Hungary was one of the countries called upon to bolster the German war effort in the Soviet Union, particularly after the initial highly successful advance bogged down. Like the other allies, at the end of 1942 the Hungarians were charged with holding parts of the flanks of the German Sixth Army as it fought for Stalingrad, and it was here that it faced a vast and well–equipped Soviet counterattack, being forced to retreat after suffering enormous casualties and loss of much precious equipment. It was one of the worst defeats of the Hungarian Army.
The standard Hungarian winter dress during World War II was the double-breasted greatcoat, which a few of the figures in this set are wearing. However faced with the severe Soviet winter all manner of warm clothing was called upon, as it was for all the allies facing the Soviets. This set provides a good range of clothing, including the Hungarian hooded cape, what look to be camouflage smocks and even a couple of examples of the full quilted winter jacket and trousers – a rare item. Some wear helmets, which would be either the 1915 or 1935 German pattern (both look to be in evidence here), and most of the rest wear the distinctive side cap with the high pointed crown at the front. Naturally the warm cloth tubes that went over the head are much in evidence, as are mittens and even what looks like a sheepskin jerkin, while one man looks like he may wear a fleece cap liberated from the enemy. All of this is fine and gives a very good impression of the terrible cold that was the backdrop to Stalingrad.
The men are all well wrapped up, and carry relatively little kit. Many have just ammo pouches and their bread bag, while some have what looks like a water bottle, and several have entrenching tools too. One man has a rucksack on his back, but no one else has anything like a full pack, which is fine.
We will have our usual moan about the Strelets sculpting in a moment, but this always reveals itself particularly in the finer details such as weapons. Here it is very hard to make anything much out, and the rifles would seem to be fairly generic as far as we could tell, so they could pass for any of several. The selection of submachine guns are equally difficult to interpret, although with some imagination we thought we could make out a Kiraly, a German MP40 and a couple of Solothurn S1-100s, all of which would be reasonable.
Modern sets like this really suffer from the vague and blocky Strelets style much more than less sophisticated ancient subjects, so all the usual characteristics of enlarged small items and detail difficult to distinguish really get in the way here. There is no flash, and in fact the chosen poses are both reasonable and not unduly flat, so although you could never call these figures attractive they do a reasonable job, especially if viewed from a distance!
Note The final figure is of a soldier from the Streltsi of 17th century Russia. Though he is unrelated to the subject of this set, he is one of a series of 'bonus' figures which when combined will create a set of this unit for the Great Northern War. See Streltsi Bonus Figures feature for details.