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Matchbox

Set P5003

German Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1976
Contents 49 figures
Poses 17 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey, Blue
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Second World War German infantry must be one of the most common sets produced in this or any other scale. Any such set must have some superior or unique features if it is to compete successfully, though when this set was produced there was much less competition than today. The more than four decades that have passed since its release have provided an abundance of sets on the subject which really spoil the customer with choice, so now we must consider whether this set is still worthy of notice.

The usual generous selection of figures in this Matchbox product should be enough to keep anyone happy, with some interesting selections worthy of further comment. There are two officers wearing the peaked cap, one standing and watching something and one using his pistol. In battle, wearing the peaked cap would be rare, and having nothing but a pistol would be fairly uncommon too. There is also a man using binoculars, perhaps guiding mortar or artillery fire. This pose is an old favourite, and has appeared in very many sets of many nationalities and scales throughout the history of plastic soldiers. One of the soldiers is armed with a flame-thrower, and two are crewing the mortar, which is a very crude model not in keeping with the quality of the rest of the set. Two almost identical figures are using the excellent (though not especially well sculpted) MP40 sub-machine gun, though they have not been provided with any ammunition pouches for this weapon. Another figure is using an anti-tank gun which appears to be the Raketenpanzerbüchse, though if so it has been simplified here as some detail is missing.

The uniform is the very smart one worn during the early part of the war. By the second half of the war, the smart tunic depicted here had been much simplified and was often covered in camouflage clothing. Also the men wear marching boots which were superseded by ankle boots as the war progressed. The uniform is reasonably accurately modelled, and the equipment is somewhat simplified but not too bad either, though as the men are in a very light order this only amounts to the gas mask canister (missing its carrying strap), bayonet/entrenching tool and water bottle. However on some of the figures the bayonet/entrenching tool combination has been skimped on for no apparent reason, and some are also missing the full set of three ammunition pouches on each side of the waist, which is a shame.

The bayonet, where it is fixed to the rifle, is a very puny affair, looking like no more than a pocket-knife. Yet in general these are reasonably sculpted figures with good clear detail and no excess plastic. The style of sculpting leaves these figures quite flat, which is not attractive, and at 1:76 scale these figures are a little small compared with the same from other manufacturers, but they are a fair if quite basic representation of a very popular subject.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Blitzkrieg" - Concord (Fighting Men series No.6001) - Gordon Rottman - 9789623616010
"German Combat Equipments 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.234) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850459524
"German Infantryman (1) 1933-40" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.59) - David Westwood - 9781841764627
"German Soldiers of World War II" - Histoire & Collections - Jean de Lagarde - 9782915239355
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The German Army 1939-45 (1) Blitzkrieg" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.311) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855326392
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150

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