by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
The line of OIF figures originally available from Think 180 Studios has now (re)appeared under the MIG Productions. The figure in review is another welcome come-back and depicts a standing Marine RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) in a relaxed pose working the comms, during the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Another easily recognized feature of the early OIF period is the JSLIST protective garment, used while there was still concern about the possible use of biological & chemical weapons by forces loyal to Hussein.
The figure is nicely packed in a clear plastic clam-shell container with a single zip-lock bag holding the resin parts. For a single figure the packaging has a lot of parts, but since the container space is relatively small, there is no play of loose parts in the packaging, but due to the number of parts there is the danger of breaking of some the smaller parts.
Featured in the packaging, is the very nice “box-art” leaflet with the figure painted by Artur Miniszewski. This is also noted on the packaging as well as the name of the figure master builder, Jeff Meckley. A very nice touch is the addition of the picture on the back, showing the built and painted figure from behind, which will ease painting as no instructions or paint guides are provided. On the back you can also find a date which I guess is the manufacturing date (in my sample it says 17th November, 2011.)
The RTO is comprised of 15 parts molded in cream resin. The parts are as following:
• Left arm
• Right arm
• Length of steel wire
• Length of copper wire
• 6 pouches
• 2 canteens
The resin itself is cream colored, which obscures visible details which you know are there. They are kind of hard to see. I wish that resin manufacturers would use the gray color which lets you immediately know what you’re looking at. It also feels a bit greasy due to the mold release agent.
A standing, relaxed pose is depicted with the figure using the radio handset in the left hand and holding the primary weapon in the right. This pose is useful for lots of situations, either as a stand-alone vignette or part of a larger diorama with a number of figures. Due to casuals posture of the figure, I think it could be used for marine squad tactical meetings or a brief pause after the battle. It is versatile for such a relatively in-mobile figure pose.
The helmet is the PASGT(Personal Armor System for Ground Troops) type, also known as the “Kevlar”, “K-Pot”, or “Fritz”. It was first fielded to U.S. military units in the early 1980’s. The helmet is available in five sizes, provides ballistic protection for the head from fragmenting munitions. It is a one piece structure composed of multiple layers of Kevlar 29 ballistic fiber and phenolic PVB resin. It is removed from the service but was still fielded with the start of OIF. The helmet is nicely molded and features a camouflage canvas cover and goggles, but no straps on the inside. Also featured is a dust cover attached to the retention strap on the helmet.
SWDG(Sun, Wind and Dust Goggles)goggles are simple in design: one piece lens on a rubber frame. This design dates back to WW II. For years they’ve been the standard goggles providing basic environmental protection. In recent decades they have been improved to provide ballistic and then laser eye protection. SWDGs are worn both by soldiers who need prescription eyeglasses and those who don’t. The goggles consist of an injection molded rubber frame with a polyurethane foam backing with a skin that contacts the face. The rubber frame holds the lens while the foam provides a seal between the face and goggle frame. The goggle is compatible with standard military prescription eyewear. Flannel covered vent holes allow some ventilation while keeping dust out. Two snap fasteners provide additional lens retention in the frame. The goggles are molded in solid resin and will take effort in hollowing them out and using clear plastic or epoxy to fill them or nice painting skills.
This figure is one of the rare figures that properly depicts JSLIST(Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology) clothing although it is also known as MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) suit. The JSLIST ensemble is a set of over-garments that provides both vapor and liquid protection against chemical and biological agents, radioactive fallout particles, and battlefield contaminants. The JSLIST ensemble is specified for wear in MOPP 1 through MOPP 4 conditions and is intended to be used with the Joint Service General Purpose Mask (JSGPM) or the M40/M42/MCU-2/P series masks for complete protection.
The JSLIST garment's outer shell is 50/50 cotton/nylon poplin rip-stop fabric with a durable water-repellent finish. The material is flexible and can breathe without losing any protection. The JSLIST liner consists of a non-woven front laminated to activated carbon spheres and bonded to a tricot knit back that absorbs chemical agents. The JSLIST suit weighs only 5.6 pounds, 15% lighter and 60% less bulky than its predecessors. Depending on the temperature and mission, the JSLIST over-garment may be worn over the standard duty uniform, over underwear, or over/under cold weather garments.
The JSLIST waist-length coat has an integral hood, a zipper covered by a Velcro flap, enclosed extendable elastic draw-cord hem with jacket retention cord, full-length sleeves with Velcro wrist closure adjustment tabs, and an outside expandable pocket with flap on the left sleeve.
The JSLIST trousers have expandable pockets, adjustable suspenders and adjustable waistband. They also have a front zipper opening with a protective flap, and a bellows pocket with flap located on each thigh. Each leg opening has Velcro ankle adjustment tabs.
Everything about the JSLIST suit is molded adequately and all the folds and creases look natural and fall heavy just like do in reality. A butt pack is also molded on the figure’s back as well as the radio backpack and a gas mask pouch.
The radio pack is very realistic in appearance. It is angled down as it’s depicting a heavy load on the back and the canvas cover is entirely closed so you can’t really tell the type of the radio set, but probably one of the AN/PRC family radio sets like the 113, 117 or the 150.
Also molded on the torso of the figure is the IBA (Interceptor Body Armor),one of the latest modern body armor series fielded by the US military. IBA replaced the older fragmentation protective Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops and features two modular components; the outer tactical vest and small-arms protective plates which can stop 7,62mm rounds. IBA is equipped with MOLLE-compatible webbing loops on the front and back which permit modular attachment of other equipment to the vest. IBA weighs only 16.4 pounds, providing more mobility to the wearer. The MOLLE loops are nicely molded and will stand out with a decent paint job.
The head is nicely molded and comes molded with the appropriate helmet straps. The face is slightly generic, but features facial features of an RTO communicating so it gives a certain dose of realism. Some tiny flash is present on the back, but absolutely nothing obscures the details.
Again the biggest letdown on this figure is the weapon as with the SEAL figure. The assault rifle is the same type as the previously reviewed figure, USMC M-16A2 variant. The barrel is slightly warped due to the thinness of the part and doesn’t have a drilled out end. The front sight is extremely thin and almost transparent and on top of that has flash inside which will be a real piece of work to clean out. The hand guard is nicely molded with some hints of a delta ring on the end. Now for the questionable part - the entire receiver setup (lower and upper) with the carrying handle looks very soft in detail. There is also flash present so this is also something considering the minute size of everything. The pistol grip looks somewhat undersized also. The stock looks like it’s not really flat and straight. In the end, I’m really not impressed by the weapon, but fortunately there are many replacement options out there, from spare parts from other figures, dedicated plastic weapon sets (like Trumpeters new guns in styrene) or the HQ resin parts from various manufacturers like Live Resin.
The hands are nicely molded. Every part looks very nice molded and doesn’t feature seam lines, bubbles or other imperfections. The left hand is molded with the handset so it eases the process of fitting one more part in the right position. The other hand is in a relaxed position holding the assault rifle and has some flash present on the fingers so caution will be needed not to snap them off while cleaning the part.
The pouches provided are:
• 1X ALICE (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) small arms ammunition case
• 1X ALICE field first aid dressing/un-mounted magnetic compass case
• 4X MOLLE II (Modular Lightweight Load Equipment) double magazine ammo pouches
• 1X Gas mask pouch (molded on the figures left leg)
This figure is great for the very interesting early OIF period. It was a part of an on-going series that was sculpted under the Think-180 label and later sold off to MIG Productions. There aren’t any other figures that I know that have JSLIST gear and I wish MIG would release all of those and continue the series. The molding is great; just swap the weapon for something a bit better in my opinion. Casting is flawless as well with only minor flash present but nothing much.
This is a very interesting figure and can be used in a variety of dioramas with other figures from the MIG line-up or as a standalone figure. This is recommended definitely if you are interested in this time-frame of the OIF.