This is the second set Preiser have made on the subject of US tank crewmen in 2000. Exactly why the year 2000 was chosen is not clear, although the set probably appeared fairly shortly after this date. Clearly the following years were to be momentous ones for the US Army, with invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq followed by long wars for control of both.
The Abrams was the main battle tank at this time, and naturally most of the crew would be invisible when in action, so none of these figures seem to actually be inside the tank. Instead they are in more relaxed mode, standing and leaning on the vehicle, sitting on it or passing 'sabot' ammunition up to replenish it. The poses, which as usual benefit from being multipart and requiring assembly, all look completely natural to us and all seem perfectly valid. The photos on the box give a good idea of their intended use and we thought they worked very well. With only half the number of poses in the first set this one cannot cover as much ground, but as an extended crew out of the line of battle these poses work well.
Clothing is quite varied, as might be expected in reality. Several wear coveralls or a NOMEX suit, and the first two figures in the top row also wear a jacket over these. For obvious reasons the desert seems a natural environment for US troops in the early years of the 21st century, but if so then we would have expected some of these figures to be wearing no more than a T-shirt, so clearly the temperature these figures are experiencing is not particularly warm. All but these first two figures have a pistol holstered in the usual way, and indeed so may these two under the jacket. The only accuracy faults are the same as those in the first set. These are that the CVC, the bulky helmet worn by tanker crew, is not really quite bulky enough here, particularly with the headphones. Second, no one is wearing sunglasses or goggles. These were a common sight, although naturally are more prevalent in sunny conditions like the Middle East. These figures may be in a cool environment, but still we would have liked to have seen some glasses and goggles.
Sculpting is great. Good detail clearly done and everything in the correct proportions. Just occasionally things get a little vague, as with the sitting figure, who has lost part of his pistol and its harness, but for the most part these are very attractively produced. Every figure has some element of assembly required, which improves the detail and the natural pose. All the parts fit well enough and the hard plastic takes glue very securely. There is no flash, and the separate arms etc. mean there is no plastic 'hidden' from the mould. As usual there are no bases, so these will have to be found from elsewhere if required.
This set does not add much to the larger set already produced, but all the figures are good and it increases the possibilities for a scene of crewmen relaxing or working round their vehicle. Taken together, these sets deliver 24 different poses, with some scope for conversion and variation, which we think is very good going for tank crewmen. As with the first set, a sprue of extra pieces such as sidearms (M4 carbine perhaps), tools etc would have been a good idea but there is nothing like that here. While it might be a hard set to get too excited about it does the job it set out to do well, and with our small reservations already expressed we thought this was a very worthy product.