by: Pat McGrath [ ]
IntroductionThis set has been on Allied modelers wish lists for a long time. True there are some US tank riders in resin, but what has been needed is an affordable set in plastic.
Whatís in the boxThis is a four figure set made using Dragonís Gen2 technology. There are 6 plastic sprues in the box. The two large sprues contain the parts for the figures. One sprue is for the additional equipment and three weapon sprues. Also included is an etched brass fret containing helmet straps and weapon slings. The instructions are one sheet with colour views by Ron Volstad of the back and front of each figure showing where each part goes.
The figures depicted are 3 riflemen and a BAR gunner, two kneeling, two sitting with one leg outstretched. They all wear the M43 Combat Uniform and two buckle boots. There is disputed evidence of the M43 tunic's use in the Normandy campaign as it had been released to some units in Italy in late 1943 so some may have found their way to troops in Normandy. It wasn't seen in great numbers in the ETO until September of '44 and it never fully replaced the M41 Parson's jacket by the end of the war.
Each of the riflemen has a bandoleer of ammunition as well a rifle belt and suspenders and a gas mask bag slung as a haversack. The BAR gunner is provided with a BAR ammunition belt.
The figures are made up of 19 separate parts each, that is before adding the helmet or any equipment. The breakdown of parts is as follows: the torso is made up of two parts Ėfront and back, a separate collar for the tunic and separate shoulder straps, the usual two part Gen2 head and separate arms and hands. The skirt is made up of four separate parts; the legs are also separate with two separate boots. There are mold seam lines but they don't look too prominent.
The inclusion of the two part head common to Gen 2 sets has always been a mystery to me. The separate parts donít add any detail and cleaning up the seam has seemed too much trouble when there are replacement heads available. On other sets the helmet strap can be used to disguise the seam but US soldiers never seemed to wear their chinstraps down so I guess Iíll be replacing these too.
EquipmentThe equipment is provided in separate pieces and there is plenty of it. On the figure sprues each figure is provided with an M1 helmet covered with a small mesh helmet net, though the net detail is not as sharp as the CAD image on the box side would lead you to believe. The ammo bandoleers come in three separate pieces. The gas mask bags and entrenching tools are also on the sprue. The bayonets provided seem to be of the Mark Four type designed for the M1 carbine and not the longer bayonet for the Garand. There are also fragmentation and smoke grenades on the figure sprue.
The rest of the equipment comes on a separate sprue, is all nicely molded with minimal seams and sharp detail and includes canteens, aid pouches, and what look like shotgun pouches to me. Also provided are alternative ammunition pouches including Thompson pouches, M1 carbine, and pistol ammunition pouches as well as three holstered Colt .45s. There are also 6 spare M1 helmets without netting.
The rifle ammo and BAR pouches come as separate pieces to be glued along side each other on the figures belt. The problem with this is that they always sit proud of the surface and allowance is made for fitting them to the torso. In one way this is good in case the modeler chooses to leave them off he has no filling to do but if he chooses to fit them he may have some carving to do to make them sit naturally.
Weapons The weapons provided are four Garand rifles with separate open or closed breeches. Each rifle comes with six separate ammo clips. There is a nicely detailed BAR with two separate magazines and two separate handles to show it raised for carrying or lowered to the side. The BAR also has a three piece bi-pod but most BAR gunners seemed to remove the bi-pod in service. We also get an M1 carbine with six separate magazines and a Thompson SMG with two detailed magazines.
Finally to the etched fret of slings and straps; although the parts are numbered, no information is given on the instructions as to how they go together so the modeler with have to pay particular attention to his references.
Conclusion This is a very good and useful set and with a bit of ingenuity and spare parts the modeler can do a lot with these figures. I hope to do a full build feature with these figures soon so we'll see then how they go together.
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