Russian vehicles, while not as popular as German ones, are right up there with the Shermans. However, only recently have manufacturers such as Miniart and Masterbox started to pay Russian tank crew much attention as far as injection molded plastic goes. This set, released by Tamiya in 1997, contains six Russian WWII era tankers, in several different uniforms. Iíll go over the overall quality of the kit as a whole, and then move on to discuss each figure in detail.
The kit comes in a small, side opening box of thin cardboard with the typical Tamiya style box art. Instructions are on the back, and they show each figure assembled and painted rather uninspiringly, with arrows labeling the part numbers along with Tamiya paint codes (maybe thatís why they are painted so badly?). The sides of the box show the colours of the uniforms of the soldiers, their accessories, their shoulderboards, and also the two WWII era Russian tanks that Tamiya kitted at the time.
The two sprues come packed in one bag. A close inspection of the sprues reveals that mold lines are minimal and that each torso features slight cooling lines Ė not as bad as on some Dragon figures, but still visible. Each figure is given a letter prefix for its parts numbers Ė something one only notices when itís not there! The figures are posed with the 5 male figures on or around the tank, checking out the crewwoman walking by, however, they could be used individually too.
This figure is made of the ďAĒ parts. He is posed leaning forward in his tank hatch, with his left forearm and his right hand resting on the roof of the vehicle. His right hand is bent up at the wrist, and overall he looks a bit stiff and awkward. He wears a leather jacket as issued to officers and NCOs, trousers, the padded tankerís cap and high leather boots. He also wears a holster for a Tokarev TT33 pistol on his belt, your choice of either synthetic or real leather. The face looks decent, not extraordinary, but not bad either, and you can make out a slight smile. Fold detail varies from mediocre on the sleeves to downright poor on the rest of the jacket. His tankers cap, while it has all the proper patterns, seems a little flat. It lacks the bulge of the original, more common style. His fingers suffer from severe sausagefingeritis.
This figure, made of ďFĒ parts, is cut off mid thigh, and is posed with his left arm rested on the edge of his hatch, and looking out of it. He wears the M1943 Gymnastiorka tunic and a padded tankerís cap. The folds on his uniform are worse than on the Commander figure (apart from on this guyís left arm), but itís less of an issue here as he will be mainly inside a hatch. His face and hands are respectable, and his cap is once again a little bit flat.
This lovely lady is made up of the ďDĒ parts, and is the object of the menís attention. She looks rather fetching in a M1943 Gymnastiorka tunic, trousers and high leather boots, with her padded cap and holster hanging from her belt. The fold detail is fairly unextraordinary. Her face is only slightly less masculine than her comrades, and her hair is well textured. Her braid is added as a separate part.
This guy (ďEĒ parts) is portrayed with his right leg resting on something, and his right arm leaning on another something. His left hand rests on his right, and his gaze is directed to his left. He wears tankerís coveralls, trousers, a padded cap, and Tokarev holster hangs from his belt. His head seems to have some issues; his face (while presentable) seems gaunt but it bulges out quite a bit more than it should where the cap is. Itís difficult to describe, but it doesnít look quite right. The fold details on this figure are actually quite decent, and his hand that is resting on the other is fairly well defined.
This figure (made of ďBĒ parts) has his left leg crossed on top of his right, and is leaning on yet another Ďsomethingí with his left elbow, arms crossed and leaning slightly forward. He is dressed in the tankerís coveralls, leather boots, trousers, and he holds his padded cap in his left hand. It is fuller than the other ones, and looks much better. His face is quite nice, though the hair texturing is rather poor. The folds on his torso are also poor, but they will not be so visible due to his pose, and the folds on his limbs are decent. He wears a holster on his right hip. His hands are somewhat ill-defined.
The final figure (made of ďCĒ parts) is, to me, the most interestingly posed. He is sitting over the edge of something (the edge of a tank, a hatch?) with his left leg up and his right hanging over the edge. His right hand rests on the tank while his left arm rests on his knee. He is looking slightly downward, wearing a leather jacket slightly shorter than the commanderís, trousers, high leather boots, a padded cap, and a Tokarev holster. The fold details on this figure are actually quite nice, and his hands are presentable. His head is quite nice, and the padded cap is not too flat, as the others are. I quite like this figure; heís by far my favorite in the set.
Overall, this is a decent set. Itís got its good spots, itís got its bad spots. So it goes. The figures have a good variety of poses and uniforms, and apart from the two wearing the Gymnastiorka, they can be used for any timeframe during the war. Overall, the set should be presentable with some careful painting, maybe a little rescribing, and maybe a few resin heads and hands. Just donít put it next to the latest Alpine figure in your diorama!
Highs: Well sculpted in spots; Russian tankers arenít all that common in plastic; versatile; inexpensive.Lows: Poor folds; nasty hands; faces arenít exactly inspiring.Verdict: Overall, a useful set that will take some work to make it look good Ė but thatís what this hobby is all about. Recommended.