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Caesar

Set H089

WWII German Anti-aircraft Crews

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 33 figures, 2 dinghys and 32 transparent bases
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

In the years after the Great War there had been much trepidation about the impact of air bombardment in any future war, especially against major cities and domestic industries. There were many predictions of complete devastation as waves of enemy bombers pounded innocent civilians, and the bombing of Guernica seemed to confirm that terrible future, though in comparison to later attacks such as Hamburg and Dresden the Spanish raid pales. Since the War there had been many advances in anti-aircraft weaponry, with one of the most famous being the 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41 depicted on the front of this box, but in 1939 Germany had a good arsenal of anti-aircraft weapons. Many models exist of these, but most do not provide a good crew, so this set is intended to provide such figures.

With no actual weapons in the set we must consider the figures against all forms of anti-aircraft guns. The majority of the poses are simply of men holding something in various ways, and so are perfectly suitable for gun crews of many kinds. The man with the rangefinder brings a bit more variety, and there is someone clutching a pair of binoculars and so clearly in charge of proceedings. Finally two figures in the second row are sitting and clearly are actually on the weapon operating it. Since no one is actually holding any ammunition, these poses are usable for many different weapons, and all are very well done at that. The two seated figures however are more specific, and made us think of the smaller calibre weapons. In particular, they are well suited to the 2 cm Flak 30 and the 3.7 cm Flak 36/37 (and of course the four-barrelled Flakvierling 38). This emphasis on smaller calibres seems confirmed by the good number of ammunition magazines supplied with these figures as seen in the second row. The first item shows five small shells in a half-box, and looks like 3.7 cm ammunition, while the second curved magazine is 2.0 cm ammo for the Flak 30 and the Flakvierling 38. Clearly these magazines are intended for the hands of the figures (though you could substitute larger shells from elsewhere if you chose), and the Flakvierling 38 in particular used vast amounts of ammunition, needing at least four men to feed fresh magazines. So for the weapons we have mentioned we thought these figures were excellently posed and very useful.

The sculpting is the usual Caesar standard, with good detail and excellent proportions. The uniforms are quite simple and there is almost no kit, so things are as clear as they need to be, with good faces and clearly defined hands. No less than six of the poses in the first two rows have at least one arm as a separate piece, which helps to make the poses as natural as they are. Each arm has a different shaped/sized peg at the top that only really fits the hole in the shoulder of one figure, so it is easy to match the pairs and set the arm at the intended position. By trimming you could get round this and introduce some variety of your own, but as they come the arms fit very well, and so are nice and secure. There is precious little flash (just trace elements really), and although no one here has a base the set includes 32 clear plastic bases in two different shapes to allow the figures to stand as close as you like to their weapon. We are not sure we care for this approach, but we understand it and can see the advantages.

There are many aspects to defence from aircraft, but none of them have ever included the use of inflatable dinghys as also provide in this set! Frankly it would take a lot to launch one at an aircraft, and even a direct hit would be unlikely to worry the air crew at all. Clearly then the pieces in the bottom row are something of a bonus, and while dinghys have been modelled before (such as in the Revell German Engineers set), such things are always useful for the odd seaborne assault or crossing rivers. What Caesar provide is two dinghys of about 40 mm in length along with two paddlers each. The dinghys follow the standard design used by the Germans during the war, and look to be four-man vessels. They are nice, satisfyingly solid single-piece models and our only criticism of the well-detailed design is the lack of the rope that always hung round the edge. The two paddler poses are of ordinary infantry with standard fairly early-war uniform and equipment, and they sit well in their craft. Again the excellent poses are achieved by having the arms/paddles as separate pieces, but are easy to fit and look good when done.

Unlike the paddlers, however, the rest of the figures are not wearing standard German uniform. Their tunics have no breast pockets and only a flap to their skirt pockets. They do have the National Emblem on the right breast, but this is no Army tunic. In fact it must be the Luftwaffe blouse, which was of this design and, while intended just for air crew, was very popular with all branches of the service. Within Germany it was the Luftwaffe that was responsible for aircraft defence, so these men are clearly Luftwaffe, though we felt their blouse was just a shade longer than it should have been. Otherwise the uniforms are fine, with the same helmets, breeches and boots as the Army. No one is wearing any item of kit, which seems reasonable as they might be a very long way from a battlefield.

So in conclusion we would say ignore the box artwork entirely; in terms of weapon and uniform it does nothing but mislead as to the contents. If you are looking for men to handle the lighter Flak weapons as protection particularly from ground-attack aircraft then this is the place to come, as it is if you want river assault craft, for some reason. The sculpting is good and only seems a bit vague on the more detailed paddler figures, and while the separate arms are not difficult to put together, basing the men on the clear bases might be a bit more of an issue. Very good poses (some would even work for the '88'), and a Luftwaffe uniform rarely seen in the hobby makes this an interesting set that has some surprises and will please many.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Anti-aircraft Artillery" - Crowood - Ian Hogg - 9781861265029
"German Artillery at War 1939-45 Vol.1" - Concord (Armor at War Series No.7059) - Frank De Sisto - 9789623611435
"German Combat Uniforms of World War Two: Volume II" - Arms & Armour (Uniforms Illustrated Series No.7) - Brian Davis - 9780853686668
"Horses of the German Army in World War II" - Schiffer - Paul Johnson - 9780764324215
"Luftwaffe Airborne and Field Units" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.22) - Martin Windrow - 9780850451146
"Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1941-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.229) - Kevin Conley Ruffner - 9781855321007
"The German Army 1939-45 (1) Blitzkrieg" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.311) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855326392
"Uniforms of the Luftwaffe 1939-45" - Almark - Matthew Cooper - 9780855241759

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