I'm quite sure most of you know the work of Sergey Traviansky... many of you probably own some of the fabulous figures he released under Evolution Miniatures
label. Being from Russia, Sergey has "a thing" for sculpting modern Russian figures. The figure set featured in this review, Russian Modern Soldiers, Chechen Republic (EM-35038)
, is the latest addition to Evolution modern figure portfolio and it depicts BMP crew escaping from the damaged vehicle. The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this kit released was the feeling it was a perfect pair to Battalion Models figure set which depicts BMP crew bailing out from the damaged vehicle as well (click the link
to see the review of BAT-35013). Battalion set is also designed by Sergey, so there should be no problems in using the two kits together. The problem, however, could be finding Battalion Models kits as the company no longer exist... fortunately, I heard the masters were sold to Corsar Rex and I hope we'll soon see Battalion sets re-released under a new label.
The kit arrived safely protected in a typical Evolution Miniatures hard cardboard box which features nicely painted box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Sergey Traviansky) and the painter (also Sergey Traviansky). Zip-lock bags contain parts for building three figures; one complete and two half figures... all together 10 pieces. The parts are cast in grey resin and are almost completely clean of imperfections. I did found several seam lines, not very pronounced but still annoying to get rid of, especially the ones along the intricate folds of the uniform. Some careful sanding should do the trick, but be patient not to ruin the details.
First figure in this kit is a full figure; it depicts infantry soldier leaning on the BMP turret and helping a wounded crewman to exit the vehicle. The figure consists of 3 pieces: full body with legs and arms (minus both hands), the head and the weapon. The figure is wearing Russian winter uniform consisting of the lined jacket and trousers, 6B5 fragmentation body armor, high top boots and Ushanka fur cap. Ushanka has ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears from the cold. Water canteen and bayonet are secured to the belt. The pose of this figure is wonderfully executed and all the equipment has been thouroughly researched and well detailed in scale. I particularly like the fur on the winter collar and the Ushanka, amazing details on the frag vest and the face sculpt. There are couple of casting flaws to clean on the figure, but nothing major to worry about since the seam lines are not very prominent and with careful sanding the figure is ready to be assembled. There was absolutely no problem in building this figure; the head fits to the body really well, and you have an option of slinging the AK-74 on the figure's back.
Second figure is a half figure; it shows a wounded BMP crewman, almost unconscious, exiting from the turret hatch with the help of his comrade. This figure is also comprised of 3 pieces: the body with head, and left and right arms as separate parts. Interestingly, the hands of the infantryman figure are cast under the arms of this figure, ensuring a firm grip and easing the assembly of the two figures as a pair. The figure is also wearing Russian winter uniform with hood attached to the jacket collar and a typical Russian winter tanker helmet. This type of tanker helmet has soft lamb fur lining and cotton top with leather headphone pads, buckle on chinstrap and built-in headphones. Again, I found an excellent match of the uniform portrayed here with the real thing. The facial details and the pose of this figure are really nice, both suggesting barely conscious crewman being pulled from the vehicle. I had no problems with cleaning and building this figure... there is almost no chance of misaligning the arms to the torso due to small protrusions and recesses in corresponding parts. The two figures work really well together, but be careful when joining them; the only attachment points between two figures are wrists of the infantryman figure and ensuring a stronger bond by pinning the hands to the arms could prove to be a wise move.
Third figure is also a half figure; this BMP crewman is firing his AKMS and providing support to his comrades while escaping from the damaged vehicle. The figure consists of 4 parts: full body with head, left arm, right arm, and both hands holding the weapon. This figure wears Russian winter uniform jacket (without lining) and winter tank crew trousers with suspenders. His tanker helmet has fallen off his head, revealing fur lining and built-in headphones... a very nice touch from the sculptor. I like the aggressive posture of this figure and I think in-action pose is well executed. As for the assembly, I had no problems with attaching arms to the torso as the fit is really good. Placing the parts correctly leaves no visible gaps between the pieces so minimal putty work is needed. There was some more fiddling with fitting the hands properly and I think some putty would be necessary to finish up the job.
The figures are sculpted very nicely; the anatomy is perfect and the poses look really good... you can almost feel the weight of the wounded BMP crewman being pulled from the damaged vehicle by his comrade while the other crewman sprays bullets toward the enemy. The level of details on the equipment is fascinating; shallow folds on the uniforms represent the heavy winter garb really well and all the small tears on the fabric make the uniforms even more realistic, the fragmentation vest, Ushanka cap and winter tanker helmets... all together very impressive.
Russian Modern Soldiers, Chechen Republic (EM-35038) is not just another tank crew figure set as it shows a different aspect of being an AFV crewman in a combat zone... wounded and unconscious, being pulled from damaged vehicle and fighting for survival. This kit works perfectly with Battalion Models set (BAT-35013), so if you are modeling a BMP hit by an anti-tank round with crew bailing out these are definitely perfect sets for you!
Thanks to Olga and Sergey of Evolution Miniatures for this review sample.
Camouflage Uniforms of the Soveit Union and Russia; Schiffer Publishing