MasterClub is a fairly new Russian company most modelers don’t know much about. Some have heard of their track sets or other vehicle accessories and these are typically rated highly. Lately MasterClub decided to venture into the figure business, hiring super-talented Sergey Menelaev to sculpt 8 figures depicting modern Russian soldiers from the First Chechen war. I immediately fell in love with those figures and knew I had to have them. One look at any of MasterClub’s modern Russian figures is enough for you to realize how amazing these figures are; the anatomy of the figures is perfect, the poses very natural and the level of detail is astonishing for 1/35 scale figures. These are among the best resin figures I have ever seen and this review is a “group review” of 4 MasterClub’s modern Russian figures: MCF35016R, MCF35017R, MCF35018R and MCF35019R.
Since the figures are designed to represent a group of modern Russian AFV riders, I thought it would be easier to write some sort of a group review rather than describing each figure separately. The figures arrived in a safe cardboard box, packed carefully inside the bubble wrap by the HobbyEasy staff who I ordered it from, and a good thing as the figures are originally packed only inside the double zip lock bag. I suspect many pieces would be broken or missing if it wasn’t for the box and the bubble wrapping.
Upon closer inspection the figures look absolutely fantastic. The parts are cast in gray resin which is completely clean of any imperfections, there are no air bubbles, no flash, or seam lines. The casting plugs are intelligently placed, allowing easy clean up with minimal chance of damaging the detail. Besides that, the plugs are attached to kit pieces on places that are not going to be visible once the figure is fully assembled. The figure break-up is perhaps a bit unusual but it doesn’t influence the fit of the figure parts. In fact, the fit of the pieces is excellent; if placed correctly there are almost no visible gaps between the pieces so minimal putty work is needed. The anatomy of all figures is perfect and the poses are very natural. The level of detail is amazing, among the best I have seen on resin figures... and believe me, I have seen figures from almost all resin figure manufacturers.
The figures represent Russian soldiers during the First Chechen war. All of the figures are wearing typical winter uniforms consisting of lined jacket and trousers. I’m not completely sure about the correct designation of the uniform, but I did find some facts about it. The jacket is made of cotton; it has four pockets on the body and one small pocket on the upper part of each sleeve. The elbows are reinforced and the button plaquette is covered with the exception of the throat button. The jacket lining is removable; it can be attached for additional warmth and has a fur collar that is exposed over the collar of the jacket. The fur collar can be turned up to protect the head from the freezing cold. The trousers are also lined and made of cotton; they have a pocket on each thigh and have draw-in ties on each cuff of the leg. The first winter uniform models were issued in tan color and later variants were camouflaged in TTsKO or VSR pattern (also known as “Schofield” or “Dubok”), which were later replaced by Flora camouflage pattern. It has to be noted however, that Russian camouflage is notorious for being produced in a wide range of color combinations, usually because of general lack of standardization throughout the Russian textile industry.
The figures also wear fragmentation body armor that was generally issued to Russian troops at the time of the First Chechen war. I found a ZH-86 designation for this type of body armor, but again I’m not completely sure about this, so if you have more info please let me know. This kind of body armor was not camouflaged, but in khaki or greenish color. It is amazing how the sculptor captured the “feel” of the heavy-weight uniform and the body armor. The folds are in the places where they should be, the fur collars are very nicely rendered, high top boots look great… there is even a knitted pattern on the gloves.
The figures are armed with either an AKS-74, the airborne version of AK-74 with the folding butt, or with an AKS-74/GP30, the AKS-74 version with 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher. One of the figures also has an RPG-22 on his back. The weapons are very nice; the casting is once again wonderful and the fit to the hands is perfect.
Although the figures mostly use identical equipment, each figure does have its distinctiveness. Here’s the part list for every individual figure:
consists of 5 parts: full torso with legs, left arm, right arm, head with knitted cap and AKS-74/GP30 weapon. The weapon has double ammo magazines taped together and elastic band wrapped around the folding butt. This figure also has crease on the front of the trousers, which could be easily mistaken for a seam line. Do not remove it; it is just a peculiarity of the uniform and the crease is supposed to be there.
has 6 parts: full torso with right leg, left leg, left arm, right arm, head with Ushanka winter hat and AKS-74/GP30 weapon. Ushanka hat is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears from the cold. The Ushanka has the standard Russian insignia sculpted on its front.
consists of 4 parts: full torso with legs, left and right arm as one piece, AKS-74 and RPG-22. This figure looks like the poor guy is freezing; the fur collar is turned up to protect the head from the cold and the hands are inside the opposing sleeves. I wasn’t able to find out what kind of boots those are, but they do not look comfortable.
has 4 parts: full torso with legs, left and right arm with a part of the weapon as one piece, head with knitted cap and AKS-74. The weapon is in two pieces and both of them fit nicely to the AKS forward grip piece sculpted with the arms. This figure wears an assault vest instead of the standard fragmentation body armor.
One thing that I haven’t mentioned so far are the figure head sculpts. All heads look really good and each figure has its own individual facial details cleanly sculpted and well defined, some with nicely textured hair noticeable beneath the caps.
The lack of modern Russian figures was pretty obvious in the last couple of years. Now, that niche is being filled by several new Russian figure manufacturers. MasterClub figures described in this review are simply wonderful, sculpted by a very talented sculptor and superbly cast with amazing attention to details. They are definitely among the best resin figures on the market today.