Another set of 'winter' Germans here, and this time they are manning an 81mm mortar. As with the companion sets the men wear the standard greatcoat and long boots, which would prove inadequate for the Russian winter and would be greatly supplemented by better clothing later in the war. Nevertheless all the uniform is correct, as is the full battle-order kit each man wears.
The four poses in this set break down into two pairings as shown. Not surprisingly, one is of two men manning the mortar, which is a weapon we have seen several times in this scale. The difference here, apart from the excellent detail on such a slender and small item, is that as the whole is mounted on one base the men can be very close together, and really handle their weapon in a believable way. Here the gunner has both hands on the traversing screw while his comrade waits to feed a new projectile into the tube. This is something traditional sets cannot easily deliver, and this model is all the better as a result.
The other pairing is more exciting as far as we are concerned, because it depicts something seldom modelled - a crew porting their weapon. This is also a terrific little ensemble, although in truth such a pair would need to be joined by others carrying ammunition as there is none here. Still we cannot complain, and it does genuinely introduce a new piece to what often seems like an already comprehensively covered subject, so bravo Zvezda.
Unlike a few of the other Art-of-Tactic sets we found the various pieces that made up these figures went together very well, yet were tight enough not to need gluing. Zvezda don't always get the tolerances right, but here they succeeded nicely. Also included is a single base for all four figures, as seen here, which makes the whole set into a game piece. This is fine, but we suspect most modellers will choose the separate bases, so it is good that Zvezda have offered the choice. The poses are great, the look accurate and production values first class. You could hardly ask for more.