Oh! Those Russians! by Father Valerian
9 November 2001 email: ig_valerian(at)mail.ru
ESCI # 240 Russian Spetsnaz - Modern.

I don’t agree with your opinion about this set. They look like Soviet Army in the third-class movies (“Rambo III” etc.)

1. I don’t know “who they are”, but not modern spetsnaz! The uniforms are of the 1960-70's. So the best “theatre of war” for these soldiers is:

  • Czechoslovakia Invasion, 1968. But all soldiers must be in light blue berets (Hum89), not in desert hats. It isn’t a big problem to change their heads! The dress can be Hum 81/83/94 overall (- “experimental” airborne uniform) or “old” post-war camo uniform (Hum.80 with spots of Hum.81)
  • Soviet-China Border Conflicts.
  • Soviet Army/VDV military exercises in 1960-70's.

2. Some poses are “more than strange”. So…

Strange ammunition.

Gas masks (the bag on left leg, except 11-12) are very seldom used in practice. Only for training. We always wore the sling of GM-bag UNDER the belt, to prevent the bag’s moving to the groin. During my army service we, of course, had gas-training. But we didn’t wear these bags all day long. Only once we had “elephant running” (6km running in Gas-Masks!) - it was punishment for being drunk. Imagine this horror in the morning after good soldier’s drunk! It isn’t hard to remove GM-bags, but to remove its wide sling is a problem! So I don’t try to do it. During WW II, Russians used GM-bags as breadbags or for personal things. The same bags! New GM & bags have appeared in the mid 80's. The troopers haven’t the unloading jackets or rucksacks.

So, these soldiers are on a defense mission. If in offense - they left their ammunition supplies in APC/AFV or in helicopter! But the best way is to make square-looking RD-54 (“Ryukzak Desantnika”, Airborne Rucksack mod. 1954) from putty on the soldier's back. RD-54 was used even in Afganistan. Nobody has a radio! How are they in contact with HQ, armor & air-support? Of course, soviet commander always have a loud “commander” voice, but not so loud as to communicate without a radio! The best way to correct this mistake is to take a radio or even body-part from ESCI 228 or 239 radioman. They haven’t water flasks! It’s a big mistake. In combination with desert-hats, it’s ugliness…

Figures & Poses

1. It isn’t the best pose to make a good shot from SVD sniper rifle. But where is the ammo??? Poor snipers have ammo-bag (on right leg) the same as the others! It’s for AK’s ammo-magazines, not for SVD’s!!! The second problem is that a good sniper will always have a “second”, short-range weapon - PM or APS pistol. Where is it?

2,3,4,7,8,9,10. Very strange method for moving on battlefield (“Kamikaze style”) - bullets are flying around! Why aren't the soldiers bent down? Russians are brave, but they aren’t mad!

6. For the realistic diorama, the RPG-shooter must have a rucksack with 2-4 RPG-shots near him! He also must have AK ammo-bag on the right leg and AK SMG on his back or near him. Per the Field Manual, RPG's have a crew of two. The assistant (“Second Number” of crew) takes the rucksack with ammunition and binoculars. Both are armed with AK SMG's.

12. “Strela-1” AA-missile. The same comments as for RPG-shooter (6). But rucksack with 1-2 shots always worn by assistant.

7,8,9,10. Strange poses. They look like they are playing guitars! Maybe the sculptor made them from a soviet anti-war propaganda photo “When the soldiers singing”! It’s pretty, but I sold my diorama “When the soldiers singing” - the performance of Afghan-war veterens music group! And no photos were made…

7,13. Ammo-bag is wrong! It must be bigger - it’s for RPK 40-rounds magazines. Figure 13 must be setting the RPK on something. It’s rather difficult to hold it in the hand in such method as shown. Even if you are the great arm-wrestler!

11,15. Mistake! By the Regulations AK with folding butt (AKS) must be slung ‘barrel to down”. The AK can be simply cut off, and rotated 180 degrees.

11. Ha-ha-ha!!! I can’t look at this “writer” without laugh! He looks like “zampolit” (deputy commander for political affairs). And, of course, he writes “stukatichka” (“knock-papier” - civil report about personnel)!

  • For using with other figures of this set you must change his head. The service cap is never worn with this field suit. Even the commander must be in beret or in desert hat. Officer must have sword-belt on right shoulder and officer’s plotting board on the left leg.
  • You can make soviet frontier guard trooper. Paint him in “old camo” suit. The service cap: black cap-band & green (Hum.101) cap-top. Even privates wear the service cap when on duty.
  • You can make soviet militiaman on patrol. Paint him in grey (Hum.27) suit. The service cap: red cap-band & grey (Hum.27) cap-top.
  • I did it as a soldier writing letter to home from Afganistan. But he is not painted yet… “Dear Mother,…”


The unit is not combat-ready. The commander (or sculptor?) must be reduced in rank and sent to the North Pole military unit! Soldiers must be sent to sweep the spruce needles in Taiga forests!


My work.

But, after all the negative comments, I try to make some figures like soviet troopers in Afganistan. My instruments were very sharp blade, “Moment” glue (some kind of rubber glue) & old fatless plasticine (as putty!). Some body-parts were taken from other sets.

Somebody in sportboots, in bandana or wearing sleevless stripped airborne vest and bandana on the neck… The simple “workers of war”…

In Action

The above diorama isn’complete yet. It’s only diorama parts. I show six of these soldiers (except for killed). T-62E, Afghanistan, approx. 1985. T-62E acute on language people has nicknamed "Brezhnev" for "eyebrowes" on the turret. The tanks with such tactical marks are frequently seen in "Afghani" photos. Original colouring of the tank - Olive Green with Black "streaks", however in complicated conditions of the Afghan War the tank fast has become indefinitely - dusty colours. The range finder KTD-1 on this machine was broken and is dismounted. The inscription of "Kharkov" was made by the driver for search of others from his home town. The antenna frequently was removed or tied down, to not be hooked by mujahaddin mine-rope above a road.

Model: ESCI 8340 - conversion. The loaders hatch (right hatch of turret) is altered completely - without inflow. All screens and additional armor are made myself. “Famous” ESCI single weels, though "suffer" exactly as well as on M48, but are drilled (it was not possible to make orifice of the correct form) and have chipped old rubber. The other T-62M is burned out.


There aren’t bad models; there are only bad hands…

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