by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Originally published on:
SEAL Team Six is the US Navy's main counterterrorist unit, created as part of the Joint Special Operations Command in 1980. At the time, only two SEAL Teams were in existence; popular knowledge backed up by actual SEAL claims say that the name of the new team was chosen to confuse Soviet intelligence as to the number of actual SEAL Teams in operation. SEAL Team Six operatives were drawn from the current SEAL ranks, and the accelerated training program made the unit officially mission-ready in 1981. In 1987, the unit was given the official title of 'Naval Special Warfare Development Group' (or simply DEVGRU).
DEVGRU's full mission is classified but it is thought to include pre-emptive, pro-active counter-terrorist operations. The most famous DEVGRU operation was the one codenamed Operation Neptune Spear (1–2 May 2011), in which DEVGRU operators killed Osama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaeda, at his compound in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan. DEVGRU is the Maritime (Naval) equivalent of the Army's Delta Force, with both units training together as well as deploying together when the need arises. Despite the official name change, "SEAL Team Six" remains the unit's widely recognized moniker.
Adapted from: http://www.devgru.org/
The revolution always comes suddenly… Spades Models appeared on the modeling scene in November 2013, announcing their ambitious goal to produce the best figures possible and presenting their first figure release. Striving for the best, Spades employed one of the most talented figure sculptors today and used the premium resin casting service, added a lot of extras in the kit and achieved what I thought was impossible… although priced almost double as much as the usual 1/16 scale figures, the first figure release from Spades depicting ultra-modern SEAL Team Six operative, took the figure modeling world by storm.
Majority of modelers take great pleasure in opening their new kits for the first time. Spades Models made the feeling even more exciting… Opening the hard cardboard box with Spades logo reveals the exclusive carton decorated with figure photos and sealed with quality control sticker. The carton holds the container-like case which in turn includes all the kit pieces additionally secured between foam padding. The kit consists of 5 zip-lock bags with resin pieces, color instruction booklet, decal sheet and a commemorative coin.
The kit includes 24 resin parts: 6 main figure body parts, 5 parts for helmet and helmet accessories, 11 parts for various equipment pieces, 1 part weapon with both hands attached, and a base. The first thing to notice is there are no resin carrier blocks to remove, as the parts are completely clean and ready to assemble! Wow! Moreover, the pieces are cast perfectly and there are no seam lines, air-bubbles or any flash to get rid of. All the tiniest details sculpted on this figure are wonderfully transferred to the resin. Spades Models obviously decided not only to work with the extremely talented artists, but also with the very best resin casting companies thus ensuring high-quality products entering the figure market under their „HD quality“ stamp.
The figure depicts SEAL Team Six operative in a well balanced action posture. The figure sports the most advanced and state-of-the-art equipment possible. The figure wears Crye Precision Gen2 AC Combat Shirt and Pants in the Navy Cut design. Designed as a no-compromise assault uniform, and used with the removable AirFlex Elbow and Knee Pads, this is the uniform of choice for most US Special Forces operatives today. Over the uniform the figure wears LBT6094 Plate Carrier with LBT2586J Quick Release Assault Panel. The panel holds three primary weapon ammo magazines, but also features front modular attachment points for mounting extra equipment, in this case light sticks, multi-tool and number of plastic handcuffs. The kit also includes separately cast equipment pieces: two M4 Magazine Pouches, Smoke Grenade Pouch, Hydration Pouch (hydration tube is cast on the figure Plate Carrier), Utility Side Bag, General Purpose Pouch, Double Pistol Magazine Pouch, Combat Knife, and AN/PRC-152 Radio. The AN/PRC-152 Radio wiring is sculpted on the Plate Carrier and includes Silynx Micro C4OPS PTT as well as the connection to the headset. The secondary weapon, Sig Sauer P226 secured in SLS Tactical Holster, is also supplied as a separate piece and should be secured to the drop leg platform on figure’s right thigh. Two more fine-points of the equipment include Tactical Map Pouch strapped to figure’s left arm and Foretex 401 GPS in LBT 2626B GPS Palm Pouch. On his feet, the figure wears Asolo FSN 95 Hiking Boots. These boots are issued to several SF units serving in Afghanistan and are well regarded by the operatives. The uniform and all the equipment pieces have been thoroughly researched by Spades Models team, with the details transferred perfectly to the figure in scale. Very impressive!
On his head the figure wears Ops Core FAST Ballistic High Cut Helmet with Occ-Dial Liner Kit, which gives helmet 4x more stability than standard helmet suspension. The left side chinstrap buckle denotes the figure is right-hand shooter, a simple detail but also a very good example of Spades Models dedication to get every single aspect of the figure correct. The helmet features V-Lite Manta Strobe on the top and ACH-ARC Accessory Rail Connectors on both sides. The rail connectors enable quick attachment of various accessories; this kit includes Hard Case Tac Helmet Light and Princeton Tac MPLS (Modular Personal Lighting System) as separate pieces. The Night Vision Goggles system in this kit consists of VAS Shroud and Wilcox L4-G24 NVG Helmet Mount, cast on the helmet, and the ultra-modern GPNVG18 and ANVIS Mount supplied as separate pieces. GPNVG18 features four separate image intensifier tubes with four separate objective lenses arrayed in a panoramic orientation. The center two lenses point forward like traditional dual-tube goggles, giving operator depth perception, while two lateral tubes point slightly outward from the center to increase peripheral view. The NVG are powered by the Low Profile Battery Pack, which is cast on the back of the helmet, along with the wiring to the NVG. I forgot to mention, the MSA SORDIN Supreme Pro-X Hearing Protectors are there as well, sculpted on the figure’s head. This headset is designed to automatically filter and completely shut out all high decibel sounds, like gunfire and sirens, while still allowing lower end of the decibel scale, like forest noises and human speech, to be heard. Auxiliary jacks allow plugging in communication radios and trackers.
The figure is armed with Heckler & Koch HK416, a preferred weapon of the SEAL Team Six. The rifle in this kit is cast with number of accessories attached: Advanced Armament M4-2000 Fast-Attach 5.56mm Silencer, Surefire Scout Light, LA-5A/PEQ ATPIAL-UHP (Advanced Target Pointer Illuminator Aiming Laser – Ultra High Power), EOTech 556 Holographic Weapon Sight, Aimpoint 3x Magnifier with LaRue Tactical QD Pivot Mount. A Single-Point Sling is included as a separate piece in this kit. I compared each of these accessories very carefully with references of their real counterparts and found an excellent match. Absolutely amazing attention to detail from Spades Models. Moreover, the weapon supplied in this kit is not a product of 3D rapid prototyping, rather it is sculpted in a traditional manner, which makes it even more impressive.
The sculptor did an absolutely amazing job on this figure. The anatomy of the figure is perfect and the facial details are nicely defined. The walking pose is well balanced and suggests alert movement expecting contact with the enemy. As I already mentioned, my references show all the details on the uniform, body armor and additional equipment are accurate and sculpted to the highest standard, with fine-points all around wonderfully executed in scale.
This kit also includes a 6x6 cm resin base. Modelers might want to consider making their own more elaborate setting for the figure, however I’m glad Spades Models decided to provide the base in the kit as well, supplying all it takes to build a simple, but effective SEAL Team Six vignette.
A big bonus to this figure kit are several extras included in the box.
First, a color 16-page booklet is provided in the kit. It begins with a Thank You note from Spades Models, expressing gratitude to the buyer for purchasing the figure kit… a really nice gesture. The booklet also contains some basic info on the SEAL Team Six, lists kit parts precisely designating all the equipment, and most importantly shows figure assembly protocol and displays decal placement guide.
A decal sheet with 40 wet-transfer decals is provided in the kit as well. The decals include various patches, two different maps, GPS screens, watch faces, and several equipment stencils. The sheet is printed to a very high standard with the instruction booklet giving a short step-by-step tutorial on how to work with decals, as well as showing decal placement guide.
This figure kit is a limited edition kit, with only 500 pieces to be produced. As a certificate of authenticity, the kit includes a special commemorative coin. The coin is provided in antique bronze finish, measures 42mm in diameter, and features SEAL logo with engraved limited edition number of this particular figure kit. BTW, my kit is annotated as #195, which means almost half of the kit stock has already been sold. So, if you would like the figure in your grey army, don’t wait to order it… it will soon be out of production.
The assembly of the figure is not as complex as it might seem at first. Take some time to identify all the parts in the kit and check the reference photos before actually starting the build. Also, study the instructions provided with the kit; these are well printed, concise, clear, and easy to follow. Spades Models did a superb job designing this figure; the pieces feature protrusions or indentations which help in aligning the parts correctly. Finally, the parts fit really well and there are only couple of minor gaps between the main body pieces that should be filled with putty.
I started by attaching the equipment pieces to the body armor and the legs. I fixed all the helmet accessories onto the helmet and fitted it to the head. I attached the arms to the torso and the hands with the weapon to the arms... some tweaking is neccessary to get the optimal fit. Adding the head and the lower body to the torso was the final stage of the build, which resulted in the fully assembled figure you can see on the photos.
I did not glue all the pieces of the figure for this review, instead using Magic Sculp to fix the parts for the photo session (as can be seen on the helmet light which detached during the photoshoot). Also, notice I did not use the rifle sling in the build; it was left off to facilitate the painting process that I hope to start very soon. The AOR1 camouflage pattern is not the easiest to paint as it consists of different colored pixels, but with the help of paint masks I really hope I could do this figure justice.
It is no use resisting the temptation… this figure is way too cool to miss out. I have to admit I had my reservations regarding the price tag, however this is by far the best presented figure I have in my collection. The exclusive box contains not just a wonderfully sculpted figure, flawlessly cast in resin (remember there are no big carrier blocks to remove!) and easy to assemble, but also a ton of extras like decals and a commemorative coin… all it takes to accurately portray SEAL Team Six operative in action.
From the presentation, to the thouroughly researched subject and the final resin product itself, Spades Models has a winner. Get it while you can, it is limited edition figure.