German Infantry was one of the first sets Airfix produced, and therefore one of the very early sets in this scale. In due course Airfix decided that this set had to be redesigned to bring it up to the current standard, and so the 'type 2' set was created, which is the one we see today. To see the type 1 set, which certainly did need retooling, click here.
The poses in this set include all those in the 1:32 scale set plus some extra ones. The riflemen are accompanied by several privates carrying the MP40 sub-machine gun, one man using and another man carrying the MG34 medium machine-gun and a man using the first model "small flame-thrower". All the poses are well sculpted and generally realistic, although we can't make much sense of the man in the bottom row with his head in his hands. You would imagine he is holding his face, yet the alignment of the helmet suggests he is looking to his left, so his hands are covering his face and right ear. We are all in favour of casualty poses, but this is not one of the better ones, although the idea was sound enough. While the combat poses are fine we particularly like the man with machine gun over his shoulder - a natural pose, and in a set with 15 poses you can afford one or two away from the action.
Like many other sets of this subject, the figures are uniformed for the early part of the war, when they wore a smart tunic with pleated pockets and fairly tall marching boots. Since supply was less of a problem at this stage, all these men are properly attired, and have the classic Y-shaped straps on which are hung the gas-mask canister (which should have its own strap over the shoulder), water bottle and entrenching tool/bayonet holder. Some also carry the bread bag. However none carry the shelter quarter which doubled as a weatherproof poncho type of garment, or a mess tin. Sadly Airfix have cheated with the ammunition pouches, in that there should be three on each side of the belt buckle for those with rifles, yet these figures have only one each side. For those that carry the submachine pistol they have two each side, when there should be three, and they are not in the necessary slanted position, so again are not convincing. The officer wears a peaked cap, which is perfectly possible and indeed this figure has become somewhat iconic, but in reality most officers would be wearing a standard steel helmet when in combat, and probably trusting to something more effective than their pistol too.
The figures are nicely sculpted and detail is not too bad. The poses that were used for the 1/32 scale set are noticeably larger and a bit more solid than the rest, so perhaps two different sculptors were used here. Flash can vary greatly, as you might expect from a mould that has been used on and off for four decades or more, but on some examples there is a good deal of it, and also some sink holes in places.
Other accuracy issues include the man at the end of our top row, who has managed to find an extra hand grip towards the front of his MP40 when such a thing never existed in reality, and the flame-thrower operator should be armed with a pistol, but none is visible. This is a set which, even in its second incarnation, has been around for a long time. Nonetheless it is still a fair product that remains popular, although in truth there are better figures around these days and there is certainly a great deal of choice for German infantry. The departures from actual German kit and weapons make these figures less useful than many that appeared over the following decades, so perhaps this set is more about nostalgia than the best representation of these actual troops, but many will still find it hard not to smile when they look upon these venerable warriors once more.