by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Originally published on:
In 1989, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that outlawed the use of mercenaries. Many countries, including the US and UK, have never signed the accord...
A private military company (PMC) is a company providing armed security services. Initially, PMCs didn't provide combat soldiers but rather civilian contractors to perform any number of noncombat duties, from monitoring advanced weapon systems to rendering technical assistance and logistical support. A few, however, engaged in combat. The conflict in Iraq led to unprecedented proliferation of PMCs and today contractors make up a second, private army that's larger than the entire US military force. The exact number is debatable, but some estimates suggest that more than 180 000 contractors of many nationalities work for the US government in Iraq, doing an assortment of jobs from operating mess halls to providing security.
This review describes the latest addition to NATO in Miniatures range of 1/35 scale figures: PMC Sniper with PSG-1 (PMC-6a).
The figure kit is packed in a cardboard box, with the zip-lock bag containing all the pieces additionally protected by packing peanuts. The front of the box features a boxart picture which displays the painted vignette and lists both the sculptor (Michail Varlamov) and the painter (Dmitri Baev). The kit consists of 18 pieces. Cast in grey resin, the pieces are completely clean of any casting imperfections: there are no air bubbles or seam lines... perfect! One of the pieces was damaged in transport, but I managed to find the broken bit within the zip-lock bag and glued it back on. The pieces feature an impressive amount of details very nicely executed in scale.
Here is the list of parts:
- full body with legs,
- right arm,
- left arm,
- sniper rifle (cast together with both hands),
- secondary weapon,
- various equipment pieces (10x),
The figure represents a PMC sniper crouching behind a wall, resting the front of his sniper rifle on it. The sniper wears a shirt with sleeves rolled up, cargo pants and boots, with the scarf around his neck and tactical gloves adding nicely to the PMC look. His tactical vest and drop leg platform feature PALS webbing which provide attachment points for various pouches and accessories. Only the radio pouch is cast on the vest, all the other equipment is provided as separate pieces. There's quite a selection of accessories included in this kit: M4 magazine open-top single stack pouches, M4 magazine pouches, grenade pouches, utility pouches, holster, speaker microphone and assault backpack. Providing the equipment separately offers a great opportunity for modelers to decide which pouches to use and to build the equipment setup they want. Although this concept makes assembly of the figure a bit more complex, I like seeing NATO in Miniatures following this "modular equipment" trend.
The sniper is armed with PSG-1, a semi-automatic sniper rifle designed by the German company Heckler & Koch. The secondary firearm included in this set in a M4 carbine, which is a great addition to the set. However, the M4 is cast without an optical sight on the receiver rail so that part should be added from your spares box.
The base included in this set is pretty simple but works really well in this kit as it doesn't take the focus away from the figure. The backpack, M4, helmet and number of other accessories (debris, cigarette pack, spent shells, water bottles, etc.) can be placed on the base for getting extra realism from this vignette.
The fit of the main figure parts is great and I had no problems assembling the figure... if you align the arms to the body well, almost no gaps between parts are visible and there is no need for additional putty work. I left the hands holding the sniper rifle for a while and concentrated on adding all the equipment next. I fixed open-top M4 magazine pouches on the lower front of the tactical vest. During the dry-fitting process I noticed the need to trim a part of one pouch to get a good fit. I also had to slightly bend the pouches to conform to the vest shape better. The holster was added to the upper chest, and two utility pouches on each side of the vest. The large ammo pouches were fixed to the drop leg platform. I decided to cut three pouches from the resin carrier block and add them as individual pouches, rather than trying to bend the complete piece. I dry-fitted the pouches several times to get the optimal result. After all the equipment was in place, I added the hands with the weapon and the head, and fixed these pieces using blu-tack. I did that so I could remove these pieces after the review photoshoot to facilitate painting.
Assembling this figure was not a problem, but be sure to dry-fit all the equipment pieces before gluing them in place. I had to trim and sand the equipment, as well as the PALS webbing loops to get the perfect result.
I have to admit I'm very impressed with this kit. It includes all it takes to build a really cool vignette featuring the PMC sniper, number of extra accessories and a base.
The figure is sculpted to the highest level, and the difficult pose is perfectly executed. With the sniper buttstock firmly pressed to the right shoulder and the head close to the scope, this figure actually looks like a soldier aiming a rifle. I also have to commend the head sculpt; the facial features are well defined and the bald head definitely adds an extra cool factor to the figure. The level of details on the uniform and webbing is incredible, with all the details sharp and well delivered. All the equipment pieces and accessories are accurately portrayed in scale and, along with a simple base, present a big bonus to this figure kit. As for the sniper rifle, it is a real resin gem.
The fit of the parts is really good. Some extra work is needed when assembling the figure, but it is well worth it... as you can see in the photos of the completed piece, the final result is amazing.