by: Russ Amott [ ]
Zvezda have a new set of 1/72 scale figures from their "Art of Tactic" war gaming series that can be used either for the game or as a stand-alone diorama set. The set includes four figures of a reconnaissance team, with two prone figures and two kneeling figures. Assembly is snap-fit, making it possible for novice builders to assemble, but the plastic is glue-able.
what you get
The set comes in a small, end-opening box with artwork showing the four man team in action against a backdrop of ruined buildings. On the rear of the box are photos of the completed set showing the figures painted. Inside the box is a single sprue with 22 parts, molded in dark gray plastic.
The plastic is semi-soft and somewhat flexible, allowing some pressure to be put on the parts during assembly without risk of breaking anything delicate off. There is a single instruction sheet showing parts assembly with line drawings, and basic information on the back side in Russian, English and German. There is also a card included in the box for the Art of Tactic game, which shows movement and point value information.
The four figures consist of head, torso and one leg as a single part, with one leg and both arms as separate parts. Molded onto the torsos are water bottles, bread bags, MP40s and magazine pouches, what appear to be larger map cases on two figures, and a holster on one figure. The detail of the faces and hands is very good, better than some 1/35 figures. Molded-on equipment is undercut in some areas, providing very good appearance, but soft in other areas.
All of the figures appear to be wearing boxes over their chests as detail on the front of the figures suffered heavily in the molding process. However, this detail will be somewhat covered by the two kneeling figures because of the placement of their arms, and not visible on the two prone figures because of their positioning. Each figure has its own individual base, and there is one large base for all four to be positioned together. There is a flagpole marker included that is used for the game.
The figures consist of the following:
Figure 1, prone. He is carrying an MP40 in his right hand and pointing with his left. He is wearing a helmet. Finger detail on the pointing hand is very clear.
Figure 2, also prone, is looking through binoculars. The arms are molded as a single piece, but are flexible enough to get onto the body without much difficulty. He is bareheaded, has an MP40 slung on his back, and has a map case or binocular case on his hip. There is a holster on his right hip.
Figure 3, kneeling, is writing in a notebook. He is wearing a helmet and the pencil in his hand is rather delicately molded. He carries no weapon, but there is a separate Kar 98 rifle as an individual piece for him, as well as a rifle molded into the base both for the four figure set and the single base for this figure.
Figure 4, radio operator, is bareheaded, with headphones molded in place. He has an MP40 molded on his back, and one hand up over his left ear. His radio, which appears to be the Torn.Fu.d2, is a separate part, with face dial detail molded on and well done. Both his individual base and the four figure base have a bag molded to the base on which the radio sits.
There are small seam lines on the figures that can be cleaned up with a sharp hobby knife or gently sanded off. With some care, details of the equipment can be cleaned up. One figure had a sink mark on his back, and there were some notable gaps where the individual parts attach. I had to trim some of the attachment pins, as they were too long, and did not allow for a snug fit. The legs on the two prone figures mated up fairly well on the back after gluing, but left a sizeable, but not visible, gap on the front.
Price for this set is listed at $5.98 US, plus shipping. For that amount, with some very nice detail, I think this is an excellent kit for beginners, and has a lot of promise for more advanced modelers, especially those looking for figures in this scale. Once painted, they will look quite nice. The combination of a figure pointing, and one looking through binoculars, in the same box, and in context with the kit, along with the radioman and scribe, make this kit ready for diorama settings.