Airborne Miniatures of Poland has produced yet another great 120mm modern U.S. figure—this one representing an U.S. Army soldier in Afghanistan. Unlike what the box photo shows, the kit doesn’t come with a base, but does come with the following:
· One torso with molded-on pouches
· Legs and waist
· Two arms
· Two hands
· Two boots
· One-piece M4 SOPMOD carbine
· M9 pistol in holster
· Two ALICE ammo pouches (no grenades)
· Two canteens
· Two smoke grenades
· Two Flexcuffs
· No base included
The white resin is of the high-density impact type and feels more like plastic than resin. The pieces have a nice solid feel and weight to them. I couldn’t see any air bubbles on the pieces but can see the crisp details and beautiful craftsmanship of the wrinkles.
The figure wears the Eagle Load Bearing Vest (similar to DML’s 1/16th Delta Force) with four magazine pouches on top and two hand grenade pouches on the bottom and what seems to be the Interceptor Body Armor vest minus collar and groin protector under the LBV. The Eagle LBV has attachment points to allow ammo pouches to be fastened to it via ALICE clips.
Construction will be easier than Airborne Miniatures’s 120mm USMC Force Recon figure since the pouches are already molded onto the torso. Essentially, this kit consists of two arms, hands, head, helmet, torso, legs, boots, gear, gun = done! The only extras this kit has are two ALICE M16 ammo pouches (not shown in the box photo) and as such, this kit is priced lower than Airborne Miniatures’s USMC Force Recon kit.
The head is molded very well but as with the Force Recon, the neck is tapered to fit into the torso. Therefore, if one desires to kitbash another company’s head into the torso, one has to taper that neck to a wedge. The eyebrows are molded in a squinting appearance as if the figure is staring into a bright horizon. The face has no distinguishing features to denote any ethnic race so paint the skin tone as you wish. The shallow serious frown is evident and adds a nice touch of personality to the facial complexion.
The helmet has a molded-on mounting bracket for a night vision goggle (a “first”) but no goggle is included so this is clearly a daytime figure (unless one uses the AN/ PVS-17 goggle and mount from the USMC Force Recon figure). I test-fitted a Verlinden Kevlar helmet to the head and the fit is perfect so it’s possible to use the Verlinden 120mm helmet with goggles as a substitute if so desired (see my Verlinden “120mm Modern U.S. Infantry Gear” review on this site). It should be noted that the Airborne Miniatures helmet isn’t the same as the Verlinden helmet.
Also keep in mind if one has the Airborne Miniatures 120mm USMC Force Recon figure, one can use the extra SPEAR torso and ammo vest pouches from that kit for this figure.
The boots are well molded and have pins that fit neatly into the holes at the bottom of the legs.
The M4 SOPMOD carbine is an outstanding one-piece cast complete with four rails around the forward barrel handguard. Molded in place on the top rail (the desired position according to my references) is definitely the AN/PAQ-4C Infrared Aiming Laser. The piece is missing a bit of surface details but the shape is correct and I’m just glad someone made it (a “first”). An Aimpoint COMP-M Red-dot Reflex sight is mounted on the rail over the receiver. The firing hand is molded on the trigger grip of the M4 and the other hand is molded holding the forward vertical grip.
The only issue I see is that the M9 thigh holster looks a bit too skinny (the box photo shows this). It’s hard to tell if the M9 barrel would actually fit inside the holster or not. Nonetheless, a little putty or a sheet of styrene should thicken the holster so this error is easily correctable. (Note: Verlinden always cast their 120mm M9 holsters for the left thigh so replacing the Airborne Miniatures right-thigh M9 holster is not an option).
The gear consists of two canteens, two ALICE M16 ammo pouches (which Yahoo! photos show that they are still used in Afghanistan even with the SPEAR vest), a buttpack, two smoke grenades, and two resin Flexcuffs. One has to bend the Flexcuffs in hot water to get the desired loop, or since the resin is thin enough, once can just superglue the strip into the desired loop.
The four vest pouches can hold six M4 magazines (180 rounds), which is a standard load but since this figure is in a combat environment, the sculptor gave the figure even more rounds. After all, the figure is Army infantry and should have more ammo than any other U.S. military counterpart! Therefore, I find the two ALICE ammo pouches a nice bonus since three magazines along with two hand grenades can fit in each ALICE pouch. The ALICE grenade pouches are molded as droopy (thus empty) but given the long engagement ranges the U.S. forces fought under in the mountains, I think the only grenades tossed were 40mm ones. Airborne Miniatures saw and addressed the ammo need and environment appropriately—a commendable observation.
(Note: Verlinden’s “120mm Modern U.S. Infantry Gear” kit has ALICE M16 pouches that have filled hand grenade pouches. The Verlinden kit also has an M7 bayonet scabbard if anyone wants a knife for the figure (that is if the figure has any free web belt space left over to glue it on). Again, given the vast combat engagement ranges in Afghanistan, I doubt a bayonet got much combat use).
CONCLUSION & REFERENCES
The best aspect I like about this figure is that the figure makes sense and really does depict an actual fighting man. It’s just another case of the figure having “brains” and the figure sculptor having a very smart brain when he designed this figure. The pose is somewhat relaxed but serious enough—a guardian on duty. The gear is sufficient for the soldier, indicating that the figure can go into action at a moment’s notice. The combat load is impressive: Six magazines in the Eagle vest and three in each ALICE pouch = 12 M4 magazines total (360 stowed rounds, 390 including the M4) and two hand grenades! This is double the 5.56mm amount of the standard load and that isn’t even including any ammo one might imagine that’s stowed in the buttpack! Thus, this figure is heavily armed and armored, a typical U.S. Army infantryman. The hands are in the correct places, the trigger finger away from the trigger and the other hand clutching the vertical handgrip; if the grip’s there, why not use it?
The squinting and frowning facial expression is phenomenally well done. Who knows what “he” is thinking or looking at.
Very highly recommended for the price and yet another “historical figure modeling event.”
Photo by Airborne Miniatures via Mark Lin. Posted with permission. Eagle LBV info by Mark Lin.
· Pushies, Fred J. “Weapons of Delta Force.” St. Paul: MBI Publishing, 2002.
· “Kaufman’s West Military Surplus Catalog” (out of business)
· ITT Industries Night Vision brochure