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Caesar

Set H081

WWII German Infantry Marching

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 38 figures
Poses 11 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24.5 mm (= 1.77 m)

Review

Marching is a fact of life for any infantryman, even in the 20th century, when soldiers no longer went into battle in tight formations with hopefully perfect unison. Nazi Germany is of course associated with parades and marching, though those were mostly Party rallies where it was the SS and SA that did the marching. The Army had plenty of parades too, not least in the many towns and cities they occupied in the decade before 1945, but surprisingly this is the first set to be dedicated solely to that particular activity.

A set of marching soldiers could be a very dull offering with mostly just the one pose, as was the Airfix Guards Colour Party set, but in fact Caesar have provided a similar number of different poses to their battle sets. Leaving aside the officer for now, our top row shows all the poses on the move. The first looks quite relaxed, and is not in a formal parade since his rifle is at the slope on his right shoulder. In fact he could simply be moving along a road towards a battle were it not for his tunic, which we will discuss in a moment. The next two figures are doing much the same thing - goose-stepping - but with different feet forward. The goose-step long preceded the Nazis, and is an absurd form of march which was widely mocked by the Allies during the war and quietly dropped by the Nazis themselves. Why Caesar chose to make two poses that are identical apart from which leg is foremost we cannot guess, since it means they cannot be used together in a formation. The fourth and fifth figures both wear greatcoats, with the fourth having his rifle slung over his right shoulder and the fifth with his correctly at the slope and again goose-stepping. Both poses are valid for parade, and naturally if the weather was cold then greatcoats were worn, so each of these five poses is a valid and useful marching figure.

The second row holds the standing figures. The first has arms sloped, the second is presenting arms and the third is at order arms, all of which are fine for parade. Figures four and five basically echo figures one and two, but in greatcoats, so are perfectly good poses also. Finally we have an officer goose-stepping and holding his sabre on his right shoulder, which is correct. So while only half the poses are actually marching, all of them are valid for one situation or another.

As already mentioned, the men are in one of two forms of dress - either wearing the service tunic or a greatcoat. The greatcoat is fine but there is a problem with the tunics of the three in the top row and the second in the second row; they all have the ornamental buttoned false pockets at the rear vent. Such a device was only present on the Waffenrock, the dress or parade tunic for the men, which did not have any external pockets, and since everyone here has four such pockets these cannot be that garment, so instead they are a hybrid of the two, which is an error. The same goes for the officer, unfortunately. Other than that everyone wears the long marching boots and steel helmet and is correctly attired. No one has any item of kit, which is not wrong, though many parades once the war began in earnest in September 1939 were in ordinary service tunics with normal items of kit on display. The lack of kit and the dress elements of the tunics give these men a pre-war feel.

The standard good Caesar sculpting is maintained in this set, with most detail being pretty well done. Since the rifles are all edge-on to the mould these have little definition, but smaller items like the officer’s aiguillette are quite clear. There is no flash, but one marching pose and the officer have separate right arms that need attaching. These fit very well and look good and natural when in position - something not all sets can claim. One annoyance however is the usual Caesar problem with thin elements (i.e. the rifles) getting rather bent in the box and needing attention to straighten again. Given the position of the rifles here this is a particular problem with this set. Also some of the bases tend to be a bit warped or somewhat crushed where only one foot is touching the ground. Nevertheless these problems are not insurmountable and these are nicely produced figures.

For a formal parade any but the first figure would work well, so this set largely delivers what it promises. The first figure wears one of the dress/service hybrid tunics which is wrong, and since he also has no kit this means he is highly unlikely to be anywhere else but on parade, yet his rifle is on the wrong side for that. The problem we have mentioned about some of the tunics can be overcome by trimming away the offending rear decoration, but that is the only uniform accuracy problem here. However we have to say a more general problem is the small numbers of each pose (something we do not score). While Caesar sets have long been delivering relatively few figures per box (since so many on this site have 48 or 50), this is particularly an issue here, since many will want good numbers of any particular pose to make up a parade. With only four of each you would have to buy a great many boxes to get a decent quantity of soldiers, which may be the idea but won’t impress any customers.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 9
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"German Infantryman (1) 1933-40" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.59) - David Westwood - 9781841764627
"The German Army 1939-45 (1) Blitzkrieg" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.311) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855326392

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