Pioneers, sappers, engineers - whatever you call them, armies have always needed these specialists in time of war, but it is unusual to find a set of figures dedicated to them. However with their extensive range of World War II subjects it is no surprise that Revell should have stepped in to provide these, at least for the Wehrmacht.
Many of the poses speak for themselves, with men using spades, picks etc for some unknown task. In fact some of the poses need have nothing to do with the pioneers, and could simply be ordinary infantry. We thought the man lying on the ground with heavy wire cutters was good, and the dinghy with two paddlers was also a welcome inclusion. The three planks of wood are being carried by the two men in the middle of the scans, but this is a very tricky arrangement to put together, and even when glued it is very fragile and would benefit from being put on a single base.
Pioneers wore much the same as the regular infantry for the most part, but unlike most sets, there is more variety here. The man carrying the two mines wears a Zeltbahn, a waterproof piece of material that could be worn as a poncho, as here, or added to others to form windbreaks, shelters etc. Also three of the men, including the two paddlers, are wearing camouflage smocks. The rest seem to be wearing the standard army tunic with the collar opened.
The second man on the top row is carrying a geballte Ladung, a 'concentrated charge' made up of a stick grenade with the heads from six others bound round it. This was used as an anti-tank weapon, but clearly it had to be almost placed by hand on the vehicle, a particularly dangerous task often borne out of desperation.
Three of the figures are, appropriately, wearing the pioneer assault pack Pioneersturmgepack, although of these only the wire-cutting man has the correct pouches on the front of the belt.
Alongside the soldiers and the dinghy is what looks like a mini tank. This is commonly known as a Goliath ('Light Demolition Carrier'), and was basically a remote controlled device that carried explosives - the theory being that it was driven up to some enemy strong point and then detonated, blowing up both itself and the enemy. Several types were made, and this looks like the first version in service, which had an electric motor and could carry 65kg of explosive. However it was expensive to manufacture, only had a short range and was difficult to use. Only some 2,650 were made between April 1942 and 1944, and it seems it was rarely used in battle. Given that it is a one-piece model, it is a reasonable depiction of the device, with correct proportions and some detail, but more of a curiosity than anything useful.
The level and sharpness of detail is about average for Revell, with fair sculpting and virtually no flash. Poses like those using picks and spades are difficult to do with a two-piece mould, but these are not a bad effort. We would also have liked to have seen a bigger dinghy than this, which takes little more than the two men paddling it. In general the set has a late war feel to it, and perhaps it is not the kind of set people buy in large numbers, but it makes a change from all those World War II infantry sets.