While I was in Sentry Box yesterday I picked up, on a whim, a series of 28mm plastic WWII Soviet figures from The Plastic Soldier Company. These were quite literally an impulse buy as I was in the store to see if they had any Warlord Games plastic German infantry. Some of the local gaming crowd is interested in playing Bolt Action and while I do have the start of a German force the boxes on sale offered my the opportunity to pick up every Soviet infantry option I would need, along with support weapons, for a very decent price.
Each boxed set contains several sprues of hard plastic troops and weapons. The 45mm Anti Tank Gun set contains two gun sprues, with three barrel options and the parts to make the gun frame, and a crew srpue. Each gun sprue has options to build either a 45mm M1937 anti tank gun, a 45mm M1942 anti tank gun or a 76mm M1943 infantry gun.
The gun barrels and gun frames look as if they have been 3D modelled. They are very crisp and the sprue includes some shells and ammo boxes that also have the hallmark of 3D modelling. In this instance it is quite a benefit as the guns appear to be very accurately modelled.
The gun crews are quite similar to the other troops that I purchased (I’ll look at them in more detail later) and are provided in a series of firing and loading poses appropriate for the guns they are fielding. The sprue also includes two rifles and two SMGs to add to your troops.
The Russian Heavy Weapons set contains two sprues with a mix of Soviet support weapons that makes:
- 2 Maxim teams firing
- 2 Maxim teams moving
- 2 x 50mm mortar teams
- 2 x 82mm mortar teams
- 2 firing PTRS anti tank rifles
- 2 moving PTRS anti tank rifles
I don’t know if everyone will appreciate it, but I like the idea that the Maxim team is provided with an “in-transit” pose. Even the ATR is provided with an in-place and in-transit.
The crews are slightly more specific than the gun crews and so you have mortar team troops, Maxim troops and ATR troops.
The troops on the support weapon sprue are similarly sculpted and have the same level of detail as the gun crews. The size of the pouches, belts and other accessories is more realistic but lacks depth so they won’t pop from the model like accessories on a metal figure will. I suspect that like the guns the troops have been 3D modelled as well.
And the Russian Infantry in Summer Uniform set contains three sprues which will make:
- 6 junior officers/NCOs
- 45 riflemen/SMGs
- 6 light machine guns with loaders
Each sprue contains
- Riflemen 7
- Officer 2
- medic 1
- SMG 5
- LMG 2
- LMG Loader 2
So depending on your ruleset you could build 3 Rifle/LMG squads and an SMG squad from the troops in the set.
Most of the figures in all three sets are one-piece sculpts and the majority the rest are only two piece. Some figs like the prone ATR figure have a separate head. There won’t be any issues assembling these figures. Oddly the gun crew figures have the most parts (three).
All of the figures show minimal mould lines. There are two models on the troop sprue (the Medic and one officer) that have their faces turned towards the plane of the mould which means that their faces are slightly distorted and lack some detail.
As mentioned previously, the figures don’t have a lot of depth to the detail in them and this shows in the faces which look a little unfocused.
Most of the models are nicely posed with the exception of one of the SMG equipped troops who is shown throwing a grenade. The arm is oddly sculpted and posed and looks quite odd. Its difficult to determine if this is a problem with the figure or just how the arm was placed to avoid the plane of the mould.
The figures have the same realistically proportioned weapons as some of the Bolt Action plastics which means that some people might find them a little on the thin side. I actually like the weapons this size as it gives the figures a proper sense of proportion and doesn’t require the sculptor to exaggerate the proportions of the model to compensate.
Compared to the Bolt Action plastic figures, the Plastic Soldier Company models appear to be slightly larger. As well you can see that the details on the Bolt Action models are crisper.
The PSC trooper models are cast is an off-white plastic and compared to the support weapon and gun crew figures they appear to have slightly less detail. I am assuming, based on the fact that they would have been sculpted and moulded in the same fashion, that this is a result of the material’s colour.
There are no real modelling options for these figures aside from posing the position of some of the heads. The models with arms removed have a single piece that fits into the model and that piece only goes in one way. If you want to customize your troops, add different equipment or have a varied number of poses then these aren’t going to be much use.
The Russian Troop boxed set works out to about $0.50 Cnd per figure. The Soviet infantry boxed set from Bolt Action is about $1.25 a miniature. The Bolt Action German infantry set comes in $1.46 Cnd a figure. This isn’t necessarily a fair comparison though as both Bolt Action sets come with bases and also come with a wealth of parts and bitz to add to your minis.
Ultimately it depends on what you are looking for and what your hobby focus is. I am looking for a set of figures that I can get painted quickly and get on the table. If you are more interested in multi-pose figures with better detail for painting then the PSC Russian troops are probably not the best option.
The lack of posing options isn’t as much of a problem for the Soviet AT/Infantry gun set. There are really only a few poses that you’ll want a gun crew to be in and only so much equipment that they would have. The 3D modelling used for these figures is more of a positive in the case of the guns as it creates a very realistic and very detailed AT or Infantry gun. For the price of a single metal gun and crew you get two guns and options to either create two AT guns or one AT gun and an Infantry gun.
The Soviet support weapons pack is probably, in terms of price, the best deal of the lot. Metal MMG and mortar sets typically cost about $11 each. The plastic Support Weapons set has, if you don’t use all of the Maxim and PTRS teams as individual teams, eight support weapon teams in it. All of that for about the same price as two metal sets. Again, the quality of the figures won’t be the same as metal but the guns themselves are actually very well done.
Your opinion of these figures is going to vary wildly depending on what you want from a gaming miniature. One hesitates to pull out the “quantity has a quality of its own” but in this case for a purchase of less than $80 Cnd I was able to get my core infantry, support weapons and some guns. I am not all that interested in creating a series of unique poses and more interested in filling my force out. The lack of modelling options for me means that I have less time to spend putting the figures together and more time to paint them.
If you are, like me, more concerned with price than painting or modelling then the infantry boxed set is a good deal. The AT and Infantry guns are a much better option in general and the Support weapon set is an exceptional deal. Both of the latter two sets don’t suffer due to the lack of modelling options and the 3D rendered guns are, in my opinion, better than their metal counterparts.