Infanterist der Zukunft (IdZ) is the German Bundeswehr program for "Infantryman of the Future". The IdZ is a modular, integrated fighting system which includes self-protection against small caliber arms and NBC agents, digital navigation and communications, as well as a new range of weapons.
After successful five-month trial of the IdZ prototype systems in Kosovo during 2002, the Bundeswehr awarded EADS Defence Electronics a contract for development and full production of IdZ V1 / IdZ-BS (basic system), with 1600 systems delivered in 2006 and deployed by the German Army in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Congo. In September 2006, the Bundeswehr awarded Rheinmetall Defence a new contract to develop the IdZ V2 system / IdZ-ES (expanded system). System deliveries are expected to begin by the end of 2011.
NATO in Miniatures
first modern German figure, The Bundeswehr Sniper (GER-001)
, depicts an IdZ sniper armed with G82, an anti-material sniper rifle which is procured by the German Army specifically for IdZ program.
The figure arrived packed in a typical NATO in Miniatures' firm cardboard box printed in ACU pattern. The box features nicely painted box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Dmitri Shevtsov) and the painter (Dmitri Baev). 2 zip-lock bags containing resin parts for the figure are additionally protected inside polyfoam wrap. The kit consists of 9 parts:
- full figure with legs and head
- left arm
- right arm
- boonie hat
- weapon parts (4X).
The parts are cast in grey resin and are almost completely clean of all imperfections: there are no air bubbles, but I did notice a seam line on sniper's left side going all the way from the boot to the face. The seam is not very pronounced and with some careful sanding the problem is easily solved. Take your time when cleaning the weapon from the resin pouring blocks; those parts are very delicate. I had no problems whatsoever in building the figure as the fit of the parts is absolutely perfect. I would suggest connecting the weapon to figure's right arm first, followed by attachment of the right arm to torso and then adjusting the left arm. The sculptor did a great job on a powerful posture of the sniper, however I feel the pose could be a bit more slump as the G82 is a particularly heavy sniper rifle.
The figure is dressed in Arktis sniper smock
and field trousers. Designed and developed in conjunction with special forces and military users, the Arktis sniper smock is one of the most advanced overgarments on the military market to date, with excellent carrying capacity, spread evenly around the upper body without compromising the prone or sitting shooting position. Over the smock, the figure is wearing IdZ system vest
, consisting of a double layer of heavy duty nylon mesh netting on which crosswebbing is mounted on both the horizontal and vertical directions... this allows pouches to be mounted horizontally and vertically, increasing the versatility of the modular design. The crosswebbing is made of flecktarn-printed cordura narrow webbing, for strength and durability. The vest is fully adjustable over the shoulder and at both left and right sides. All of the modular equipment is sculpted on the vest: G82 magazine ammo pouches (2x), double G36 magazine pouches (4X) and radio pouch. These pouches are constructed specifically for IdZ vest and are attached using an adaptation similar to the US MOLLE system.
The large SDS3000 sniper backpack
consists of five modular components; the carrying system with waist harness, small pack, big pack, weapon bag, shooting mat and backpack cover. Number of other components can be added to the system as well, depending on the specific sniping mission. G82 can be accommodated within this backpack, but needs a specific weapon bag instead of the one issued with the SDS3000 system. The figure also sports a boonie hat, TASC headset, neck scarf and Breathtex gloves. The peculiarity of this figure are definitely the gaiters
, an essential part of kit when walking through wet and muddy terrain. Elasticated internally along the bottom edge and around the ankle, with a steel and leather strap to fix the gaiter securely around the boot, the gaiters are internally coated with waterproof PU compound which is an effective water and wind barrier.
The sculptor did his job on equipment extremely well. All the details of the uniform are present and the folds have a very natural feel to them. The vest looks great with all the modular pouches nicely rendered; I particularly like the radio communication gear and the large SDS backpack. The details are amazing and I found an excellent match to the references I have on Bundeswehr equipment.
The sniper is armed with G82 sniper rifle
, a recoil operated, semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle developed by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing (G82 is actually a German Army designation for M107 Barrett). The rifle is known as the Special Applications Scoped Rifle (SASR), and it is also nicknamed the “Light Fifty” as this weapon chambers powerful .50BMG ammunition, originally developed for Browning M2HB heavy machine guns. The “Light Fifty” in this kit looks absolutely fantastic. 4 weapon parts are extremely small and delicate but once you manage to clean them from the carriers and fit them correctly, the rifle turns into a real gem. The secondary firearm of the figure is secured in the drop leg holster.
This figure kit was the turning point in NATO in Miniatures business; after number of very nice modern US Army releases, it was the first Bundeswehr figure under this label. And what a figure it is... sculpted by a true artist, nicely cast, easy to build and with amazing attention to detail, it really is a great representation of an elite Bundeswehr "Infanterist der Zukunft" sniper.