A bit late to the build on this one, being that it’s almost 2.5 years old now. But when you’re at home sick with COVID, you grab something of the to-do shelf, and get building.
Lets get into this.
The original promo pics can be seen here. Soldier Story SS107 Iraq Special Operations Forces ISOF - SAW GUNNER
There are also a few video unboxing reviews on YouTube. One from a Russian reviewer was quite good, but there was no dialogue, so watching some of his tricks were handy. Since there were no typed ones, here we go.
The packaging is quite nice, and is typical of Soldier Story’s newer releases. A sleeve over box. Some photos on the sleeve to aid in building the figure if you can see the smaller pics well enough. Inside there are 3 molded plastic trays which have all the bits inside.
The figure. Nice looking uniform, and the body has decent stiff joints. I believe this uniform is similar to the Chinese desert camo pattern, and may have been sourced from there. Nice darker desert digital camo pattern.
The head sculpt and paint is quite good. My only real complaint is the eyelash painting on the lower eyelid. That looks weird. It’s the only real flaw in a great head sculpt. From what I have seen, this head and body was quite popular loose, and it’s because it not only fills a gap in current middle eastern type heads, but it looks good too, so that makes it worthwhile to have. I believe it is the same head on the SS105 version figure as well.
The body is a slightly darker toned plastic than usual Caucasian bodies. Nice feature. And the hands are painted a darker tone as well, but are a bit on the pinkish side for my liking, when compared to the head. None of the tones are the same though, so it looks a bit odd when you see them together.
Black t-shirt under the uniform.
Padded undersuit under the T-shirt.
Strange clear inserts in the kneepad area. They are clearly meant to hold the kneepads on, and pegs on the kneepads insert into the holes in the clear inserts. Interesting design, but the execution is a hassle to use. The best way to use this would be to make two small holes in the uniform itself, and press the kneepad pegs through the holes into the clear inserts. It’s the only way to make it work without looking odd. I couldn’t get the kneepads on and looking normal any other way.
The promo pics even show the uniform with no kneepads at all. So why bother. If you want the kneepads on the pants, you can find a way to make it work. Otherwise, leave then off, and figure out a way to get the clear inserts out of the pants. I also spent a good half hour trying to manipulate those clear inserts, and couldn’t get them out. It appears they are sewn into the pants. What an annoying design feature.
Again, the padded undersuit. It’s a full belly/underwear affair. When I see a part like this, I start to think forward to the rest of the build. Past figures, both Soldier Story, and other brands have done this padding feature to bulk up the body. It usually means the other gear is going to fit oddly or not at all if it’s too tight.
At this time, it’s a good point to stop, and take a good look at all the parts to see how they will fit together. Trying to put all the parts together may end up being a real hassle if the gear and clothing all fit too snugly. Take your time, and plan the build. By now all the parts are out of the box, and this figure has A LOT of parts. Pick what you want to do, and move ahead with that plan.
Merrell hiking boots. Love these boots. I wish I had put some effort into trying to get some more of these loose. They are awesome in hand. Lots of extra laces. For this build I stuffed them up the pant legs as usual.
The tactical softshell jacket. Nicely sewn. Good material. Fits well enough on the body. I would have preferred the jacket without the silkscreen printing on the back myself. Especially with the lack of unit motifs on the print. Just a design with no writing. But it will be covered by the vest/body armour later on. Or if you use it for something else, a plate carrier would work to cover it up. Printing in black would have been better than the white used. I digress… personal preferences.
The jacket is a nice part. Is it relevant to the figure? Not really. And with the added bulk issues that are going to be likely, it’s a part that’s a bit irrelevant to the set. As a side note to this, Soldier Story likes to use reference pics for most of their military figures, and does good at keeping them accurate. I have yet to see this jacket used in that unit. I am sure there must be a ref pic somewhere for it, but I haven’t seen it yet.
Following with the body padding direction, I opted to leave this jacket off the build. If you want to use it, remove the padded undersuit from the body. You’ll thank me later.
Lots of badges. A search of the actual unit shows they do use a lot of badges.
Saddle style figure stand.
Knee and elbow pads. Neither are shown in the promo pics. If you have more patience than I do, you may figure out how to make these work on the uniform. Otherwise, they are a complete waste of time and effort. Stuff them into the pouches and move on.
Skull blalclava. The SS105 gets an actual skull mask. I like the mask more than this particular balaclava. It’s a design thing. It has an odd seam at the top of the head. Some folks like the balaclava, and it’s made well.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend leaving this balaclava on the head for too long. If the dye hasn’t been set on the material, it could transfer dye to the head, and ruin that head sculpt. Take your pictures, then remove the balaclava, just to be safe.
This version of the ISOF figure gets a unit specific black ball cap. SS105 gets a black helmet with tan rails. Ball caps are odd, and don’t always fit. This one is no exception, it’s a bit big, and ends up fitting over the ears. And the unit badge is off centered on my example. Just like real ball caps, they can fit funny, and sometimes have the graphics out of place. For me though, it’s a failed part. Ball caps in this scale are just tricky to get done right.
Random elbow pad area picture, with no way to attach elbow pads…
On to the Paralete RAV tactical vest. You’ll spend some time with this vest, adding pouches and gear. For sake of copying the promo pics, I put all the gear on. But as mentioned before, plan your build, and then you only need to assemble what you want.
Here is where you choose your main weapon. SAW or LAR-15. And the pouches that go with the vest. If you add it all like I did, the vest is going to get really bulky, really fast. Not all the parts are in this picture. And there are a lot of parts.
The vest and gear are all made very well. I’ll address some fit issues in the vest build up later. The last time Soldier Story made a vest like this, it was also quite a bulky piece. I seem to recall this being made for a few other figures as well, or a similar style vest. The old USMC MSOB comes to mind. All those nice sewing details add a bulk to the vest that doesn’t really translate well in scale. The only way to fix it would be to use a thinner material. But that thinner material damages much easier. There’s always some give and take in this area. At the end of the day, we have a great looking vest, that’s well sewn.
Back side of the leg dropdown.
M249 SAW (metal). I forgot to take pics of it. Oops.
Typical Soldier Story SAW. It has all the appropriate moving bits. Charging handle works, Top cover should open. I didn’t try to force mine open. It probably means it won’t close afterward, but it usually does open, according to SAWs from previous sets. Bipod opens. You can probably put an optic on the top rail, but one is not included. The 200 round plastic ammo boxes fall off easily. The port to use STANAG magazines works, and will fit both style mags in the set.
There is only one short ammo belt, and one long ammo belt that is supposed to be looped around the waist. It would be nice if there were 4 short belts, one for each ammo box. I would have traded that ball cap for more ammo belts.
The details of the metal SAW are not as nice as molded plastic versions on the market. Neat feature, but the detail is lacking.
A nice big padded sling rounds out the parts. I’ll add pics as soon as I can.
As a note of caution, the bipod has a small pin holding it on to the front of the SAW. Mine was very loose and fell out, which made it a pain for posing. It looks like this piece below. Keep your eyes peeled for this if it falls out. It’s tricky to put back in as well.
The LAR-15. Looks like your standard M4 configuration. Aimpoint Comp M4 optic, Surefire forward grip/light combo. AN/PEQ2 laser. All standard fare. Black sling. x3 STANAG mags, and x4 PMAGs. Everything fits well and looks good. All the regular moving parts move like they should. The rear takedown pin is a bit loose, and fell out, and the rifle came apart. So I took a few pics. Nice molding details and printing on the parts.
I am wondering if the LAR-15 is a semi-auto version only. There is no Auto on the selector switch. SAFE says SAVE. Is that on purpose or a design mold error?
EDIT; as pointed out by @chpo, the locking ring and the upper handguard are in fact different on this LAR-15, than the other one in the SS105 set. Good eyes sir. This one has a rounded off locking ring. The other is more of a standard M4 style ring.
M92F Beretta Pistol. Again pretty standard fare. I was messing around with the moving parts, and the pin in the middle fell out as well. After a couple wiggles, the pistol came apart completely. I did not realize there were that many pieces to one of these Soldier Story pistols. And it’s a bit of a puzzle to put back together.
When the slide was pushed back, the hammer broke off from the frame.
Grips and safety lever are glued on as well. The hole just forward (above) the trigger is where the pin fell out.
The bottom part of the hammer is down under the horizontal pin. If the grips weren’t glued on, that pin would also be removable.
All the bits from inside the M92F. Not the broken ring on the hammer. That is from pushing the slide back. The hammer may have been glued in place by accident, or just really tight. That broke the ring off the bottom.
Barrel and guide rod.
The small wedge shaped bit looks like it goes here, but has to fit on the barrel assembly first.
Barrel and guide rod with “T”-shaped piece (groove only fits one way on the “T”-shaped part, already forgot which way it goes…), wedge shaped bit at the bottom, then fit it all into the slide. Push together.
Line up the hole. And insert pin through frame and barrel/guide assembly.
Insert broken hammer.
Voila! back together.
So, it you don’t have to do it, don’t take it apart. If you must take it apart, don’t lose any of those super small parts, and don’t forget where they go. If you do forget… refer to these pics for assembly. Learn from my mistakes.
Accessories. Glow sticks, yellow and red, zip cuffs x2, red handle shears, blue training smoke grenade, M18 Yellow Smoke grenade, lanyard, Gerber LMF knife and sheath, M67 Fragmentation Grenade x3 (one shown), carabiners x3, multi-tool, tourniquet (not pictured).
Multi-tool details. Moving handles.
Lanyard details. Loop through itself at the loop end, and pull pin back to release the locking end. Close then push in the pin.
Vest build up details. Again, choose your build, and add the pouches you need. This guy would not be going into battle carrying the LAR-15 and the SAW. So he wouldn’t need all the pouches.
Loop panel for the MAST antenna holder. Missing the MAST logo on the part. Shown in the promo pics, but not on this example.
All the soft pouches have long straps. So you can trim the pouch straps back after figuring out the length, or tuck the excess straps back under the pouches.
5.56 FASTMAG pouches x4. These straps are just barely the right length. I suspect if they aren’t glued just right at assembly time, that will cause issues to the ends not being able to be looped through the MOLLE loops on the vest, and go over the pegs on the bottom of the pouches. I could only get 2 of the 4 to work.
Grenade pouch and double pistol mag pouch are looped under the elastics on the FASTMAGs. Not ideal, but it works.
Full vest build up with all the stuff you’ll never need.
Not sure why this figure came with spare shotgun shells and holder. That would have been better used on the SS105 version. Support equipment? Nice, but not really needed.
Lots of badges and pouches.
Back of the vest.
It’s not shown, but try and add the headset/PTT switch onto the vest at this time. It’s tricky to get the clip on when the vest is put on the figure. Small stud on the PRC-152 radio is for the antenna cord, the larger stud is for the headset/PTT cord. The cord for the PTT/headset is loose and doesn’t stay attached to the radio.
Small pouches are for M67 grenades. The blue training smoke grenade is held on through the MOLLE loops with the spoon.
Inside details of the RAV. At this point I will mention I left the armour plates out. They add to the bulk of the vest, and limit the movement. If you remove padding from the figure, that might work better with the plates in the vest. So would leaving off some pouches for your preferred build.
Damaged MOLLE loop, during the fitting process. Most likely a sewing flaw, as it appears to have pulled out from under the seam edging.
Also, with the bulk of this vest, it is difficult to get this zipper done up again when you put it on the body. It’s really tight. The damaged MOLLE Loop is from handling and putting on pouches, but could have easily come from trying to get the RAV on the body with how tight it is.
Another example of the knee pad issues. It should be on the outside of the pants. but there are no holes matching up with that clear insert inside. There isn’t a way to make this work without modification.
Posing of the figure with different gear on. LAR-15 and ball cap.
Kneeling pose. Works pretty well.
Pose with SAW and balaclava.
Notice the fit of the headset. It’s big over the head. And the headset is not adjustable. So there is a big gap under the balaclava. It’s not as noticeable with the ball cap, but it’s still big. and the headset/PTT cord is too loose, so it keeps falling off the radio connector.
Notice the goofy kneepads.
Big green bag can hold a SAW ammo box. So can the leg dropdown. I can’t see that leg dropdown being used for that purpose, due to the weight involved in real life. Good for a blowout kit or water bottles maybe.
Outdoor pics. Nice to get some natural light.
Well, the past 3-4 years have been a bit of a rough road for Soldier Story. Delays and issues with quality control have been a bit of a problem. This figure release from fall two and a half ago is no exception. It has problems. Things that should have been easily fixed before the figure was released. But weren’t addressed. The knee and elbow pads are a waste of effort. The ball cap is a smaller issue, but on my figure, it’s a part that just doesn’t quite work right. The radio headset being too big, making it a hassle to use and pose is a problem, and the headset/PTT cord connection to the radio keeps falling off as it’s too loose. Missing short ammo belts. The SAW… my advice is to dump the old metal version, and go back to a molded plastic version, with better fitting pieces, and better detail. But it’s been around for a long time, so I doubt Soldier Story will replace it any time soon. The varying skin tones of the head, body and hands.That’s more than I am used to seeing for big flaws. EDIT; Also, this is the first Soldier Story I have seen in a long time that didn’t have a set of gloved hands as well, or bendy hands with fabric gloves. You just get the one pair of hands, and the left hand is an odd pose for gripping.
Is it a total loss? No. There is a good side to this figure. It has a lot of parts. More than you really need for a figure. And it’s nice to have some options on what gear you would want to use. That gives it some bang for the buck. It’s nice to have a good Middle Eastern head sculpt available. The uniform fits well, and is a newer pattern not used by Soldier Story before, and not really seen on similar Chinese military figures. Almost all the accessories are of a good manufacture. Two main weapons to choose from, with all the trimmings (or most of them). Even some spare bits you probably won’t use, like that jacket. And if you check out the ref pics of this unit, you will notice these guys do tend to go into the fight with a bit more gear than normally seen, so you do get the option to load this guy up as you see fit.
If you’ve already built it, you know what I am talking about. If you have yet to crack it open, go for it. It’s a nice original figure, and a good subject, and it will make for a good addition to any multinational military figure shelf.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Feel free to add any impressions, photos and feedback of your own.
EDIT, fixed all my typos and errors.