Like any army of World War II, Polish infantry expected and got support from a number of weapons that had effectively matured during the Great War, particularly the machine gun and the mortar. This set from First To Fight includes one model of each, along with a minimal crew for each.
As always the first task is to identify the weaponry on show, and in this case it seems clear that the machine gun is the wz.30, developed from the Browning M1917 and in widespread use during the invasions of 1939. The model itself comes as two pieces plus the base. Although somewhat simplified it is not a bad model, and includes the ammunition belt on the left hand side. The first figure in the top row is the gunner, and he fits the gun pretty well, benefiting from a more sophisticated mould to produce a single-piece figure that still looks natural in pose. The No.2 gunner is not quite so good, because although he too is a complex pose done well, he does not fit well with the ammunition belt of the gun which he is supposed to be guiding. Also for some reason he has two small pegs underneath, but there is no base for these to fit in. The detail is pretty good and the style is the same as all the preceding sets of Polish figures, which is to say the Caesar style. The crewmen are correctly uniformed and wear the haversack and gas mask bag.
The mortar in the second row gave us a lot more trouble. This comes as two parts - barrel and bipod/base - and only fits together by gluing. However identification proved to be very difficult. The accompanying magazine and the box suggest the model is of the wz.31, which was the standard 81mm mortar of the Polish Army in 1939. However the barrel length of this model is just 12 mm, which scales up to 864 mm, far short of the actual weapon, which was like so many other developments of the Stokes mortar and had a barrel of approximately 1.2 metres. However we have not found any information on any other Polish mortars of the day that were anything close to the size and design of this model, so we are obliged to conclude that this is indeed intended to be the wz.31 and is simply a really bad model.
The crew of three for the mortar include a man apparently about to feed a bomb, one covering his ears and a third standing, controlling the fire. Strangely these have been sculpted in the style previously only seen for German figure sets from this company, and very different to the machine gun crew. The figures are quite good on detail but the general proportions are not so good and in places a strap is nothing more than two grooves carved into the body rather than something sitting proud of it, which is really a cheat and does not look at all realistic. Also there are some strange choices of human body shape in places, so overall these are not as well done as the machine gun crew, even though they are neater in appearance. They do however have the correct uniform and kit, so do at least pass that test.
This is not a set with a lot in it, and with two halves coming from two very different sources it has an odd appearance. The sculpting of the mortar team is not good, and the mortar is so small that we couldn't find any suitable weapon of the design which it might be, although various countries used mortars similar to the wz.31 so models of those could be substituted. The poses are quite good, and there is very little flash, while the accuracy of the men themselves is fine, yet this is a disappointing set in several ways and gives the impression of being rushed without adequate quality checking, which is never good.