One of the major uses for bicycles in the German army was for reconnaissance. Bikes were much easier to maintain than horses or motor vehicles, virtually silent and didn’t require precious fuel. Of course they had drawbacks too, and were of less use on the eastern front where metaled roads were fewer, but many thousands were used by the army, and having already produced motorcycles and horses, bicycles are a natural progression for HaT.
As with their set of horsed Germans, the figures here are a selection with different types of uniform. One is in early war uniform, another in the late war version, a third is wearing some sort of foul weather cape and the fourth has a smock and field cap. All these are pretty light on equipment - apart from the normal ammunition belts they only have their gas mask case on their backs.
All are in the act of riding, which pretty much means they are all in one pose. It has been achieved by having separate arms for each figure, and these come in versions with sleeves rolled up and fully down as well as a set for the waterproof. There are more arms than are needed for the number of bodies, so some variety is available there. The fit at the shoulder is a little uncertain but not too bad, and the soft plastic used to make these figures takes ordinary polystyrene glue very well.
The bike is a pretty standard design for the time, and has been given 'solid' wheels. We tend to prefer the Airfix answer to the problem of spokes - having no spokes at all - but this is a matter of taste and the no-spoke route does make the rims liable to breakage anyway. The men ride the machines well enough and the handlebars are separate to improve the model. The direction of the handlebars is wrong, but the plastic can be safely bent to correct this, so there is no problem. Many photographs from the period show kit and weapons stowed on the bike, but that has not been reproduced here.
There is a good amount of detail but these are not attractive figures. Detail can be vague in places (such as weapons) and the faces in particular are not great. The set also includes spare heads to allow conversions, but these too are not attractive and some are not fully rounded.
Although the hobby is awash with World War II Germans HaT have followed their traditional policy of doing something no one else has done, and while this set might not be the most exciting ever produced it portrays its subject well enough and is a source of bicycles for all kinds of dioramas.