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Strelets

Set M095

Polish Peoples Army

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2014
Contents 52 figures
Poses 13 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Grey
Average Height 22.5 mm (= 1.62 m)

Review

When in 1939 the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Eastern Poland in co-operation with Nazi Germany it captured large numbers of Polish troops, and over the next two years an operation which we would now call ethnic cleansing deported more than a million Poles from their land to camps in the Soviet Union. With the German invasion in 1941, Stalin agreed to the formation of a Polish force to assist in the new struggle, and many thousands of these Polish prisoners, as well as other volunteers, formed what was termed Anders’ Army. Difficulties in supply meant it was moved into Iran and then to the British in Palestine, where it performed great service for the Western Allies, but in 1943 it was decided to try again in the East, and this time the Soviets formed a new Polish army that was to be called the Polish People’s Army (LWP), which is the subject of this set. This army ultimately grew to around 200,000 men, and fought on the Eastern Front alongside the Soviets until Berlin was finally captured and the war in Europe came to an end.

For obvious reasons these men were clothed and equipped from Soviet stores, and so while there were elements of clothing based on pre-war Polish patterns, for the most part the uniform was that of the rest of the Red Army. The exception was the rogatywka square-sided cap which was and remains so distinctive of Polish troops. Helmets were of the Soviet type, but many men chose to wear the rogatywka even in action as a symbol of their nationality and loyalty. All but three of the poses in this set have this cap, which is fine and usually all that would distinguish such troops from any in the Red Army. The rest of the uniform is hidden under greatcoats which all wear, so the clothing here is authentic. Equipment also looks good, with an assortment of Soviet satchels, pouches and canteens which would have been the norm. although several have a large breadbag-type item on their belt which we could not positively identify.

All weaponry was naturally Soviet too, and most of these poses carry rifles which fit the bill well. Apart from the rifles (8) there is the PPSh 41 submachine gun (3) and one DP light machine gun as well as the officer’s pistol. This is all good, but we were not so pleased to see the man carrying a large flag. While fine for parades and propaganda, did they really carry flags into battle in the 1940s? It seems beyond credibility, and we could find no evidence to suggest that they did, and even if there are occasions when it happened we felt having four such figures in every box was not a great idea.

Apart from the suspect flag-bearer all the poses are perfectly reasonable designs, and if a few are a shade flat it is not too obvious. The sculpting is the usual Strelets style, so not at all refined or delicate but it tries to cram in as much detail as possible. The certain Strelets roughness of finish is in evidence here as usual, and the man apparently about to throw a grenade is strangely holding it at the top of the stick rather than the bottom, but while there is flash it is at a pretty low level. The overall proportions are perhaps a little less chunky than some other Strelets offerings in the past, so one of their better efforts.

The long-standing popularity of World War II means there can be few infantry subjects yet to be modelled in this hobby, but again Strelets have found one and delivered a solid and workmanlike collection of figures which is not especially attractive but does the job.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 7
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"Foreign Volunteers of the Allied Forces 1939-45" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.238) - Nigel Thomas - 9781855321366
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"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
"The Soviet Soldier of World War II" - Histoire & Collections - Philippe Rio - 9782352501008

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