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Set M058

Russian Infantry in Gas Masks

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2011
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)


The Imperial Russian Army had the dubious distinction of being the first victim of a sizeable gas attack in World War I – at Bolimov in January 1915. After that the use of gas became a feature of the war, requiring the hurried development of gasmasks to counter the changing and increasingly deadly effects of the substances used. For Russia, as with much else, they initially imported large quantities of gasmasks from their French and British allies, but over time developed several of their own, of which the Koumant-Zelinski was much the most common.

The Koumant-Zelinski may have been the most common, but it is not what has been delivered in this set. The masks on these figures have a hood with a cylindrical respirator attached, which does match one of the lesser-used types of mask, and so is quite accurate, but we would have preferred at least some examples of the most common type of mask, particularly as to date no other set depicts this subject. The Zelinski had a tall rectangular container, so the respirator here could be cut down to reproduce this. Also, the Russian Army used many types of mask, often at the same time, so a variety of different masks would have been a welcome feature too.

The rest of the kit these men have includes the standard belts with twin ammunition pouches, haversacks and cylinders for the mask, while a couple have bags on their backs in lieu of packs. However no one has a canteen or mess tin, both of which were commonly carried and so should be here in reasonable numbers. Each man has a rifle apart from the Lewis-gunner, who also has a pistol, and the officer, who has pistol and sword. By the time this type of gasmask was developed, late 1916, most officers of all nationalities had long seen the futility of carrying a sword, which only served to make them a particularly tempting target for the enemy, so again while not incorrect, this figure is far from being the norm. Some of the figures have grenades tucked into their belts, which is great to see as this sort of casual improvisation happened all the time.

Any uniform here is covered by the long greatcoats all these men wear, so it must be a cold day. It is hard to make out any detail, but the coat looks to be the double-breasted type normally issued, with rear half-belt, so is fine. The men are probably wearing boots (the officer certainly is), although again they are so vague as to pass for puttees should that be desired. One man wears the bashlyk hood, which is good, and several wear the usual papaha fleece caps. The rest have the normal peaked cap apart from two who are lucky enough to have received the Adrian-type helmet that was being issued by this stage of the war.

The poses are mostly the usual Strelets fare, being quite flat but still appropriate for the subject. The prone figure in the top row is more unusual and very worthwhile, but the officer is strangely twisted in quite a horrible posture with a right arm that could only reach that position by dislocating the shoulder. The sculpting in general is not good, with the usual poor definition and enlarged areas of detail where these are visible at all. Items such as rifles are quite generic, and while of course there are no faces to worry about here, the hands are particularly vague and ill-defined. There is no flash, and the flat poses mean there is no extra plastic hidden from the mould.

With over ten million men under arms for Russia, supplying them with everything they needed was a colossal logistical task that did not always go smoothly. There is some variety in this set, but this could have been extended to the masks, and if not then at least the most common form of mask should have been chosen. However the only real accuracy problem is the lack of certain basic items of kit, so if not ideal these figures are mostly accurate. The sculpting is not good, although the quality of production is, but the flatness of the poses, particularly the poor officer, means these are not appealing figures.


Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 6
Mould 9

Further Reading
"The Russian Army 1914-18" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.364) - Nik Cornish - 9781841763033
"Uniforms & Equipment of the Czarist Russian Armed Forces in World War I" - Schiffer - Spencer Anthony Coil - 9780764321573
"World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment" - Osprey (Elite Series No.150) - Simon Jones - 9781846031519
"World War I Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.3) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004259

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