by: Darren Baker [ ]
Tamiya does not have the best reputation when it comes to the figures they produce, usually they receive flak due to scale issues, poor fit, and weak detail with the faces coming in for the most severe criticism. I still believe that with some work, a number of their figure sets are very usable in a diorama or placed in, on, and around various armoured fighting vehicles.
The kit comes packaged in a lightweight cardboard box, this shows the contained figures mounted, dismounting, and on the ground around a T34. On the sides of the box you will find the weapons included in the set and on the other some of the webbing and equipment. Inside the box are a set of instructions printed over four pages, with each page being slightly smaller than A4 size. Printed inside and on the bottom portion of the box are the warnings and advice for the construction of the model in eleven languages.
There are four sprues in the box contained in two clear poly sealed poly bags. One contains two sprues with the figures, each figures parts are together in specific sections of the sprue which makes for ease of construction and saves searching the sprues for the specific parts. The other two sprues from the other bag are identical, these have all the equipment and weapons for set.
There are 12 figures in this set, and to help avoid confusion here is a list to help understand what piece of equipmentis being referred to:
Gymnaistorka is a Shirt.
Obr 43or 35 is the year of introduction, the difference between the two types of shirt are fairly subtle. The 35 collar is fold down and the 43 is a high neck collar, there are three fastening buttons on the 35 shirt and 4 on the 43. Just to add to the confusion the 35 shirt was issued both with plain breast pockets and pleated breast pockets. Obr 35 was issued and worn throughout WW2. All of the figures in this set appear to be wearing the Obr 43 shirt.
Sharovari are breeches NOT trousers, they flare out at the knees and then get smaller near the ankle, they have a diamond of material on the knees to make them harder wearing with the exception of officers trousers.
Plasch Palatka is a poncho which can also be used to make a sleeping shelter, and is often seen folded up and slung over the shoulder and secured at the belt.
Pilotka which is a cloth side cap or forage cap.
Ushanka is the fur cap worn by Russian forces.
Sapogi are the boots worn by Russian forces. The sole of the boot is made of rubber with the foot portion made of leather with the leg portion of the boot being made of water proofed canvas.
Telogreika is a quilted jacket and trousers which helps to keep the wearer warm while not being so bulky that it restricts movement.
Myeshok is a canvas bag worn on the back and is used to carry any equipment the soldier wants to carry.
Shinel is a greatcoat.
Veschmeshok (Also called "Sidr" in Russian Army slang) is a backpack similar to the myeshok at first glance, this however has a pocket on the rear and the straps are in a different configuration.
I will cover the equipment supplied with these figures after the figures have been covered.
This figure consists of six pieces, two arms, two legs, head, and torso. The figure is in a crouched position and leaning forward with both arms bent at the elbow, the hand on the right has been moulded to hold a weapon with the index finger across the trigger guard. He is wearing the obr 43 and sharovari breeches. The figure has a plash palatka folded and worn over the left shoulder. The head of this figure has a pilotka moulded on it.
This figure consists of six pieces, two arms, two legs, head, and the torso. The figure is in a crouched position and leaning forward with both arms bent at the elbow, the hand on the right has been moulded to hold a weapon with the index finger across the trigger guard. He is wearing a telogreika jacket and sharovari breeches, on his back he is wearing a myeshok which is moulded separately. The head is flat on top for the addition of an M1940 steel helmet.
This figure consists of six pieces, two arms (the right arm is moulded from the elbow up attached to the torso with the lower portion being a separate part, two legs, head, and the torso. The figure is in a sprinting posture has a pilotka moulded on the head. He is wearing a plasch palatka worn as a poncho which is moulded with the torso and would have been better if moulded separately. This figure is wearing the obr 43 and sharovari breeches.
This figure consists of five pieces, two arms, the legs moulded as one piece, torso and the head, the head is flat on top for the addition of an M1940 helmet. He is wearing a telogreika jacket and sharovari breeches. The figure is shown stood up but crouching forward, the right hand is shown with the fingers and thumb splayed and has been quite nicely done.
This figure consists of six parts, two arms, two legs, torso, and head. He is depicted sprinting and is wearing the telogreika jacket and trousers with a pilotka moulded to the head. The torso has the straps moulded on it for a myeshok on his back.
This figure consists of five pieces, two arms, the legs are moulded as one piece, the head, and the torso. He is shown wearing an obr 43 and sharovari breeches, he is wearing a plasch palatka worn as a poncho which is moulded with the torso and would have been better if moulded separately. The head of the figure is flat on top for an M1940 steel helmet to be attached. The figure is depicted stood up, but is slightly stooped.
This figure consists of four pieces, the torso and legs moulded as one piece, the two arms, and the head. The head is moulded with an ushanka on the head and wearing telogreika jacket and trousers. I believe this figure depicts an officer as a tokerev holster is shown attached to this figure and is supplied on the equipment sprue. The figure is shown stood upright with the typical pointing arm.
This figure consists of five pieces, the torso with the left arm and half the right arm, two legs, left arm, and head. The head is flat on top for an M1940 steel helmet and is shown wearing sharovari breeches and a shinel. The figure is shown in a seated position with the legs trailing and leaning forward with the arms in a supported firing position. There are the straps for a myeshok moulded on the torso
This figure consists of six pieces, two arms, two legs, the torso, and head. The head has an ushanka moulded on it, and is wearing telogreika jacket and trousers. The figure is shown in a seated position and looks relaxed, this is not in keeping with the rest of the figures in the set. The straps are moulded on the torso for a veschmeshok.
This figure consists of six parts, two legs, left arm, right hand, torso with right arm, and the head. The head is flat on top for an M1940 helmet, and is wearing sharovari breeches and a shinel. The figure is shown jumping down from, or over, an object.
This figure consists of five parts, the legs, lower right arm, left arm, torso with upper right arm, and head. The top of the head is flat for an M1940 helmet, and is wearing obr 43 and sharovari breeches. The figure is depicted in an upright firing position.
(For reasons unknown L has been skipped) The figure consists of six parts, two arms, two legs, torso, and the head. The head is flat on top for an M1940 steel helmet, and is wearing sharovari breeches and telogreika jacket. This figure has a plasch palatka over the left shoulder and secured at the belt.
All of the figures are depicted wearing sapogi boots, they would also have been issued with a belt which at the start of the war would have been brown or dark tan leather, however later in the war when materials became harder to obtain the belt would have been made of canvas with a limited amount of leather.
weapons and equipment
Two DP-28 Light Machineguns with the 47 round drum magazine and tripod legs moulded separately.
Four PPS43 Sub-machine guns moulded with the stock folded on top.
Four PPSh41 machine guns with separate drum magazines.
Four PPSh41 machine guns with moulded on banana magazines.
Two tokerev holsters, unfortunately there are no tokerev pistols shown out of the holster.
Twelve M1940 steel helmets, so with some surgery all of the troops can be shown wearing the steel helmet if you desire.
Twelve entrenchment tools.
Twelve water bottles, each in its canvas bag, the water bottle was made from aluminium if you want to show one in use.
Four drum magazine pouches for the PPSH41.
Eight banana clip magazine pouches for the PPSH41 and 43.
Four packs which I believe are for carrying the drum magazines for the DP-28.
Two map cases.
Two mosin nagant pouches, what happened to the rifles?
This is a set of twelve Russian troops with a good variety of poses from World War Two, there is a selection of uniform types and headgear which increases their value to the modeller. They are depicted in the artwork on the box on and around an AFV. This set according to the date stamp on the sprue is from 1996 and thus not up to the standards of recent injection moulded figures.
With a little work these figures can all be used to add interest to your models and dioramas. True, they are not up to stand alone vignette standards and I doubt they ever will be, but definitely still usable. The details all appear correct, right down to the reinforcing triangle of material on the knees. The boots also appear correctly detailed with the exception of the tread on the bottom of the boots which is missing where applicable. The detail on the weapons and equipment are correct, and while I cannot say if they are, or are not, perfectly to scale they look right to my eye as do the figures.
While the figures that are wearing the Gymnaistorka Obr 43 dictate this set to be late WWII, it would not be that difficult to back date them to an earlier period. It is worth mentioning that figures wearing earlier period clothing and equipment could also be used with this set as some equipment such as the ankle boots and puttees where still in use when attacking Berlin. I do question if it would be possible to find twelve Russian troops that were all armed with automatic weapons regardless of the time period during World War Two, so what happened to the rifles that cry out to be included with this set?