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Built Review
135
US Spec Forces #3, Afghanistan
US Special Forces Operator in Fight, Afghanistan 2001-2003 (EM-35086)
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]

Introduction:

US Special Forces units were the first Coalition military units that went into Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks. These units operated in secret, often behind enemy lines with little direct support or supervision: calling in airstrikes, conducting reconnaissance, and when necessary engaging Taliban insurgents. During the process US Special Forces operatives kept a low profile, wearing beards and growing their hair longer to better blend in with the local population.

Evolution Miniatures recently released four figures which capture the look of US Special Forces of that time perfectly, showing them in action. US Special Forces Operators in Fight, Afghanistan 2001-2003 figures have been released individually and this review covers the third figure in the series (EM-35086).

Review:

The kit is packed in a well designed hard cardboard box, typical for Evolution Miniatures figures. The box features painted box art picture and lists the sculptor (Sergey Traviansky) and the painter (also Sergey Traviansky), and contains two zip-lock bags with 7 resin figure pieces:

- full body with legs and head,
- left arm,
- right arm,
- boonie hat,
- weapon and weapon accessories(3x).

The pieces are cast in grey resin and are completely clean of any imperfections. Casting blocks are intelligently placed; they are easy to remove without damaging the detail, and also ensure the fit of the pieces is not compromised after cleaning them. The parts fit perfectly and minimal putty work is required during figure assembly.

The figure represents US Special Forces operative in Afghanistan, providing suppressive fire down range. Posed in a accurate combat stance that clearly depicts body weight distribution, grip on the weapon and aim down the sight. The figure wears Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) trousers and SPEAR/BALCS armor carrier over his T-shirt. A pistol holster and two pistol ammo pouches are attached to the front of his body armor, while a small compass pouch, two large SAW ammo pouches and a butt pack are fixed to a heavy duty belt. All the equipment is cast together with the main figure part.

The figure is equipped with a M249 SAW, which is provided in three pieces: main weapon, ammo box and bipod. The M249 depicted in this kit is the version used in the 90s; the standard squad automatic weapon in Afghanistan however is the M249 modified with Product Improvement Program (PIP) kit. PIP kit replaced the original tubular stock with a plastic buttstock, a handguard was added above the barrel to prevent burns, and the previously fixed carrying handle was exchanged for a folding unit. Other changes involved the bipod, pistol grip, flash suppressor and sights as well as Picatinny rails for the feed tray cover so that optical sights could be attached. The weapon in this kit features feed tray rail with Trijicon ACOG sight, but this is the only modification on what appears to be the "old" M249 version. All those inclined to add a more modern M249 version to the figure should note both hands in Nomex flight gloves are cast with the weapon. Although this ensures a tight grip, it also makes it very difficult to change the weapon without damaging the hands.

I really like how the sculptor delivered a complex pose: I have seen number of figures depicted “in action”, firing their weapons, but very few of those are shown with firm grip of the weapon and actually using optical elements for aiming. In contrast, the posture of this figure looks very realistic with the weapon very close to figure’s face and aligned with its eyes. The details on the uniform and equipment are perfectly executed in scale, with the "Special Forces in Afghanistan" look additionally accentuated with a beard and long hair, shemagh scarf realistically draped around figure's neck, and muscular body composition.

Conclusion:

This is a great kit featuring the third figure in US Special Forces in Afghanistan theme from Evolution Miniatures. Sculpted by a very talented sculptor and presented in a realistic "in action" posture, the figure looks absolutely great. The cast is perfect and the fit of the pieces superb, making the figure very easy to build. The figure is packed with details; from the uniform and equipment to fantastically presented facial features... the only thing to criticise is the use of old style M249. Along with the other three figures sculpted in this theme, this figure is bound to make a great Special Forces team in Afghanistan vignette.

References:

The US Navy SEALs (Grange Books), David Jordan
Special Forces (Salamander Books), David Miller
Battle Rattle (Zennith Press), Hans Halberstadt
Special Forces in Afghanistan (Historie&Collections), Eric Micheletti
Special Forces in Iraq (Historie&Collections), Eric Micheletti
SF in Afghanistan pictures
SUMMARY
Highs: Realistically posed, perfectly cast and easy to assemble. The details on the uniform and equipment are absolutely amazing, with the facial features well defined.
Lows: Although I have seen evidence of old tubular stock M249 used in Afghanistan, I feel a more modern version of the weapon would be a better choice for this figure.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
92%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: EM-35086
  Related Link: Evolution Miniatures website
  PUBLISHED: Feb 02, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 93.37%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 94.44%

Our Thanks to Evolution Miniatures!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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Copyright ©2019 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Great review, Mario. I didn't know the face had a beard as company photos don't show the face that clearly. Yes, too bad it'll be very hard to replace the SAW. One could probably cut off the tube stock and glue on DML plastic buttstock, BUT I don't know if that will upset the alignment if the plastic buttstock is longer than the tube one. Or if one is really bold, carve out the SAW and try to plunk in a Live-Resin SAW PIP in the hands. Wasn't the outdated SAW issue pointed out in the WIP photos? I thought I remember someone mentioning this in one of the other figure forums. Still an excellent figure with a fantastic pose.
FEB 02, 2014 - 08:41 AM
I still can't work out why manufacturers still use old weapons. still, it's a great figure and will be definitely getting one of these
FEB 03, 2014 - 12:24 AM
I did see some photos of an operative using modern day M249 (Mk46) with old tubular stock. I'm sure this is an exemption to the rule and obviously a personal preference of the particular operative, but still... Mario
FEB 03, 2014 - 12:56 AM
probably easier just to convert it to the folding stock. i'll see what I can do when I get it. I have converted a hobbyfan sniper figure to take a live resin M-24. that was fun. not!
FEB 03, 2014 - 02:02 AM
Pics, we want pics! Mario
FEB 03, 2014 - 02:14 AM
   

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