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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Introducing the Soviet Infantry

This post is a consolidation of the two Soviet Infantry posts that I had to split because of the blogger limitations regarding labels. Now that I have simplified my labeling strategy, I was able to combine them into a single one. It probably needs a bit more editing, but at least for now it provides a central location to see all the Soviet Infantry figures made by all manufacturers.

First you can see a selection of Soviet Infantry figures from multiple manufacturers, painted to look like a single unit. Even though I painted more than 100, the total number of unique figures is only 47. Since the time I painted these figures, I have found a few more sets (Atlantic, Italeri Anti-Tank Gun Crew, Supreme Playsets) which would allow me to paint another 20 unique poses or so. But for now, this is it. 
By the way, while we are on the topic of Soviet Infantry, I have to say that in the name of accuracy, I always try to resist calling them Russian Infantry, as the Soviet army contained many more groups beyond Russians. The funny thing however is that I just realized that most of the manufacturers actually refer to them as Russian Infantry on their packaging. No wonder they are most often called this way. Anyhow, however you prefer to call them, I present them to you for your review.

Airfix Soviet Infantry
A nice solid set made in the 70's and 80's. I like how they did a good job showing how common the submachine guns were among the Soviets, particularly in the late years of the war.

Italeri Soviet Infantry
Released about 4 or 5 years ago. This is a subset of the figures that they produced in 1/72. Supreme Playsets actually came out a few months back with these 8 poses plus 4 more, based on the Italeri 1/72 figures. I bought the Supreme Playset figures just for those 4 extra poses.

MPC Soviet Infantry
I have mixed feelings about this set. The 4 guys at the ends of this picture are OK, but the other guys are a bit odd. Like what's up with that guy doing that funny step? The cossack officer is a nice touch, but he seems to be a bit off balance. And the guy throwing the grenade seems to have a stiff neck.

Reproductions of Marx 6" Figures
The manufacturer of these guys is unclear to me. I bought them advertised as SWTS figures (Steve Weston Toy Soldiers), but I have not been able to comfirm that claim. He does not mention them on his web site.

Reproductions of Marx 6" Figures - one more
Here is one more of the allegedly SWTS Soviet guys. I did not paint this one as the figure, except for the base, is almost exactly like one of the 54mm Marx guys. See the picture below, the man on the very left. I have added him to this post so that you get to see the complete set of 6.

Marx Soviet Infantry
The bottom of the base of these figures actually says 1965. The figures I painted were cast more recently, but the mold was made that year. Probably among the earliest WWII Soviet figures to be made.

Toy Soldiers of San Diego Soviet Infantry
This is a recently produced set. Nice sculpting, and good poses. The woman sniper is a good unique touch which pays tribute to the many women who fought at the front lines of the Soviet army.

ESCI Soviet Infantry
This is actually a 1/35 set. Next to some of the larger TSSD figures these guys look small, but when you need extra poses, you can't be very picky. Then again, I did not paint the officer on the right. Unfortunately, by the time I found it I already had enough officers painted but in retrospective I should have painted it as it gives me one extra pose. It is already primed and at some point it will join the ranks. BTW, I think that officer might also be a woman, but it's hard to tell for sure. The third figure from the right also looks like a woman.

Below are a few more Soviet / Russian Infantry figures that I have discovered since I painted the  figures above. Unfortunately it's going to be a while before that as there's a long queue ahead of them, but we'll get there at some point. 

Anyhow, first I'd like to show you the Soviet Infantry from Supreme Playsets. These we released only last year. They are recasts of the 1/72 Italeri Soviet Infantry. There is an imporant point though. While Italeri also released a Soviet Infantry set in 1/32, that set only contains 8 figures, whereas the Supreme Playsets Set contains 12. If you want to try to identify which 4 are the new ones, do so before reading the rest of the post.

 Supreme Playsets Soviet Infantry - Part I
I've already painted the Italeri Soviet Infatry set, so the only two guys that I'll be painting are the first and the third guys from the left. The one on the very left is carrying an anti-tank rifle (not sure if it is a PTRS or a PTRD), which is actually a nice and unique figure/weapon across all the Soviet Infantry sets that I have seen. He's great at taking on lightly-to-medium-armored German vechicles.

Supreme Playsets Soviet Infantry - Part II
As you can see, Supreme Playsets relased these figures in two color schemes. The green base color that you see is actually the color of the plastic, and only the face is really painted. The rest of the figure just has some brown patches throughout the body. So, other than the eyes, which actually look fairly decent, the rest of the paint job is rather poor. The same is true for the brown figures in the first picture above. The two new poses that I have yet to paint (or paint over) are the first and the fourth guys from the right.
DGN Soviet Infantry - Part I
These guys all seem to be originals as far as I can tell. They are a fairly decent set in terms of detail and proportions. Some of the poses are a bit 'funny' though. For instance, the guy on the left is aiming too low. I suppose he could be placed in the upper floor of a building. The other guys in this first picture are OK. In fact, I quite like the two on the right. 

DGN Soviet Infantry - Part II
My favorite guy here is the officer. Very nicely sculpted and good body language. The grenade thrower's arm is posed at a funny angle, but other than that, these four guys make a nice batch.

DGN Soviet Infantry - Part III
These are my least favorite poses. I don't really like how they are standing. The best part is that they are all carrying sub mgs, but I don't think they would manage to survive a charge across no-man's land standing that way. 

Atlantic Soviet Infantry - Part I
The other Soviet figures that I discovered come courtesy of Atlantic. Atlantic was in production mainly during the 70's and '80s so some of these figures are more interesting from the collector's standpoint and less so because of their sculpting which is sometimes a bit stiff. Having said that, the Maxim machine gun is a pretty unique figure/weapon, and that by itself makes the set special. Here is a previous post on the Maxim Machine Gun

Atlantic Soviet Infantry - Part II
The second guy from the right is a good example of what I mean when I say that their scuplting is sometimes a bit awkward. The rest of the figures are fairly decent and will blend well with the rest of the painted guys once they have some color on them.  

Charbens Soviet Infantry
Charben was in production during the 60s and 70s, but these figures look like recent casts. These guys are actually cossacks. A couple of the poses are a bit odd, like the guy standing with his legs apart or the guy throwing the grenade. My favorite ones are the machine gun and the third guy from the right.

Cherilea Soviet Infantry
These guys are 60mm figures, but close enough in size to pass for some tall Slavic guys. They are also wearing a cossack outfit which is good to augment their number in my Soviet Army. The set comes with a flamethrower guy, a mortar, and a bazooka, which are welcome heavy weapons.

Cheriela Soviet Infantry - Vintage
Here are some of the original figures. Some of the factory paint is faded, but there is enough left to see that the pants were painted grey, while the shirt appears to have been left in the original plastic color. Not the most accurate, but I guess it made them lively and attractive. 

The last 6 poses that I will be painting are the ones from Italeri Soviet Anti Tank Gun Crew which I showcased in a previous post. They are all very nicely done. Unfortunately, what makes them so good -that they are really made for the anti-tank gun- is also what makes them hard to reuse in scenes without an anti-tank gun. For instance, a guy with field glasses might have been usable in a different context, but hey, I'm still really happy with the set. And BTW, if you're paying attention you might have realized that there are 7 figures in this picture. The guy on the far left does not belong to this crew. In fact, he is a German guy who sneaked into the picture by mistake when I was grabbing the figures from their box. 

21st Century Toys Soviet Infantry
These guys come painted out of the factory. They are in fact a nice set. The sculpting is good, the poses are good and the paint job is also very good. The uniform colors don't match my painted figures that well, but I still find them a nice addition to the unit.

Crescent Soviet Infantry
This set was a real find as it is not easy to come by. To my knowledge there are only 5 poses. The pose on the right is rather original. As you can see they came factory painted.  The level of detail on the sculpting is fairly decent, except for the faces which are a bit dull. All in all, a nice set to have in the collection.

Progress Soviet Infantry - Part I
These figures are closer to 60mm in size. The detail is actually rather shallow, as if they were clones of clones. I don't think that's the case though because the proportions are still fine, so I think they were simply sculpted this way. As far as the rest of the sculpting goes, the figures are well posed and in decent action stances.

Progress Soviet Infantry - Part II
The flag bearer is a rather unique figure.  He could be getting ready to climb the Reichstag building in Berlin. I am assuming the man on the right is wounded, otherwise his pose would be a bit lame. The other two are average poses.

Progress Soviet Infantry - Part III
The last guy in the set. I had actually run into this figure at a bin of figures in a soldier show a couple of years back, but since I had not been able to find the rest of the set or identify the manufacturer I had not posted him. Now he can be displayed with the rest of his gang.

Publius Brest Fortress Soviet Infantry - Part I
These are some of the best figures I have seen. I love the action-packed poses, how the movement and intensity of the fight is captured, and the great level of detail. For instance, look at the figure on the left, standing on a German helmet. I also like the man on the right firing the MG with the circular ammo drum from the hip. 


Publius Brest Fortress Soviet Infantry - Part II
The rest of the set. Again, look at the guy in the middle for instance. His attitude is totally consistent with the the weapons he carries. Throwing himself into a close quarter combat situation. The woman on the right reflects the important role that women played in the Soviet army, not just as nurses, but in many combat functions. The only things not to like about these figures are that there are only six poses and that they are out of production and therefore are really hard to find.

Publius Stalingrad Soviet Infantry - Part I
Publius' third WWII set is just as good as its predecesors. The uniforms emphasize the winter season of the campaign. The poses are loaded with action and movement. When you look at the man in the middle you can feel the tension in the situation that he might find himself in. 

Publius Stalingrad Soviet Infantry - Part II
The only pose that seems a bit stiff, compared to the rest is the sniper woman, but even she is well sculpted. The man on the right is an interesting pose. If you look at him closely, you will notice that he is wearing body armor. I've seen some pictures in which you can actually see the dents left by bullet impacts, so it seems that they were reasonably effective. 

Publius Battle of Berlin Soviet Infantry
Another nice set from Publius. Great sculpting, with lots of action and emotion packed into the poses. The only figure that I am not very excited about is the signaler. Not just because it is not a combat pose, but also because Engineer Bassevich had just released pretty much the same pose in its latest set. Also, note that the set comes with a wall section. I would not have minded if that had also been replaced by another combat pose. Forces of valor has given us many factory-painted wall sections that look even more realistic. One thing I like about this set is that these guys can be combined with their earlier sets to get more poses. For instance, there's a naval infantry guy who can be mixed with their first set. The guy with the smock can be mixed with the Staligrad guys, and the regular infantry guys can be combined with the Brest Fortress figures.

Engineer Bassevich early war Soviet Infantry - Part I
These are early war Soviet Infantry figures. Apparently they are made in Russia. I find myself a bit ambivalent about these figures. On the one hand, the poses are nicely done, with a good degree of action and they have a lot of nice detail. For instance, the expressions on the faces of these figures are among the best I've seen. The casting however is not so great. The figures come with a lot of flash. Part of it looks like marks left over in the clay during the sculpting, the rest is probably from the mold. Also, the plastic that they are made of is very light. I tend to like figures better when they have a bit more weight. And then there is the price... not only are they very expensive relative to the average new production toy soldier, but you also end up paying a hefty shipping cost. At the end of the day each of them comes to about 5 dollars a piece, which not even many vintage figures fetch. So are they really worth it? We'll have to see how they paint up.

Engineer Bassevich early war Soviet Infantry - Part II
The rest of the poses. I could have done without the two guys standing in the middle, and taken two more action poses. BTW, notice the diversity in the uniforms and headgear at this early stage of the war. Also, you can't tell very well in these pictures, but these are some of the few Soviet figures made with a full backpack. You can see that better in the previous picture.

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Infantry - Part I
This other set is a theoretically an Infantry set, but it is actually a big mix of things. These guys for instance represent a couple of high ranking officers, and two regular army guys. The officer with the big coat must be some kind of big shot who is probably standing way behind the front lines. 

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Infantry - Part II
These other guys are the crew of a tank and the guy on the right looks like a downed airman firing off a signal gun, perhaps hoping to be rescued before the enemy gets to him. Certainly not the average poses in an infantry set, however they will come handy in some unique scenes, not to mention that the nice level of detail will also make them look quite good when painted. 

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Infantry - Part III
The last three poses in the set represent an artillery crew. Here I am showing them manning the Italeri ZiS 3 76mm Anti-Tank Gun, however that gun comes with its own crew, so now I am thinking that perhaps I will use them to man a captured German PAK of which I have several who are still lacking a crew. 

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Partisans - Part I
A unique set by Engineer Bassevich. The depiction of these partisans strikes a nice balance between showing them as civilians and soldiers. For example, the guys above might have just joined the partisan unit and are still wearing some of their original clothes and their weaponry is lacking automatic firing. 

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Partisans - Part II
These guys however are more rugged and is likely that they are regular army troops who got left behind the enemy lines and joined the partisans, giving them some badly needed training and leadership. As far as the quality of the figures go, I am quite pleased with this set. They don't have any flashing, and the plastic used to make them feels more dense, making them feel a bit more robust. The level of detail in the sculpting as you can see, is really great.

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Partisans - Part III
These guys are probably a mix of civilians and ex-soldiers, but have been in the Partisan ranks long enough to have more sophisticated clothes and equipment. A very interesting touch is the kid in the middle, holding a captured German sub-machine gun. I actually saw a picture of such a kid, dressed very much the same way, which was surely the inspiration for the pose. 

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Military Women - Part I
Another unique set from Engineer Bassevich. This time the set is a bit of a mix. 8 Figures represent women across a range of military roles. As with some of the previous sets, some of the figures are inspired by actual hirtorical characters. In this first picture we have Marina Raskova (far right), a pioneer in the Sovier Air Force and founder of 3 female pilot regiments. The next character is supposed to be a brave girl who rushed under the tank with and blew it up using a pack of grenades. This happened  inSeptember 23, 1943 near the village of Ivanenko, Ukraine. The sniper figure is supposed to honor women such as Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Rosa Shanina, Elizabeth Mironova, Mary Polivanova, Natalia Kovshova. Below are a few pictures which inspired these figures sent to me by Alex, the man behind Engineer Bassevich.

Elizabeth Mironova and the movie character which inspired the figure with the sub MG

Grenade Girl and Marina Raskova

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Military Women - Part II
On this picture we have Zina Tusnolobova, who lost all limbs helping the wounded in combat. While on the hospital, a tank unit heard of her and named 5 tanks after her. Another famous medic was Valeria Gnarovskaya (far right), a medic credited with saving many lives. In a single battle she is said to have brought from the battlefield 47 wounded, and then went on to defend them, killing over 20 and enemy soldiers.The figure in the left is a road inspector, as were Sonya Petkovska and Marya Shalneva. Below are a few more pictures which inspired these figures sent to me by Alex, the man behind Engineer Bassevich.

Marya Shalneva and women at attention

Medical instructor Valeria Gnarovskaya and medic  Zina Tusnolobova

Zina Tusnolobova caring for a wounded man and one of the tanks named after her

Engineer Bassevich Soviet Scouts
These other 4 figures represent Red Army scouts. I like the 3 figures on the left better than the man on the right. He reminds me of the old days sculpting which would favor flat figures for ease of casting and release. I wonder why they made him this way. In terms of uniforms, the head cover and thickness strongly suggests that these are winter troops, although I suppose you could also paint them in a cammo scheme. Notice how they are also equipped with sub machine guns, suggesting that they were used as an elite, shock unit. 

Starlux Soviet Infantry
I suspect these might be recasts as they don't have any color on them as opposed to the typical Starlux figures. Also, I don't really know how many there were in the set. I only got a hold of five of them, with two repeated figures. I am not overly excited about the poses. I don't like figures which just seem to be standing around not doing much, and that's how these guys look. But they are hard to find, so at least I am happy I have a few guys as a sample.

Starlux Soviet Infantry ?
I can't say for sure if these guys are Soviets. They look like they could be, but then again, the look very different from the three Soviets in the prior picture. I do like that they are action poses, so I hope they turn out to be Soviet. Even if they are not, maybe I will just use them a such.

Unknown Soviet Infantry
This is a guy who came with a mixed set of figures. It's actually fairly well done. And you can recognize well that he is a Soviet guy, not just by the uniform, but also by his weapon. Unfortunately, there are no markings on the figure to give a hint about the manufacturer. So if you happen to know who made him, please leave a comment.

Classic Toy Soldiers Korean War Chinese - Part I
I got these guys thinking that I will use them as WWII Soviet Winter troops. The level of detail is so good that their faces actually betray them as Chinese. I might still be able to use them as Soviets, if we assume that they came from the Central Asian Soviet Republics. The uniforms and weapons all would pass as Soviet gear. In terms of the sculpting and poses, I am quite happy with this set. All poses are combat poses, which is the way I like them. 

Classic Toy Soldiers Korean War Chinese - Part II
The man on the right is actually my favorite pose. You don't often see figures reloading their weapons, and he is doing it on the run. Another interesting detail of these figures is that the base is covered in snow and you actually see the footprints of the men on it. A nice touch of realism, which actually highlights the fact that I should have taken these pictures with a different background :-)
 The only thing that some might criticize is that the sets come with 16 figures, but you don't get two of each pose. Three of them come in 3s and 3 of them as singles. Having 2 of each is useful if you plan on painting one set of poses and leaving the other 8 unpainted. On the other hand, if you want to use all 16 together, then, having one officer makes more sense than having two. All in all a nice and unique set from CTS, so I might not even mind buying a second one, perhaps to use as true Chinese.

Click here to see the Soviet Infantry in action.
Click here to see a post about the Maxim MG.


5 comments:

  1. Hola!!!!!!!!!!!!!! otra vez, Te puedo mandar fotos de Rusos participantes en la 2da.WW, manufacturados por la empresa Tim-Mee Toys escala de 70 a 75 mm.
    hector.camargo@micoleccion.com.mx
    Saludos desde México

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  2. Here is a LINK to the TIM MEE Soviet/Communist figures, which have been reissued in resin from copy molds - they are THAT RARE! http://timmee-army.blogspot.com/p/65mm-russian-soldiers.html

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    1. Nice! Thanks for pointing them out! I bet they are hard to find... I had never seen them before...

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  3. Have you see the Armies in Plastic Russians? I think they were produced after the Indian infantry when their sculpting was better. They would easily pass as ww2 Soviet infantry because they have weapons such as the mosant nagant which are used in ww2. Most of them are wearing soft caps but I have seen many WW2 soviet infantry wearing those exact same caps.

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I will have to check them out!

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