The great slaughter of the ‘war to end war’ of 1914-18 had horrified all the participants, but not all the lessons were learnt. As the vanquished it is perhaps not surprising that the Germans studied alternative methods of conducting warfare more closely than most, and they developed a strategy of fast-moving mobile warfare which was in large measure forced on them by the limitations on the size of their army following Versailles. When the shooting in Europe began again in earnest, the German infantryman was well trained and proved the new theories were both sound and usually devastating. Needless to say figures representing such troops have been extremely popular amongst manufacturers and today there is a wide range of sets to choose from (of which the closest matches are listed below). One question that must be answered then is whether there is any need for yet another set such as this from Caesar?
These figures convey the classic look of German infantry, in that they reflect the early war appearance with their jackboots and smart uniforms without the camouflage and various expedient war items that became so common later on. All the figures are dressed in this way and all are very well done. Equipment is mostly fairly standard battle-order, with bread bag, gas mask case, field flask, entrenching tool and sometimes cook pot. A few also have the bayonet, but all have the correct belts and ammunition pouches corresponding to their weapon. In short, there are no problems with uniform or kit.
Weapons consist mainly of the usual rifles and sub-machine guns seen in all sets of this subject, but two are worthy of particular attention. The second figure in the top row holds a submachine gun with a magazine attached horizontally on the left side. While much of the weapon is obscured this looks to us like one of the early German submachine guns such as the innovative MP18 or one of its derivatives (the MP28 or MP34/35). Such weapons certainly saw service during World War II, but were not so common as the MP38 and MP40 as they were difficult to mass produce. Nonetheless they were excellent weapons and much sought-after, and have rarely if ever been depicted in this hobby before, so are a very welcome variation here. In a similar vein we think the bipod-mounted machine gun in the bottom row is probably the CZ vz26 or vz30, which were excellent Czech weapons that the Germans wisely used in large numbers after they gained control of that country (designated MG 26(t) and MG 30(t) respectively).
With so many sets of German infantry already on the shelves you might imagine that every conceivable pose had already been produced short of 'soldier eating his lunch' (which may well be a future Preiser project?). Indeed out of necessity many poses on display here are much the same as those that have gone before, but our eye was particularly caught by the marching and 'at attention' figures in the bottom row. Both these simple poses are very well done and very useful, yet are rare in the hobby. However we would have to say that there is not a weak pose anywhere here, with every one being well done and entirely believable.
Caesar sculpting is usually among the best and there is really nothing to fault here either. Detail everywhere is very sharp, making weapons easy to identify and faces that are extremely lifelike. Several poses have the usual Caesar multi-part mould to improve both the pose and the level of detail on all surfaces, although some figures do still have plastic filler between weapon and man. However the absence of flash makes these really attractive figures ready to go without any trimming or assembly.
We asked whether there was any need for another set of German infantry. Well 'need' is perhaps the wrong word since no one ever needs any plastic figure. However these are great accurate little soldiers produced to a very high standard with all the usual weapons plus a few surprises, so while the subject may already be well served we would suggest there is always room in the hobby for top quality figures on any subject, so welcome aboard boys!