by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Maurice Corry is one of the most talented sculptors today. That fact is quite obvious after seeing all the beautiful figures Maurice designed for MC Miniatures line... I was very excited when Maurice announced he was working on number of modern British figures from Afghanistan. The first figure MC Miniatures released in this line is 120mm scale British sniper, Afghanistan (MC-9), and this figure is going to be complimented by the next 120mm scale MC Miniatures release, British Javelin gunner, probably in the early 2011. These really are happy times for modern figure enthusiasts.
The figure arrived about a week after being dispatched from UK. Packed in a firm cardboard box and additionally protected within bubble wrap, two zip-lock bags contain all the figure parts. The kit contains 14 parts cast in cream resin and a simple figure base cast in plaster. The parts include 7 body parts:
- the torso,
- left and right arm,
- two boots,
and 7 weapon parts:
- sniper rifle,
- bolt handle,
- muzzle brake,
- bipod and
- 2 sniper lens covers.
Figure part break-up is designed very intuitive, so I think minimal putty work would be needed when assembling the figure. Some care should be taken when removing big casting plugs, though, especially on the delicate weapon parts. The parts are cast extremely well, with no air bubbles or seam lines to clean. I know there were some issues with casts from AP Miniatures, the predecessor of MC Miniatures, but ever since Maurice took over the business it seems the quality of casting has improved considerably.
The figure wears olive green army T-shirt tucked in S95 combat trousers. The trousers are made of lightweight polyester-cotton and feature extra wide belt loops, button side tabs for adjustment, button waist and zip fly, two hip pockets, two expandable leg pockets and one rear pocket. All buttons are the Canadian type tape buttons which do not fall off. The trousers are tucked into MEINDL desert boots; purchased privately, these boots are robust and tough, but lightweight at the same time. MEINDL boots provide excellent comfort and feature small perforations along the sides for air circulation. A secondary weapon is strapped to the Viper drop-leg platform and holster located on the right thigh of the figure. The pistol is secured to the heavy duty belt with coiled lanyard.
The sculptor captured the trousers nicely in scale and the folds have a really natural feel to them. The boots look great with all the details sculpted to perfection; even the soles of the boots are well designed. Drop-leg platform is well defined and the holster looks great with the tiny coiled lanyard wonderfully executed.
As for the protective gear, the figure wears Osprey body armor and Mk.7 helmet. Osprey body armor was issued in 2006 for general use in British armed forces; it is a modular armor system built around a vest which features front and rear soft armor panels, which join at the shoulders and waist sides by hook & loop fasteners and press studs. Shoulder protectors and neck/throat protectors can be added for additional safety. The Osprey vest outer covering is equipped with PALS webbing tape, allowing modular attachment of pouches and accessories. Clips on the vest are available for fitting British type Camelback or Bergen side pouch on the rear, and a respirator haversack on the bottom left. Mk.7 helmet is the newest helmet of the British armed forces. Introduced in June 2009, the new helmet offers the same ballistic protection as its predecessor, but it is lighter and has better chin strapping for stability. The new shape of the helmet allows less obstruction of the wearer’s vision, particularly when firing from prone position.
I have to say it is amazing how well the sculptor rendered these in scale… All the intricate details of Osprey body armor are present; PALS webbing, press studs and clips. I found a perfect match to the real thing. Snipers usually don’t wear elaborate pouch and accessory systems strapped to their vests and this figure is no exception with a single pouch sculpted on the right hand side of the body armor. The helmet in the kit is perfectly shaped, featuring canvas cover, NVG mount and IR identifier. The complex chin strapping is well rendered, with all the necessary straps and buckles present.
The figure is armed with Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle. Also designated as AWSM (Arctic Warfare Super Magnum), the weapon is a bolt-action sniper rifle designed and manufactured by the British company Accuracy International. AWSM chambers long, high-powered super magnum cartridges (.338 Lapua Magnum). The rifle is outfitted with Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56 PMII telescopic sight.
The weapon supplied in this kit looks wonderful. The long rifle and the scope are molded as a single piece with small accessories (bipod, bolt handle, muzzle brake, suppressor and two optic covers) cast separately. The sculptor did his homework on AWSM well; the delicate rifle pieces have been detailed very nicely and, as far as I can tell, depict the AI L115A3 sniper rifle perfectly in scale.
The simple base representing Afghan mountainside is included in this kit. Cast in plaster, it is a welcome addition to the kit. However, it is very fragile and the base in my kit was slightly damaged… Although quite an easy fix, I think I could make my own scenery for this figure.
I must admit I’m very excited to see Maurice Corry back in the figure business; he really is a very talented sculptor who dares to think out-of-the-box with his large scale figure designs. British Sniper from Afghanistan is definitely a great figure; researched to the smallest detail, perfectly sculpted, well cast and easy to assemble… I can’t wait to start painting this one.