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HaT

Set 8109

WWI German Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 48 figures, 4 guns and 4 limbers
Poses 10 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

The standard German field gun of the Great War was the 1896 n/A 7.7cm made by Krupp, and a good model of this can be found in the Emhar German WW1 Artillery set. This was a fair weapon, but its main advantage was ease of movement, and once front lines became static in France this advantage disappeared and the weapon's shortcomings compared to those of the Allies became more apparent. The result was the introduction of the 7.7cm Feldkanone 16 (or FK16) in 1916, which had a longer barrel (for improved range) and was mounted on a howitzer carriage. Many of these weapons were made (although the 96 remained in service in numbers throughout the war) and it is this improved version that is modelled in this set.

The gun comes in just five pieces and fits together easily and well, so it is quick to assemble, particularly since the plastic makes a very strong bond with normal polystyrene cement. However this ease is achieved at the cost of a lack of detail. Comparison with photographs and drawings of the real thing (of which the artwork on the box is a good example) reveal that much has been omitted in order to achieve a simple model, and the seats are mounted too high on the shield.

An unusual but very welcome component of this set is the limber. The limber, which held 36 shells, has been well modelled here, although again a little simplification has been made to produce an easy model. The door of the ammunition box can be modelled either open (with a little trimming) or closed - we chose the open position for our photograph to show the detail of the interior. No tractor, horse team or riding crew are included, but that is asking a great deal and we are not complaining as just including the limber considerably improves the set.

There are 12 crew members for each gun, and all are in good artillery poses. Unlike the Emhar set these men are actively serving the gun, and the poses are reasonably natural. They wear a variety of items ranging from shirtsleeves to greatcoats, which gives them a realistic motley appearance. While most wear the field cap some have the helmet as introduced in 1916, and puttees, another later war innovation, are much in evidence, so these figures are appropriate for the same period as the gun, namely 1916 onwards. The officer wears the old-fashioned pickelhaube helmet which is correctly sporting the ball instead of the spike.

While the figures are accurately depicted and well posed we found the sculpting to be a disappointment. They are quite thin in the body and clothing folds are not particularly realistic. Most have noticeable flat areas, leading to definite corners in clothing that simply shouldn't be there, and some items such as helmets have not been well done.

The plastic used is soft but it does take glue and paint very well and these kits assemble reasonably easily, with no flash to trim from either guns or figures. Whether such simplified guns and figures with mediocre sculpting will satisfy all customers will depend on the intended use, but at least this provides something not previously available, and also allows a proper crew and limber to be placed with the Emhar gun. Also note that a 10.5 cm howitzer plus another useful crewman can be found in the HaT set of World War I Ottoman Artillery.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 6
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"German Artillery of World War One" - Crowood - Herbert Jäger - 9781861264039
"The German Army in World War I (2)" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.407) - Nigel Thomas - 9781841765662
"The German Army in World War I (3)" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.419) - Nigel Thomas - 9781841765679
"The Guns 1914-18" - Pan/Ballantine (Illustrated History of WWI Series No.5) - Ian Hogg - 9780330238380
"Uniforms and Equipment of the Central Powers in World War I: Germany & Ottoman Turkey" - Schiffer - Spencer Anthony Coil - 9780764327827

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