World War II German infantry in one form or another is much the most popular subject for figure sets these days, and a good many of those have been produced by Caesar. This time we find a brace of sets entitled ‘Combat Team’, of which this is the first.
The first thing that strikes you about this set is that you don't get a lot of plastic in the box. 10 poses for a general infantry set is on the mean side, but only having 23 figures in total is a significant reduction on what most companies, including Caesar, have delivered in the past. Ultimately how much that matters will depend on the price you are asked to pay, which obviously will vary, so as always we will not be commenting on issues of value for money. Instead we will consider the quality of the pieces, which despite the imaginative title is just another set of general infantry.
The poses that you get are all pretty good. There is lots of dashing about here, and everyone looks to be in the thick of the action, so none of those static poses you sometimes find in 20th century sets. Just as importantly the poses are all really well done, and about as far from flat as you could imagine. Lots of highly natural stances make these figures very pleasing, and while most are fairly conventional choices the standout figure is the penultimate one in our bottom row, who is firing an MG42 machine gun from the hip – not the ideal way to use this weapon, but on occasions it did happen.
There is no assembly required for any of these figures, and in the past Caesar have made good use of sophisticated moulds to deliver natural poses in one piece. Here however we find excess plastic in some areas, which is very considerable in a couple of cases, particularly the fourth figure in the top row. Many older sets have suffered similarly, but we are unused to this feature from Caesar, so this was a surprise and it really is very noticeable. We were also just a little shocked to find flash here. Now it is only in a couple of places, and everywhere else the mould join is perfect, but again we have become accustomed to technical perfection from Caesar. The overall standard of the sculpting is still very good however, with good detail and highly realistic clothing etc. The weapons can be a bit vague at times, but this is still very nice modelling.
The men all wear long boots and smart tunics, giving an impression of early to mid-war, an impression that is reinforced by the proliferation of the cylindrical gas mask cases most carry. However in some cases the sculptor has forgotten to give these cases the strap from which they should be hanging, both front and back. Other kit varies a little but is entirely typical, with the usual bread bag, canteen, mess tin and sometimes an entrenching tool, all of which are well done. Apart from the aforementioned MG42 the weaponry is mostly the usual rifles and submachine guns, but the man with the grenade is holding an StG44 assault rifle, a late-war weapon that jars rather with the early war feel of these figures.
So this is a very nice set, with very good sculpting and one tiny sculpting problem (the missing strap). The poses are excellent, but in some cases the price to be paid is a good deal of excess plastic between weapons and arms. The product does not offer anything we have not seen before, but what it does do it does well, and those with a continuing need for more 39-45 German infantry will probably find much to like in this small collection of figures.