I love figures, and as a fan of aircraft models, I naturally like figures to go with my aircraft. Figures help provide scale and a “human factor” to any build.
Aires is working hard to provide a range of figures for aircraft modelers, and the Soviet Pilot with life jacket is a good example. Looking over the raw figure, it includes a torso with relatively simple outfit, two arms, two different heads with different helmets, and a very nice oxygen mask with attached hose.
My first impression is that the torso, in particular, is very nicely sculpted. I’m also impressed with the helmets, which are strikingly different. I admit I’m not 100% sure of the purpose of the helmet with the holes, so some research is called for, I think. Oddly, I was struck by the faces, which although not bad from a sculpting standpoint do strike me as a bit odd. One is quite thin and morose looking, and when fitted to the torso actually has quite a gap around the collar, as if he hasn’t been eating very well. The other, fuller face, also has a rather odd expression.
My other niggle is with the general pose which seems rather stiff and wooden, with both hands in grasping mode although only one item is provided for the figure to hold, which is the oxygen mask. The left arm is actually just a hair longer than the other, and since they’re both in pretty much the same pose this difference will be noticeable unless you hike the one arm up the shoulder slightly. Also be VERY careful in removing the oxygen mask and hose as they are extremely delicate. I broke mine but found it a matter of moments to repair.
After all this nitpicking you might be under the impression I don’t like this figure. Far from it. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with this sculpt that an average figure modeler can’t easily fix. The heads can be replaced, as can the hands, and what you essentially
have is a very nicely sculpted jet pilot. So that being, said, on to the painting.
A quick coat of primer, and we’re off. The uniform (if it can be called that) is extremely simple, so painting is a snap. The instructions call for a couple of variants in the color of the overalls, but really, quite a range of colors would be acceptable. As long as the life vest is orange, you’re okay. I went ahead and did both heads and switched the oxygen mask to the other hand, which seemed more natural.
The final result is actually quite pleasing, and will look good next to any modern Soviet aircraft you might have in your inventory. Niggles aside, I am quite pleased with the end result and plan on looking into more of the Aires figure range. My thanks to Aires for providing this figure and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add it to my pilot collection.