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Built Review
135
American sniper with M14
American sniper with M14
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]

Introduction:

Dmitri Baev, the owner of Soga Miniatures webstore, created his own resin figure label “NATO in Miniatures” with the idea to produce 1/35 scale modern figures of NATO soldiers in current conflicts. So far the company released almost exclusively US figures; American sniper with M14 is the fifth figure in “NATO in Miniatures” US modern figure range.


The review:

The figure arrived in a well designed and firm cardboard box, additionally protected by packing peanuts. The box is printed in ACU pattern, features nicely painted box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Dmitri Shevtsov) and the painter (Dmitri Baev).

The kit parts are secured in a zip-lock bag. Molded in grey resin, all parts are wonderfully cast with no imperfections visible. Casting plugs are intelligently placed, allowing easy clean up with minimal chance of damaging the details. Take your time when cleaning the weapon, however, as it is very delicate. The figure part break-up is well thought of and the figure assembly is pretty straightforward with excellent fit of the pieces; if placed correctly there are almost no visible gaps between the parts so minimal putty work is needed. The anatomy the figure is perfect and the pose very natural. Again, as with all “NATO in Miniatures” kits I reviewed so far, the level of detail is amazing… among the best I have seen on resin figures.

The figure represents US Army sniper serving in Middle Eastern theater of operations (OIF/OEF). It consists of 8 pieces: full body with both legs, right arm, left arm, head, helmet, weapon with right hand attached, and two equipment accessories… smoke grenade and the knife/bayonet.

The figure is wearing Army Combat Uniform (ACU). ACU is the current combat uniform worn by the US Army. It replaced the old Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) and Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU), and it consists of a jacket, trousers, t-shirt and tan combat boots. The ACU uses a new camouflage pattern comprised of slate gray, desert sand and foliage green pixel patches. The pattern was designed to be effective in all environments, however, soldiers in the field have complained about the ineffectiveness of the new pattern since it was first issued. I would imagine most figure painters have protested to the similar extent since painting pixilated uniforms is usually a nerve wrecking experience… particularly in 1/35 scale. The sculptor did his job on ACU very well; all the details of the uniform are present and the folds have a very natural feel to them. Couple of aftermarket US Army patches can be used to further enhance the ACU appearance. Tactical gloves and knee pad protectors are perfectly sculpted and add to the realism of the figure in the field.

The figure wears Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). IBA replaced the older fragmentation protective Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) and features two modular components; the outer tactical vest and small-arms protective plates which can stop 7.62mm rounds. IBA is equipped with MOLLE-compatible webbing loops on the front and back which permit modular attachment of other equipment to the vest. Most of the equipment is sculpted on the IBA; three double M14 magazine pouches, one triple pistol magazine pouch, hydration system with nicely sculpted drink tube strapped to the front of the IBA, large buttpack, grenade pouch and various other MOLLE equipment pieces. I particularly like the radio pouch on the left shoulder with amazingly rendered cable coil leading to the two-way speaker/microphone system. The sculptor did a great job on all the equipment mentioned in this paragraph; although pretty packed up, the IBA looks good and the unused MOLLE loops look amazing with each loop well defined between the pouches. All the pouches are very nicely detailed as well. The only thing I couldn’t find references on is the large buttpack.
Two equipment pieces are sculpted separately; the smoke grenade and the knife/bayonet. I have a problem with the latter, as it seems to be an older M8A1 scabbard type which is not a part of MOLLE system. I’m not going to use it on my figure as it just doesn’t look right. Another piece of equipment that appears a bit off is the drop leg holster; it seems a bit too small.

The figures are also wearing Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH). MICH was developed to replace the PASGT helmet as the next generation of protective combat helmets in the US Army. MICH features a new type of Kevlar providing increased protection against handgun rounds. A new pad system and four-point retention system provide better impact protection and comfort for the wearer. MICH can be fitted with a mounting bracket for night vision devices on the front, as well as with a pair of straps on the rear to keep combat goggles in place. Interestingly, MICH is smaller than the PASGT thus allowing greater situational awareness and less vision obstruction, particularly when combined with IBA. The helmet in this figure kit is nicely sculpted and represents MICH realistically in scale. The combat goggles (inside protective cloth cover) strapped to the helmet are a great extra detail.

The figure is armed with M14 rifle; a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire assault rifle. The weapon was adopted by US Army in the 1957 but the production was ceased by US Government in 1964, after the combat experience in Vietnam. The M14 was too long and too heavy to be carried all day long in hot and wet climate. The 7.62mm NATO ammunition was too heavy, limiting the amount of ammunition carried by soldiers on patrols. The selective fire capability was mostly useless, since the M14 was way too light for powerful cartridge it fired, and climbed excessively when fired in bursts… However, during recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan many old M14 rifles were withdrawn from warehouses, dusted off and issued to troops in the field to improve range and lethality of troops armed with 5.56mm weapons. Some M14 rifles were issued as is, some were fitted with new telscope sights to serve as a para-sniper / designated marksman rifles.
In general, the M14 was a very controversial weapon: it had the accuracy and range of the "old time" military rifles, but was too long, heavy and lacked the automatic fire firepower. Nevertheless, it was a reliable and powerful weapon, often favored by users for high lethality, long range and good penetration.


Conclusion:

This is a very nice figure; well researched and sculpted with great care to all details, perfectly cast and extremely easy to build. The details on the uniform and the equipment are very sharp, the anatomy of the figure looks really good and the facial features are well defined. This figure is definitely another masterpiece from “NATO in Miniatures”.

Thanks to NATO in Miniatures for this review sample.


References:

http://www.sbct.army.mil/
http://www.globalsecurity.org/
http://www.special-warfare.net/data_base/index.html
http://world.guns.ru/assault/as15-e.htm


EDIT: I have missed it completely in the review, but have been reminded via discussion tread: there is an issue with M14 supplied in this kit as the gas port/piston on the M14 barrel is positioned upside down. The weapon looks good in the boxart photo, but the weapon provided in the kit definitely needs to be "surgically" corrected. Check this discussion link for more info: link
SUMMARY
Highs: This is a great figure… nicely sculpted, perfectly cast and easy to build. The level of details is amazing.
Lows: A bayonet that looks like an older type is pretty useless here.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
92%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: USA-005
  PUBLISHED: Sep 05, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 93.37%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.69%

Our Thanks to Nato in 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 Mario Matijasic (Maki)
FROM: CROATIA HRVATSKA

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright ©2019 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. 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

Oops, I missed that one completely. Thanks for pointing it out! But it is interesting to note at what point the issue appeared? From the correctly sculpted boxart to a flawed castings... why did the sculptor change the barrel in the process? I guess a weapon "surgery" will have to be performed to correct the problem. Mario
SEP 05, 2010 - 08:02 PM
I'm guessing the sculptor initially made the error and didn't notice until assembling/painting for the display photo and now all the production figures have the problem. The barrel seems slightly bent upwards in the finished figure, so probably indicates they've done some modifications to rectify the problem. Shouldn't be much of an issue to fix. Other than that the figure is fantastic, another great addition to any OIF/Afghanistan scenes. Great review Mario!
SEP 05, 2010 - 08:58 PM
I just recieved one of these figs. Dissapointingly the rilfes barels are just like the pic above. I cut the rifle in front of the magazine and replaced this section with the same from blast models M-14 sniper rifle. I thought that most of the M-14's are now done up with bipods and accessory rails and such, they could update the riles as well. It's still a good figure!
SEP 06, 2010 - 03:06 AM
I edited the review article and included the info on M14 problem. Thanks guys for noticing the problem I missed. Some M14 were issued to soldiers as they were, some were modified with the gizmos you mentioned. The most extreme modification is definitely Mk.14 Mod. 0 Enchanced Battle rifle which was developed for US SF: Mario
SEP 06, 2010 - 03:34 AM
While we are still on the M14, though im sure i won't get an answer from the sculpter may i just take a moment to ask how in the hell, in the age of google, can you get it incorrect... I mean, people are paying money for this, Nato obviously commisioned the job, so at what point can something so simple and obvious be overlooked? Poor research or lazyness?
SEP 06, 2010 - 03:57 PM
Some M14 were issued to soldiers as they were, some were modified with the gizmos you mentioned. The most extreme modification is definitely Mk.14 Mod. 0 Enchanced Battle rifle which was developed for US SF: Mario[/quote] Thats a nice looking rifle. Our Special Air Service and Commando's are using this rifle now.
SEP 07, 2010 - 02:09 AM
OK, here's what I got from Dmitri regarding the M14 issue: "We have changed an error in table М14. Someone has broken the end of a trunk and has wrongly pasted it when did forms for duplicating of figures. Now the figure is completed with the correct weapon." So I guess the problem is solved on new figure castings. Mario
SEP 07, 2010 - 02:53 AM
Great to see NATO in miniatures actually respond to modelers feedback and rectify the problem. Shame for the customers who bought this figure before the casts got fixed, however this problem should not have come up in the first place.
SEP 07, 2010 - 04:39 AM
Yes, I was pretty happy to hear the M14 issue is solved so fast. I think the customers who bought the figure before the casts got fixed could contact Dmitri and I'm sure he'll think of a way to solve the problem. I haven't bought from Soga Miniatures, but from what I've heard the service is top notch. Mario
SEP 07, 2010 - 05:18 AM
   

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