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Three years before this set came out we were treated to Orion’s Set 1 of their Panzer Soldiers, and a very nice set it was too. It was a while coming, but now we can see their Set 2, so what is new, and is it as good as the first?
It looks very much like the same sculptor was responsible for both sets because the style looks the same and we liked both equally. The human form is really well captured and the poses are relaxed and lifelike. Although the set is not particularly demanding on detail, when it is required it is to be found, and very well done. However this set does less well with the quality of the mould, for there is a fair amount of flash here, which is quite considerable in places. Also in a couple of places there seems to be some damage to the mould causing odd extra bits of plastic, so a lot of trimming would be required unfortunately.
The poses are basically more of the same, with a mixture of men relaxing and working on their vehicle. The first two men in the second row are busy cleaning the barrel of their gun and are meant to be placed together as we have pictured, although only the first man actually has the cleaning rod. The box suggests different types and models of tanks that might need one or both of these figures, and also includes the last figure in the top row as a third man for tanks with very long gun barrels like the Tiger and Panther. One man in the top row holds a hammer, and another has a shell in his hands, partnering the similar pose in the first set very nicely. Otherwise the poses are pretty static and relaxed, but all are well realised.
The mix of uniform and working clothes is much the same as the first set. We find some with the tankers’ distinctive uniform of short double-breasted jacket, while others wear the ordinary service tunic or working overalls (or are just in shirtsleeves). Most wear the ordinary field cap or are bare-headed, but a couple wear the later-war (from 1943) peaked field cap or Einheitsfeldmütze, which was common but often taken off or reversed when in the tank as the peak interfered with using the periscope. Lastly the man holding the Panzerfaust in the second row wears the officer’s peaked service cap, which was soft and could be worn with headphones. Everything here looks authentic and most of it would be suitable for any part of the war or even earlier.
This set does not offer anything dramatically new, and there are now several good sets depicting such men. Instead it just extends the good work done in the first set, so anyone looking to display their tanks out of the battle will find plenty of attractive figures to help bring them to life. The only downside is the intrusive flash in some places, so hopefully that varies and is less apparent on some sets than on ours.