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First To Fight

Set PL1939-023

Polish Command

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 18 figures
Poses 6 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This issue from the 'September 1939' series from First To Fight concentrates not only on the 'command' of the title, but also on some of the support weapons not found in their infantry set.

Although many weapons used by the Polish Army in 1939 were versions of foreign models made under licence, one of the home-grown models was a new anti-tank rifle, the wz.35, which is what the first man in the top row is carrying. The Poles were very proud of this weapon, which could penetrate any German tank of the day, and were obsessive about keeping it secret. Thousands were in service by the time of the German and Soviet invasions, and accounted for many tanks, but were not enough to ultimately stop the Blitzkrieg. We know this weapon is being held here because the excellent magazine tells us, but to be honest it is not a great model. The detail is not at all clear, and the rifle is, very obviously, much too short. The wz.35 had an overall length of 1760mm, but this model is a mere 20mm (1440mm), which really shows. Particularly evident is the shortened barrel, which is only about 14mm (1000mm) in length when it should be 17mm (1200mm). The man carrying it is correctly dressed in standard infantry uniform, which has been properly done, as has the kit, which includes the larger ammunition pouches rather than those for the standard rifle.

The second and third men in the top row are the team for another domestically-produced weapon, the wz.36 mortar, which again numbered in the thousands by September 1939. This was an unusual design in that it had an exhaust pipe on top of the barrel which was used to control the size of the combustion chamber beneath the grenade, thus varying the range, since the barrel was always set at 45 degrees. This gave the mortar a distinctive shape, and this has been well reproduced here. The first man is about to drop a grenade down the barrel, but to us seems very close to the weapon which looks a bit odd. The second man is passing grenades from an ammunition box.

With the second row we find figures that you might expect in a set labelled as 'command'. First is a man with a radio, who looks good, and then we have two officers. The first is looking through binoculars (perhaps an NCO guiding one of the weapons in this set) and the second is leading his men forward with pistol in hand. Both wear the breeches and long riding boots that were the norm at the time, and look pretty good. The second officer lacks a case for the binoculars that he has round his neck, but otherwise they have the right kit for their position.

The troops all have the correct infantry uniform, including the anklets and short boots, with the anti-tank gunner and the radio man carrying full kit. Everyone except the NCO (strangely) has a gas mask bag, and most have the standard haversack too, so there are no accuracy issues with the uniform.

The style of the sculpting is exactly the same as the first Polish set, which is very different from the German sets in this range. The detail and proportions are good, and very much reminiscent of Caesar figures, but occasionally the detail can be a bit vague, as for example on the anti-tank rifle. The only assembly required is for the man holding the mortar, who has a separate base to which he must be glued. The rest of him is in one piece, which includes the mortar, and the same applies to the anti-tank rifleman and the radio man, all of whom benefit from a multi-piece mould to provide deep, realistic poses and no excess plastic around the complex weapon. This is why the mortar man is so close to his weapon, so in that case it is less than ideal, although many will be pleased that these figures are ready to go out of the box. We would have preferred a separate mortar, but it is not too bad the way it has been done here. There is certainly no flash, so these are nicely produced as well as nicely sculpted. The only reservation we had was with the mortar operator, who seems excessively tall and would be a giant when he stands up.

The shortened anti-tank rifle makes it look more like a light machine gun, which might actually be useful for some, but it spoils what is otherwise a very accurate collection. The sculpting is good, and certainly better than the German sets to our eyes, and the poses are fine, even with the mortar man’s proximity to his weapon. This is a very useful expansion to the First To Fight infantry set, introducing some interesting new weapons to the hobby, and a worthy addition to this fast-growing range.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 8
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Army Uniforms of World War 2" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Andrew Mollo - 9780713706116
"Poland 1939" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.107) - Steven Zaloga - 9781841764085
"The Armed Forces of World War II" - Orbis - Andrew Mollo - 9780856132964
"The Polish Army 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.117) - Steven Zaloga - 9780850454178
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150
Magazines
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.55

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