Goonhammer Historicals: Victrix Soviet Infantry

Victrix Miniatures are well known for their 28mm output – we’ve covered many of their Medieval, Roman and Napoleonic sets before – but in recent years they’ve expanded out to a new, exciting range of 12mm WW2 sets. With them out in the world and the range picking up steam, it’s time we brought the exacting eye of Goonhammer Historicals to their tiniest models.

Before diving in, we’d like to thank Victrix for sending these over for review.

When I’m reviewing miniatures I make notes as I build and paint. The first note for the new Victrix 12mm Soviet Infantry is “what wizardry allowed them to do this?” and I think that says a lot about the quality of the miniatures Victrix have produced. While attempting to stay away from hyperbole, it’s enough to say these are fantastic miniatures, the best small scale plastics – if not the best small scale miniatures in any material – that I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. If you want to stop here and take that as the entire review recommendation, please, go ahead. If you want WW2 plastics, get these.

Soviet Infantry, Victrix

What you Get

As usual with Victrix models, your set comes in a clear plastic bag with stapled on label. Instead of instructions, the label carries a clear indicator of everything you get in the set, and what you get is, just about, a full Soviet Rifle Company in 1944-45, with a little wiggle room to give you a 1942-44 platoon if you’re building for the mid-war. That means – in one little bag – you get:

72 riflemen
22 sub machine gunners
8 LMGs
4 Snipers
4 Maxim teams
4 Anti-tank Rifle teams
2 lovely big Red Flag bearers
8 Officers (who could also be Commisars)
2 anti-tank mine carriers
10 Ammo carriers for your weapon teams
8 mortars (4 light, 4 heavy)
4 radio operators

These models come on two frames which are repeated in the set, giving you Four infantry and Two Officer/Weapons sprues.

Officer and Heavy Weapon Frame, Victrix Soviet Infantry Credit: Victrix

Infantry Frame, Victrix Soviet Infantry Credit: Victrix

You can split that up neatly into the ’44 TOE for a Rifle Company – two Rifle platoons (Headquarters, 3 Rifle Sections of ten men), an SMG platoon, a Mortar Platoon and Machine gun section, with accompanying Officers and Snipers. As far as I can find, it’s not specifically tied to any single TOE, but it gives you enough to fulfil any game where you’re concerned with vaguely accurate platoon composition. From a quick look at a variety of Chain of Command Army Lists, for example, you’ve got two Soviet Platoons here with enough spare models to form tank rider squads, and plenty of options for support. If you’re playing something where sticking to a TOE isn’t important, or you’re playing in Stalingrad, early Barbarossa or any other point when scraping whatever men and women are on hand and getting them in the front line was the order of the day, you have everything you might need here, and spares to boot.

Command Base, Anti-tank Mine and Political Officer

The only “standard for Wargames” options you don’t have here are combat engineers and flamethrowers. While they might be a nice to have, in my opinion it’s not a major problem and what you get instead – particularly the addition of light and heavy machine guns and mortars more than makes up for this.


The Miniatures

Though you get what could be politely described as “a boatload” of Soviet Infantry in the pack, there’s no compromise on quality to deliver quantity. These are head and shoulders above most other 6-15mm models in terms of their detail, construction and character, and rival what other companies are doing in 28mm. Detail is crisp, elevated and clear, with all belts, straps and pockets sculpted accurately and with sufficient delineation to make them easy to paint even after a coat of primer. Where models are multipart (the Maxim and Mortar teams and one of the anti-tank rifles, construction is intelligent with cut-out base shapes allowing easy assembly without losing detail and accuracy. There’s minimal flash to deal with and on the frames I received it’s only present on the occasional arm stretched out in front or behind the sprue.

There are one or two slightly trickier builds – the prone Maxim team has a delightful belt feed that is fiddly (but worth it) and requires taking your time over – but the majority of the models will be able to be painted and based immediately or, at the most, after a few seconds of clean up. That’s down to precision tooling, excellent sprue layout and those clever multi-part bases allowing realistically proportioned support weapons and three dimensional poses.

All the models are scaled realistically, which is not always the case with smaller scales where heroic hands and heads are often the order of the day. The poses offered are a great mix of dynamic and static, with all models caught in the act of doing something, even if it’s just walking forward. We have Riflemen aiming, sub machine gunners (the detail point where you can clearly make out differences between PPSh-41 magazine types at a realistic scale) leaning back into recoil, snipers (in cloth hats with visible longer hair – a nice touch) and officers doing a variety of tasks – pointing, standing, waving – as they do. While the design of the frames duplicates the same poses, at this scale you’re much less likely to notice that you have four identical LMGs and – especially if you’re playing platoon level games like Chain of Command or Bolt Action with smaller scale miniatures – the sheer number that you get means that you can functionally choose only unique poses for your army.

Pose Variety with Rifle armed infantry – these are just the “walking forward” sculpts

The detail is where these models really stand out, and they’re easily the nicest, best-proportioned small scale miniatures I’ve worked with, for any period, in any scale. They are on another level compared to other popular 10-15mm ranges to an extent I couldn’t quite believe at first – this sounds superlative, but being able to easily pick out individual pockets, collars overlapping rifle straps, clear, realistic face and hand detail at 12mm is phenomenal. To dig into this a bit further, let’s have a look at my favourite two individuals in the kit – the shouldered Degtyaryov LMG and ammo carrier.

LMG team, Victrix Soviet Infantry

Both models are visibly burdened by the weapons and ammo they’re carrying – shoulders slumped, the LMG pressing into uniform and webbing. They’re walking purposefully, but slowly, caught in the act of shifting weight from foot to foot. Their heads are slightly bowed. This is a level of attention to detail that 28mm models sometimes miss – they have a realistic gravity and weight that is just amazing to see.

Basing and Painting

None of that detail gets lost in the painting, and that’s another absolutely unbelievable achievement. When you’re working with incredibly detailed smaller scales, you have to be very careful that shallow detail isn’t obliterated by primer and paint, or that detail is large enough to actually show up. Victrix nails both problems here, and these miniatures are clearly designed for painting and gaming, robust, crisp sculpts that really show what can be done in smaller scales. Significant detail – boots and bloused trousers, straps, gun furniture, etc etc – is large enough to be paintable, while tiny, minor details – collars, equipment straps, hands and fingers – are sunk into the sculpts enough to catch a wash.

Some of my favourite sculpts in the kit

Unlike other smaller scale models I’ve worked with these take a wash after a basecoat very well, and you’re able to let a dark wash in the recesses do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. My usual painting 6mm technique didn’t do them justice though, so I took the time to add some highlights to arms, heads and bedrolls. As always with smaller scales, start a shade lighter than you would at 28mm and work towards lighter colours, so you’re providing clear block colour, helping the models to stand out and catch the eye.

I have painted these up in “classic” Summer uniform colours (with green trousers because I thought this looked fetching and for no other reason) – a light flesh base colour followed by a brown wash, and highlighting up from Vallejo Russian Uniform green for the helmets and trousers. Of course, this being the Red Army in WW2, there isn’t really a single, definitive colour, so a variety of tans, browns and greens have been applied to different pieces of each model to give a strong visual theme but still add some variety.

Undercoat – base colours – dark colours picked out – washed – highlights (and done!)

I based most of these individually on 1p pieces, with weapons teams on 2ps

Using the Soviets

Soviet Rifle Squad, Victrix 12mm

As 12mm models, these are usable in a wide variety of games – large enough to be easily usable for scale-adjusted 28mm offerings like Bolt Action or Chain of Command. Where they’ll be absolutely perfect is for Victrix’ Company Commander and – once I’ve built up an Opfor to test them out – that’s where I’ll be using them. We recommended trying out Company Commander in our review, and I’ll unequivocally add to the recommendation – you should be trying it out with the help of these Soviet Infantry. They’re a lovely kit and, if the quality and variety is indicative of the rest of the 12mm range, WW2 hobbyists are going to be absolutely spoilt by the range as it increases.

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