First thanks to Spade Models for the sample and the excellent customer support they provided and to Dick and Dave for offering me the opportunity to review this kit.
The kit arrived in a generic looking corrugated cardboard box with the company name on it. Opening that revealed a full color kit specific box of glossy cardstock. There are three pictures of the assembled and painted kit and the “back” has a brief history of Seal Team Six. This box is sealed with “QC Tape” top and bottom. Opening this reveals a plastic bag surrounding a plastic container box. This was so well designed, I had to look closely how to open it…It slides open. In here are two tightly fitted foam pads holding 6 zip lock bags, a 16 page hull color booklet, and a tightly sealed cellophane container for the decals.
The pattern depicted in the box art looks very close to Australian desert pattern camouflage. While I can’t say no member of Seal Team Six ever used this camo pattern, the builder might want to research a more typical pattern, such as Multicam or Marpat digital patterns.
The bags contain what might be considered sub assemblies. Head/helmet, weapons, body, pouches, base. There is a self adhesive brass colored medallion with the edition number, in this case 290 of 500. The kit is cast in smooth gray resin and consists of 24 parts.
The booklet has several more photos of the assemble kit, a thank you for purchasing the lit from Spades, two black and white photos showing all the parts and a listing of all the equipment carried by this SEAL including equipment molded to the individual parts. You can actually learn something new from this kit!
Perhaps the first thing that one notices in looking at the parts is that there are no pour plugs. Those of us who’ve dealt with resin figures can recall with no fondness at all those early (and even more recent) kits with hug plugs that took major amounts of time to remove or were placed on top of helmets making clean up difficult and invariably left a mess of dust leading to fears that the dust was some deadly carcinogen. Well, none of that here. I don’t know how they did it in molding or clean up, the parts are completely ready to assemble and paint. Examining them very closely under bright lights with my dedicated reading glasses and Optivisor, I was able to find a few very minor hints of mold lines on the legs. And a bit of roughness behind the left cargo pocket. It’s possible these would disappear in painting, but surely, a couple passes with fine sand paper will clear the lines up and a swipe with a sharp blade will clear out the roughness.
Now to the individual parts bags:
While relatively small, (but, hey, how big does a figure decal sheet have to be?) This sheet contains two each of decals to be used. Included are left and right side canton US flags in yellow trimmed full color, untrimmed full color and subdued colors, unit badges, two different blood types, two different maps, GPS dial face and stenciling for the gun and laser sight. There’s no indication where decals 15 and 16 go, a number 13 and a number 32 in white on a black rectangle. This is quite impressive since most figures rely on the painter’s skill to get these fine details right.
This bag contains the head with molded on ear protection and chin straps, high cut ballistic helmet, personal lighting device, TAC helmet light, NVG bracket and GPNVG 18 night vision device with 4 tubes. The prototype give the user a 97 degree field of vision. Each part is carefully keyed to fit in its place. Facial features are excellent with what look like well matched eyes and a beard. I’m not sure in the NVG can be assembled easily in the down (in use position), however.
In this bag are the two arms, upper torso, right leg and left leg/hips parts. The Velcro patches have nice subtle texturing to them while the attached patches are raised and smooth to accommodate the decals. On the right arm is a map case where one of the decals will be placed. The legs fit together very well and are engineered well enough that placing the two connecting points to the base allows them to stand freely. The left foot is posed so the sole of the boot is visible and there is good patterning there.
The 6 x 6 cm base represents a rocky, barren piece of real estate with rocks and a stick to break up the monotony. There are slots for the feet.
In here we find two single magazine pouches, a hydration pouch, an AN/PRC152 radio, a double side arm magazine pouch, a smoke grenade pouch, a small general purpose and a utility side bag. All have tabs or recesses making it easy to locate them on the body correctly.
This pouch contains the main weapon, an HK416 with mounted scout light, laser pointer, EOTech holographic sight an Aimpoint 3X sight, with hands molded in place on the pistol grip and forward hand grip, a Sig Sauer P226 in SLS tactical hip mounted holster, combat knife in sheath and single point sling. The hands are molded in place and wear tactical gloves, the left of which incorporates a GPS (decal face is provided). The muzzle of the silencer has a nice opening cast in place.
Here I encountered the only issue with the kit. When I opened the bag, the two sights appeared to be a single piece which would be attached to the receiver of the carbine, similar to working with Live Resin weapons sets. When I touched the sight part, it broke into two parts, the 3X and holographic sights. The latter, promptly fell to the floor and tried to go into the alternate universe where dropped parts go. After a long search with flashlight and hands I was able to find it. Anyway, the sights are molded to the gun and the attachment is an insanely thin ridge of resin. The good news was I was able to reattach both the gun and reinforce the left side (which won’t be seen) with a bit of extra Zap-A-Gap.
The bigger problem I discovered in testing the figure is the left hand/grip had also broken off the gun but was not present in the bag and therefore could not be repaired. I emailed Spades via with this issue on a Sunday afternoon. When I checked my email at 6:30 the next morning I had a response from Spade, offering a replacement part which was to go out the same day. This tells me that customer service is important to this company. Any product, no matter how well designed and packaged, can have a problem. How the manufacturer deal with that separates the wheat from the chaff.
On the following Tuesday, hardly a week after the initial email exchange, I had a replacement part in my hands. It came, as seen in the photo, extremely well packed, safe and secure. This came from Madrid, Spain to my home in Massachusetts in barely a week; you can’t ask much better customer service and support than that.
Assembly and Painting
The pose with arms and weapon across the chest, a camouflage uniform with multiple packs and pouches will require painting in stages. In order to complete the review of the kit, untainted by my painting skills, I used tiny drops of Zap-A-Gap to tack looser parts and rubber cement for the others. In doing so, the fit of the arms to the torso is better than it had appeared in dry fitting. As noted above, every part has a slot and matching plug or tab making the lack of traditional assembly instructions of minimal import. Again, dry fitting the feet to the base creates a pretty strong attachment and the fully assembled figure can stand by the friction alone without adhesives, at least for photo purposes.
All parts fit together well and easily. The arms and gun assembly was a bit fiddly. This is pretty common when dealing with a figure in this type pose. It’s probably good to use a slow setting glue like 5 minute epoxy to attach the shoulder s to the torso and a fast setting CA type for the hands to the wrists.
The light stalk on the personal lighting system which goes to the right of the helmet is very fine and fragile. Mine broke off during test assembly. Amazingly, I was able to find it on the carpet and I reattached it with a tiny drop of Zap-A-Gap and accelerator. It would be wise to measure its length upon opening the kit so you can replace it if yours breaks and can’t be found. .5 mm rod with a drop of glue at the end could work as a replacement in a pinch.
For the photographs, I tried placing the night vision goggles in the down position, but they don’t seem to align well with the eyes and may interfere with the gun, so placing them in the position depicted in the box art and booklet seems to be the better option.
I tested one of the blood type decals by putting a thin layer of testers Glosscoat where the decal is to be located. I used MicroSol to moisten and set the decal. The emblem is just a shade larger than the raised portion where it is to be placed. After letting the Microsol dry for a couple hours, I trimmed the edge and applied a layer of Dullcoat and it seems to be sitting perfectly.
The figure stands at 105mm in the slightly crouched position (without helmet) . Using a caliper to measure heel to knee, knee to waist and waist to the top of the head (without helmet) gives an equivalent standing height of 113cm or 1.8 meters in real life. That would put him at 5 feet 11 ¼ inches in his boots the way most Americans measure themselves.
Spades Miniatures has raised the bar on figure kits with SEAL TEAM SIX. Sculpting is excellent, clean up is non-existent, assembly is simple and intuitive with multiple photos to guide you, background and equipment information well done and in depth, packaging innovative, colorful and extremely protective. Customer service is as good (or better) than anything I’ve used. The only quibbles I have are the questionable camo pattern on the kit art (extremely minor quibble) and the hefty price tag. This could be a offsetting in the dealer stalls and market place when some kits the same scale retail for about a fifth of the price. Having had my hands on this kit, however, and considering what you get and the fact you are not spending time cutting pour plugs and filling gaps, or trying to figure out what goes where because the only assembly information is a one angle photo on the box front, the kit earns its price.
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