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In-Box Review
135
WW2 Russian AFV Crew Set
WW2 Russian AFV Crew #1 and #2
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by: Rudi Richardson [ TAROK ]

Introduction

The winter fighting of 1941-42 forced the introduction of more suitable winter gear to the Red Army, which had been under development since the embarrassing Finnish campaign of 1939-40. It included the shapka-ushanka fur cap and a new sheepskin jacket for officers – if available.

35092 “WW2 Russian AFV Crew Set is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Sergey Traviansky (known as “Menelay” on many figure modelling forums), this being his debut for Alpine Miniatures. The two AFV crew members are portrayed post the August 1941 degree wearing the new winter gear, i.e. sheepskin coats and ear-flapped fleece caps and fleece-lined padded tanker helmets. Released during October 2009, the box-art is painted by Man-Jin Kim – who appears to becoming a regular painter for Alpine.

Both figures are also available individually as figures 35090 WW2 Russian AFV Crew #1 and 35091 WW2 Russian AFV Crew #2.

The Figures

WW2 Russian AFV Crew #1 and #2 both wear the popular polushubok sheepskin coat. Both issued and privately acquired, it was used by infantry and mechanised personnel alike. Note the fastening, by cloth extension tabs and buttons on the right side of the chest; and slash pockets on each side below the waist. The crewmen wear sheepskin mittens, although 35090 has pulled his right glove off and holds it in his left hand behind his back. No form of rank insignia is worn on the coats.

Given the baggy appearance of the trouser leggings, the tank officers appear to both be wearing overalls beneath their coats. Crews of armoured vehicles normally wore an overall over the standard field uniform, officially in black but often in grey, dark blue or khaki as a result of distributed manufacture. These are worn along with the traditional calf length black leather boots.

WW2 Russian AFV Crew #1 ‘s personal equipment consists of the Officers’ belt Model 1935 (Sam Browne) with the cut-out Soviet star buckle, a map-case acquired through the Lend-Lease program, Nagant pistol holster, and binoculars. WW2 Russian AFV Crew #2 is similarly equipped and wears the Sam Browne belt (albeit the Officers’ belt model 1932/1943 with the clasp buckle) and pistol holster, while slung around his torso is a 1940 model gas-mask bag, most likely the gas-mask has been discarded and the bag used as a all-purpose musette bag (as was common practice).

Keeping their heads warm, the officers wear the new ear-flapped fleece cap, shapka-ushanka, introduced in 1940. The officers’ pattern was made from good quality grey astrakhan, whereas that issued to the soldiers had synthetic pile. The caps bear the universal enamelled Red Army badge on the front flap.

Both crew members are presented with a tanker’s alternative: the distinctive padded helmet, developed from the crash helmet worn by German pilots during WWI. Through the war the leather tank helmet was replaced by one manufactured using black or grey canvas. It was also issued in a fleece-lined version for winter use, as seen here.

What’s in the Box?

The set, moulded in Alpine Miniatures’ traditional light grey coloured resin, comes in a kit form consisting of a total of eleven (11) pieces. The kit is packaged in a small, clear acetate box with each figure’s parts inside its own small zip-lock bag. A small card displaying the painted set of figures, as well as the individual figures is supplied.

Figure 35090 WW2 Russian AFV Crew #1 consists of the following six (6) parts:

  • Full figure, excluding head and arms;
  • Left and right arms;
  • Nagant pistol holster;
  • Map case;
  • Head wearing padded tanker helmet; and
  • Head wearing ear-flapped fleece cap.

    Figure 35091 WW2 Russian AFV Crew #2 consists of the following five (5) parts:

  • Full figure, excluding head and arms;
  • Left and right arms;
  • Nagant pistol holster;
  • Head wearing padded tanker helmet; and
  • Head wearing ear-flapped fleece cap.

    The Kit

    In keeping with Alpine Miniatures tradition the figures are superbly sculpted and the casting is crisp and clean.

    The four heads are well-sculpted, but in a departure from the Alpine norm of head pairs with identical face, this pair of figures each features two different faces. This is, in this modeller’s opinion, a welcome change. The faces are cleanly sculpted and well defined, with well-textured hair visible under the shapka-ushanka with folded up flaps as well as the moustache 35090’s helmeted head sports. If there is just one flaw I could find with the faces, it is the small holes to the sides of 35091’s capped head: I am not certain if these are the result of small air pockets or simply an exaggeration of the corners of the character’s mouth. The headgear is well proportioned and nicely detailed; the helmets have plenty of fine detail and the various fur items are neatly textured. The casting blocks are situated under the neck for two cap-wearing heads, so modellers can remove these relatively easily without fear of damaging any detail. The helmeted heads wear the casting block positioned to the rear of the central pad, which although not ideal as it will require care in removing, is positioned as such for casting purposes. Modellers will most likely add the headphone wiring, as the helmets featured appear to have the headphones fitted (as deduced from the expanded headphone pocket on the helmet).

    The figures proper, i.e. torsos and legs, are superbly sculpted and folds gather realistically for the materials and garments portrayed. The drapery of the coats is excellent, with fine memory folds in the sheepskin not going unnoticed. The texture of the fleece collars and exposed seams is excellent. Other fine details to be appreciated include the cut-out Soviet star buckle, and the many leather cross-straps and associated buckles. If I were to have only one criticism of the two torsos, it is that there is no undercut on the underside of the coat skirts (between the legs) for added effect. That said it should be within the skill set of all modellers to drill out just a few millimetres of resin should they desire said effect. The casting is as always impeccable with only the usual fine strands of flash left between the legs. As per usual the casting blocks beneath the feet removed and no more than a quick clean-up is required.

    The figures’ arms, like the rest of the kit, are well defined and cast. The bulkiness of the winter coat is evidenced by the comparative size of the 35090’s uncovered right hand. 35091’s right thumb featured a small air bubble, however this is easily filled. The casting lugs are placed on the elbows with the exception of the right arm of figure 35091, which is placed on the inner shoulder.

    The pistol holsters and map case are as always finely detailed and cast, with only the casting lug at the top requiring removal.

    Conclusion

    This is an excellent Alpine Miniatures debut by Sergey Traviansky and another terrific addition to the Alpine Miniatures collection. The quality of the cast and the subject should prove to be very popular.

    Red Army uniforms did not see extensive change through the duration of the war, thus this set will make great additions to any WWII RKKA winter scene after 1941 and could be used with virtually all, if not all, Russian vehicles of the period. As we have come to expect from Alpine, the casting and sculpting is superb, with only a negligible amount of flash.

    Recommended.

    References

    The following material was consulted for purposes of this review, and is suggested reading for more information on the subject:

  • “Red Army Uniforms of World War II in Colour Photographs”. Europa Militaria No. 14. Anton Shalito, Ilya Savchenkov and Andrew Mollo. Windrow & Greene. 1993.
  • “The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941-45”. Men-At-Arms 216. Steven J Zaloga. Illustrated by Ron Volstad. Osprey Publishing. 1984.

  • SUMMARY
    Highs: High quality sculpt and cast. Four different faces instead of the usual pair of twins highly welcomed. Alpine's first Red Army figures in winter gear.
    Lows: Negligible casting blemish on one thumb.
    Verdict: A great debut by Sergey Traviansky and another terrific addition to the Alpine Miniatures collection.
    Percentage Rating
    90%
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: 35090, 35091, 35092
      PUBLISHED: Dec 20, 2009
      NATIONALITY: Russia
    NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
      THIS REVIEWER: 85.47%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.33%

    Our Thanks to Alpine 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 Rudi Richardson (Tarok)
    FROM: VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

    I'm a former Managing Editor of the Historicus Forma historical figure modelling website. While my modelling and history interests are diverse, my main figure modelling focus lies in Sci-Fi, Pop-Culture, Fantasy, Roman and WW2 German subjects. I'm a firm believer that armour and vehicles accessorise...

    Copyright ©2018 text by Rudi Richardson [ TAROK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.



    Comments

    Hey Rudi Nice in-depth review here... They certainly convey the sense of a cold setting to me at least! I'm amazed at how the the variety of Alpine sculptors have for the most part managed to sculpt in a not dissimilar way! Good for continuity/compatibility... Brad
    DEC 19, 2009 - 12:44 PM
    Thanks for your comments, Bradders. Remind me the next time we get together (well, before ) to bring these figures with me so that you can have a first hand gander
    DEC 20, 2009 - 09:10 AM
    We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
    Thanks.
       

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