Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Orion 1:72 WW2 Soviet Tank crew set (Summer dress)

Having made a couple of tank kits now the next step is to start adding some crew figures to my models. There are plenty out there but most are either resin or white metal and are quite expensive. As a beginner I don't want to learn figure painting on a higly expensive set of beautifully crafted display quality creations - I want to muck about with something a bit cheaper!

Well, while surfing UK model supplier sites I came across a set by [b]Orion[/b] (a Ukranian company I believe). For £5.50 from eBay I got 39 figures on three sprues, each sprue identical so you get 13 different poses...

The figures are nicely moulded in a plastic which is harder than the normal vinyl figures that you would get from the likes of Airfix. This is ideal because finer detailed things like guns don't bend! The poses are quite interesting and can be divided into three types; poses for crew inside tanks, poses for crew bailing out of tanks and crew undertaking maintenance. All very useful and great for dioramas...

I particularly like the 'bailing out' crew - these figures are armed and are posed as if defending themselves with Ppsh SMGs and Tolkarev pistols. Immediately you can imagine a diorama where the crew is fleeing a disabled tank. They are wonderfully dynamic and some are molded without the normal figure base so you can affix them to your tank model...

The maintenance crew are also very handy for diorama purposes, although I found the couple of running poses included a little less realistic. But the third type - in-vehicle poses - includes one of my favourites of all the figures, [i]a victorious tank commander with a bunch of flowers[/i]...

I *think* this is taken from an actual photo - at least I seem to remember seeing this - I think it was a photo of Soviet tanks liberating a city and the crews were being given flowers by the civilians.

As I said, the most satisfying thing is that - for the price - these are not the 'soft plastic' that I remember 1:72 Airfix figures being made out of. Although I was a bit miffed that they were cast in a silver plastic as the reviews I had seen of this set all show them having been made in a tan plastic. Still, these should take paint well and there are no bendy gun barrels to have to straighten out!

The carving and poses are also quite good. I have been looking at several resin figure sets and this Orion set is at least as good in poses, but perhaps not as good in detail and realism. But there again you get a lot more for your money with this set. Like I mentioned, there are a couple of particularly good figures included in some poses I haven't seen anywhere else. There is a little flash arond some of the more intricate elements in the figures but nothing a few moments with a scalpel won't cure.

The last thing to mention is that this crew is in summer dress - which is basic black (or dark blue) Soviet tanker's boiler suit and black tank helmet. This will restrict you a little in your dioramas and it's a pity they don't do a similar set in winter uniform. But that's about the only critism as really this cheap set offers great value for money with some unique and well thought out poses.

Highly recommended.

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