With thousands of years of human conflict to choose from, World War II German infantry remains an extremely popular subject for manufacturers. What marked this set out as more unusual when it was first released is that it depicts late war infantry, whereas most sets at that time showed the smart uniform of the early war.
To the casual observer late war Germans might seem much like early war Germans, but there are a number of detail differences. By 1945 many Germans had the M1944 uniform, resembling the British Battledress in having a blouse-like jacket, but all these figures still have the tunic. This is the M1943 version, with straight pocket flaps and no pleating on the pockets. Another feature of late war costume was the use of ankle boots and canvas anklets, making the old marching boots a rarity on the battlefield, yet only three of the 10 privates in this set wear the ankle boots, and the rest still have the marching boots. Most of the men carry water bottle, gas canister and what looks like a breadbag on their standard 'Y' shaped straps, though we were surprised to see the senior officer also wearing these straps, all be it without any of the aforementioned kit.
The weaponry on display is reasonable, although at this scale precise identification is often not possible. However it would seem half the figures are carrying the Sturmgewehr (assault rifle), more popularly known as the Maschinenpistole 44, and two are carrying the famous MP40 (sometimes called the 'Schmeisser'). Only one man has a rifle, while another is holding a Panzerfaust and a third has a rather simplified flamethrower. Both the officers carry pistols, although the junior officer has no holster for his.
We liked most of the poses on show here, many of which are all the better because a multi-part or sliding block mould has been used to improve the position of the man and remove excess plastic. Nonetheless for some reason one man (third figure on top row) still has a large lump of unwanted plastic. The crouching officer is a bit awkward though, as is the third figure in the second row, but the rest of the poses have good movement and look natural.
And so to the detail. Well, detail is good and clear, and thanks to the more sophisticated mould there is more of it than on most other figures. Clothing is all well animated, and even facial expressions are really well done. Despite the unusually large number of split lines, there is absolutely no flash, making this a well produced piece of work. One annoying feature we spotted is that the straps up the chest of each man have a number of holes in them. This is perfectly correct, yet at this scale such holes would effectively disappear, so in fact this is a detail too far, particularly since these same straps also lack the buckles that make the holes necessary in the first place!
So, this is another very impressive effort from this new manufacturer. We would have liked to have seen a more diverse selection of clothing for this time period, and certainly most Germans defending Berlin in 1945 would have presented a more shabby appearance than these men, although today there are many sets available which do bring more variety. With very few errors this is still a very fine set that will no doubt find much favour with those interested in World War II, and in a crowded market that is a notable achievement.