Cavalry in Poland had a long and illustrious history before 1939, but after the Great War it was apparent to all that armies would need to mechanise. However by the time of the German and Russian invasions of Poland this process was far from complete in most armies, and that included the armed forces of Poland, which still maintained large numbers of horsed cavalry, even though these would usually dismount when going into action. The cavalry was an elite, and the officers were therefore particularly highly regarded, which counted against them when in 1940 large numbers were murdered by the Soviet authorities along with many other officials and intelligentsia in what became known as the Katyn Massacre.
Having already created a set of troops for the Polish Uhlans of 1939, it makes sense for First To Fight to also produce a command set, particularly as there were so few poses in the first. However despite the name this is really no more than a 'Set 2', since only one of the handful of poses could be considered as 'command'. That figure is the last in our picture, being an officer with binoculars and pistol. The rest appear to be just ordinary troopers, but in less-obviously combative poses than the first set. The first man is simply standing, and judging by the box picture seems to be intended to be holding the horses of his section while the rest are in action. This is a very necessary pose and a good choice, since the need for such men meant any unit lost part of its manpower before even meeting an enemy. We have been told that such men often remained mounted while performing this function, which seems hazardous to us. The second man is a pretty generic pose, but he has the twin sets of BAR ammunition pouches which means he is linked to the third pose, which is more interesting. This man carries an anti-tank rifle, the wz.35, which was a good weapon capable to damaging most tanks of the day, such as the Panzer I and II. Three of this weapon were issued to each cavalry squadron, and it gave good service throughout the 1939 campaign.
The style of this set is exactly the same as the first, which is a pity in our view. The detail is fair but quite soft, and in many places it gets very poor such as on the hands. Faces are not great either, but it is the general anatomy that strikes you first, with the figures feeling awkward. Not apparent in our picture is that the figures are very flat, which is less of an issue with these sedentary poses, but still looks poor in reality. Some of the straps have no relevance to the position of the bag, and the design of the helmets is really poor, so these are not appealing figures to look at.
The uniform on show here is identical to the first set too, which in this regard is a good thing, as that means these figures are accurate. They wear the Adrian-style helmet and normal infantry tunic, and their breeches have been given the reinforcement that such cavalry men should have, although the sculptor has misunderstood this and made the reinforcement thinner than the rest of the garment where they join. The first man with the rifle has the standard rifle pouches and belts, and the second and third men have the pouches for the RKM wz.28, which is also correct. The officer has pistol holster and binocular case, and all four poses have the bread bag and gas mask bag that were standard issue. One rifleman has an entrenching tool and bayonet (which the other should also have), and these are also found on the anti-tank rifle man, although here again they are on top of the bread bag, which is absurd when you think about it.
We have photographed the figures without their bases, which are supplied on a separate sprue, and so will need to be attached if required. Since the plastic is hard the bond is a good one when gluing, although the bases are quite large and perfectly round, which seem to accentuate the flatness of the figures. In addition the anti-tank rifle man has a separate head which allows for some slight variation in angle, but is otherwise a rather pointless extra element of assembly as far as we can see. At least there is no flash to remove, and no hidden plastic as there are no hard-to-reach areas.
Anyone owning the first set of Polish Uhlans will find no surprises here in terms of quality or style, but this second set does add a few more useful poses. To call it a ‘command’ set is a stretch, as it is basically just an extension of the first, and by itself this set does not offer very much. Had both sets been sold as one we would have been happier with a modest but decent selection of poses, but the quality of sculpting is the major disappointment here, although the less ambitious poses in this set are better done than those in the first.