In 1999 the Second Chechen war broke out and for the next decade and more Russia would be a frequent target of Islamist terror attacks.
Only the very worst of these atrocities are much remembered in the Western world (also targeted by Islamist terror in the same period and after)- the Moscow Theatre siege and the Beslan School siege being the worst in terms of casualties.
As in the West, Russia’s special operations forces were at the forefront of their response. One such unit was the Directorate A of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Special Purpose Centre- better known as ‘Alpha Group’.
The figure I have here is from ‘Revolution Models’ and depicts an operator during a raid in Nalchik in 2005. (Though the kit could depict pretty much any operation in the noughties.)
As you can see in the pictures this is an absolute masterpiece of sculpting and casting. The quality is up there with Alpine, Live Resin or Nuts Planet. I have rarely seen such fine detail work so perfectly cast. The AK-74M and GP-25 is the finest resin AK rendition I’ve yet seen.
Another neat touch in the kit is the moulded transparent parts- a PMK-3 gas mask and an armoured face shield for the Altyn helmet- allowing for three different options to display. The face is perhaps the only issue in the whole kit- the detail is a little soft and it looks a tad old for an elite operator- though Alpha Group has no age limit for service- as long as an operator can meet the fitness and health requirements they can keep serving.
It comes with a small base too that fits the foot down into it securely. I need to get a plinth that fits it but I’m thinking of altering it a bit or perhaps adding something to it.
These are some pictures of FSB Operators from the noughties.
Right now I’ve just got some primer on it and I will be getting the paints out shortly. I will also talk about the various bits of kit being used as I come to paint and detail them.
Thanks for reading.
Looks like a nice kit Karl. And that detailing does indeed stand out. What’s the actual scale ?
Nice looking figure Karl. Looking forward to seeing this one progress.
I think the actual scale is around 1/20.
The biggest surface area on this kit is the trousers and jacket- in this case it is a ‘Gorka suit’ or ‘Gorka Pattern’ uniform. This is a fairly distinctive uniform used in the colder and wetter months- it’s quite thick and hard wearing and usually comes in two colors (one of the color areas is sometimes a camo pattern) that follow a distinct pattern as you can see in the pictures.
It was once an issued item for SOF and I believe it was allowed as a private purchase for a regular soldier but it does not seem to be used as much in the last few years.
For mine I’ve picked Olive Green and Tan as the colors. The pattern is fairly straightforward and the seams on the figure are well cast so knowing where and what to paint is
Next I’m moving up to the body armor which is the Defender 2.
This was fairly new back in the mid-2000s and looks very different to the vests of the previous decade. It offers up to level 5 protection on the Russian GOST scale which is 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R.
On this figure the body armor covers just the torso but there are more modern versions of the Defender 2 and it is still used today.
Thank you for reading.
Great job and a great figure, there! Well done. I’ve often looked at these for their subject, animation, and detail, but really don’t want to start another scale, 90mm. Which scale is that, anyway?? Now, 1/16, yes, please.
You’re not going for a funky “Partisan” camo?
Thank you Kylie!
90mm is a first for me scale wise- it is rather an odd one though it seems close enough to a 120mm-1/16 fig.
I’m not doing the Partisan camo but I am tempted to do it on a figure bigger than 1/35 at some point! I kind of just wanted to paint something straightforward- the plain tan and Olive scheme seemed interesting but not all that difficult. I am planning to do the gas mask satchel in ‘Flora’ camo as it seems the most commonly issued scheme for that item.
On from the vest the next part to paint was the harness- in this case a ‘Sbruya Partizan’ which is identified by the shape of the shoulder straps and the rear webbing. It looks very like another Russian harness, the ‘Smersh’ and the easiest way to tell them apart is via the parts mentioned.
The Partizan harness was a short lived piece, only being in production for a couple of years in the mid-noughties. It was cancelled in favour of the Smersh harness. The Partizan had a distinct color too- a dark green and deep tan.
After getting the base colors on the harness I sorted the knee pad and boots too. The boots have a distinct pattern sculpted on the sole but I could not identify the make or model so I just went with the default black color.
Next was the satchel- there are two options in the kit- one with an obvious PMK-3 filter in it and one without. I went with the one with the filter shape moulded in as I will be fitting the gas mask to the figure.
The PMK-3 mask came in a satchel as depicted and I found some pictures online of it in ‘Flora’ camouflage which was very widely used by Russian forces during the 90s and even beyond.
I’ve also mentioned the AK previously and it’s a cracking depiction of it- easily identifiable as the 74M due to the shape of the butt, the hinge on the butt and fore-grip shape. The GP-25 grenade launcher is also exquisitely detailed. The 74M has black polymer furniture instead of wood and on this piece there is some tape on the butt-stock.
Thank you for reading.
Excellent job so far Karl. Really like this figure and you are doing a great job on it. May have to pick one up .
Thank you Richard !
There are 2 more modern ones in the range in the same scale- you might want to check those out too before you buy as they also look pretty nice. But you wouldn’t be disappointed if you go with this one, that’s for sure.
The PMK-3 gas mask is the only bit of the whole kit that is not totally accurate- basically there is a rubber disc shape on the opposite side from the filter attachment and the part on the front is the wrong shape where it meets the mask body. Its not very noticeable so I left it as is.
You can see the mask above with the base colors on.
The helmet is the Altyn variety. There are several helmets of this shape that have been in Soviet and Russian service since the late 70s. The most common ones in Russian service, ‘Maska’, ‘K-63’ and ‘Lynx’, all look very similar.
Telling them apart is a bit tricky, more so if they have covers fitted. However, the Altyn has two distinct shapes that help to identify it- the radio comms adapters on the back and left side. These are unique to the Altyn- the Maska and K-63 have no radio and no adapters. One Maska variant does have radio adapters but they are a different shape and the Lynx (essentially a modernised version of the Altyn) also has different shaped adapters.
Below you can see the face and helmet in their base colors.
The color is usually a dark green, which is what I’ve gone for but it also comes in black too.
As you can see in the finished head above I’ve also added a slight sheen (with satin varnish) to the helmet which is usually present.
In terms of the face I leaned into the sort ‘Oh crap!’ look that was moulded in.
You can see the the progress on the main figure below.
It is near enough finished- most of the parts have got their highlights and shades done. There is a few things that still need to be sorted. I have to say the sculpting and detail of the various bits of kit are a real pleasure to work on and make the painting very enjoyable.
I’ve also re-textured the base with some Mud texture paint to give a better impression of soil and muddy earth- as it was the base was sculpted, to my eye, more like dried out earth or hard packed dirt.
Thank you for reading.
Wow! How did I miss this?
Wonderful job all around. I like the step by step painting approach and you going the extra mile to show us the real equipment and their designations… which is not easy with Russian stuff.
I must admit I never heard of the company before… going to find their website.
Thank you Mario! Researching the equipment for figs like this has become a bit of a hobby in itself over the years- it’s nice to be able to share it in this way.
I’m not sure the company have a website but I think they have a Facebook page.
The last touches I put on the model were a few extra highlights and shadows here and there before varnishing in matt (with satin for the AK and helmet).
I moved on to the base next and basically just went with a few acrylic mud colors. The Mig paste gives a nice texture that lends itself to using quick acrylic washes and drybrushing.
Now comes the nerve wracking part: the final assembly! Luckily the attachment points are first rate with a perfect fitment for most parts- only the front strap of the satchel needed a little coaxing to sit correctly.
I sourced a plinth from Green Stuff World and glued the figure into the base using 5min Epoxy before gluing it to the plinth. Of late I’ve been using small lapel flags on bases- they are a nice little addition that can be got cheaply and don’t take up much room on a plinth or a base.
This was my first 90mm figure - most of the figure work I do is busts or 1/35 so some of the scales in between can be a nice change. I think this is an interesting scale and one I think deserves exploration- the figure size is very manageable- not huge and not tiny but with plenty of space for crisp detail yet also offering decently large painting areas.
Thank you for the support and the likes and comments.
Karl that is an outstanding job! Love the tones of the uniform especially the shadows and highlights. Very neat job there; also the excellent job on the camouflage items of uniform kit. And the webbing and weapon look excellent. Super job all around!