Monday, January 13

Build review: Stalingrad Miniatures 1/35th scale Russian Soldier and Orphan, 1941-45

Just when you thought all the good sculptors came from Korea Stalingrad Miniatures reminds us of the quality coming from Russia. It is the cold Eastern front experience that is the focus for the newest range of figures from Stalingrad. This time with his very personalised style of sculpting figures we see Russian looking after the next generation of children – a child who’s parents have been killed in the great patriotic war.

Russian Soldier and Orphan, 1941-45
# 3054
Produced by:
Stalingrad Miniatures
Sculpted by: Alexander Zelenkov
1/35th scale
7 parts of grey resin comprising two figures.
Available from Stalingrad Miniatures Distributors

I am sure everyone has a favourite artist. As a kid I used to really appreciate  Richard Livingstone’s art in the “Commando” books I read – as a young adult I liked a type of music over another, Some might have liked my choice some probably loathed it. In “Art,” it seems each person has their own taste.

When it comes to figure modelling I think the people who sculpt things and people are as close to artists as we get as modellers. Some of the sculptors are better than others. It is funny then that most people like the best sculptors work. I suppose these people capture the human form and soul the best.
Alexander Zelenkov is the creator of the figures at Stalingrad Miniatures. He does some pretty nice work, but what people seem to like the most about his sculpting is the unique life he brings to each of the faces and bodies of the people he makes. These figures are not the fairest of creatures – often with funny/skinny or chubby faces they do not look like propaganda models, but they are lifelike and convey as unique a feeling as meeting a stranger from another country and place.

Which leaves us to the figure we have to review today. This set of two figures was inspired by a picture of a young Russian officer feeding an orphan in the cold of the eastern front in World War II. This picture was shot by Victor Kinelovskiy and resides in the Russian International News Agency. It was shot somewhere in Russia in 1943, (10/01/1943)
Mr Zelenkov knows a good inspiration when he sees it. I am sure that civilians don’t sell so well as military figures, but this is a very compelling scene, and in previews people have seemed to have liked it very much. We really wanted to put it together to show you what it was like in a review.

The figures come in a small box with the painted up art of the figures on the cover. Inside the box is a little Zip-loc bag with the seven parts of grey resin inside. These parts depict a soldier, infant and the wooden crate they are sitting on top of.

What an old crate...
 The resin inside is bubble free, without any real excess material and there only needs to be some slight carving and sometimes a snap to remove the resin casting blocks some of the parts are attached to. This makes construction very easy indeed as you aren’t bricking it worrying about removing the wrong details or carving forever and worrying about losing fingers.

This Russian infantryman is indeed dressed ready for winter – his ushanka fur cap with prominent red star badge on his head, it looks battered and well-worn and his face – just like all of the faces from Stalingrad – is just very original.
A long face – with a pointy nose and long ears give him the look of an aged man and probably more sympathetic to an infant’s plight I would guess – so it all fits in here very well.

The bulk of the figure is taken up with the bodies of the figures. (plural) They are cast together as the infant kind of blends in to the young officer’s fur lines greatcoat. The clanked the little child is wrapped in covers the soldier’s right hand side as he sits in his cradled right arm.  The thick tousled fur lining is more like a wool texture as it pops out of the soldier’s collar. The soldier has some laced wool lined gloves siting on his waist as well. The texture of the wool and the stitching on the on the jacket and gloves is crying out to be painted and shaded. The boots are wrinkly and the leather looks soft as well.
There is a small seam on the soldier’s back that needs to be removed and that is all.
He is giving comfort and food to a little маленькая девочка (little girl) who is wrapped up in a soldier’s blanket. The feeding looks like it might be under some protest – maybe she doesn’t like soldier’s food too much?

The orphan's face is a study of humanity as well
The single left arm is separate on a casting block that comes off with a bend and cleans up easily – it fits to the hand – as does his other arm – through a socket  that just slips into the gap – great engineering here!
The soldier’s hands and mess tins are separate on a small casting block. One hand holding the tin of food and one holding the spoon. Sinews and fingers are clear o see as are finger nails and the food inside the tin looks – well kinda like some yucky food! There is a spare container here which isn’t shown on the box art – it is another mess tin with food in it. You could sit it in his the soldiers lap if you wanted it.
The two sit on top of a resin wooden box as the feeding takes place – of note on the little girl is her traditional headscarf and on the soldier his shoulder slung PPsh 41 “Pe-Pe-Sha” stamped steel machine gun and his wrinkled forage bag on his left hip which sits on top of the box – much like the soldier himself very flat.

The Resin PPsh-41 is quite convincing and it has a hollowed out muzzle just like the real thing – a great job of casting here.
Notice how easily the figure fits onto the box it is sitting on – his right leg and coat lock around the box as they would fall naturally and behind where his bottom sits on the box is totally flat. His field bag sits floppy on the box as well.
These two figures go together so very easily that the time is all of a sudden there to paint. Nothing more than superglue is required and the fit on all parts is excellent.
Here they are together – I wonder what happened to them?
Well that is them – they will sit on the corner of my shelf for next time I need inspiration. They are a natural and sympathetic sculpt of an historic scene that will fit right into your eastern front diorama and a credit to the sculptor.
Adam Norenberg

You can buy this and all of their other excellent kits can see on the Stalingrad web-site  - thanks to them for this kit to build and review.
And here they are painted up showing you what you could achieve