Soviet Infantry, 1941–1944

Revell 1:72 Scale Figure Review

Soviet Infantry of World War Two, 1941–1944, 1:72 Miniatures Revell 02510

The photo shows two infantry half-squads and a heavy machine gun team following a T-34 tank into battle. Half-squads and teams are based on 50 × 38 mm and 38 × 38 mm wargame bases respectively, terrained to blend in with the gaming table. Nearly half of the infantry in this set carry PPSh41 machine-pistols with the distinctive drum magazine, they may be used to raise Soviet Motor Rifle platoons.

These miniatures could be right out of a movie: The attacking figures are leaning "into the wind" realistically, as soldier under fire are known to do, and the advancing troops have a sense of urgency about them one would expect near the sharp end. Every one of these figures is a classic, this is the industry standard against which other modern infantry types must be judged.

Revell offers a nice selection of leader types, one battalion commander or commissar, two junior officers, and a female medic. The set includes pieces of rubble which may be used to add variety to figure bases and small dioramas. This set is simply incredible, it offers the most realistic and useful action poses of modern infantry ever seen in soft plastic.

Contents

  • 48 Figures in 18 Poses, 24 mm equal 173 cm Height
    • 3 Officers in 3 Poses
    • 1 Female Medic
    • 4 Snipers
    • 8 Grenadiers in 2 Poses
    • SG-43 HMG with 2 Crew
    • 1 Prone DP LMG
    • 1 Advancing DP LMG
    • 16 PPSh41 in 4 Poses
    • 12 Riflemen in 3 Poses

Evaluation

Exceptionally realistic figures, correctly proportioned, perfectly posed, with realistic folds in the uniforms, collars, belts, haversacks, pouches and weapons. Equipment is modelled in scale, these figures do not have an exaggerated toy-like quality to them. This added realism also makes the figures a little more difficult to paint, they should be undercoated with an airbrush which does not obscure the fine detail.

The figure mix is almost perfect for a set of modern infantry. It will be possible to raise a platoon of infantry from this box, except that one LMG is missing. Two of the four snipers might have been dropped, this pose is too distinctive to be used more than once in any given scenario. Instead, the set should have had two additional LMGs, one of each pose. As it is, additional LMGs may be scrounged from the ESCI set of Soviet infantry.

Excellent combat poses. The miniatures are designed specifically for the Battle of Stalingrad, although most of the poses are suitable for non-streetfighting scenarios as well.

Exceptionally realistic and useful running poses, motorically correct, and very suitable for multiple use in a diorama or wargame unit. The figures are well balanced on one leg, and they should not shed paint as easily as other runners we have seen. These are standard running poses which will look realistic in most scenarios. One of the PPSh gunners is running upstairs or uphill, he would be jogging in place if used on flat ground. These beautifully animated runners are a rare breed in 1:72 scale plastic, we have not seen any like them. It is not normally a good idea to attempt one-legged poses like these, most manufacturers have failed dismally in the attempt. Revell got it right, and it is hoped that the sculptor will commissioned for more work of this type.

Lively and realistic poses like these are difficult to mould in plastic, because the injection process does not allow undercutting. Revell has worked around this problem by providing the running figures with separate bases. The feet have sturdy lugs which fit into a slot in each base. It is very easy to fuse a figure to its base with a soldering iron. With the benefit of hindsight, it's amazing that nobody thought of slotting figures into bases this way before. Generations of kids, serious collectors and wargamers have been frustrated by unstable horses, disintegrating mortar and heavy machine gun teams, when the solution could have been this simple. Manufacturers have gone the other way now, casting the bases on the figures, but Revell's solutions is worthy of consideration, especially if it allows the kind of animation we see in these figures.

No standing firing infantry pose. Revell deserves much praise for not including the typical 18th century firing line in this set of modern infantry. The standing soldier is a sniper, firing from the cover of a destroyed brick wall. A casual pose, probably several hundred meters away from the front line.

The three kneeling figures are nicely sculpted. One of them is in a rare advancing pose - on his hands and knees - which looks very good, except that the barrel of his PPSh is cast inaccurately. A little carving and painting fixes the problem.

This is the first set of figures the reviewer has seen which does not need officer types to add character and drama to the scene. The soldiers themselves look great as a group, they appear to be led, even if no officer is immediately present. One of the officer figures is brandishing a pistol, and wargamers will want to use him as a platoon or company commander. The other junior officer is in a relaxed pose, with the helmet pushed out of his face, holding a map and directing someone. This figure has many uses. The battalion commander may be painted to represent a commissar, and the female medic converts easily to a radio operator or signaler.

The men carry minimal gear, primarily ammunition and grenades needed in combat. This makes the soldiers easier to paint, and they look much more realistic than the heavily encumbered troops we often see in this scale. Another commendable feature of this set is that the ammunition pouches match the type of weapon carried by each soldier. Clearly, the designers knew what they were doing.

Good casting quality. Mould lines are minimal, heads and helmets are in perfect condition. The figures had small ears of flash in some areas, but this was easy to remove with a scalpel. One of the running soldiers lacks detail on his chest, but he is leaning forward enough to hide this problem conveniently.

Good value for money: Each box contains a Soviet platoon, short of one LMG, and some useful officer types to spare. An additional set of Soviet troops might cover the heavy weapons and specialist troops found at the company and battalion level: Medium and heavy mortars, heavy machine guns, 76.2 mm infantry guns, PTRS or PTRD anti-tank rifles, flamethrowers, mines, satchel charges, signalmen and radio operators.

The set is dated 1941–1945, but the officers and men are in the pre-1943 uniform worn at Stalingrad. The most noticeable difference in dress is the pointed collar which was replaced by a buttoned stand-up collar following the January 1943 decree. The officer figures may be converted to an hybrid pattern uniform by adding paper shoulder boards, a conversion which may satisfy anyone but a purist.

Too many snipers. The sniper pose in this set is nicely done, but it is a key figure which should not have been repeated four times.

Not enough light machine guns. Soviet infantry platoons had three squads with one LMG each. The two DP machine gunners in this set are nicely sculpted, and they should have been reroduced twice each.

Painting instructions conflict with the photo on the box cover which shows the infantry in dark grey-green helmets instead of earth brown helmets. Other sources support the grey-green as well.

The figures are available separately or in a boxed set with the venerable 1:76 scale Matchbox T-34/76.C medium tank. This combination does not work very well, because the figures scale out to 182 cm in height if used alongside a smaller scale vehicle. It is not known if Revell plans to issue the boxed set with a 1:72 scale compatible vehicle eventually, these figures would certainly deserve one. A GAZ-67.B field car and crew would go very well with the officers in this set, and a GAZ-AA truck would be great for motorizing the troops.

Spare heads with M.1936 helmets might have been cast on the sprue, they were still in use in 1941. It's amazing that manufacturers have not caught on to the idea of spare heads yet, it's a cheap way to add variety to a set of figures. What better way to encourage the modeller to purchase multiple boxes than to give him additional equipment items which may be used for conversion projects.

Separate weapons might have been cast on the sprue, perhaps a light mortar, an anti-tank rifle, and a few spare PPSh41. Spare parts like these add enormous value to a set of figures, at minimal cost to the manufacturer.

Bibliography

Historical Employment

Possible Conversions

  • Soviet infantry wearing the 1943 pattern gymnastiorka with buttoned stand-up collar, without pockets. Officers received gymnastiorkas with pockets and shoulder boards. This uniform was worn at the Battle of Kursk in 1943, and it was issued to Polish, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav troops in Soviet service.
  • Soviet infantry with pilotka sidecap taken from Airfix Luftwaffe personnel.
  • Soviet infantry with shapka-ushanka fur cap taken from ESCI Soviet infantry.
  • Soviet militia with Adrian helmet taken from Airfix French WW1 infantry.

Revell's Soviet infantrymen are a must-have, they add wonderful animation to a diorama or simulation game. One highlight of the set is that the figures are perfectly compatible as a combat team, they are not individual display models for the student of military uniforms. One important feature of 1:72 scale modelling and simulation gaming is the recreation of mass action scenes, and these figures are perfect for it.

Grouped closely together on a typical 50 × 38 mm wargame base, the soldiers appear to be advancing together and supporting eachother. Compare that to the ESCI's Soviet infantry who are nicely sculpted, but each of whom is minding his own business, almost completely oblivious of his comrades. The difference is in the eyes; the Revell figures are completely focused on what they are doing, they are the most convincing 1:72 scale reproductions of modern infantry this reviewer has seen to date.

Sample from Revell

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Soviet Red Army Miniatures of World War Two