by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
If you were browsing figure related websites lately, you have been witnessing the true Renaissance of Russian resin figure companies. Sculptors like Sergey Traviansky-Menelaev and Vladimir Demchenko have produced figures of amazing quality which can easily be compared to their western counterparts; not only by the amazing details, but also by perfect casting and great fit of the parts.
One of the newest Russian figure companies is Battalion Models. I learned about Battalion quite accidentally, browsing the Internet for modern Russian figures… among several WW2 subjects I noticed two sets of modern figures sculpted by Sergey Menelaev. As I immediately recognized the name of the sculptor, I knew the figures were destined to be a part of my grey army. Moreover, since I already had several figures made by Sergey, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed with their quality.
The figures arrived safely packed; a very sturdy cardboard was used to protect the box itself and the zip-lock bags inside the box were additionally protected with bubble wrap. The front of the box features nicely painted box art and lists both the sculptor (Sergey Menelaev) and the painter (Tatyana Podrutskaya). As stated, the base is not included in the kit.
Each of the three figures is packed inside its own zip-lock bag. Upon closer inspection the figures look absolutely fantastic. The parts are cast in gray resin; the resin is completely clean of any imperfections; there are no air bubbles, no flash or seam lines. Casting plugs are well placed, allowing easy clean up with minimal chance of damaging the detail. Besides that, most of the plugs are attached to kit pieces on places that are not going to be visible once the figure is fully assembled. The head of the second figure is an exception to this rule; a large carrier plug on the helmet took some time to remove and careful sanding was performed to get the smooth helmet surface afterwards. You should also be patient while cleaning the weapons as they are very delicate. The fit of the pieces is excellent; if placed correctly there are almost no visible gaps between the pieces so minimal putty work is needed. This is the case with all figures sculpted by Sergey I had the chance to work with. Sergey obviously pays a lot of attention to the figure break up while making a mold.
The anatomy of all figures is perfect and the poses are very natural. The details are amazing; shoe laces, webbing and uniform details, facial features, weapons… these figures are a true gem for modern figure modelers.
The kit contains three figures with a cool vignette option depicting two soldiers providing fire cover for their fallen comrade. The figures represent Russian special troop soldiers in action; they are all wearing Gorka uniform and paratrooper combat boots, but there are also some details that make each figure unique.
The first figure is kneeling and firing his AKS-74 to provide suppressive cover to his wounded comrade. It consists of 4 pieces: full body with the head, left arm, right arm and the weapon molded together with the right fist. As stated the fit of the parts is excellent but try to be patient with the assembly… dry fit the parts carefully before opening the glue bottle. I would suggest fitting both arms first and securing the weapon afterwards. The figure wears M23 Pioneer chest rig over the uniform; the rig accommodates 8 AK magazines, 3 hand grenades, number of VOG-25 rifle grenades and a knife. It also has a waterproof pocket for documents and maps. The figure wears a bandana; a fairly popular head wear among Russian special forces soldiers. The aggressive posture of the figure is accompanied with its facial expression; this guy means business.
The second figure is also kneeling and reloading his AKS-74. This figure consists of 5 pieces: the body, the head, left arm, right arm and the weapon molded together with the left fist. Again, I suggest fitting the arms first and attaching the weapon afterwards. That way you can manipulate the weapon easily and make proper alignment with the right hand cocking the AK mechanism. I managed to find an awkward seam line along the fingers of the left fist. This one could be a bit hard to remove but a sharp blade and some very fine sandpaper should do the trick. As for the equipment, this figure is wearing Maska-1 steel bulletproof helmet and a slightly different style chest rig. I’m not sure about the correct designation of this rig, but it is accurately sculpted; it accommodates 8 AK magazines as well as number of hand grenades and VOG-25 rifle grenades. Maska-1 helmet provides protection from pistol and submachine gun rounds but due to its weight it is not designed for long periods of use. It can also be equipped with removable 2mm thick visor.
The last figure is the casualty and it is cast as a single piece. The figure is lying on its back, probably unconscious with the eyes closed. The zipper of SPLAV M22 Tarzan tactical vest is open revealing more of the uniform. M22 vest is very popular within Russian special troops; it accommodates 8 AK magazines (or 4 RPK magazines), 4 grenades and a knife, but it also has accessory bag, medical pouch and two additional pockets for documents. Overall the figure has a nice feel of weight to the body, however it is not completely flat… something to consider when making groundwork for the vignette. The weapon supplied with this figure is an AKS-74/GP30, the airborne version of AK-74 with the folding butt and 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher. This particular piece was made from the MasterClub mold suggested by MCF logo on the resin carrier plug. The weapon looks great; all the small details are present and well executed.
These figures are truly amazing. They are incredibly well sculpted with numerous details: the knitted cap, shoelaces, assault vest and rigs, uniform details and facial features… I’m sure you’ll feel the urge to paint them as soon as you open the box and inspect the parts. The only difficult thing would be deciding which Russian camouflage pattern to paint.
The only problem I see with Battalion Models figures is their availability. They are still pretty hard to get (Bronya35.ru is the only dealer I know selling Battalion figures trough Western Union), making them less known among figure modelers. As soon as the figures hit the international market in greater quantity, I’m sure they are going to become a new hit in the figure modeling world.
Thanks to Evgeny of Battalion Models for this review sample.
Camouflage Uniforms of the Soviet Union and Russia (Schiffer Publishing); Dennis Desmond