Monday, November 14, 2011

Dragon Models Limited Soviet Infantry w/Mine Detector - "Vladimir Petrovich Koslov"

Due to limited budget, I try to stick to collecting just modern military figures or Hot Toys.  However, once in a while, I'll come across a WWII-themed item that is just either very inexpensive, or else too cool to pass up.

The latter would be true of his unusual re-release from Dragon.  "Vladimir" is a Soviet infantry rifleman circa 1941-45.  The box claims he is part of the Eastern Front 1943, but what really makes him stand out is his Mosin-Nagant rifle modified with an unusal and (I assume) not very common VIM 210 mine detector and mine probe!  Good luck finding much about this facinating piece of WWII military gear--although there were no doubt sappers assigned to fight along side regular infantry rifleman, I had a hard time finding anything about these guys in my limited research.  Kudos to the team at Dragon for finding any reference material on this subject!

Back to the figure itself, Vladimir uses the latest 3.5 Dragon figure body, and sports an updated headsculpt featuring newer, more subtle paint techniques.  I think Dragon did a nice job on this one as their paint application goes very well with the pale tones of a young Russian fighting on the Eastern Front.

The outfit and gear are very simple in this set, with just a belt with a couple of pouches, cap, and backpack designed to hold the mine detection unit.  The Mosin-Nagant is typical Dragon with solid constuction and working metal parts.  The mine probe is a bit tricky to assemble since it just kind of sits on the end of the rifle barrel with no real way to secure it other than friction and gravity, but it's pretty cool.

At around $80 MSRP, this is not much of a value, and overall, I would say the only real draw would be the rifle and mine detector.  I would only recommend this set to those with an affinity for WWII Russian themes or those who appreciate interesting WWII relics.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


First off, to all those who are or have served in our Armed Forces, THANK YOU for your sacrifice.

Today I'd like to go over the recent Special Forces CJSOTF-A figure from Playhouse.  It's been five years since Playhouse came into the 1/6 action figure scene, and they are commemorating this milestone with another well-made military set highlighting an operator from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.

This guy features a plethora of parts, including a relatively uncommon 1/6 scale Glock gen 3 pistol, MK18 Mod 1 rifle with Spectre DR Combat sight, Tru-Type combat shirt and BDUs, MICH-2000 (mesh camo) with a really sweet AN/PVS-15 night vision google attachment complete with covers and working slide mechanism, plus a whole lot more.  The helmet set is one of the better ones I've seen and even has velcro stickers so you can secure the light and Ess Land operation goggles if you want.

The CJSOTF-A figure uses the newly improved S1 body and I think it is a bit better than the overly stiff one used for their last Navy Seal Team 10 guy.

I'm still putting this one together, but so far, I'm very impressed.  Here's the photos I took so far:

Nice graphics
Like most boxed 1/6 military figures, there's no instructions so you have to rely on the box or the Internet for reference.

The box features a nice slip cover with raised gold lettering and artwork.
Lots of interesting accessories you can gear up with.
The helmet is awesome.  I also like how Playhouse reinforces their straps to make it easier to loop in the molle.
Dude isn't the handsomest-looking chap, but he has the beard to cover that up.
Joe Cool--a work in progress.

Stay tuned for a future post when I finish putting all the junk on him!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phicen / SMCG Customs Laura Tumulus Raider II

Phicen has taken their seamless body technology and teamed up with a US customizer to release this revised version of their latest female action figure boxed set.  Featuring a "Tomb Raider" adventure theme, the Laura II includes detailed pleather/leather-like boots, belt, and holsters, dual pistols and machine guns, an extra set of griping hands, tailored jacket with artwork on the back, and a clear plastic base.  After facing some quality issues with their small chested female base bodies (as I reviewed months ago), I was a bit hesitant to jump into a boxed figure, but Chad of SMGCustoms is a stand up guy who does quality work, and I liked what I was seeing in the prototype promo photos so I decided to make a purchase.

I'm glad I did!  This is a well done set with some nice accessories.  The pistols resemble those from the Tomb Raider games and have working slides (a bit of a pleasant surprise).  The jacket is nicely done, although it has a bit of a "love it or hate it" design.  The belt and holsters are simple, and easy to work with.  But the star of the figure is no doubt the boots which are highly detailed with buckles, straps and laces.  It is very technical in design and really makes the figure pop, IMO. 

Like all seamless figures, the figure is rather limited in posing, and has a few odd quirks that make it a bit less realistic and dynamic to pose than perhaps intended, such as folding/bunching of the rubber skin around joints.  However, my copy had no major QC issues and I was pleased with the overall look of it.

At about $100 shipped, this figure is on par with similar female action figure sets from Triad Toys and I would recommend this figure to those fans who purchase similar products.

Simple white outer sleeve reveals a simple black shoebox-style package.

Inside, Laura II sits in a vacuum-formed plastic tray.

Under the figure tray is another tray with the accessories.

You'll need to attach the pistol holsters to the belt yourself, but it's not hard.

Although the head and body are the same, I like this version of Laura much better than the first one released earlier this year.

You can see how the pants was attached.  This was probably due to the "stickiness" of the rubber body.  It is supposed to be "tack-free", but it's not completely slick.  Some futzing of the fit of the material is required, but I just wanted to get some quick photos in.

While the hot pants might look better for the seamless aspects, I actually prefer this outfit a lot more.  Looks a lot more practical for adventuring, IMO.

Posing isn't too much of a problem, as long as it's not too extreme.

These boots are an eye-catcher.  Definitely puts the fig over the top, IMO.

Yes, her chest is of the over-sized, siliconal variety, but this is sort of an unlicensed Lara Croft lady, so there's some relevance there.

At some angles, the head sculpt and rooted hair are actually quite nice.