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First To Fight

Set PL1939-025

Bofors 37 mm wz. 36 Polish AT Gun

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 6 figures and 2 guns
Poses 3 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

The fourth decade of the 20th century saw many developments in both tanks and anti-tank weaponry, and all armies knew they needed both for any future war. One very good anti-tank gun was the 37 mm model made by Bofors of Sweden, which was manufactured under licence by several countries including Poland, where it was named the wz.36. When Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939, there were about 1,200 of this gun in service with the Polish Army, and it could defeat any tank either of these countries could deploy. After Poland was overrun the gun was available to the conquerors, but as with all other 37 mm weapons it soon became obsolete as new tanks were produced with thicker armour which it could not penetrate.

This gun model is very small, reaching only 14 m in height at the top of the shield, but it is a pretty good and correctly sized reproduction of the original, where its low profile would have been an advantage. Around 13 pieces go to make the gun, and the kit is very well made and goes together easily without any need for trimming. The instructions are just three exploded views on the back of the box, which is brief but adequate, although it ignores the numbers someone has patiently added to the gun sprue itself. One part is on the sprue but not mentioned, a small rectangular piece which looks to be a shell box.

The three crew figures are doing exactly what you would expect them to be doing; one is working the gun itself, the second is passing a shell, and the third is observing. Photographs of this weapon tend to show three crew in close attendance, often with one sprawled out over a trail rather than crouching, so two working the gun seems a bit too minimal. What poses there are here represent the basics when in action and all are fine. The two closest to the gun have not been given bases so they can get close, but they do stand on their own, if a bit wobbly. All wear the standard uniform of the Polish Army of the day, with the only difference being that the observer wears long boots while the rest of the crew wear short boots and short puttees. All the men have rifles slung on their backs and the normal rifle ammunition pouches, plus a haversack on the left hip and a mess tin.

The style of the sculpting is exactly the same as the other Polish subjects in this range. The proportions are good but some detail is missing, particularly on areas like the rifles. However these are still good, and with hardly any ridges where the moulds meet. All the poses are very natural and deep, which has been achieved by using a multi-part mould, so there is no assembly on any figure here.

At time of writing this is the only Polish artillery crew available, so the set certainly meets a need. The gun is a nice model, and the crew are OK, with fine accuracy and well done poses. The shell handled by the gunner is rather too large for the calibre of gun, as it is slightly wider than the barrel itself. Nevertheless the only notable problem is the minimal number of poses when there is room for plenty more.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 6
Sculpting 8
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Army Uniforms of World War 2" - Blandford (Colour Series) - Andrew Mollo - 9780713706116
"Poland 1939" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.107) - Steven Zaloga - 9781841764085
"The Armed Forces of World War II" - Orbis - Andrew Mollo - 9780856132964
"The Polish Army 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.117) - Steven Zaloga - 9780850454178
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150
Magazines
"Uniformes (French Language)" - No.55

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