently turned to delight as there are many fans of this set, so a careful examination is called for.
Many reviews on this site start by discussing the poses available, but with this set that means discussing all the figures since every one is different. To take the foot figures first, these are all operating the gun, and you really couldn't fault them. They are carrying ammunition, pulling on the gun or simply watching what is going on. In shirt-sleeves or stripped to the waist as they do their hot work, all these men seem natural and realistic, and have a far more realistic appearance than the more usual fare with men wearing smart regulation uniform. A little common sense and some good sculpting have delivered the goods here. One of the men has a foot on the gun, but there is a spare piece if the gun is preferred without him. Though he looks good on the scan above, his position means there is an unsightly mess along his back, which is horizontal and therefore not accessible to the mould, so from above this figure is not so pleasing.
The mounted officer is very nice, and the six-horse team and limber are excellent. Though some of the harness is of necessity simplified, Revell have once again shown that they know how to make a gun team properly, with plenty of attention to detail. There has been no effort spared, with every horse in a different pose and the limber perfectly modelled despite being a complex piece of kit. Each pair of horses has an outrider, and once again all are different. They are in quite relaxed positions, so clearly not in any great hurry, and they have not bothered to put their helmets on, so they are some distance from any action. Four men ride on the limber, and their demeanour is like that of the outriders, with good natural poses.
The set comes with two guns. Both are the 10.5 cm le FH 18 Light Field Howitzer. This was a workhorse of the German army, and throughout the war it was their standard medium field howitzer, seeing service in all theatres where it proved an unremarkable but very capable weapon that was still serviceable in adverse weather. One of the guns has its trails closed and spades folded back, and so should be hitched to the limber, while the other is open and clearly in action. Both models come in several parts, and there are instructions included on their construction which are clear and straightforward. The resulting ordnance is well detailed and about as accurate as could be wished for.
As if that was not enough, the sprue is further filled with all manner of accessories to complete the scene. Compartmentalised boxes have been included, both open and closed, presumably for the powder bags (the shell and powder were loaded separately), and several sets of shells in their wooden holders, which make a very realistic item for laying around the gun and crew. Each of the outriders has been provided with saddle packs and helmets, and there is a collection of smaller items - rifles and bits of the men's kit.
This is one of those sets that really takes your breath away. Revell have consistently shown that they are the masters at producing artillery sets, regardless of era, and this one does them proud once again. The Revell trademark quality runs right through these pieces, with good detail, excellent realism and almost no flash. The mounted figures could even be of some use portraying German cavalry. If we were being cold-hearted we would mention that there is one photograph of the limber which suggests the rear-facing men sat on a lower seat than the rest, which does not happen here, but with so many excellent features it is hard to knock this. Preiser also market the model of the limber, team and one gun in their range of 1/87 scale sets, though some of the pieces are slightly different. The damaged guy leaning over is the only blemish on an outstanding set which is well loved and rightly so.