Monday, February 24

Construction Review: 'Love in Wartime', (Russian tank crew) 1943-45 in 1/35th from Stalingrad Miniatures

Stalingrad Miniatures recent set of two Soviet soldiers - one a female and the other male - plus two felines trying to steal the scene has landed in our hot little hands here at TMN. We examine them, put them together and place them in a familiar setting in our construction review...

Construction Review: 'Love in Wartime', (Russian tank crew) 1943-45
2 figures + 2 cats included 
From Stalingrad Miniatures
Kit No #3578
1/35th scale
Light grey resin figures
Sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov
The subject of Stalingrad Miniature's latest release is the set of a figure of a Russian tanker, maybe a cavalry or tank officer, trying to woo his sweetheart who is also is maybe even from the same AFV or tank, with two interlopers watching in with the small figures of two felines watching on and doing their own thing.

Stalingrad ship either their single, twin or trio figures out when they can in the same small black box, with figure parts inside sealed in a few zip-loc bags. These protect the figure parts from losing small pieces in transit and damage. It also stops you mixing up parts of the resin figures.
The resin parts:
This set of two humans and two cats come in a very light grey coloured resin which is not smelly, has no surface agent to remove, and there are no surface bubbles to worry about. Casting blocks are attached to the figure parts at sensible places. The figures are fairly clean with no real scrubbing, cleaning or sanding other than snips and bits to sort here and there. 

Inspiration  for the figures....
After speaking to the sculptor, Mr Alexander Zelenkov, he sent us pictures of some of the inspirations for the sculpts in the packet. Although these pictures are not the ones that the sculptor used in this case, they serve as some good inspiration and reference when painting these figures.As you can see, there are several images of sweeties and sweethearts in this series of pictures from the time with the same faces and uniforms being influenced by these shots
The figure set: 
The figures themselves are sold in a set of two figures and two small cats, all cast in light grey resin and sculpted & boxart by Alexander Zelenkov. He is an excellent sculptor and has a unique style that really captures the ordinary and often very different figures and faces we see in real life. 

The Female Soldier:
Ladies first! The female soldier is sculpted here to represent a junior sergeant from medic service of the Red Army during WWII. Cast in four parts, with torso as one part, then the two arms and head on a casting block, she looks quite nicely detailed at first impression.

On her torso piece, she wears a service tunic and skirt of the Soviet female auxiliaries. If you notice, she has the rare narrow shoulder straps that you see with the troops of the auxiliary units. You might notice also the nice sag especially of the lady soldier's uniform, accentuating her feminine form. Her almost knee-high boots add to the allure of the lady's look - especially to the young suitor trying to woo her...
The casting block that comes with the torso houses her two arms and hands, with bloused cuffs at the end of the sleeves of the figure. The fingers are fine and well sculpted and the folds in her sleives are convincing and realistic.
You can see the smile on the woman's face from the angles here while attached to the casting block. She has a young face, and pleasant while we are at it, with short, trimmed hair mostly hidden away under her hat.
Apart from her head gear, I think she looks very much like the woman in this picture. A similar youth and nice smile with slightly curly hair, she is actually very much like this picture ( and the others at the start of this article) I think. 
Here she is put together - It took about fifteen minutes for her to be glued together, and the head going into the neck socket was not all that easy to meld, but I was not too bothered about it. She can be sitting on anything that is above the man figure - so it need not be a tank you place her on - kind of gets the mind working on how to incorporate that into my own future diorama...
She has a part of her derriere hollowed out to aid her sitting on the flat surface - we though try to put here with a T-34 turret like on the box art might be nice...
And there she is  - sitting on the tank turret, I am not sure if I have the tank's gun sat down at the right angle or not, as her hand is slightly proud of the tank there - but she looks delightful from any angle. I suppose she is supposed to in this instance!

The Male Soldier:
From his uniform, you can see that this man is a tank crew lieutenant (with tank helmet in his hands), breeches in the cavalry and armoured corps style. He is a smart, and slim young officer on the prowl. 

The figure comes in five parts of light grey resin, a casting block featuring the arms, head and the tanker's helmet and the whole torso as the other piece. The regular officer's tunic is gathered at the waist by the star-buckled officer's belt which holds up his breeches
his long, lean figure is made more obvious by the way that his body is leaning forward, and it is further accentuated by his thin legs with high, leather boots that gather up the top of his breeches where the pair meet. Other officer's accoutrements are the side holster for his pistol and the side boards on his tunic.
I like the way the figure's clothing pulls to the side as he leans over and forward. Not only the pulling of the tunic, but the bends, creases and stretches int he pants and the leather of the boots also.
On a separate casting block are the other parts of our junior officer/ Romeo. Hi s head, the two arms and hands (one holding a bunch of flowers) and the soft tanker's helmet. You can see here a little like the female soldier, his tunic sleeves are wrinkled and bunched at the right places as his arm bends, also the thick leather gloves are sitting over his cuffs at the end of his sleeves. The flowers are a nice little bunch (not sure what type) and they are held in the hand that he is holding up to the female target of his affection.
You can see a little more of the heroic features of the young man's face here, with him holding his cloth padded helmet in his hands it gives the sculptor a lot to show off on his high cheekboned face - a very nice looking young fellow to be sure( no homo dude­čśÇ)...
Like the female soldier, this man looks a little like the shot here from an archival Soviet newspaper of the day.  The same uniform, however his cloth helmet is seen on his head instead of his hands.
This man was a little more difficult to put together, with his arms and neck needing to be dry fitted a few times to make him right. In fact, I shaved his neck down a little to make him look more like the completed version. The socket of the neck needs to be cleaned out a little before the head sits in there in a realistic manner.
The two arm sockets needed some cleaning and bit of dry-fitting to ensure they fit correctly so take care with yours and measure and fit once - then cut and glue once. I really like his body language as he leans forward. The steep angle he is at is because he is mounted up a slope doing his best to woo the lady figure. I also was not 100% sure this is where I needed to have him holding the tanker's helmet. As long as he can wrap his arms around the barrel of the tank you are OK.
The Cats: 
You will notice to the side of the young officer working his charm the two pussy- cats in the corner, one (ginger) is seen stretching, while the other one looks on in the usual "wha??" manner of most cats, this maybe mirrors the scene of the soldier man stretching out to offer something to the young lady soldier...
  A little trimming carefully around the feet of the cats will need to be done before they can be safely removed from the  casting block.
Here are the pussies in their natural habitat - on the top of the tank   - pretty much unrelated to the scene but used carefully they can mirror the scene of the soldier and the woman tanker. This is I believe what they were intended to be used like...
The Finished scene:
I had a kit of Dragon's T-34/76 No. 112 Factory "Krasnoe Sormovo" Late Production version that I had always wanted to get built, and what better excuse than to use these as a guide huh? I put the fun bits of the tank together to show the groundwork if you will before I placed

Here are the sculpts in light grey resin unpainted in the illustrated scene...
Notice the little pussy-cats down there? A nice addition by the sculptor to the scene that you can use as here or in another dio or separately, kinda like the icing on a valentines day cake...
From what we can see here Alexander has done a marvellous job, and we think this set will sell well. The figures need some clean up around the neck and the shoulders, but after this work is done we have (with the aid of either a T-34 shown or other scenery) a lovely scene of love in wartime - or what it is romantically meant to be at least ;-)

Another great set from Stalingrad Miniatures.

Adam Norenberg

These figures in pairs and the whole set are available right now - check these out and all of Alexander's other works at the  Stalingrad Website: 

As a quick side note - Here are the figures painted up from Alexander the sculptor and box artist - has done a nice job of giving them life I think...