German armed forces in World War II were overwhelmingly reliant on horse power for the movement of supplies. Certainly some divisions were motorised and armoured, but the majority were not, and so horse-drawn wagons remained essential to the German war machine throughout the conflict. The wagon in this set is the Hf.1. This Light Army Field Wagon was used in huge numbers, and was a design that dated to well before World War I. It was used in many roles, and would have been a common sight behind the German lines on all fronts.
As you might expect from Preiser the wagon here is a cracking little model. Entirely accurate in every way, it comes with wheels that turn and a steerable front axle, as well as the choice of open top (as per our photograph) or covered (as per the photo on the box). It can also be built to be pulled by horses (as shown) or with a bar to be towed by a vehicle. The delicacy of this tiny model is little short of astonishing, and even the most slender of elements such as the spokes of the wheels or the cover supports are faithfully reproduced, making for some fairly fragile pieces but an outstanding model. Assembly is not particularly taxing, although the many small parts may challenge some younger modellers, but the result is certainly a thing of beauty. The kit also included the traces for the horses, which we have chosen to omit in order to better show the horses themselves.
The kit also provided a choice of drivers. The first pair are well wrapped up in greatcoats, gloves, balaclavas etc and would be perfect for those long Russian winters, for example. The second pair, which are modelled as individual figures, are in a much more pleasant atmosphere, with one man stripped to his shirt. The figures come in several parts and this allows some choice of kit to be carried as well as what headwear, since numerous spare examples of all types are provided, as are many other small accessories. The figures, small as they are at 1/87 scale, are well sculpted and very naturally posed and look great when in their place.
The set is missing the reins the men would have used, but that seems a very unfair observation to make when so much else has been provided. There is no payload for the uncovered wagon either, but again with so many possible uses it would be a struggle to supply them all. We were very impressed with this model, and with the thought that Preiser had put into offering alternatives. This is a highly useful vehicle for any German army of the 39-45 war, but since it is pretty much the same as the Light Field Wagon 95 of World War I vintage it has a very wide range of uses. It is to be hoped that Preiser one day make this in 1/72 scale, for this is a beautiful and very useful model that many enthusiasts will enjoy.