When thinking of an army’s need for transporting items around most will picture either wagons or motorised lorries. However the range was much wider than this, and for the army of the Third Reich one of the most versatile of vehicles was the humble IF8 infantry cart, as modelled in this set from Valiant.
This little cart was no more than waist high, but could be put to all sorts of uses. It was intended to be pulled either by a man or animals (either horses or dogs), although on occasion they seem to have been pulled behind a ketterkrad, motorcycle or similar small vehicle. The basic kit in this set has been provided with a choice of a forked tongue for being pulled by a single horse, a handle for one or two men, or a towbar for light vehicles (all pictured in our second row). A harness for a dog is not provided, but this is still a quite impressive array of options.
Basically the cart was a large bucket on wheels which could be used to carry almost anything, but there were also various mountings and attachments for specific payloads, some of which are options in this set. These can be seen to the right of our second row. The upper piece is a mounting for a machine gun such as the MG34 or MG42 - the latter is included in the set, and is nicely illustrated on the box artwork. The lower mounting is to carry four panzerfaust or panzerschreck anti-tank guns - and again the latter has been provided, while again the box artwork shows the finished arrangement quite nicely. The remainder of the items in the lower row are an assortment of boxes and cans which can be general cargo for the cart.
The carts could be linked together to form a mini 'train' so long as the motive power was sufficient, and this set includes the bar necessary to achieve this. It also includes, rather obviously, one of the forms of power, a horse with its handler. The man is wearing standard German uniform, with the short boots and ankle gaiters giving him a late-war appearance. However his main feature as far as we are concerned is his height, which as can be seen makes him extremely tall for 1/72 scale. In fact the whole figure, and indeed the horse and cart are all quite out of scale, being noticeably larger than they should be - which is a feature of earlier Valiant sets too. The cart measures 19mm in length and 16mm width (including wheels). This gives a 1/72 scale size of 1368mm long and 1152mm wide, when the real thing was 1190mm long and 990mm wide. With everything being at this larger scale this is a very difficult model to integrate with the vast range of truly 1/72 scale figures and accessories available today, although it does fit perfectly with the rest of the oversized Valiant range.
In terms of accuracy we can have little complaint. The basic design of the cart is fine, and the steel disc wheels with rubber tyres are also accurate, although some had metal or wooden spoked wheels instead. The sculpting is very nice with good detail, and matches perfectly with previous output from this company. However we did find some sink holes on the figure and accessories, which will be an annoyance to many. There is no flash, and the relatively hard plastic used in its manufacture makes this kit easy to glue together as required.
This is a pretty nice kit with a good number of options. It would make an interesting accessory for many a battlefield scene but depicts one of the less well-known elements of the German army. However the big stumbling block is the size, which will make it a challenge to place it near most of the sets of German infantry without it looking obviously out of place. It says 1/72 on the box, so Valiant really ought to start conforming to that scale, even if it means abandoning their previous scale, in order to complement the market as a whole and deliver what the box promises!