Sappers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
ICM continues to announce new models despite the ongoing Russian initiated war in Ukraine. While most subjects released by ICM are welcome, the current conflict subjects are even more relevant and welcome. When anything military engineer-related hits the market, I am intrigued; this kit is a double hit for me.
Unexploded munitions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), booby traps and mines are hallmarks of modern warfare. Breaching obstacles and cleaning up battlefields often fall to sappers and combat engineers. This fantastic ICM kit begs to be opened upon arrival. Upon opening the colorful lid and cover of the typical sturdy ICM box, there is a reinforced white inner box that does a good job of protecting the single sprue containing the three Sapper figures and dog, along with an advertisement folder for ICM acrylic paints.
- There are three modern Ukrainian Sapper figures:
- Sapper with mine detection dog (who is wearing body armor, doggles and ear protection)
- Sapper with mine detector and probe
- Sapper digging with an entrenching tool
All the sappers are wearing body armor, ballistic helmets, and the Ukrainian pixelated camouflage uniform. Other uniform accessories include entrenching tools, magazine pouches and Velcro attached bags. While the instructions call out where the various kit are applied, you can mix and match as you like, as soldiers in most militaries are want to do. ICM has the AK-74 slings molded onto the figure, so attachment points are obvious, but there is nothing hard about scrapping them away and adding slings to fit your style.
The figures build up quickly and easily with only a little filler required (but the few gaps could be a result of my skill set). There are only a few changes I would incorporate in the instructions. First, multiple views (or at least front and back) of each figure would be beneficial. Second, a call out for the equipment; while the gear is simplistic, it would be nice to know the nomenclature. I spent hours trying to narrow down the type of mine detector with its distinctive yellow box. I found several images online, but nothing to confirm the model, which may be the Berkut 5.
Assembly does not take long, but once complete, there were seven parts remaining on the sprue that were not called out in the instructions. As far as I could determine, the parts belonged to the following figures, based on their sprue location:
- Sapper with mine detection dog: Parts Nos. 13 (goggles), 20 (combat knife) and 22 (utility pouch)
- Sapper with mine detector and probe: Parts Nos. 23 (utility pouch), 28 (another utility pouch), 43 (entrenching tool – the other two called out), and 44 (goggles)
- Sapper digging with an entrenching tool: Parts Nos. 3 (AK mag pouch) and 4 (goggles). A great addition to this figure would be an empty entrenching tool cover as the e-tool is in his hands.
I built the figures straight out of the box and primed them as displayed on the box art (with the addition of the goggles, adding more detail to the mine detector head, a power cable to the same, and a leash for the dog and dog handler). The intent is to show the fit and overall appearance, and not to highlight my lack of figure painting skills. As the bodies are multi-piece affairs, with separate arms, legs, head and headgear, these figures really stand out. Any gaps shown in the photos are most likely my fault and will be filled before painting.
These figures look the part and can easily be put together with a vehicle, vignette, or diorama for the current Ukrainian War, or another Eastern European military environment. The only real niggle is the lack of a small decal sheet for the prominently displayed patch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian flag, both of which can be easily rendered with homemade decals as they are simple.
I had a lot of fun building this gem from ICM and look forward to painting the figures and placing them with a suitable late environment. As a former Sapper, these figures will get special treatment and placed in a suitable environment, after I practice painting the distinctive pixelated uniform.
Profuse thanks to ICM and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.