Friday, February 14, 2014

MODERN RUSSIAN PARATROOPERS SPETSNAZ Esci Italeri Soviet Special Forces 80s 1/72 review nº6169 Mars Afghanistan Wars

Hello again and be ready for my friday review, continuing with the Esci saga, the Russian Paratroopers Spetsnaz!;

Box;Firstly, the box leads to confusion. Are they paratroopers, or are they Spetsnaz? are they both? this means everybody is both paratrooper and Spetsnaz, or just a half and half? leaving aside the title, the artwork is nice and better than standard, although it will be much better for paratroopers than special forces such as the Spetsnaz.

Italeri has decided that they are indeed Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces, equivalent to commandos or SAS), and has given them the new artwork, so very like the 1/35 ones, but nice all the same. 

Finally Mars in his copy gives us a unusual box, which seems from a bad 80s movie (I usually hate real pics on boxes, and this is no exception). Although I agree that in this artwork they seem more commandos and less paras, but they don't have anything to do with the contents inside. (attention to the painted figures, which most wear white sports shoes! certainly not very communist!)

THE FIGURES - 6.0 out of 10 - (50 figures, 15 poses)




Detail; 9.0
Pose Quality; 4.0
Anatomical proportions; 10.0
Funness; 3.0
Wargaming Value; 5.0
Historical Accuracy; 10.0

Well, first clarify something; Spetsnaz doesn't have a regular uniform, they just wear any uniform or combination they choose for the job, and they can wear any official or unofficial uniform. 

So let's judge them separately; for Paratroopers, they are just a bit dull, for Spetsnaz they are awfully boring. Really, I think that Esci meant this to be just Russian Modern Army, just a sort of a equivalent for the US modern infantry. Why not making a proper Russian Army? did the Warsaw Pact set fulfilled that role? not really.

If they were to be Spetsnaz, they should be doing all sort of exciting and undercover things, and the only pose that seems doing something of the sort is the crouched sniper. If they are to be paratroopers, at least one pose should be getting his chute, or ready to jump, or whatever Esci wanted to do with a man and a parachute. So thumbs down for funness.

And then we come to examine the figures, and no, I haven't repeated the image of the same man, there is actually 4 (!) poses gripping their gun to the air with berets and just moving along marching slightly. One is moving a bit faster, the other is completely still, and their weapons are slightly different. I call this the worst misuse of a pose in a set I have still seen. It was quite bad with the Vietcong set from Esci, but that was nothing compared to this.

Again we receive no prone man, and no grenade thrower, as in the US Modern Infantry. Neither operating a radio.

Let's continue on the bad. All men seem to be wearing a size less of uniform than the one they need, so although the anatomic proportions are perfect all uniforms seem that they have shrunk in the wash. 

Let's come on the good to brighten this gloomy review. We get 5 unique men, one of them actually writing something, one of the few soldiers to do it. We get a sniper, some anti tank weapons (the pose firing to the air is very good), there is no flash to speak of (but be alert, the Italeri reissue has missing the ends of various machine guns and this can be annoying),  and you get 50 men.

"The army representation score is the potential of the soldiers to be used for other purposes different to the one originally intended"

They can be very easily used to represent other paratroopers from other Soviet/Communist countries, or they could be used as Marine troops with some modifications.


"The price value ratio of this soldiers will vary between every shop you go, and the best I can do is judge by their average price on eBay and online stores"

Quite good for 50 soldiers, and you can always get some second hand ones from Esci at very reasonable prices.


Disappointing, for those looking for lively figures. Good if you just want a Russian Army for Afghanistan. But so much more could be done, and they are a bit too similar in poses to other Esci sets. Still, even the failure of Esci can look quite good and decent in modern days.

Conclusion; Lacking style and force, it just covers what is asked for. 

Scroll down to see the painted figures;

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If you have painted these figures I would love to include them in this blog. Send a email to tam_cob@hotmail.com.

Soldiers painted by myself in five different styles;

Here you can get inspiration on other painted sets gathered from the net;

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next battle!


  1. Hi there! I found your blog looking for painted pictures of these just to see how everyone else handled it. A couple of quick things: "Spetznaz" is just a contraction of words that basically mean "special forces" and isn't any one unit. These guys represent "VDV" (Vozdushno-desantnye voyska) paratroopers in the 80's, mostly wearing Afghanistan camo judging by the artwork. They're also all wearing the "Telnyashka" undershirt, which is a nice detail at that scale. The colour of the stripe tells you a lot about the unit. The "AT" gun being pointed up is actually a Strela-2 SAM.

    I bought this box to make a VDV/GRU platoon for Afghanistan and general "Cold War Gone Hot" games for Force on Force, and found it to be pretty solid. There's enough pose variety that each man in an eight-man section is unique, the section leaders are all unique (even if one is carrying an LMG for some reason) and there's an officer to lead the platoon, as well as enough men left over to make sniper and AA teams. A couple of head swaps to mix things up a bit and you're golden.