Saturday, October 1

Review - Mantis Miniatures 35034 U.S AFV Crew


Mantis Miniatures from Poland bring us a combined pair of figures this month to make a paired kit - 35034 U.S AFV Crew  features two soldiers leaning against a wall ( a shipping container in the box art photo) in this kit however the figures could be standing in front of almost anything. The figures are the individual sets 35033 - U.S AFV Gunner + 35032 - U.S AFV Driver/Mechanic.
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Mantis Miniatures 35034 U.S AFV Crew
Kit type: resin
Scale: 1/35
Sculpted by: Nino Pizzichemi
Artwork/Painted by: A.Miniszewski
Available from:  Mantis Miniatures Website
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Both figures are sculpted by Nino Pizzichemi and in the box art are painted by Artur Miniszewski. I n this review I will construct these but in no way will I better the painting on the images provided by Mantis so ill show them constructed but unpainted so you can see the fit and not my poor figure painting skills! Let’s go through this set as individual figures first.
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35033 - U.S AFV Gunner
This figure is seen leaning to the right hand side with his left hand on his hip and his right hand raised in a “one finger salute”. The Gunner wears body armour on his torso and a helmet with goggles.
The figure painted up on Mantis’ site – nice job!
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Four pieces of grey resin make up this figure – each of these small finely cast body and clothing parts. These came off pretty easily for me but you of course do want to take care on the feet and ankles – it’s my experience with resin to pare them down with a knife and flatten them off with a sanding stick when you get to a fine area like the shoes and feet.
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The torso on this gunner has the usual Army combat fatigues on as trousers but as protection. Being a gunner has a full Kevlar vest on complete with high neck protection and helmet. This is the older version OTV (outer tactical vest) with the straps to tighten around a jacket that you put the Kevlar inside. The soldier wears goggles over his helmet and of course on his feet are the high temperature US Army Desert Boots.
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The creases in the pants I like a lot here – they are gathered naturalistically and the pockets are nice and pinched. The vest is suitable detailed and looks stiff like the real vest – the high protection covers the trooper’s neck very well. The shape of the helmet looks real as does the soldiers goggles and the boots which mimic the real thing in lines on the shoe and size of the boot.
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The soldier’s arms are – the left on his hip and the right leaning on something while giving the international greetings sign made so popular by Tom Cruise in Top Gun. ™ The Left hand is resting nicely on his hip. 
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When securing these to the model the joints are already flush. This means the casting blocks were placed on the elbows instead and you have to do some cleaning, but this takes no time and a smooth joint is easier than one you have to smooth yourself. These arms sit into the torso quite well and the figure is complete – minus the head of course – that’s next.
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There is one choice of head and it is wearing the Kevlar helmet and goggles for protection while sitting atop a Humvee you would need in either Iraq or I think here Afghanistan. The face is well sculpted and I have to say that the work form mantis is improving all of the time. They have done a good job on this figure and as you can see below it sits very well and looks realistic.
The matching figure – also sold by itself is kit no: 35032 - U.S AFV Driver/Mechanic. This figure comes again in four parts of grey resin all on small casting blocks. Again this depicts a soldier in a desert clime and the posture of this figure is similar to the accompanying Gunner figure. That is where the similarity stops as the figure is wearing different gear in the form of overalls and a Camo “Boonie” hat.
Again the painted figure on Mantis’ site
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Starting from the ground up – this figure is again wearing the high temperature desert boots but this time wearing a one piece overall which is full length. This would of course be standard wear for a mechanic or driver so he and the gunner are suitably attired. This soldier is leaning to the right as was the driver figure – you can pose them both together or have each figure leaning on something like as pictured a wall or a vehicle. I had found out that the Gunner and Driver figure combo was in part inspired by the picture of this soldier. I think they have captured the body language of this soldier quite well.
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The overalls need to be baggy and here they are, some really nice work has been done here around especially the elasticated waist band which is nice and pinched all around the waist and the back of the driver. Finely sculpted are the zips on the chest of the soldier and the baggy parts around the legs.
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The arms on this soldier are pretty well sculpted as well – the right arm is up in the air and draped over something – either a door or an open vehicle or a comrade’s shoulder. The left arm fits in very well into the soldier’s waist. The overalls are pinched where the soldiers pointed fingers rest. Very nice placement and body work.
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A nice fit !
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The solders face is again well sculpted and this one you can see more of – his hat does not cover his face so much so you can see that Mr Nino Pizzichemi has done some good work here to make the soldier look natural.
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Good work as well on the floppy “Boonie Hat” worn by the soldier which is pretty thin and a really well sculpted bit of work in resin. It is very floppy and sits realistically.
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When combined as a pair to make the 35034 U.S AFV Crew  set these troopers share a similar body language and look like close comrades. They look to be either posing for a picture or to be looking at someone they don’t particularly like (hence the “bird”) Both of the figures need not be leaning on each other – but as in the shot from the Mantis site shows posed separately around the vehicle.
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Again from the Mantis Wwebsite - showing the pair around a Humvee
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In conclusion these figures look great as a team and I cannot wait to pose them next to the new Panda Hobbies MRAP vehicle when it comes out. First I have to learn how to paint as well as Mr Miniszewski – and it will take a lot longer for me to become that skilled! The kit’s construction took not even an hour from start to finish, and I enjoyed building it very much. If you are after a modern US vehicle crew this little set is a great choice!
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Our sincere thanks to Mantis Miniatures for supplying us with this review kit.
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