German air power had been a very important ingredient in the early successes of World War II, but as the war progressed the strain of fighting on several fronts and the growing bombing raids on the Fatherland, plus the increasingly lack of fuel supplies, seriously reduced the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe, and by the time another new front was opened by the Allies in Normandy they had almost complete air superiority. This is the second set from Preiser to portray the Luftwaffe air and ground crews who worked so doggedly against increasingly overwhelming odds.
Unlike many Preiser military sets, all the figures in this one are complete, and the single required piece of assembly is for the chair. The generous 30 poses cover pilots both inside and outside their aircraft, and also ground crew. The first couple of poses are of men getting into or out of their airplane, while the rest are a mixture of relaxing and working. The ground crew all appear to be at work, although none are holding any tools, ammunition belts or the like, so they should be strategically placed round a plane to make sense. One or two of the poses look a little strange, such as the first figure in row five, but on the whole they are fine.
There is a good mix of dress items here, and we found no particular problems with accuracy. A better idea of what is on offer can be gained from studying the very nicely done painted samples found on the back of the box. Several of the figures are clearly in a warm weather environment, which is particularly useful for some Mediterranean and North African scenes, but we would have liked to have seen a few in a clearly very cold climate too, as might be found during the depths of the Russian winter.
The sculpting on these is not up to the best this manufacturer can produce, with much of the detail being quite shallow and often hard to make out. Items like boots are difficult to identify, and on several figures the hands have no discernible fingers at all. Flash is fairly minimal but there is an obvious ridge round the figure where the moulds met, and most also have a circular mould mark and extra plastic tucked away round the back. The absence of bases, or material to make some, may annoy some, although as they are hard plastic gluing them is not a problem.
This is a pretty decent set but not a great sculpting effort and there are some issues with the mould. Some might prefer the flexibility that comes from Preiser's multipart Luftwaffe Pilots and Ground Crew set, but for a good variety of poses without having to get the glue out, this set is at least worth considering.