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  1. Imperial German Army Stormtroopers (HS-010) 1:35 Meng Model via Creative Models Ltd. Trench warfare in WWI developed rapidly through need, and became a horrifyingly fierce mode of fighting that resulted in massive casualties on both sides. Surprise attacks and raids were common by both sides, and the Germans called their troops Stoßtruppen, which translates to Stormtroopers, or shock troops. They were heavily armed and well-trained in order to achieve gains that the traditional barrage and frontal assault failed to deliver on many occasions. Covering fire to facilitate movement was key, so light machine guns were used as well as potato-masher grenades strapped in groups around a central handle for extra destructive power. The Kit This figure set arrives in the de facto standard figure box with Meng's satin finish and a dramatic painting of the figures on the front. On the back are the construction and painting details, with colour call-outs from their link-up with AK Interactive, with two drawings of each figure showing the parts layout and colours back and front. There are four figures that are held on one sprue, with another smaller sprue containing weapons, bayonets, pouches and helmets. Each figure is broken down as torso, legs, arms and heads, with the faces having suitably aggressive "war-faces". The helmets fit to the flat top of their heads, and in addition two of the figures have ammo pouches and other equipment around their necks and shoulders, which are fitted to flattened parts of the torso for better drape. Figure 1 Posed in the act of throwing a grenade with his mouth wide open, he is posed with weight on his back foot with forefoot and left arm thrown forward for balance. His rifle is slung over his shoulder, and he has ammo pouches and a gas-mask around his neck. He also has a water bottle and day sack on his belt, with putties around his boots. Figure 2 With feet planted firmly apart, toting an MG 08/15 with a bipod being used as a foregrip and a drum mag attached to the side. Even though this weapon had a reduced weight due to a smaller volume water jacket, it still weighed in at just under 21kg when full, plus the weight of the drum mag, which explains the rather staggered look of his legs. It wasn't a gun to be carried by a small man. He wears calf-length jackboots, and has a water bottle, gas mask canister and day sack at his waist. Figure 3 This figure is running in a crouch, carrying his rifle in front of him at the ready. He has grenade pouches on his chest, water bottle, gas mask canister and day sack on his waist, with putties over his boots. Figure 4 This moustachioed soldier is walking forward in a crouch, looking to his left and shading his eyes as he does so. In his right hand (which is a moulded to the gun) is a Bergmann MP18, which is a late war submachine gun, and is fitted with a "snail" 32-round drum magazine with a long feed, which was manufactured by Luger. He also carries the usual complement of gear on his waist and wears jackboots. Painting There are no decals, although I would like to see rank and insignia included in more figure sets as a matter of course. The colour call-outs are in the AK/Meng paint codes, which are given names and swatches on the side of the box in case you use different paints. The uniform of the day was a blue-grey, so keep the lid on your WWII Feldgrau and don't be tempted to use it. Conclusion An excellent addition to any WWI trench diorama, just remember to swap out the MP18 if you are planning something earlier than 1918. Sculpting is first rate, breakdown of parts is sensible, and as it states on the box there are "rich facial expressions" to add a little humanity to the set. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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