Special Ops Models is definitely not a mainstream resin figure company. Andy Meyers, the creative force of Special Ops Models, has been providing his talents to the movie and commercial industry since 1989, working with companies such as Universal Studios, Disney, MTV, Stan Winston Studios, Jim Henson and Steven Spielberg… making models and props for movies like “A.I.”, “Spiderman” and “Terminator”.
Andy also loves scale modeling and together with Alan Ball, a well known figure sculptor, he makes some of the best 1/9 figures on the market today. I had the opportunity to review Special Ops Models’ “Modern Navy SEAL” figure (MNS-901) for Historicus Forma, and now I received another review sample based on that same kit: “Modern Navy SEAL (Bust), Iraq/Afghanistan” (MNS-901B)
The figure kit arrived safely packed inside a very firm cardboard box. The kit comprises of 23 resin parts, CNC M4A1 brass flash suppressor, decals, lead foil and black brass mounting rod… all additionally protected inside zip-lock bags. Closer inspection reveals perfect casting of parts; molded in gray resin the pieces are completely clean of any imperfections. Most of the parts do not have casting blocks at all, allowing me to test fit the main parts of the figure. The fit is excellent and, since the figure break up is intelligently engineered, the putty work could be kept to the minimum.
The anatomy of the figure is perfect and the pose very natural. The details are truly amazing; webbing and uniform are great, assault gloves and the helmet look perfect with all the intricate surface details present, tactical vest with PALS loops which feature nice “elastic” texture, the tiny details of the weapon… it is all not only nicely sculpted but also 100% accurate to the real stuff. The head sculpt is wonderful and all the details superbly shaped in an aggressive facial expression.
Most of the equipment in this kit is identical to Special Ops Models’ 1/9 “Modern Navy SEAL” full kit (MNS-901), so a part of this write-up is actually copy/pasted from the in-box review I did for the full “Modern Navy SEAL” figure.
Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) has been worn as a standard uniform of the US Army since 1981. During the years several companies appeared offering customized BDUs; SWG RAID BDU
is one of the most widespread modifications, especially among Special Forces operators. The modifications were added to improve security, functionality and accessibility of the entire BDU system. Modifications include:
- full coverage racer collar with neck ID device,
- forward tilted double layer chest Velcro pocket complex (accessible while wearing open front LBV and underneath chest pocket accessible even while wearing closed body armor),
- double layer shoulder Velcro pocket complex (consisting of main pocket and concealed compartment underneath),
- enlarged loop Velcro panels at cover flap and shoulder pocket body (maximizing the area for patches),
- Cordura fabric reinforced elbows,
- Velcro adjustable wrist cuffs,
- waist D-rings and nylon reinforced belt loops,
- Velcro closure butt pockets,
- Velcro closure expanded cargo pockets,
- small front hip pockets,
- Cordura fabric reinforced knees,
- lower leg pocket with divider,
- shock cord leg cuff closures.
Since sleeves are the only visible part of the uniform on this bust, most of the RAID BDU modifications are not evident… however RAID shoulder pockets are present and very nicely sculpted along with Velcro panels at shoulder pocket body. The figure sports Oakley SI Tactical Gloves
, which feature micro-vented leather palm with high-friction surfacing on palms and fingers for a secure grip, carbon fiber knuckle plating and nose wipe area on thumb. I’m amazed by the amount of perfectly sculpted details on the gloves; those are a real masterpiece and definitely one of the best elements of this bust for me.
The figure is wearing Eagle Industries’ Combat Integrated Releasable Armor System (CIRAS)
, the common carrier choice for US SOCOM. The CIRAS was designed to fit BALCS or SPEAR cut level III soft armor and features PALS webbing, making it MOLLE compatible. The vest incorporates a two cable release system and can be rigged in two different configurations: for land warfare missions or maritime operations. The land warfare configuration uses two separate pull pillows to release the back independently of the shoulders. The reason for this design is simple; if wounded, the back can be released leaving it connected at the shoulders and the vest can be lifted up out of the way during emergency medical treatment. It is then laid back down covering the user and still provides protection while in transport to a medical facility. Once at the facility, medical personnel can pull the second cable and release it from the user at the shoulders without causing any further injuries or trauma. The maritime setup uses the single pull pillow to completely release the vest from the wearer while in the water to prevent accidental drowning. The maritime version of CIRAS vest (MAR-CIRAS) on the figure looks amazing; I have compared the sculpt with the pictures of the real thing and found an excellent match. PALS loops even have a pattern sculpted to them giving them „elastic“ appearance. Velcro strips used for patch attachment also have a nicely sculpted pattern. All the equipment pouches are cast separately from the CIRAS, except for the double pistol magazine pouch and the map/document case on the upper part of the vest. The extra MOLLE equipment
in this kit includes:
- MOLLE Hydration Carrier
- 3x double M4 Magazine Ammo Pouches
- single Pistol Magazine Pouch
- MBITR Radio Pouch
- large MOLLE Pouch
- medium MOLLE Pouch
- utility MOLLE Pouch with side pockets
- 2x Frag Grenade Pouch (one full and the other empty)
MOLLE is a load bearing system which allows each soldier to customize his vest or any other MOLLE compatible platform with a wide variety of pouches to his own preferences. Similarly, as every pouch in this kit is cast separately, each modeler is encouraged to customize the CIRAS vest on this bust with the preferred gear setup. The only precut piece of equipment is the MOLLE Hydration Carrier and it fits to the specific position on the back of the figure.
The figure is wearing Navy SEAL Half-Head ProTec Helmet
. Originally designed for rollerblading, the ProTec helmet is a plastic impact absorbent helmet and has no ballistic properties… however; the helmet is widely used by SOF operatives, especially those involved in maritime, para, VBSS or CQB conditions. The helmet sculpted on this figure looks amazing; accurately shaped and with correctly placed vent holes, the helmet has AN/VIS NVG mount installed at the front and goggle retention strap at the back. Tactical goggles are sculpted on the helmet and the adjustable goggle strap features very nicely rendered elastic texture appearance.
In 1994, US Army adopted the Colt Model 720 selective-fire carbine (basically, a shortened M16A2 rifle) as the US M4 Carbine. The weapon was much more handy and comfortable to carry than the long M16A2 rifle, so the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) designated the M4 as a universal weapon for the Special Operations community. M4 was soon modified with the M16A3-style flat-top receiver with integral Picatinny-type accessory rail instead of the M16A2 integral carrying handle. This modification was designated as M4A1 and the only difference between the M4A1 and M4 is that the trigger unit of M4A1 is modified to fire full-auto instead of the three shots bursts in M4.
The M4A1 carbine
included in this kit looks really good. It consists of 4 beautifully sculpted resin parts and CNC brass flash suppressor. The resin parts include: the receiver, the buttstock, front part with handguard and EOTech Red Dot Sight.
The M4A1 receiver looks great. Comparing the receiver part with the pictures of the real thing I found all the details present… bolt catch, selector switch, charging handle, forward assist knob, ejection port cover, magazine catch button and the magazine itself… it’s all there. Picatinny rail system on top of the receiver is nicely sculpted and it is the place of attachment for EOTech optical sight. EOTech Red Dot Sight is accurately represented in scale but is, unfortunately, the only M4A1 “gizmo” accessory included in the kit. The M4A1 buttstock also carries all the necessary details along with the anti-slip pattern on back side of the buttstock. The stock release lever is used to extend the buttstock; if you like, you can simulate different stock extensions by modifying the length of the main buttstock tube. The M4A1 front part of upper receiver consists of a barrel, handguard and front sight. The standard plastic handguard is nicely detailed as well as the very delicate front sight. Brass flash suppressor looks amazing and it fits firmly to the shortened M4A1 barrel.
I also have to mention the Tactical Sling included in the kit. It is a very nicely sculpted one-point sling that attaches to M4A1. The instructions on how to soften the sling and shape it to desired form are included in the kit.
The M4A1 sculpted for this bust is a piece of art; the amount of details on the weapon is amazing and the casting is perfect. All the parts fit really well and there is almost no chance of misaligning the pieces. However, I wish Special Ops Models re-used the Rail Interface System (RIS) handguards supplied in the full figure Navy SEAL kit instead of the standard handguard. RIS equipped with some of the SOPMOD extras would probably look more “SEAL-ish”.
There are some very nice extras in this kit... A separate zip-lock bag includes decal sheet and lead foil for detailing the figure as well as the black brass bust mounting rod. The decal sheet includes US flag patches (both subdued and full colored ones), blood type patches, Calico Jack pirate patch, EOD patch and two morale patches (Suck Meter and Fun Meter). The decals should be applied to lead foil in order to give patches some thickness and then positioned to appropriate Velcro strips on the figure… you can get the feeling of decal placement by browsing the Internet and finding some pictures of SF operatives in Iraq.
I must admit I was never a big fan of busts… I always wondered why anyone would want to paint only a part of the figure instead of the full figure. Special Ops Models’ “Navy SEAL” is the first bust in my collection and I have to say it changed my perception of busts completely.
This bust looks amazing; it is naturally posed, extremely well cast and with incredible amount of details. The head sculpt looks magnificent with the facial details very nicely shaped. All the equipment is accurately reproduced with ProTec helmet and Oakley Tactical Gloves particularly nicely rendered. I also like the separately casted MOLLE pouches and the idea of customizing the gear on the figure’s vest to my own preferences. The weapon looks great in this scale with brass flash suppressor as a very nice touch. Addition of decals, lead foil and brass mounting rod is a final touch from Special Ops Models, making this “multimedia” bust kit a real winner!
More pictures of the bust can be found on Special Ops website:
“The US Navy SEALs”, David Jordan, Grange Books
“Special Forces”, David Miller, Salamander Books
“Special Forces in Iraq”, Eric Micheletti, Histoire and Collections
“Battle Rattle”, Hans Halberstadt, Zenith Press