by: Jan Etal [ ]
IntroductionRussian and later Soviet Infantry (Morskaya pekhota) predates its much larger cousin, the United States Marine Corps, by around seventy years. These Naval Infantry formations maintained during several wars cannot be ascribed to any recognition of their usefulness. Most of the units raised consisted of supernumerary ships’ crews from immobilized or destroyed Russian/Soviet warships.
The figures in this Zvezda kit are in addition to numerous other figure sets offered by this company for use with their expandable game system Art Of Tactic “Operation Barbarssa 1941.”
The subject of this review is the Soviet Naval Infantry 1941-1943, kit #6146
ContentsThe figure set is contained in a side opening box with front and rear images of the assembled figures on the back. The box contains a small sheet of instructions with an overview of the purpose of the figures on one side and assembly line drawings on the other. Also present is one sprue of dark green hard plastic containing 15 parts and an Art of Tactic game card. There are no decals or painting instructions provided.
ReviewThe moulding of the pieces on the sprue looked crisp and possessed some interesting details. There was virtually no flash evident and no sink holes. Ejector pin marks were only visible on the tops of the individual bases provided for the figures. Optionally, all four figures can be mounted on a large joint base that will also hold a “flag” piece associated with the game.
Four figures are present on the sprue with two being ready for mounting and two that will require assembly. Each of the four figures is armed with a different weapon and varying uniform equipment. The weapons represented in the kit are the DP-28 light machine gun, PPsH-41 submachine gun, Tokarev Self-loading Rifle, Model 1940 or SVT-40 and the Mosin Nagant Model 1891 Rifle.
Two extra unused pieces are provided on the sprue. They appeared to be some form of terrain feature and after investigating, they are to be used in other kits as a base for a barbed wire fence.
The information on the box states that this is a “Snap Fit” kit with no glue required. Further, if glue is required, standard normal styrene glue should be usable. Also mentioned is that this plastic is easy to paint with normal hobby paints without undo preparation required.
Build ObservationsPrior to assembly this reviewer made a few tests of the plastic used. The plastic cuts well with both sprue cutters and a sharp hobby blade. Sanding or filing with a metal file can result in some “burrs” in the location where it is done. A light scraping pass over the affected area with a sharp hobby knife easily cleaned things up.
A test gluing of pieces of the sprue showed that standard Tamiya styrene cement worked. A portion of sprue was then painted with Tamiya Acrylic paint and left to dry. The paint adhered very well and no cracking, chipping or flaking was observed after some gentle bending.
After cleaning the sprue and its parts with a mild dish washing detergent, the sprue was sprayed with a base coat of acrylic paint and assembly started. The first figure was the three piece advancing rifleman. The rife and attached hands (A10) fit well into the main body (A8) but required a fair degree of pressure to have the pieces successfully attach. The right leg (A9) required even more pressure and a bit of trimming of the mounting peg.
The next multi-piece figure assembled was the grenade throwing one (A1). This figure requires the right leg (A9) to be attached. In this case the mounting peg was either too long or its mating hole too shallow. It was required to drill out the mounting hole and trim the peg before the joint between the two parts would sit flush. Unfortunately this surgery resulted in the “snap fit” no longer functioning and glue had to be used to complete the assembly.
The remaining two figures are one piece, except for mounting on a base. After painting the individual bases with Flat Earth coloured paint, the figures were press-fitted onto the separate bases. All four figures fit perfectly and flush.
While this reviewer is a total novice as far as figure painting is concerned, I decided to partially paint the figures to see how they would respond to painting. After some research it was found that these naval infantry had predominantly black uniforms (hats, coats, trousers and boots). For review purposes the figures were sprayed with NATO Black acrylic. When dry, the exposed flesh areas were brushed with a suitable flesh toned paint. Weapons were painted with appropriate colours along with some personal equipment on the figures.
During the assembly and painting process it will be inevitable that certain delicate pieces may get deformed. This was the case with bayonet blades and the handles of the entrenching tools on the figures. Surprisingly, despite some pieces being bent out of shape a number of times, a gentle bending back to their original position corrected the problem. In many cases similar styrene features would have broken off or at least remained partially deformed. This new material seems to exhibit less brittleness and more elasticity that regular styrene plastic. It should also be noted that even when this re-bending occurred after painting with acrylics, no paint damage was visible.
ConclusionsWhile meant to be gaming pieces, these figures have some details approaching that of more dedicated figure sets. Their dynamic poses and authentic uniforms would be perfect to add that little extra something to a diorama or vignette.
The new plastic material is obviously effective in accepting glue and acrylic paint and appears more resilient than standard styrene. It is perfectly suited for a novice or younger builder. They are good enough for the more experienced modeller to take seriously.