by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
I'm quite sure most of you know the work of Sergey Traviansky... many of you probably own some of the fabulous figures he released under Evolution Miniatures label. Being from Russia, Sergey has "a soft spot" for sculpting modern Russian figures. The figure set featured in this review, Russian Contract Soldiers, Chechen Republic (EM-35060), is the latest addition to Evolution modern figure portfolio: it depicts two Russian soldiers patrolling the Chechen countryside during the First Chechen War (1995-1996).
The kit arrived safely protected in a well designed hard cardboard box which features nicely painted box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Sergey Traviansky) and the painter (Ruslan Vorobyov). Zip-lock bags contain parts for building two complete figures... all together 13 pieces. The parts are cast in grey resin and are clean of any casting imperfections. Some of the pieces are very delicate, particularly the weapons and weapon parts, so be careful when cleaning those from their large casting blocks.
The fit of the parts is excellent. Every time I build Evolution Miniatures figures, I'm amazed how easy it really is. Although the figures can be pretty complex, the part break-up is intelligently engineered and it is almost impossible to misalign the pieces. I would suggest dry-fitting the arms to the torso first just to figure out the optimal part placement and then gluing them in place. Aligning the hands with the weapon to the arms is then pretty much straightforward. If the parts are lined up well, there is almost no need for any additional putty work.
Labeled as 60A, this figure consists of 5 parts:
- full body with legs
- left arm
- right arm
- weapon with hands attached.
The figure wears Russian Army trousers. Lined and made of cotton, the trousers have a pocket on each thigh and have draw-in ties on each cuff of the leg. The crease on the front of each trouser leg is a peculiarity of this uniform… it could be easily mistaken for a resin seam line, but it is not. The figure also wears famous Russian Army striped shirt called Telnyashka, an iconic undershirt of the Russian Navy, the Russian Airborne Troops (VDV) and the Russian Naval Infantry originating from Soviet predecessors of these troops. Lifchik chest rig is strapped over the shirt; it accommodates 6 AK ammo magazines, 4 hand grenades and 2 flares. VOG-25 grenade rig carrying 10 VOG grenades is attached under the Lifchik. Additionally, a canteen is secured to the waist belt. The figure also sports a Russian Army cap turned backwards and Russian-made copy of Adidas sneakers. The sneakers were often worn by Russian soldiers since classic Army boots were not suited for mountain terrain.
The details sculpted on this figure are absolutely stunning for 1/35 scale. The Lifchik looks amazing; the straps are very nicely executed and all the front pockets are well defined, especially the side pockets carrying 2 thin flares. A special touch on this figure are definitely the Adidas sneakers and a simple cross pendant hanging around the figure's neck. Great detail!
The figure is armed with AK-74/GP30, the AK-74 version with 40mm underbarrel VOG-25 grenade launcher. The weapon also features double taped ammo magazine and an elastic band wrapped around the folding weapon butt.
Labeled as 60B, this figure consists of 8 parts:
- full body with legs and head
- left arm
- right arm
- frontal part of body armor
- weapon with right hand attached
- weapon ammo case
- weapon bipod.
The figure wears Russian Army trousers, T-shirt and 6B3 fragmentation body armor. The body armor features 4 integrated AK ammo pouches and grenade pouches on the back of the vest. This kind of body armor was generally issued to Russian troops at the time of the Chechen war; it was not camouflaged but in khaki or greenish color. Additionally, separately cast canteen is secured to the waist belt. This figure also sports Russian-made copy of Nike sneakers.
The details on this figure are amazing as well. The folds on the trousers are sculpted very realistically and the body armor is absolutely great. I like that the frontal part of body armor is cast separately from the rest of the figure; depicted hanging on side straps, one gets the feel of a heavy armor really well. The bandaged right wrist and Nike sneakers with clearly visible swoosh sign are perfect little details which Sergey loves to add to his figures.
The figure is armed with PKM, a gas operated, belt fed, air cooled machine gun. Standard ammo belts have a capacity of 100 rounds and can be fed from special steel boxes which are clamped under the receiver of the PKM for better mobility. The PKM is fitted with a skeleton buttstock made from wood and fitted with a hinged buttplate, and a wooden pistol grip. The rear part of the buttstock houses an accessory / cleaning kit, and a disassembled cleaning rod is stored in the right leg of the bipod. A folding bipod is fitted to the gas tube below the barrel.
Russian Contract Soldiers is a great kit featuring two figures depicted patrolling the Chechen countryside during the First Chechen War. Sculpted by a very talented sculptor, in a well animated and balanced posture, the figures look great. The cast is absolutely perfect and the fit of the pieces superb, making figures very easy to build. The figures are packed with details; from the garb and gear thoroughly researched and presented in scale, very realistic facial features and numerous fine points of the equipment, to Adidas / Nike sneakers and that delicate cross pendant... what more can you ask for from a figure set?
Thanks to Sergey from Evolution Miniatures for this review sample.
Camouflage Uniforms of the Soviet Union and Russia (Schiffer Publishing)