Of the many horrors of World War I gas was perhaps one of the worst. When war broke out again in Europe most people assumed gas would be deployed once more, and Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union and the USA all had large stocks of various chemical weapons. In the event gas was very rarely used, so few experienced the same horror so many had suffered from in the Great War.
This hard plastic set contains 10 figures which have separate heads, arms and weapons. All the parts are numbered and the instructions carefully show how each pose is constructed. However we found many of the parts looked little like their illustration, to the extent that we suspect some numbers got moved around, with the result that, although we followed the instructions to the letter, some of the resulting poses are very strange and awkward. The poses as illustrated are reasonable, but the best chance of achieving them is to mix and match arms yourself.
The figures also differ from the instructions in terms of their appearance. The actual figures wear the early war style of tunic but with the late war short boots and anklets. They are entirely lacking any webbing apart from a waist belt, from which their sole item of equipment, their cylindrical gas mask case, hangs. They all wear a helmet and, of course, the M38 gasmask. The helmet bears no resemblance to the actual 'stepped' helmet so familiar to us all, and looks more like something out of the medieval period, while the gas mask is at best something of an approximation.
Where the figures drift furthest from the instructions, and the box artwork, is in their sculpting. Both instructions and box art are well done, but the figures are downright horrible. Despite being absurdly lightly equipped detail is fairly minimal and it is a significant challenge to fix arms and heads to torsos. In cases where both arms are meant to be gripping a weapon we were quite unable to persuade both to do this, and joins with the shoulder are very obvious and ugly. Even the prone figures look silly, with their feet well off the ground.
One good thing about the set is a decent selection of weapons, including the mortar. These are reasonably well done, but as can be seen they do not sit well on the figures. The warning flag is identified as gas warning, but is really a general warning flag, more often used to mark minefields etc. The flag itself is a wet-transfer. The bunker is a simple two-piece job, and stands at about the height of a man, so we might imagine that it represents the top of a partly-buried construction.
Although we haven't shown them, the set does come with bases. These are long and thin and many will want to trim them down as they are much larger than necessary.
Since gas was such a rarity during the war, why was this set made? Well the instructions rather self-consciously try to answer that by pointing out that masks were used to protect the wearer from rocket exhaust and could be useful in smoke and dust clouds. To this could be added that training in masks was done, particularly before the war, but to be honest this is not reason enough to make these. So, a set that has very little reason to exist has been quite badly done, so there are plenty of reasons to avoid this set and none at all to buy it.