Born in the African desert during WW2, the Special Air Service (SAS) is the most renowned special forces unit of the British Army. Ever since several black-clad figures appeared on the balconies of the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980, the SAS became a 'celebrity' both at home and oversees, with their motto, 'Who Dares Wins', imprinted as a part of British popular culture. The SAS are currently deployed to Iraq (with the SBS assigned to Afghanistan), operating as part of Task Force Black - the British contingent of US-led Task Force 88, tasked with hunting down Al-Qaeda leaders in the country.
The first NATO in Miniatures release in their modern British range of figures depicts SAS Platoon Leader (Brit-001). Hopefully, the series will continue with more SAS operatives.
The figure arrived safely packed in a typical NATO in Miniatures 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 bubble wrap. The kit consists of 12 parts:
- full figure with legs
- left arm
- right arm
- right hand
- ammo pouch
- weapon parts (6X).
The parts are cast in grey resin and are almost completely clean of any imperfections: there are no air bubbles, but I did find a thin seam line along the left leg of the figure… some careful sanding and the problem should be solved. The assembly of the figure is pretty straightforward and the fit of the parts is really good. I would suggest attaching the arms to the torso first and then adjusting the right hand with the weapon to the arms... It could take some fine-tuning, but the result is well worth it in the end.
The figure represent SAS Operative in action pose. I have included a photograph which served as a sculpting template; comparing the photo with figure sculpts reveals a pretty good match. The figure wears British Army wool pullover and S95 Combat Trousers. The olive green crew neck pullover (wooly pully) offers warmth and breathability; it has reinforced elbows and shoulders with epaulettes, is heavy ribbed and features shoulder Velcro tabs. British S95 trousers are lightweight polyester-cotton trousers featuring extra wide belt loops, button side tabs for adjustment, button waist and zip fly, drawstring inside waist, two hip pockets, two button down expandable leg pockets, one rear pocket and drawstring ankle cuffs. Over the body armor, the figure wears BlackHawk Long-Range Assault Kit (LRAK). LRAK features removable 1.5" closed cell foam flotation panels providing buoyancy and comfort, 0.75" closed cell foam shoulder straps with triple load bearing belt attachment and 1" fully adjustable sternum strap for stability. Made of 1000 denier nylon material, LRAK provides the configuration, capacity and load distribution to best support long range missions. The M240/SAW Gunner configuration consists of four large utility pouches (hold 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammo or 200 round SAW box), two pop flare pouches, two M16/radio pouches, enhanced buttpack, strobe/compass pouch and gunners tool pouch. All these pouches are sculpted on the figure, with extra low profile MOLLE ammo pouch cast separately. The sculptor did a great job on the uniform, wooly pully and the equipment. The LRAK looks particularly good with all the details well rendered. The additional gear sculpted on the figure (knee pads, gloves, shemagh and drop leg holster) add to the realism of the figure.
The figure sports a baseball cap, sunglasses and ComTac 2 headset... some thin copper wire can be used to add a microphone boom and radio wiring. The head sculpt looks good with facial features and beard texture nicely defined; the features definitely convey the Special Forces Operative look.
The figure is armed with M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The SAW was based on the Belgian FN Minimi; the gun provides infantry squads with the heavy volume of fire of a machine gun combined with accuracy and portability approaching that of a rifle. The weapon engages point targets out to 800 meters, firing the improved NATO standard 5.56mm cartridge. The SAW depicted in this kit is a compact M249 version (Para configuration), featuring a shorter barrel and sliding aluminum buttstock with ELCAN Specter optics and 200-round plastic ammo box. The kit includes M249 extras as well; open and closed bipod, and three different ammo feed options... 30-round M16 magazine, 200-round plastic and 100-round "soft pack" ammunition box.
There is a serious lack of modern British Special Forces figures on the market. NATO in Miniatures started to fill this void with their first British figure depicting SAS Operative. SAS Platoon Leader is a great kit; sculpted by a very talented sculptor, the anatomy of the figure is great and the pose nicely balanced. Moreover, the resin cast is really good and the figure is not difficult to assemble... but it’s in the amazing amount of details where the kit really shines: the LRAK equipment, baseball cap and the sunglasses, very nicely defined facial details, etc. I really hope more SAS Operatives will soon appear under NATO in Miniatures label.
Highs: Well balanced sculpt, very nicely cast, with great details on uniform and equipment. So far this is the only modern SAS figure on the market which can also be easily converted to depict PMC. Lows: A thin seam line on the figure's left leg.Verdict: Highly recommended.
Our Thanks to Nato in Miniatures! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Mario Matijasic (Maki) FROM: CROATIA HRVATSKA
You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...