For centuries Man sought to produce a weapon that was capable of multiple discharges in a short time and with minimal effort. It was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that practical machine guns became a reality, but by the start of World War II such weapons came in all weights and were in common use. Many of the best examples were produced by Germany, but this is the first set to focus purely on this weapon, and is therefore an interesting departure from the standard 'general infantry' set which dominates the market at present.
This Armourfast box contains four identical sprues, each of which holds the pieces illustrated. The box claims eight machine guns are included, yet you could argue that the figure is actually twelve. The first two figures are familiar inclusions in many sets, and show a crew with a light machine gun on a bipod. Since the gun is moulded top-and-bottom, there is very little detail on the gun so identification is difficult, but this is probably either an MG34 or an MG42. The figures are done about as well as can be done under the circumstances, but are not a noticeable improvement on those from Airfix, Matchbox etc.
Where this set stands out is with the heavier gun, or to be more precise, two guns. Each sprue has one tripod (which is a rather simplified model of a 'Lafette' mount) and a choice of two gun barrels, being the upper two shown on the left of the lower scan. These are the MG42 (top) and the MG34 (middle), which again are good choices as they were used extensively throughout the war and were renown for accuracy and rapid rate of fire.
The two kneeling crew figures seem to be operating the weapon and feeding ammunition while the standing figures are bringing up more ammunition and perhaps directing fire (the man bringing up ammunition is a particularly useful but rarely-seen pose). All are fair poses, though the gunner using the heavy machine gun is a bit of a compromise - inevitable with a two-piece mould. This man would normally be armed with a pistol, but it is difficult to see whether one has been provided here.
Which leaves us with just one weapon, the bottom gun on the far left of the bottom image. This looks like an MP43/44, another excellent weapon, and one which has been described as the first truly successful assault rifle. Though it does not seem to readily match with any of the figures, converters in particular will be pleased with its inclusion.
All the figures wear smocks and ankle boots, so are for the later years of the war, and all have been nicely done. Some of the kit is strange, with a circular object that may be a misunderstood gas mask canister, and an unidentified bag - possibly a gas cape pouch? Flash varies between zero and quite noticeable, even on the same figure, but overall is not a problem. Sculpting is very good and all the poses seem realistic, although none of the ammunition feeders actually have ammunition belts in their hands, which is odd. However given the limited subject matter, this is a good set that does its job well enough.