by: Andras [ ]
MiniArt has reissued a Russian tanker figure set as a “special edition”, with an additional side-arms, pouches and a field glass, and three ammunition boxes for the 152mm howitzer of the SU/ISU-152 self propelled guns. (The ammunition was compatible with the towed ML-20 gun as well, so you can use them with it, but since they are provided with a tanker/SPG crew, I assume they were intended for the vehicles.)
The envelope-style box contains 116 parts: five figures, a sprue for personal belongings (side arms -revolvers and semi-automatic handguns-, signal guns in open and closed configuration, and a field glass), and enough parts for three ammo boxes (with ammunition and charges included) for the 152 mm gun. The set provides two types of ammunition: the OF-540 HE (high explosive) and the G-530 HEAC (high explosive anti-concrete) shell shells. These parts are from MiniArt’s 152mm ammo set (35076).
The figures all wear the traditional Russian tanker uniform: light brown/khaki tunic and trousers, and the blue/black overall worn over it.
The quality of plastic as well as the moulding is good; there’s no flash to be seen, and the detail is very fine. The poses are well done: one figure is sitting, smoking a cigarette, one is leaning against something (well positioned to lean against the mud guard of a tank) talking, one is standing with his hands in his pockets out of his overall, one leans forward still fully dressed, and one is getting into his overall. (At least to me it looks like he is pulling it on, rather than peeling it off.) They look like if they are just casually milling around, preparing for a training exercise or a road march based on the poses.
The faces are especially well done, with natural proportions, and are quite lifelike -although very serious- facial expressions. In this the figures are in stark contrast with the box art: the box art depicts a bunch of relatively happy fellows in relaxed poses; the figures however are quite a grim bunch; they look more like veterans getting ready for action (either a deployment or a fistfight).
The figures -based on the extras- are probably meant for an SU/ISU-152 diorama (let’s hope it is an indication for an upcoming kit with interior); but since tankers in the Red Army had the same uniform, they can be obviously used in any other setting. As I said it is a re-boxed version of an already existing figure set; the “special edition” label comes from the additional sprues from other already existing sets, which do not strictly enhance the figures directly. Since the price of the set did not change as far as I could determine, the bonus sprues will be welcome even if you don’t end up using them with your figures.