When the Great Patriotic War broke out in 1941, the enormous Red Army proved no match for the German onslaught. Badly weakened by political interference and Stalin's purges, it lost about four million men in the first five months of battle, yet four years later it entered Berlin to destroy the Third Reich. The men that suffered so much and yet won through are depicted here, in the first of three Soviet sets Revell were to produce.
The generous 18 poses are identical to an HO set made by Preiser, with a good number of troops in advancing and fighting poses. It would appear that little account was taken of the limitations of the two-part mould process when the figures were designed as there is a good deal of extra plastic where the mould cannot reach. To resolve this, some figures are supplied with a separate base, though fortunately they fit into these bases very securely. However some figures are still rather poor. The man on all fours crawling forward is supposed to be carrying a weapon, but it has been completely lost during the mould-making process. The crouching female figure (probably a nurse) has no base at all and cannot stand up on its own. In illustrations it is propped up against a small brick wall - a pointless and very careless mistake for such a reputable company to make. Having said all that, however, the poses are pretty good. The man firing while resting his foot on a wall is a good natural pose, and the two men dragging their old 1910 model Maxim machine gun are very well done.
The troops are dressed in the uniform to be seen for most of the War. The traditional gymnastiorka shirt-tunic is of the pre 1943 pattern, but was still widely worn until the end of the War. The rather old-fashioned-looking sharovari trousers are correctly modelled, and all helmets are the popular M1940, again characteristic of the 'classic' Soviet soldier appearance. There are two officer figures, which is perhaps meant to illustrate the dual control of battalions by both the regular unit commander and the political kommisar.
Weaponry and equipment is well done. Many men have rifles as you might expect, but a good number have the famous PPSh sub-machine gun which was very widely issued and well liked. The prone man is firing a DP light machine gun, and the old Maxim has already been mentioned.
This is a very good set that has been spoiled by some careless sculpting and/or mould-making. Another notable problem is the scale - these figures average 26mm tall - far too tall for men in 1/72 scale. Nonetheless in our opinion it is still one of the better Soviet infantry sets made in this scale, but more care taken on quality control could have made it so much more.