The victory of the Red Army in Stalingrad is usually seen as the key turning point of World War II, and over the next two years the Soviets reconquered all the vast territories they had lost in the previous 18 months and pressed on to Berlin. This was achieved in no small part by the huge numbers of tanks that they were able to put in the field, and considering the distances involved it is not surprising that there are many contemporary images of troops riding them. This unusual set from Preiser is dedicated solely to that practice, although several of the figures could easily serve in other situations.
Some of the poses seem reasonable enough such as those just sitting, but others look a bit odd when viewed by themselves as we have done here. So the first question is, how do they look on a tank? Well, we took a T34 and, following the box instructions, placed all 12 figures on it relatively easily. Personal space might have been an issue, and to our mind some don't seem to be hanging on as much as they should, but all do sit quite well on the vehicle, so no problems with the poses.
All the men are wearing the same basic uniform of gymnastiorka shirt with sharovari half-breeches and boots. We have made up all the models with helmets, but the set includes alternative heads to allow every figure to have the pilotka side cap instead. They all have their greatcoat rolled across the chest in customary fashion, and varying levels of other kit, some of which comes as optional extras in the set. Most carry rifles but three have the PPSh41 machine gun and one seems to hold a Degtyarev DP light machine gun.
The sculpting of these figures is very good but the detail is quite shallow. This is no more than the real thing, but in this scale some small exaggeration of straps and other such items is required if it is to be seen. Most of the men come as a body (sometimes with a separate leg), two arms, rolled greatcoat and a choice of heads as we have mentioned. The parts generally fit together very well and have been well thought out. We have made the figures exactly as suggested on the box, but with all the arms being separate there is some scope for coming up with your own poses too.
Sitting on a tank in battle may not always be a bright idea, but Preiser have never been afraid to depict troops in situations other than battle, and these certainly fulfil the intended purpose very well.