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Set 72142

German Artillery Crew (Winter)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2024
Contents 36 figures
Poses 9 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Green
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)


Since the introduction of gunpowder weapons into Europe, many had looked for ways to provide heavier firepower to assist the infantry. Naturally this was the job of the artillery, but guns were very large and very heavy, and so difficult to move to keep up with the infantry. The answer came in the early part of the 20th century, when the mortar, and later the recoilless gun, were introduced onto the battlefield. Both offered a quick and light means of supporting infantry when artillery could not, and during World War II many an infantryman would be glad of the fire support such weapons could provide, or would curse as the enemy bombarded him in a similar manner.

The two pieces of ordnance provided in this set have been modelled before, most notably by Mars themselves in their set of Tropical German Paratroopers, and are of the German 10.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 42, or LG 42, and the 8 cm Mortar 34. The recoilless LG42 (or LG 43 – they are much the same at this scale) is provided in several parts as you would expect, but provides quite a challenge to put together. Once the parts are released from the sprue, we found that a lot of work was required to drill out holes and trim elements so everything could be put together, particularly the shield, which needed much alteration to permit the gun barrel to pass through it. This was not helped by a fair amount of flash, although in the end the completed model is a pretty reasonable one which, thanks to the tight tolerances, can be put together without need of glue. As is so often the case with this sort of weapon kit in a soft plastic figure set, this one is a bit basic but perfectly serviceable, and quite well detailed.

The mortar is just two parts, as the barrel and bipod are a single piece (the other being the rectangular baseplate). Since bipods are always fiddley to attach to a mortar because the area of contact is so small, having them as a single piece makes building this one a lot easier. However, we found the barrel (which is 15.5 mm long (112 cm), and so the standard rather than the lightened version) to be somewhat curved on the sprue, and while the detail is fairly good, this ease of building inevitably comes with some compromises. Again, this is a serviceable model rather than a piece of art.

The figures in the top row are manning the mortar, and include one holding the bipod down, another about to feed a round into the barrel, a third passing the next round forward, and the fourth observing through binoculars. Unlike some mortar crews, this one is very definitely interacting with their weapon, and we thought all of the poses were very creditable. The man gripping the bipod is particularly unusual, but they all work well, and as none have a base they can be placed right against the weapon. Also, having a full team to operate the mortar is a refreshing change from the many sets that offer just one or two such poses.

The slightly bigger crew for the LG 42 are mostly standing, and again include individuals bringing up or feeding ammunition, plus the gunner operating the gun and a really nice pose of a crewman resting his arm on a wheel of the gun as he watches the result of the firing. The gun is elevated off its wheels, as it should be for firing, and here too we really liked all the poses - in particular the way most are keeping their heads down as much as possible. Mars have managed to produce some well-animated poses that are very realistic and far from flat, yet require no assembly, so a great crew, and like the mortar crew there is a decent number of them.

As the title tells us, all here are in winter uniform, and while the dark, shiny plastic makes it difficult to be certain of finer details, they look to be wearing an assortment of garments that might be found on any winter front from the winter of 1942/43 onwards. A couple look to be wearing a greatcoat under a smock or anorak, and some of the clothing is quilted for extra warmth. The mortar crew seem to wear ordinary infantry helmets with cloth covers, while the LG 42 crew wear paratrooper helmets, which are not covered. One man has a rifle slung, but most of the rest have machine pistols or StG44 assault rifles on their back. The last figure in our second row looks to have an FG 42 automatic rifle on his back, underlining the paratrooper identification of this crew. Other kit such as the usual ammo pouches, bread bag, gasmask case etc are also present, so there are no accuracy problems here.

The sculpting is very good, and in particular the ability to produce good three-dimensional poses with a single piece, but the detail on uniforms and kit is good too. We have already spoken of the flash on the weapons, which makes assembly more difficult, and there is also some flash on the figures, though this varies quite a bit. The weapons are of the correct size and have little lost detail all things considered, so this is a well-produced collection.

The recoilless gun first appeared in 1942, and the clothing and personal arms of these men all show that this set is for the later part of the war. The good weapons and excellent mix of winter clothing look very good, and are shown to their best by the excellent painted examples on the rear of the box (though doubtless these are their 1/32 scale cousins). Still this is a very decent set to add to any later-war winter infantry unit or scene, and since such winter dioramas remain extremely popular with modellers, there will be many that will find a good use for these figures.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 9
Mould 7

Further Reading
"German Artillery of World War Two" - Greenhill - Ian Hogg - 9781853672613
"German Soldiers of World War II" - Histoire & Collections - Jean de Lagarde - 9782915239355
"German Trench Mortars & Infantry Mortars 1914-45" - Schiffer - Wolfgang Fleischer - 9780887409165
"Infantry Mortars of World War II" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.54) - John Norris - 9781841764146
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The German Army 1939-45 (3) Eastern Front 1941-43" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.326) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855327955
"The German Army 1939-45 (4)" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.330) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855327962

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