This is part of the Art of Tactic range of game pieces, and while we have photographed the mortar and crew members separately, the whole is meant to be displayed together on one base as shown here.
What we have is a 3-inch mortar, a weapon widely used throughout the war by the British, being served by four soldiers. Having long complained of mortars and other weapons without the minimum number of crewmen, it is refreshing to see here not only the three-man crew but a fourth soldier, who was tasked to carry ammunition. One man is about to feed a bomb into the mortar while another covers his ears in anticipation. Two more are ready with the next rounds, so we really liked all the poses. As usual with Zvezda the poses have been achieved using a number of parts, so there is a fair bit of construction here, but everything fits together tightly without need of glue, and the result is very pleasing.
The mortar is a very nice model, and the men are equally well sculpted, with plenty of good detail and very natural proportions. The box claims a period of 1939 to 1945, but while it is true that this weapon was in use throughout that period, the men are certainly dressed for the early part of the War. The first tell-tale sign of this is the fact that everyone wears a respirator on the chest, at the 'alert' position. Such items were rarely seen much after 1940, so making these men suitable mainly for the campaign in France that ended at Dunkirk. The second observation is that they all have the one-piece entrenching tool, tucked under their bayonet on the left hip. This too disappeared after 1940, and even while still current the arrangement on the left hip was fairly unusual, although not unheard-of. So while this piece is of little use for later campaigns, as an early war model it works very well, is very nicely sculpted and a relatively unusual addition for battles of this period.