There is no getting away from it; sets of World War II Germans are very popular and have been produced in abundance over the years. The 'See Also' list at the bottom of this page only includes those sets that have infantry support weapons similar to this one, so this is a highly competitive market with ample choice for customers. What we have here are heavy machine guns, mortars and anti-tank weapons - all the support any infantry battalion would expect.
Our first row shows the 8cm Granatwerfer 34, which by late 1943 was the smallest calibre mortar in use by the German Army. The weapon itself follows the conventional approach of coming in two pieces - bipod and barrel/baseplate, which means that the elevation of the barrel is fixed. The model is a little simplified, as they usually are, but is pretty reasonable nonetheless. The suggested three crew figures are all dressed in conventional uniform for the later part of the war, most notably with short boots and anklets, and covers on their helmets. They carry a fair amount of kit, which is nice to see as manufacturers often skimp on this sort of thing, but there is little below the waistline. Items such as canteens are unusually to be found above the belt, while most figures have no bread bag at all. Although strange in itself, it has the effect of revealing the rear skirt of the tunic, which in all cases has been wrongly modelled with no central vent. All the figures in this set share these unfortunate characteristics.
Row two shows the larger 12cm Granatwerfer 42, which was a close copy of a Soviet weapon which the Germans found very effective and used in large numbers. Again a nice if somewhat simplified model, this has a separate base plate this time, but unfortunately at 19mm (1368mm) the barrel is considerably shorter than the real thing, which was 1870mm in length. The apparent commander of this weapon, with his hand in the air, is not quite as well sculpted as the rest of the figures as he has no chin. This is because he is looking down at his watch, so is at least understandable.
The next row reveals the heavy machine gun of the set, which the box tells us is the MG42. It certainly is not the MG34, on which the MG42 was based, but it lacks a crucial feature in that it does not have the gap on the right side that allowed the rapid changing of barrels. This was a very important aspect of the weapon both for its operators and those in its firing line, and could easily have been reproduced here. It is mounted on a tripod which is pretty good but again simplified. Most noticeable is that it only has one pad on the front leg, whereas it is normally (but not always) shown with two. While the MG42 has been modelled several times already, it is nice to see the much less common tripod mounting in this set.
The last two rows show the typical German anti-tank weapons. First there is the Panzerfaust, held here by two figures. Both are fine, with one kneeling and with the sight up as if waiting for his prey. However his hands are not in the correct place to actually be firing the weapon at this moment. Finally we find the Panzerschreck, another good weapon but not disposable like the Panzerfaust. Both weapons have been quite well done here, and it is particularly nice to see a crewman included who is feeding the Panzerschreck (as it is with the men feeding the MG42).
These figures are made in a hard plastic, which is as well as several require some form of assembly so gluing is essential. The style is in line with the rest of the Plastic Soldier range, which is a little thicker than some others, but the detail is good and the proportions fine. The poses benefit from the multi-part approach and are also very good, and we found that everything fitted together easily enough with no flash to get in the way. We have made some criticisms of some of the weapons and the arrangement of the kit on the men's backs, but for the most part this is a nice set that works well with the Late War German Infantry already produced by this company.