by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
"The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change" ― Heraclitus.
Military scale figures were traditionally made by hands of talented sculptors. Couple of years ago the first 3D designed figures appeared on the market and revolutionized the modeling world. Now, an even bigger change is coming… 3D scanning. 3D scanning is a process of analyzing a real-world object or person, collecting data on its shape and constructing a digital 3D model. The digital model is then scaled, transferred into the physical world by rapid prototyping, and voila… a copy of a real person is on your desk, in the form of a resin miniature. Can the figure get any more realistic than that?
Machine Gunner, the US Marine Corps (AM35007) is one of the latest releases from Assault Models, and definitely the most intriguing miniature in their entire catalogue so far. The figure has been manufactured using 3D scanning process and released as a 1/35 scale resin kit.
The figure is packed in a hard plastic box featuring an image of assembled and unpainted figure. Inside the box is a zip-lock bag with figure parts cast in grey resin. The kit consists of 10 pieces:
- weapon accessories (5x).
The cast is absolutely great. I found no imperfections in the resin whatsoever, with very impressive details all around. Check that thin hydration tube and how it "floats" over the figure's shoulder... wow! A word of advice though, be extremely careful when cleaning the weapon and its accessories, those are very delicate pieces and can snap easily.
The fit of the parts is really good. I understand making separate pieces from a 3D scan can be tricky, but Assault Models did a great job and there are no problems assembling the figure. Minor putty work is needed to make things perfect.
The figure represents a USMC machine gunner in a very relaxed pose, leaning on his weapon. Although some might find it boring, I like the posture very much and I think it offers many possibilities both displayed as a standalone figure and in vignettes. The figure is depicted in the latest USMC garb and gear: Flame Resistant Organizational Gear (FROG) uniform, Improved Modular Tactical Vest (IMTV) and Lightweight Helmet (LWH). All the equipment attached to IMTV is cast on the figure: SAW/utility pouch, M4 double magazine pouch and large carabiner on the front, assault pouch on the right side, SAW gunners pouch on the left side, and large hydration pouch on the back. Also, first aid pouch, flare pouch and two grenade pouches attached to the battle belt are cast on the figure, while the large dump pouch is provided as a separate piece in this kit. The LWH features helmet light and NVG mounting plate, as well as a piece of equipment that I wasn’t able to identify… perhaps a part of weapon cleaning kit or something like that?
The figure is armed with M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). It features a shorter barrel, Picatinny rails for the feed tray cover and forearm, and a buttstock based on the M4 carbine design. The ELCAN M145 scope is cast on the weapon while the 100-round soft pack, weapon light, AN/PEQ-15 laser illuminator, folding carrying handle and bipod are supplied as separate pieces in this kit. I wish the set also included a small portion of ammo belt going from the ammo pack to the weapon receiver.
The details on the garb and gear are absolutely astonishing: the folds of the uniform, vest loops, scissors and glow sticks secured on the dump pouch, thin hydration tube... amazing. The equipment has a slight sag to it, and it conveys the heavy feel really well. As for the facial features of the figure, the anatomy and the posture, it would be funny to talk about realism, as this actually is a 1/35 scale rendition of a real man posing in front of a 3D scanner.
Machine Gunner, the US Marine Corps (AM35007) is one of the most positive surprises for me this year. It is an amazing figure, developed using state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology, perfectly transferred to resin with loads of details all around, and easy to build.
With this particular figure, Assault Models initiates a new revolution in the hobby. Using 3D scans of real people to produce military scale miniatures gives rise to a level of realism that cannot be matched by the most talented figure sculptors today. The future is now...
A big thank you to Pavel from Assault Models for this review sample.
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