by: Todd Michalak [ ]
No too long ago, Trumpeter released a new four figure set with the intent on filling a gap in the Afghanistan front. This new set is the Afghan Rebels kit model no. 00436. While there are numerous vehicle and modern military figure sets offered up, there is very little in the way of Afghan rebel forces to choose from; there might be a couple of resin figures and at least one four figure set which was created a long time ago from ICM that I have seen. Recently I was able to get my hands on the Trumpeter Afghan Rebels kit and give it the once over for this review.
The Afghan Rebels kit is a styrene boxed kit with parts for creating four figures depicting Afghan rebel forces. Supplied in Trumpeter’s standard small end-opening cardboard box, there is a depiction of the four assemble figures located on the front of the box. As seen with all other previously released figure sets from this company, the instructions are shown on the back of the box; with assembled pictures of the figures with numbering coinciding with a sprue parts legend.
This kit contains six sprue trees and a total of forty-two parts for constructing the figures. There is one light grey-colored sprue containing all of the parts for the four included figures and five small black styrene sprues which contain various weapons to use with the figures.
In looking over the sprue containing the figures, the part appear to be cleanly molded with some crisp detailing. There is some faint mold seam lines present, however, there is no visible flash present. Of these four figures, two are depicted standing straight up with arms bent forward in positions consistent with holding a rifle. A third figure having the same arm positioning is posed with one leg slightly raised as if his foot is resting on a rock. The fourth figure included is in a sitting position with both arms resting on the figure’s legs. The seated figure is the only figure depicted wearing sandals; all of the rebel figures appear to be wearing clothing consistent of Afghani attire.
Included in this set, there are five additional sprue containing weapons for the figures in the set. There are four AKM rifles (AKAKM), two AKMS rifles with under folded stocks, two Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk.I .303 riffles and two PPSh-41 sub-machine guns with drum magazines.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, the detailing of these figures is crisp. The facial features are prominent Trumpeter has created the separate heads for these figures with slightly longer necks and incorporating a V-shaped bottom to three of them. The corresponding opening to the torso where the necks fit into is hollowed out and gives a more realistic connection between the two. Minor criticisms on my part when regarding the figure heads is the beards some additional cleanup needed. All of the figures have facial hair molded into them, three of the figures have thick beards. One of these three, the beard appears to be extremely thick and transitions particularly heavy where the sideburns meet the hair where the ear of the figure would be located. I can understand the hair being long enough so the ears do not show, but the side burns appear to protrude outward thicker than normal. In addition, where typically on some figures there is a seam line located on the neck running up through the back of the ear that needs cleanup, Trumpeter attempted to eliminate the seam but in the process, the back jawline of the beard has a square drop-off transition to the ear. There will be some cleanup needed in these locations to give a more realistic feel to the figure’s heads.
Continuing what I had mentioned earlier about the traditional Afghan attire, the detailing has been nicely rendered. While there is some cleanup in the normal areas in respects to sprue-gate marks and some faint seam lines, the look is decent. With styrene figures, the common practice of removing hands and foot/legs to drill out the clothing to give a more realistic representation will need to be done if so desired. One more minor critique on my part is with the feet of the figures. Three of the figures are wearing boots and one is wearing sandals. I would have liked to seen either one or two more figures with sandals on or at least an added option of replacement feet included on the sprue. There is no set of rules guiding what Afghan rebels wear on their feet, but I do think the option would have been nice.
Construction of the figures is pretty much straight forward. Following the supplied instructional diagram on the back of the box, the parts can be removed easily and basic fitting between attachment points on the figures is decent to where there is minor filling required at the seams. The attachment points for the neck upper torso is excellent and allows for defined lines between the clothing and neck. One of my biggest concerns is the arm depiction. In each of the figures contained in this set, the arms are all bent as to be holding rifles. While this is the premise of the box set, the option for not having a rifle in hand is nearly impossible without some sort of modification. The only figure close to a natural pose when not using one of the optional weapons it the seated figure. I would have liked to see Trumpeter supply one or two more sets of arms to allow the builder a few more options when building this set.
All in all, I do like the new Afghan Rebels set of figures from Trumpeter. As styrene injected figures go, the parts have been molded cleanly with a pleasant amount of details; the lack of any marketed Afghan figures sold right now makes this set a welcomed change. Trumpeter has done a nice job in supplying clean attachment points for the necks and upper body, however, there are a few minor issues that I feel will need to be overcome when building these figures, such as the cleaning up where the beards meets the ears, possible addition of more feet in sandals and possible re-positioning of arms to give a little more variants to the scene if desired. Despite the minor setbacks of the Afghan Rebels figure set should make a fine addition to anyone’s stash to help give a more indigenous feeling to their Afghani dioramas. While I would like to see more action poses, at the moment, this set is a nice start.
Special thanks to Stevens International for providing a sample of Trumpeter's Afghan Rebels Figure kit for this review