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Built Review
GRU Machinegunner, Afghanistan
Soviet Machinegunner of Special Troops GRU (Afghanistan 1984-1989)
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

Evolution Miniatures continues with their "Afghanistan 1984-1989" line; third figure sculpt from Sergey Traviansky in this series (and hopefully not his last) is Soviet Machinegunner of Special Troops GRU (EM-35025). The figure compliments Officer of Special Troops GRU (click here for review) and Soviet Sniper of Special Troops (click here for review) really well and it is obvious the sculptor wanted to make figures which could be used as a group, depicting soldiers of Soviet Main Intelligence Department during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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). I do wish the boxart picture was taken from a different angle to show the pose of the figure a bit better, though.

Two zip-lock bags contain 10 figure parts; the kit pieces are molded in grey resin and they include:

- full body with legs,
- head,
- left and right arm,
- hands with the weapon and
- several pieces of equipment (helmet, blanket, ammo belt, knife, bipod).

Closer inspection revealed a very good cast of the pieces. Most delicate parts in the kit look perfect; ammo belt and the weapon are molded without any imperfections, however, I found a long seam line along the right leg of the figure... it is not very pronounced but some care should be taken when removing it in order not to damage the intricate folds of the uniform. Casting plugs are cleverly placed on kit parts, allowing easy clean up and not influencing fit of the pieces after cleaning is done. Besides, most of the plugs are attached to kit pieces on places that are not going to be visible once the figure is fully assembled.
The fit of kit parts is excellent and there is no way of misaligning the pieces. I would suggest fitting the arms to the torso first and then adding hands with the weapon to the figure... As for the extra equipment, the only piece that needs some extra care is the ammo belt; it is very delicate and bending it to desired shape could be a bit tricky. Be patient, use moderate heat, work on the part of the belt at one time and the result should be a realistic ammo belt draped on the weapon.

This figure depicts a machinegunner of Russian GRU (Glavnoye Razvedovatel'noye Upravlenie or Main Intelligence Department) during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The figure wears Gorka uniform and some kind of a vest over the jacket. With two large pockets on the front and two smaller pockets on the side, the vest looks pretty peculiar and I must admit I wasn't able to recognize the type. On the back, the figure carries a ton of equipment; fully packed large Soviet mountain rucksack with sleeping bag strapped to the bottom, two ammo belts hanging out from the main compartment and a large blanket secured on the top of the rucksack... you can even add the M60 helmet to the list if you want to. An interesting fact is that, other than the traditional Afghan knife which is included in this kit, the premier trophy for a Soviet soldier was a mujahedeen sleeping bag. Those bags, supplied by the West, were lightweight, waterproof and warm... everything that Soviet cotton sleeping bag was not. The final piece of equipment on this figure is a canteen secured to the belt.

The details of the sculpt are amazing; the folds of the uniform, texture of the blanket, canteen cover tear and sneakers on figure's feet; Soviet boots were unsuited for climbing the Afghan mountains and when possible soldiers chose to wear tennis shoes, very often Russian-made copies of Adidas or Puma sneakers.

The figure is armed with PKM, a gas operated, belt fed, air cooled machine gun. Standard ammo belts have a capacity of 100 rounds and can be fed from special steel boxes which are clamped under the receiver of the PKM for better mobility. The PKM is fitted with a skeleton buttstock made from wood and fitted with a hinged buttplate, and a wooden pistol grip. The rear part of the buttstock houses an accessory / cleaning kit, and a disassembled cleaning rod is stored in the right leg of the bipod. A folding bipod is fitted to the gas tube below the barrel.

The Soviet Machinegunner of Special Troops GRU is a wonderful figure... sculpted by a very talented sculptor, in a well balanced posture and with great attention to details. The cast is very good and the fit of the pieces perfect. This is definitely not a mainstream release, but I must admit I like Evolution's "Afghanistan 1984-1989" figures very much... they are all posed really well and packed with ton of very interesting equipment. As far as I know, Sergey wants to release about 8-10 figures in this line and I'm really looking forward to these...

Thanks to Sergey from Evolution Miniatures for this review sample.

Camouflage Uniforms of the Soviet Union and Russia (Schiffer Publishing)
Highs: Another great kit from Evolution. The figure is wonderfully sculpted in a well balanced pose, well cast and the fit is perfect. The details on the equipment look amazing.
Lows: A single seam line along the figure's right leg.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: EM-35025
  Related Link: Evolution Miniatures
  PUBLISHED: Apr 12, 2011

Our Thanks to Evolution Miniatures!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mario Matijasic (Maki)

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright 2021 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. All rights reserved.


Thank you for a great review!
APR 13, 2011 - 08:03 PM

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