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Set 72526

Soviet Tank Crewmen, 1942

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released Unknown
Contents 10 figures
Poses 10 + poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Green
Average Height 25.5 mm (= 1.84 m)


When the Soviet Union invaded Poland and Finland in 1939 it had one of the largest tank forces on the planet, yet in a blinkered political system that was concerned with numeric targets rather than intelligent planning the large numbers masked a very poor quality arm with huge numbers of tanks useless for want of spares. The Soviets were also very backward in tank tactics, and lost vast quantities of men and machines during the German invasion two years later. By 1942, the date given for this figure set, desperate remedial measures were just beginning to take effect, with better tanks and, eventually, better tactics. In the end Soviet tanks would push on to Berlin, but in 1942 that seemed a very distant prospect indeed.

The problem with producing models of tank crew is of course that they cannot be seen when in action. Protected, or quite often trapped, by their heavy lumbering machines, the most you might hope for is a commander standing by an open hatch, or the head of a driver peering out. Preiser have delivered both here as can be seen above, and perfectly reasonable they are too, but fortunately much of the set is devoted to standing figures, who are clearly in relaxed mood and would work well simply decorating a diorama of one or more tanks. Some of the poses just look strange, but they are intended to be leaning or holding on to various bits of the tank, so the box artwork gives a better idea of what the designer had in mind than our own photos. We really liked all the poses, particularly the two men checking their watches and the man pulling his gauntlet on. The man with the flags reflects the fact that most Soviet tanks could only communicate with each other using this crude method as they had no radios. All the figures come in several parts, so there is some room for making your own poses, although this is fairly limited without some creative knife work (the above pictured figures follow the recommended assembly).

Many of the figures are wearing the standard overalls, which in fact came in several slightly different designs, but those here are accurate. Almost all are wearing the ubiquitous padded tankers helmet (although a spare head with a helmet is also provided), but one man, clearly an officer, wears a peaked cap and regulation jacket. The second figure in the lower row is rather different as he wears a long canvas coat and carries a submachine gun over his shoulder. While he could be crewing one of several vehicle types, he would also work well as a motorcycle rider, offering reconnaissance to the following tanks. Such riders also wore the padded tankers helmet, and the submachine gun would be a hindrance inside a tank. Again, a really nice figure. Finally, most of these men have a pistol holster, which was a common sidearm for such troops.

The appearance and proportions of these figures is exemplary, with the clothing well depicted and all the finer points very well executed. The multi-part aspect of these figures helps make the poses more realistic and avoids areas hidden from the mould, so the designer has been free to deliver exactly what was required, and the result is excellent. The figures all lack a base, and there is nothing in the set to fashion them with, which is a little annoying when you are used to one-piece figures like most of those on this site. However any time and effort required to put these little models together is amply rewarded with some cracking figures that will make up a really nice diorama of tankers at rest or waiting for the signal to move on.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 10
Mould 10

Further Reading
"Red Army Uniforms of World War II" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.14) - Anton Shalito - 9781872004594
"Stalin's War" - Crowood - Laszlo Bekesi - 9781861268228
"Tank and AFV Crew Uniforms Since 1916" - Patrick Stephens - Martin Windrow - 9780850593624
"The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941-5" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.216) - Steven Zaloga - 9780850459395
"Militaria (French Language)" - No.53

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