In 1939 Poland was embarked on a program of mechanisation for the army, but it still had a long way to go when Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied the country. In particular, most of the artillery was still horse-drawn, but the main exception to that rule were the anti-aircraft batteries, which were mechanised, and brings us to the title of this set. In 1939 ‘motorised’ artillery generally meant anti-aircraft guns, and this was an area where Poland had considerable strengths. Their main armament was the excellent Bofors 40mm gun, a weapon developed in Sweden but produced locally in Poland and used by a great many armies both at the time and long since. Also appearing was another good weapon, the 75mm Polish wz.36, but few of these were in service when war broke out. The Poles gave a good account of themselves in downing German planes, which surprised the Germans, but this was not sufficient to influence the final outcome of the battle.
There are no guns as part of this set - those are available elsewhere in the range - but what you do get is 16 figures in seven poses, although two of the standing poses are just the same figure but carrying different ammunition. The two seated figures are presumably meant to be the trainer and pointer for the Bofors, and we have a double-dose of officers holding binoculars and pointing. The kneeling figure and the last man, who sits on the ground, are probably for other, smaller calibre weapons. A big issue with the Bofors was keeping it supplied with rounds, which were in four-round clips that needed constant feeding into the weapon since it could fire over 100 in a minute. Ideally then there could have been more men handling such clips, but instead the poses cover more of a range of weapons, and so should prove to be more widely useful to customers. Like many such sets, the crew is something of a skeleton affair rather than a complete complement, but all the poses are well-chosen and helped by the few separate arms, which help to maximise the flexibility of what is on offer.
All the men wear the same thing, which is overalls, as was common for such troops. They all wear the standard Polish helmet, but the pointing officer figure comes without a head, and can be given one of the many spares on the sprue, which wear either the same helmet or a beret. Indeed there are sufficient beret heads to substitute the head of every figure here, which allows them to be utilised as armoured troops, where the beret was common. That’s a nice bonus, and since the plastic used is a hard compound it is easy to cut and glue these heads. Kit on these figures is minimal, with most having a gasmask case, and many a bayonet too. The officer also has a bag on a strap around his body, and a pouch for his binoculars. It’s what you would expect for gunners, so quite appropriate for these figures.
Like the other hard plastic figures so far produced by this company, these figures are reasonably detailed but with quite soft and indistinct definition. Of course the simple uniforms make few demands on sharp crisp detail, so to a degree this is less of a problem, but even so these are not the most appealing figures ever made. None come with a base, but the set only includes eight large round bases, so there is not enough for the 10 figures that need one. As well as the officers' head, the raised left arm of both the sitting figures is separate, and the man with legs outstretched is cut at the waist as well as having separate arms, so there is a bit of assembly required. Everything goes together pretty well, and glues nice and securely, so this is no hardship and does produce better poses. Apart from a couple of tiny burrs, there is no flash anywhere on these figures.
The set also comes with some extra rifles and an assortment of shells, which are always useful, but the variety of poses and ammunition being handled makes this quite a flexible collection that does the job pretty well in our view. The rather soft detail does not make a significant difference, so this is a very decent set for the opening stage of the war in Europe.