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Built Review
Modern Russian Tank Crew
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by: Rob Harvey [ AFV_ROB ]

Originally published on:


Unlike most western tanks, modern Russian MBTís are unique in having a three man crew, the auto-loader replacing the need for a manual loader.

Modern Russian figures, especially post cold war subjects, are rather thin on the ground. This is a gap that is increasingly being filled by a number of Russian resin manufacturers, however until now the only available modern tank crew figures available in injection plastic were an old offering from Dragon. Russian model company Zvezda now come to the rescue with a welcome set of modern, up to date, Russian tank crew figures.


The quality of many Eastern European injection plastic kits was, until recently, dubious at best. However a number of Eastern companies have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, and seem to be advancing the hobby, particularly in the area of plastic figure sets.

Zvezda have begun to produce some rather nice sets recently, and their moulding quality has developed considerably. This latest set represents many of those advancements, and is of a subject very welcome for modern armor and figure modellers.

The three figure set contains just 33 parts, and includes three complete figures and a small base for displaying two of the figures.

The basic build up of the figures is the same as most plastic figure kits, each leg is separate and attach to the main torso, to which the arms and head are also glued.

All three figures are depicted wearing what appear to be the modern Russian tankers BDU, and the latest type Russian tankers helmet with 6 ribs. Two of the figures are armed with very well detailed AK-47ís.

The quality of molding and sculpting on these figures is reasonably high. The poses on all three are excellent and they look very natural and realistic, plastic figures often look a little stiff but these are spot on. The standing pair look well posed together, but can easily be used on their own, perhaps with the pointing figure on the turret of a tank.

As with all injection plastic figures there are some mold lines to clean up, but nothing too troublesome. The fit of the parts is pretty good as well, obviously one will require some filler around the joins, but the gaps arenít too drastic and can easily be sorted. The detail on the clothing is reasonable, perhaps lacking some definition on the front jacket zippers, pockets and creases. The front of the jackets is probably the weakest point on these figures, and Iíd suggest defining some of the detail with some careful re-sculpting with a scalpel.

The strongest point of these figures has to be the heads and helmets. The faces are spot on and look perfect, I really cannot see any need for replacing the heads on this set. The way the tankers helmet has been handled is just perfect, the two side flaps come separate and must be glued to the side of the heads leaving a nice gap around the face, in this aspect the overall head and helmet look just as good as a resin counterpart. Zvezda have also molded the jacket collars separate, so once again this leaves a nice realistic gap around the edge; details like this significantly improve the overall look of the figures and add to the realism.

As mentioned two of the figures are supplied with AK-47ís which attach to slings molded on the figures bodies. The slings are best replaced with metal foil or being re-sculpted from putty, as the molded on details donít really look ideal. Finally a small base is supplied for two of the figures, I suppose this could be used if one wanted to display two of the figures, but I think a better base could easily be made from simple diorama materials.
Highs: A very welcome and useful subject matter. Well sculpted with good poses, the details around the faces, helmets and collar are superb. Affordable!
Lows: Some soft detail on the clothing and boots, typical mould lines and gaps around part joints. AK-47 slings are best replaced. The little base supplied isn't much use either.
Verdict: A most welcome set of figures, from a company that seems to be improving with each new release. Very highly recommended for modern Russian armor fans.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3615
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 30, 2009

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About Rob Harvey (afv_rob)

Copyright ©2020 text by Rob Harvey [ AFV_ROB ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of KitMaker Network or the British Bulldogs IPMS-UK group. All rights reserved.


Hi guys Just a quick comment regarding the T-90. I emailed Zvezda about a month ago asking them if the T-90 kit would be an new tooled kit or use some parts from their (Dragon) T-72. Their answer was that it should be an all new toold kit with an ETA of November (as with any kit ETA date I wouldn't put money on it). Cheers, /E
AUG 31, 2009 - 04:51 AM
That will be great, if it happens. This one has been coming for so long I admit to some skepticism. Won't stop me from snapping it up in a heartbeat, though! Matt
AUG 31, 2009 - 03:12 PM
Thanks for the review Rob. FYI, I notice the cord for the intercom (from the helmet) isn't molded on the figures. Has anyone heard if Zvezda plans to release a set with the crew in summer uniforms and helmets?
SEP 04, 2009 - 07:57 AM
Hey rob great review. Zvesda are improving with there figures. I like there range its differenet. Darren going back to your comments. The heads would be the first thing I would replace if I got the sets.
SEP 04, 2009 - 08:15 AM
Just looking back at this review after George Keseyan's T-72B WIP thread and seeing these figures in my LHS . Is there any way they can be used with a T-55 (which I have in my stash) or are the uniforms too modern? One of the Former soviet republics maybe?
NOV 15, 2009 - 11:57 PM
These guys are probably too modern for a T-55, I had similar problems with my dio when looking for a tank crew for my T-55. In the end I settled for a Tank models Chechnya tank crew as those figures are wearing Afghanka style jackets that have been issued since the 80's (i aimed at setting my dio in an 80's period). These guys however aren't wearing Afghanka, they have these "bomber" style jackets. I haven't seen these too much and I don't know much about this uniform. Maybe it's Russian Federation specific but aside from this one reference photo I haven't seen many other photos with this style of jacket. Most Chechnya images I have feature the Afghanka style coat. It would be interesting to learn a little more about the jackets featured in this set. If you want an accurate T-55 crew why not try try ICM's new kit? That looks good and is specifically for a T-55. It's been "coming soon" for ages, not sure if it's finally been released yet.
NOV 16, 2009 - 12:41 AM
Hi Jon do you mean this set ? If so, I see they are in stock at a few outlets. For example http://www.modelhobbies.co.uk/shop/soviet-tank-crew-19791988-35601-p-22437.html Alan
NOV 16, 2009 - 12:57 AM
I think these figures can be used from about the mid 80's. They wear the latest style Russian tankers cap which seems to of been introduced around the end of the Afghan conflict. As to the jackets I think these are referred to as tankers BDU. Like everything Russian they are a reasonably old design that has been updated. I did some digging on the uniforms and couldnt come up with much but found a book on Cold war Russian uniforms and it did describe the these tankers jacket as being introduced in the mid 80's. Modern Russian uniform research is very difficult! There doesnt seem to be much in the way of standardized design in the Russian military.
NOV 16, 2009 - 01:52 AM
Hi Alan! Yes thats the one, I had seen images flashing around on banners at various websites for ages but hadn't seen an actual release date or review yet. I would be interested to get my hands on one of these and see what its like. I must admit the reference photo on the box art doesn't really tell you much or show much, it would be nice to see a figure made up and not just a sprue shot to get a better impression. From my experience though I have always found ICM kits to be very good. I especially like their 1:48 plastic figures, those had some wonderful detail so I have high hopes for this 1:35 set. Rob I know what you mean! It's easy to find lots of stuff on WW2 uniforms and earlier even (Tsarist), but finding good books that cover modern Russian Uniforms is rather tricky. I suppose a major issue since the end of the USSR is the drop in military spending in post Soviet Russia, which has resulted in a lot of reused gear, hand me downs, and eclectic mixtures of uniforms and equipment. Still it's good for us modellers I guess, gives us good artistic license!
NOV 16, 2009 - 02:04 AM

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