Soviet Marines, Attack, 1941-1942. Eastern Front Battle Series, Kit No. 3
Mfg. ID: 35153
This dramatic new set of charging Soviet Marines features five figures with plenty of equipment. The parts are modeled with good detail including separate heads and some separate hands. This is a companion set to Soviet Marines and German Infantry, Hand-to-hand Combat, 1941-1942
, Eastern Front Battle Series, Kit No. 2.
Russia's Naval Infantry was formed in 1705. At the beginning of Barbarossa there were naval infantry yet the only brigade of marines was in the Baltic fleet; in 1940 the Red Banner Baltic Fleet formed a specialized unit for amphibious landings, the 1st Special Marine Brigade. That is the only large unit I have found officially titled 'Marines' although I have found references to smaller Marine units within the other fleets of the Soviet Navy, (the "Workers' and Peasants' Red Fleet" or RKKF). When the Nazis neutralized a significant portion of RKKF surface units, thousands of angry shipless RKKF sailors were deployed on land as infantry. They and Soviet Marines and Naval Infantry fought in every major action on the Eastern Front. They executed amphibious landings in East Prussia and Korea in 1945. Eventually some 350,000 Naval Infantry were trained and deployed. They were especially fierce in the battles for Odessa and Sevastopol, and fought at Stalingrad, Novorossiysk, Tuapse, and Leningrad. In September 1941 Soviet marines even airdropped around Grigoyevka near Odessa. Wearing black uniforms they were named "Black Death" and "Black Devils" by the Germans.
The Marine Battalion
) is a 1944 Soviet war movie directed by Aleksandr Faintsimmer and Adolf Minkin. The movie depicts the story of Soviet Baltic Sea Fleet marines who defended Leningrad in 1941-1944.
In the box...
...is a single sprue holding parts for five Soviet Marines and their equipment. The box is a one-piece end-opening affair with dramatic box art on the front and photos of the built & painted figures as "assembly instructions" on the back. Those photos serve as the instruction sheet with each part identified by number, with an image of the sprue with the parts numbered. The sprue has no identifying numbers molded onto it.
Although the styrene is not rubbery like the plastic that older soft plastic figure sets were cast with, it is slick to the touch. Molding is good and so is the surface detail. There is very little flash, no visible ejector marks nor sink areas. Some seam lines will need attention. I noticed very little soft detail or flash until examining my enlarged photos. From normal distance the detail is distinct and fine. Note the bayonet molded onto the rifles with space between the frog, handle and barrel.
Uniform detail includes molded insignias, hem seams, and good folds and buttons. The iconic naval jumper flap is molded over the shoulders of the torso without any attempt at undercut. However, the iconic striped shirt is molded with fine recessed lines, presumably to assist in painting.
Each figure is assembled with at least six parts: head, arms, legs, torso. Several hands are separate, too! They build into dramatic poses of charging marines, some firing their weapons. However, three weapons have hands molded onto them.
Those weapons include:
- Nagant M1895 revolver
- M1921 "Bolo" Mauser semi-automatic pistol
- PPSh-41 submachine gun
- SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle
- Mosin Nagant M1891/30 rifle
- Degtyaryov DP-28 machine Gun
It would be nice if RGD-33 stick grenades were included.
gear and detail
One marine wears a helmet - there are no rivets to distinguish it between a SSh-39 or SSh-40. Two wear sailor caps while the leader wears a peaked cap. The fifth has a bare head above a bandaged forehead. The heads have crisp and unique facial features and expressions. While some hands are molded separate, some are molded gripping weapons.
Additional kit include four M38 canteens, an entrenching tool, pouches and bags, bayonets, map case, binoculars, and tassels for the rear of the two sailor hats. Thus it is disappointingly curiously that the iconic jumper flap is molded (without any attempt at undercut) instead of a separate piece. One canteen looks a bit smaller than the others and it looks like they were molded with both early and late coverings. Plenty of belts, flaps, straps and buckles crisscross the tunics.
The Mosin Nagant rifle has a separate bolt. The revolver holster has stitching detail along the flap. Two marines are heavily weighted with belts of ammunition.
Instructions, painting guidance
Photographs of the assembled figures on the back of the box are the only assembly instructions. Each part is keyed to the number on the sprue.
Lifecolor and Vallejo are the only two paint brands referenced. Again the back of the box offers the only guidance.
My first move was to remove as much of the seam lines as I could; even with a glass fiber spot sanding pen I didnít get them all and now just pretend they are seams on the garments. I drilled holes in feet to hold them on toothpicks.
Assembly was straightforward although I referenced the photos quite a bit to try to match the angles of the body parts. I joined the parts with CA and/or liquid cement: legs and then torsos went together with CA followed by a good dose of liquid cement to fill in gaps and strengthen the bonds. Please examine the images as you will notice some shoulder - arm joints are slightly recessed. Depending on how much trouble I deemed it would be to paint detail around them, I attached some arms as above, while some are held with tiny amounts of CA or tack glue. Heads and gear are temporarily attached with it, too.
So how do the figures fit? After careful test-fitting I offer this report:
: This figure assembled easily with minimal filling. I simply used liquid glue on the shoulder - arm surfaces and squished them together. After assembly I noticed the hat bill looks asymmetrical.
Mosin Nagant rifleman
: this figure also assembled clean without gaps. His bayonet is bent off-boresight and it doesn't want to straighten out without warping the rifle.
: I think he's the best posed figure of the bunch. He went together well except the arms, although mated flush to the shoulders, have a bit a excess around them to carve or sand flush with the shoulders and back.
PPSh-41 submachine gunner
: greatly disappointing! Try as I might I can not make the arms attach flush to the torso at angles that allow the hands to hold the PPSh. A great deal of modifying the model or major filling is required.
: these arms also do not fit to allow gripping the light machine gun. The right hand is molded around the DP-28 stock but the wrist is far away from the arm. To cradle the gun in the hands and under the arm will also require modifying the model or major filling.
Ok, so are those problems my fault or the model's? I searched the web seeking this set assembled and found none, except for Master Box's site. It looks like the two problem figures had a bit of "plastic surgery"! I am anxious to hear from others who have built these figures.
I think this is am impressive set of WWII Soviet marines. The poses are dramatic. Molding and detail is very good. The mold seam lines can be cleaned off with care. Separate parts enhance the detail. Some modelers may prefer the bayonets to be separate from the rifles yet the look good to me.
I would prefer that the jumper flap be separate and not molded on. It is cast on yet tassels of the sailor hats are separate - lack of continuity. I think a length or two of separately molded ammunition belt would be better, too. One canteen just doesn't look correct. It just doesn't look good and takes away from other fine detail. I also regret that Master Box did not include grenades.
The serious issue is the disappointing fit of the arms of the machine gunners.
I look forward to posting photos of these marines painted! In total this is am impressive set of WWII Soviet marines. Dramatic poses and an interesting mix of weapons will help create a dynamic scene. I recommend this set.
Mike Bennighof, Ph.D. Avalanche Press. Soviet Naval Infantry
. August 2008.
Alexander Kiyan. Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. Uniforms.