If you have a slow internet connection and it took ages to download all these pictures then we are sorry, but there is an awful lot to see in this set. While there might not be a soldier to be found anywhere, it does contain large amounts that will surely find many a use in wargames and military models of all sorts. After all, any battle that was fought out of doors and in a field (which is pretty much all of them we suspect) is likely to have been fought on someone's land, land that was until the day before being used to grow crops or tend livestock. Many battles have had farms and farmhouses as natural features, and when an army is on the march it will pass little else but agricultural land of some sort being worked by peasants. This is exactly what we find in this set from Preiser.
Preiser had the present day in mind when creating this set, and a few of the figures are quite clearly modern, but many could serve as peasants for past decades or even centuries. Figures such as the shepherd (first figure, top row) are pretty much timeless and could just as easily be standing in the middle of a 17th century town as a 21st century field. There is an interesting selection of poses, with many clearly holding one of the many tools included in the box, of which more in a moment. The possibilities for conversion are almost endless, and of course there is also scope for purely civilian dioramas too. Humorous elements such as the man struggling with the reluctant mule can add life to a scene, and the children could easily be cheering as an army passes by. None of the figures are provided with bases, but a sheet of thick clear plastic is included, presumably to allow you to fashion your own. Since these are hard plastic figures gluing is easy and secure.
After the figures we picture the wagons, another very attractive feature of this set as all armies relied on wagons until well into the 20th century. Three types are included, all being fairly simple and therefore widely usable. Note that there are insufficient horses to hitch up all the wagons, which seems like a foolish omission in our view. The small four-wheeled buggy is very nice, and comes with the option to have it set for two horses, as in our photograph, or just for one. All the wagons are fairly straightforward kits that allow the front axle to be left free to rotate if required. While all the parts fitted very well and the kits are very good there are almost no instructions, so a certain amount of intuition is required to know what goes with what. The wagons come with no traces as such, but a length of thread is included to allow you to make you own if desired.
After the wagons come the animals. These are the common European types, but unlike the Airfix Farm Stock this set also includes several goats. All the animals are very nicely realised, with the suckling pigs being a highlight. Equally good as random livestock or the next meal for your hungry armies.
The four pieces of fencing are actually not all the same as that pictured, but they are all compatible and suitably rundown. The horse trough is a nice idea, but the milking stool is a bit of a challenge to construct as might be expected of something so small. The set also includes about 30 logs and 20 or so planks of wood, all different and suitably textured, but we thought photographing every one was taking things a bit too far.
Finally we have the very impressive array of agricultural tools. All these are of course tiny but very well done. Like the rest of the set they are free of flash and could be used for all sorts of periods.
So there you have it. Some of the figures have fairly discreet but still annoying mould marks that need to be trimmed off, but there is no flash and where parts need to fit together they do so effortlessly. Note that the three large wagons are shown smaller than they should be relative to the figures in order to fit them on our page. The sculpting is excellent throughout, but some of the smallest pieces like the children, piglets and tools should be handled with care as they are obviously quite delicate. Basically this is a set that has so many uses it is limited only by your imagination. The fact that it is in HO scale (1:87) is something of a drawback, and we would love to see this in 1:72 scale (some elements are already available in this scale in other sets), but still this is a product that has been very well put together and has bags of potential.