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Built Review
135
US SF Operators and Afghan Man
US Special Forces Operators and Afghan Man, Afghanistan 2001-2003
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]


Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

Introduction:

US Special Forces units were the first Coalition military units that went into Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks. At first, a number of Special Forces operational detachments worked with Afghan Northern Alliance troops, acting as a force multiplier, especially by using new techniques for precise direction of heavy air support. After the initial invasion, Special Forces have been charged with conducting unconventional operations in Afghanistan: gaining support from the local leaders, training Afghan forces, trying to identify possible Taliban spies in the area, providing villages with food, water and medicine as well as hunting down the Taliban insurgents, conducting raids on their camps, ambushing drug convoys, conducting reconnaissance and capturing high-ranking terrorist leaders. In the process Special Forces soldiers made small changes to their appearance, such as growing beards, growing their hair longer, and wearing traditional Afghan scarves or belts to show that they are not trying to force any American culture on them but rather that they respect their culture and traditions.

US Special Forces figures were initially released under Evolution Miniatures label either as single or double figure sets (EM-35046, EM-35047, EM-35048 and EM-35054). Since these six figures were originally designed to work as the US Special Forces team in Afghanistan, Evolution Miniatures decided to offer all the figures together within their first “Big Set”: US Special Forces Operators and Afghan Man, Afghanistan 2001-2003 (BIG-001).


Review:

The “Big Set” is packed in two standard Evolution cardboard boxes. The boxes are held together by the large box art sticker featuring all the figures included in the kit and listing the figure sculptor (Sergey Traviansky) and the painter (Andrey Skiba). The “Big Set” includes 6 figures, and with 35 parts all together, this set really earns its name… it is huge!

The figure parts are cast in grey resin and, as with all Evolution Miniatures kits I reviewed so far, the molding is absolutely perfect. I haven’t found any casting defects on the figures… even the tiniest and most subtle details are delivered wonderfully in resin. The resin carriers are big and should not present a problem when cleaning the larger figure parts, however some extra care is needed to remove the weapons from their casting blocks as those are most delicate parts in this set.
I had no problems building the figures. The fit of the parts is really good and there are almost no gaps to fill if the pieces are aligned properly. Fitting the weapons to the figures is also pretty easy… I suggest connecting the arms to the torso first and, if those are aligned well, the hands with the weapon should fit the arms perfectly.

The figures represent a 5-man team of Special Forces operatives in Afghanistan questioning a local about the weapons found in his house. The four SF figures are posed casually, surveying the perimeter for any sign of enemy activity, while the fifth operative has a much more aggressive posture, requesting information from the Afghan man.

All the Special Forces figures are wearing almost identical gear. Their uniform is heavily modified Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). BDU has been worn as a standard uniform of the US Army since 1981, however during the years several companies were offering customized BDUs; SWG RAID BDU is one of the most widespread modifications, especially among Special Forces operators. The modifications were added to improve security, functionality and accessibility of the entire BDU system. BDU shirt modifications include tilted Velcro closure chest pocket complex accessible while wearing body armor, double layer Velcro closure shoulder pocket complex, reinforced elbows and adjustable wrist cuffs. BDU trousers modifications feature waist D-rings and reinforced belt loops, Velcro closure butt pockets, Velcro closure expanded cargo pockets, small front hip pockets, reinforced knees, lower leg pocket and cord leg cuff closures. Instead of the BDU shirt, some of the figures are wearing T-shirts; a common practice for Special Forces operatives in Afghanistan. However, although the figures mostly use identical equipment, each Special Forces figure in this kit does have its distinctive features; some sport drop leg holsters, knee pads, tactical gloves, assault boots, they wear different headgear and various assault vests and chest rigs. The differences in the figure garb and gear will be described in more detail below.


Figure 1:

This figure is available separately as US Special Forces Operator #1 (EM-35046) and as such it was already reviewed for Historicus Forma by Engin Kayral (link). The figure consists of 6 parts:

- full torso with legs
- head
- right arm
- left arm
- weapon (with both hands attached)
- weapon target illuminator.

The figure wears modified BDU pants and T-shirt. His CrossDraw Tactical Entry Assault Vest features a mesh body with front zipper, fully adjustable chest and shoulder straps as well as side-release buckles with adjustable straps. The vest includes 3 pistol magazine pouches, adjustable holster with extra pistol magazine pouch, 3 30-round M4 magazine pouches, first aid pouch and two inside zippered map pockets. Velcro strip on the front of the first aid pouch offers attachment point for ID patches. The back of the vest features grab/drag handle and additional loops for accommodating extra MOLLE-compatible pouches. This figure has the AN/PRC-148 Multi Band Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR) pouch attached to the back of the tactical vest. The figure also wears combat boots, tactical gloves and knee pads (the right one pulled down to the ankle, a common practice among soldiers). Shemagh scarf is wrapped around the figure’s neck. As for the headgear, the figure sports a baseball cap with tactical goggles and Tactical Assault SpecOps Communication (TASC) headset.

The details of the uniform and equipment on this figure are absolutely astonishing. The tactical vest looks perfect with the finely rendered mesh pattern on the vest body. All the pouches are sculpted on the vest and very nicely delivered in scale as well as the front zipper, adjustable straps and buckles, and belt loops hanging from the assault vest. The wiring that connects the MBITR radio to the headset is finely sculpted, however the MBITR antenna is not included and should be made from scratch. The head sculpt looks really good as well, with facial features well defined. Some brass wire should be used for making microphone boom for the TASC headset.

The figure carries SOPMOD M4A1 carbine with Rail Interface System (RIS) handguard, flip-up front sight, forward grip and ACOG optical scope. The AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Target Pointer-Illuminator-Aiming Laser is provided separately and should be attached to the RIS. Both hands are cast with the weapon, ensuring a tight grip.


Figure 2:

This figure is available separately as US Special Forces Operator #2 (EM-35047) and it was also reviewed individually for Historicus Forma by Engin Kayral (link). The figure consists of 5 parts:

- full torso with legs, right arm and head
- left arm
- holster
- weapon (with right hand attached)
- weapon target illuminator.

The figure wears modified BDU with the shirt sleeves rolled up. His Tactical Elite Entry Assault Vest features a mesh body with full zip front, shooter's shoulder pad with stabilizer rib, adjustable hook-n-loop shoulder straps and lace-up sides for comfort fit. Belt loops are included for securing the vest to any web belt. The vest incorporates 6 30-round M4 magazine pouches, 2 small utility pouches, shoulder radio pouch and two internal map pockets. On the back, the vest features rescue pull handle and MOLLE compatible loops for accommodating additional pouches. This figure sports a large 3-liter hydration system attached to the back of the vest. The hydration system cover features extra MOLLE loops as well and AN/PRC Multi Band Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR) pouch is attached to the side of the system. The figure also has drop leg holster secured to the right thigh, while the triple drop leg pouch is fastened to his left thigh. The figure wears desert combat boots, fingerless tactical gloves and has Shemagh scarf wrapped around his neck. Dust goggles and TASC headset are strapped over the bandana.

Again, the details of the uniform and equipment sculpted on this figure are stunning. The baggy cut of the BDU trousers is depicted perfectly as well as the very realistic folds of the uniform fabric. The small details of the tactical vest are exceptionally rendered with all the pouches sculpted on the vest. The hydration system rubber drinking tube is finely executed in scale. As with the previous figure, MBITR antenna and TASC microphone boom should be added to enhance the visual appearance of the sculpture.

The figure carries M4A1 carbine with Close Quarter Battle Receiver (CQBR). CQBR is a replacement upper receiver for the carbine and shortens the rifle barrel to 10.3 inches length providing the operators with a weapon of submachine gun size, but firing a rifle cartridge, for scenarios as VIP protection, urban warfare and similar close quarter battle situations. The carbine features Rail Interface System (RIS) handguard, front grip with tactical light, stock saddle for increased cheek support whilst shooting and ACOG optical scope. The AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Target Pointer-Illuminator-Aiming Laser is provided separately and should be attached to the RIS. Right hand is cast with the weapon.


Figure 3:

This figure is available in US Special Forces Operator #3 and Afghan Man set (EM-35048). The figure consists of 8 parts:

- full torso with legs
- head
- left arm
- right arm
- holster (x2)
- weapon (with right hand attached)
- weapon target illuminator.

The figure wears BDU pants and Commando Chest Harness over his T-shirt. The chest harness is a US version of the classic Rhodesian Rig: it features adjustable padded criss-cross shoulder straps with side release buckle. Each of the four front pouches holds up to three M4 magazines while the two side utility pouches can hold various other items; first aid kit, rations, compass, etc. The inside back portion of the harness is padded for additional comfort and includes a large map pouch with a securing flap. The figure carries a large hydration system on his back, drop leg holster on his right thigh and a triple drop leg pouch fastened to his left thigh. The figure also sports desert combat boots, a protective pad on his right knee, tactical gloves and has Shemagh scarf with tassels draped around the neck. His baseball cap with New York Yankees logo is turned backwards with the sunglasses resting on the cap.

Once again the amount of details sculpted on this figure is incredible. The chest harness is beautifully rendered with the MBITR radio stored in one of the ammo magazine pouches and all the wiring and headset stowed on the rig front. Don't forget to add the antenna to the MBITR. The shemagh looks great with decorative tassels flowing from the side of the scarf and the NY logo sculpted on the baseball cap is absolutely surreal in such a small scale. The only thing I find strange are two identical holsters supplied with this figure, but I really don't mind the extra gear which can be stored in my spares box.

The figure carries SOPMOD M4A1 carbine with Rail Interface System (RIS) handguard, forward grip, stock saddle for increased cheek support whilst shooting and EOTech holographic sight. The AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Target Pointer-Illuminator-Aiming Laser is provided separately and should be attached to the RIS.


Figure 4:

This figure is available in US Special Forces Operator #4 set (EM-35054) and is designed as EM-35054A. The figure consists of 6 parts:

- full torso with legs
- head
- left arm
- right arm with weapon
- MBITR pouch
- weapon target illuminator.

The figure wears modified BDU with the rolled up shirt sleeves and CrossDraw Tactical Entry Assault Vest. The vest is fully adjustable and features 3 pistol magazine pouches, adjustable holster with extra pistol magazine pouch, 3 30-round M4 magazine pouches, first aid pouch and two inside zippered map pockets. On his back, the figure wears Camelbak hydration pack which features shoulder straps, quick release buckles, D-ring attachment points and Velcro strip for ID tags. The end of the rubber drinking tube is secured to the front of the tactical vest inside the first aid pouch. The figure also wears assault boots, protective pad on his right knee and triple drop leg pouch fastened to his left thigh. As for the headgear, the figure sports a boonie hat over the TASC headset.

I'm lacking the new superlatives to describe the details on these figures. The uniform looks really good with folds depicted very realistically. The tactical vest is researched to the smallest detail and beautifully sculpted. All the pouches are cast on the vest, except the MBITR pouch which should be added to the left hand side of the vest, behind the holster. The radio wiring with Push-to Talk two-way microphone is already sculpted on the left shoulder, but the MBITR antenna needs to be made from scratch. The hydration pack looks amazing with D-rings and Velcro strip particularly well defined. Again, microphone boom for TASC headset should be made from thin brass wire.

The figure is armed with US Navy Mk12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR). The SPR is a heavily modified light sniper/designated marksman variation of the M16, and is chambered for standard 5.56mm ammunition. The rifle features quick-detachable sound suppressor, Rail Interface System (RIS) on the receiver as well as the short RIS segments on the front of the handguard. Leupold daylight telescope sight is sculpted mounted on the receiver rail, and the AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Target Pointer-Illuminator-Aiming Laser, provided separately, should be attached to the hadguard rail. I'm a bit puzzled with the lack of Harris bipod, which is typically used on SPRs.


Figure 5:

This figure is available in US Special Forces Operator #4 set (EM-35054) and is designed as EM-35054B. The figure consists of 6 parts:

- full torso with legs
- head
- left arm
- right arm
- weapon (with both hands attached)
- weapon carrying handle.

The figure wears modified BDU pants and T-shirt. His Rescue Tactical Vest features two adjustable chest straps, fully adjustable padded shoulder straps and belt snap loops. The entire vest surface is covered in MOLE-compatible loops; 6 M4 magazine pouches are attached to the upper chest and 2 large SAW ammo pouches underneath. The hydration system, small buttpack and two utility pouches are attached to the back of the tactical vest. An AN/PRC-148 Multi Band Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR) pouch is attached to the hydration system cover. The figure also wears assault boots, tactical gloves and drop leg holster, with Shemagh scarf wrapped around the figure’s neck. As for the headgear, the figure sports a baseball cap with TASC headset.

Yet again, the figure is sculpted to perfection. The uniform looks really good and I particularly like the fine points of the high ankle assault boots. The tactical vest seems very busy with all the various pouches and hydration system attached; those are all cast on the vest. The MBITR wiring with Push-to-Talk microphone is nicely rendered on the figure's left shoulder, and the radio antenna has to be built from scratch. The same goes for the TASC microphone boom.

The figure carries M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) with shorter barrel and sliding aluminum buttstock, the features of M249 Para configuration. The upper receiver incorporates rail system with ELCAN optical sight attached. The M249 supplied with this figure is fed using 200-round plastic ammo box. The carrying handle is cast as a separate part; it is very delicate so take care when cleaning the piece off its resin carrier block.


Figure 6:

This figure is available in US Special Forces Operator #3 and Afghan Man set (EM-35048) or as a individual figure under Afghan Man (EM-35049). The figure consists of 4 parts:

- full torso with legs, left arm and head
- right arm
- rocket propelled grenade launcher
- rocket propelled grenade.

The figure represents an Afghan local and is clad in the traditional Afghan outfit of long knee-length dress with baggy trousers called perahan tunban, which literally means "dress and trouser". He wears a vest over the long dress and has a soft, round-topped traditional men's hat called Pakol. The RPG-7 launcher and grenade are supplied with this figure.

The figure is pretty simple in appearance, but very well sculpted. The shallow folds on the perahan tunban depict the material really well and the Pakol hat is wonderfully represented in scale. The figure wears a long beard and his facial features are nicely rendered.


Conclusion:

I was very interested in these figures ever since I saw Sergey's sculpts on planetFigure... at first the Special Forces figures were released individually or in pairs, but the "Big Set" reviewed here includes all 6 figures in a single 1/35 scale kit: it gives modelers all the figure components for a really cool Afghanistan vignette. The figures can be used as is on a simple base (check out the vignette made by Sergey and Andrey here), or along the Special Ops vehicles such as the Dumvees and War Pigs.

The figures in this kit represent Special Forces operatives questioning a local Afghan man about the weapons found in his house. The figures are posed really well; while the body language of the four SF team members may seem casual, the aggressive posture of the fifth member of the team shows these guys mean business. The Special Forces figures are amazingly sculpted with the beards, baseball caps, muscular anatomy and variety of gear depicting the operatives extremely realistically. The uniform and equipment has obviously been extensively studied by the sculptor and I found an excellent match to the references I have gathered myself. The amount of fine points on these figures is absolutely amazing... it is really unbelievable seeing such details 1/35 scale. I've been following Sergey's work ever since his figures appeared on the market; those first sculpts were very impressive, but I feel he's getting better with each new figure release. These are, in my opinion, the best figures from Evolution so far.


References:

The US Navy SEALs (Grange Books), David Jordan
Special Forces (Salamander Books), David Miller
Battle Rattle (Zennith Press), Hans Halberstadt
Special Forces in Afghanistan (Historie&Collections), Eric Micheletti
Special Forces in Iraq (Historie&Collections), Eric Micheletti
SF in Afghanistan pictures
SUMMARY
Highs: Perfectly cast and very easy to build, these figures are the most impressive 1/35 scale sculpts I have ever seen.
Lows: None.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
98%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: BIG-001
  Related Link: Evolution Miniatures website
  PUBLISHED: Jul 25, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 93.37%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 94.44%

Our Thanks to Evolution Miniatures!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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Copyright ©2018 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks for syndicating this one. Since it is 1/35 scale, I'm sure there's quite an audience for these figures on Armorama as well. Mario
JUL 29, 2012 - 09:08 PM
No problem, it was a pleasure to read. It's nice to see how far has pure sculpting talent come since the first aftermarket figures. A very welcome release from Evolution IMO.
JUL 30, 2012 - 01:56 AM
Great review, Mario! Nice clean buildups of these figures! I have most of them except the Afghan man so it's nice to see that someone has glued these together without issues.
JUL 30, 2012 - 06:13 AM
Hi Mario, I have these figures as seperate sets not the Big Set they really are excellent figures. I will echo Mario's comment the attention to detail is outstanding, I have a close-up of Figure 4 and I have no idea how Sergey sculpted the sunglasses. I look forward to reading more reviews of Evolution Figures. Brian
JUL 30, 2012 - 07:30 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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