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WWII German Mortar s.Gr.W34 with or without crew (35715 & 35716) 1:35 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Granatwerfer 34 was an 8cm mortar in service with the German armed forces during WWII, continuing through the entire conflict thanks in part to its accuracy and rate of fire, plus the ability to add additional powder charges to the munitions to increase the range over standard. Over 70,000 units were made, and over 70m rounds were manufactured in either blast, fragmentation or smoke variety, with some training rounds for practicality. They were typically crewed by three to four soldiers, although fewer men could operate it if there were sufficient rounds already nearby and the need arose. The Kit This new kit from ICM has been produced in two boxings, one with a crew of four soldiers, the other as a stand-alone item that can be used as diorama fodder or as stowage on a vehicle. Each kit is delivered in an appropriately sized top-opening box with the usual captive flap on the lower tray, and the sprues are enclosed in a resealable clear foil bag, hiding the instruction booklet underneath. German Mortar s.Gr.W34 (35716) Consisting of one sprue and a small instruction booklet, the mortar barrel is assembled from two halves, then has the two-part adjustment mechanism clamped around it from both sides that receives the top of the support frame and another adjustment lever. The bottom end of the barrel is inserted into the base plate, which has the self-entrenching fins moulded into the underside, a nice detail that will need trimming back or removing if you are fixing it to a flat base. There are three ammo boxes included on the sprue that have one end moulded separately, and can either be depicted closed by gluing the lid over them, or with three rounds in place and the lid glued open. The instructions show the rounds painted orange or green, and a quick rummage round Google shows up pictures of both colours, although the paint has darkened over time. German Mortar s.Gr.W34 with crew (35715) The box for this set is slightly larger because it contains three sprues, including the same sprue as the kit above. The largest sprue includes parts for four crew figures, three of whom are kneeling in various poses, the other is running with an ammo box under each arm. Each member of the crew is dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniform for the period with stahlhelm and either a Kar98 rifle or MP40 machine pistol slung over their shoulders. The third sprue contains a variety of accessories that are appropriate for WWII German troops, including helmets, pouches, holsters, binoculars, mess kits, water bottles, gas mask canisters, and even a spare MG34 with ammo cans if you should need it. The figures are well-sculpted and moulded with separate torsos, heads with flat tops, arms and legs, with some of the hands separated for detail’s sake. One figure also has one of his coat tails separate, and each figure has their own over-shoulder bag that has matching straps moulded into the torso of the figure. The ammo boxes and rounds for the mortar are included on the mortar sprue, and the one not under being carried can be assembled opened or closed as described above. Conclusion Get whichever set you prefer and enjoy the detail. Excellent sculpting on the figures, and fine detail on the mortar with sufficient accessories to satisfy most needs. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of