The contribution of the US Army to World War II is very widely documented and needs no restating here. By 1945 the army was the best equipped and most powerful on the planet, and over 11 million would serve in its ranks between 1941 and 1945. Several sets of figures have already been produced depicting these GIs, with pretty fair results, so one important question to be answered here is what does this set bring to the party?
At first glance the poses all look entirely reasonable, and that's because they are. We quite liked the last figure in the second row, holding his firearm up, and the standing figure in the bottom row, mainly because such a pose is quite rare in this hobby. However 'quite liked' is about as good as it gets. There is very little action here; very little to suggest the men are really in the thick of battle and attempting to get at the enemy while also finding cover. We always like to see kneeling poses in a set of this period, and this set has several, so things are by no means bad, but there is nothing to get the pulse racing or the interest stimulated. For some that might be a very good thing, in which case they will be happy, but for those looking for something a bit more dramatic there is little here.
Photos of US infantry of the time suggest a wide range of clothing and a frequently rather shabby look, which is hardly surprising. This kind of look is seldom captured in sets of plastic figures, and that is true here too as all the men are wearing virtually the same uniform. The classic M1 helmet is worn by all, sometimes with netting and sometimes without, although there is no evidence of the straps for the helmet or liner on anyone. All wear a jacket which from the length and arrangement of pockets seems to be the arctic field jacket. However we very much doubt that that was the intention, as this garment hardly justifies a full set of figures wearing it, even though it was available throughout the war. No, our guess is these men are supposed to be wearing the M1941 field jacket, commonly known as the Parsons jacket, which was much the most common form of jacket in the early part of the war. However if so then it is rather too long in the body, as the original was no more than hip length. Apart from that it matches the Parsons jacket well, which would be valid for any part of the war, but more so the earlier years. The men all wear trousers which show no signs of any pockets, and they all wear the M1938 canvas leggings which were standard kit for those early war years.
The webbing is somewhat variable, with some of the men such as the BAR gunner short of some of the full compliment of ammunition pouches that they should have. Kit is variable too, with some having a pack and entrenching tool while others have no more than their water bottle.
As always in such sets the weapons on show are of major interest. Four of the 12 poses carry a rifle, which we could not positively identify, but looks like the Springfield M1903 on the sentry figure. One man holds an M1 carbine, and three others have Thompsons. The Thompson submachine gun was a fine weapon, but was usually only issued to squad leaders and junior officers, so unless more have been distributed for some particular operation we felt there were rather too many here. The last figure in the middle row is holding a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), which is fine, while the first in the next row is holding a flamethrower. This looks to be the far from ideal but quite common M1A1, and is a good model apart from the fact that the sculptor has put the hydrogen tank underneath the gun rather than above it. Lastly we find the venerable but still used Browning M1917A1 machine gun with its gunner. This weapon is water cooled, but here it is missing the condenser can and hose, and is on what we thought to be a slightly too small tripod. Perhaps more importantly no one is feeding ammunition into it, so as so often the set lacks the full team that would accompany such a weapon.
The usual good standard of Caesar sculpting is in evidence here, with good detail and realistic proportions. There is some extraneous plastic in some places - most notably between the arms of the M1917A1 gunner - but there is no flash so for the most part these are attractive figures.
In terms of what this set brings to the party the answer is little of note. Apart from the jacket the figures are accurate and the poses are all usable if nothing exciting. The weapons too are all usable even though the Thompson is very heavily represented. Nice sculpting and (for the most part) clean production makes these figures useful for building up the numbers in your US army, without roaming far into pastures new. The universal use of the jacket makes one think of the European theatre rather than the Pacific, and the style is more pre-1944, although nothing precludes any of these figures being used in any theatre and any time up to August 1945. A worthy but underwhelming set with one rather annoying accuracy problem.