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Matchbox

Set P5002

American Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1976
Contents 49 figures
Poses 17 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)

Review

After entering the HO scale plastic figure market with their set of British infantry, Matchbox continued with the formula they had set themselves, and produced this collection of US infantry. Indeed, the similarities between the first and second set are striking. Many of the poses are virtually identical, and the style suggests that the same sculptor was responsible for both.

The generous 17 poses include many that are common to many World War II sets - the officer peering through binoculars is certainly an old favourite. The saluting figure is wearing the one-piece HBT suit, which probably makes him either a mechanic or part of a tank crew.

The uniform is the standard issue used by US forces late in the war. Some wear cargo type trousers which were popular, but in general there is little diversity here. All seem to have the short boots with anklets, and all wear a four-pocket jacket which is presumably intended to be the M1943 combat jacket, although in reality the skirt pockets on this jacket were internal, not external as modelled here. Webbing is sparse and not particularly accurate, particularly in terms of the items attached to the rear of the cartridge belt, which in some cases are unrecognisable.

Most of the men carry rifles which are disappointingly lacking in detail. Some of these carry bayonets - a weapon that seldom found a use against the enemy, but was longer than the very stubby examples on these figures. None are carrying carbines, which is unfortunate as these were a very common weapon. A couple of men are armed with sub machine guns, which appear to be the M3 .45 calibre. Almost inevitably there is a man with a bazooka, though there is no comrade to load the weapon. One man is using a flame-thrower, which was a weapon first used in 1942. This one has two cylinders rather than three, which suggests it is one of the earlier, quite unreliable models. The mortar is a very simplified model which is not attractive or particularly accurate. Its size would suggest it is a 60mm weapon. The heavy machine gun is an M2 HB Browning .50 calibre, and it has been moulded as one with its operator. However the whole piece is very flat, and the two supporting rear legs barely part at all, which would have made the gun too unstable. The figure in the third row with the coat would seem to be an officer by his Sam Browne belt, but officers had stopped carrying pistols by 1943 - only gunners and assistant gunners did so, as it was a weapon of last resort only.

All the figures are a little flat, but there are no problems with excess plastic or flash. They were sold as 1/76 scale, which makes them a little short when standing next to figures from other manufacturers. This small difference in height is made all the greater thanks to the very thin base under each man, which is also quite narrow, making the figures more prone to falling. The standard of sculpting is very good, but there is some lack of detail in some key areas, particularly with some weapons. The set has many positive features, but there is still room for improvement.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 7
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 8
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"American Web Equipment 1910-1967" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.33) - Martin J Brayley - 9781861268327
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II" - Amber - Chris Bishop - 9781905704460
"The US Army in World War II (1) The Pacific" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.342) - Mark Henry - 9781855329959
"The US Army in World War II (2) The Mediterranean" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.347) - Mark R Henry - 9781841760858
"The US Army in World War II (3) North West Europe" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.350) - Mark Henry - 9781841760865
"The War in Europe" - Greenhill (GI Series No.1) - John P Langellier - 9781853672200
"The World War II GI" - Crowood - Richard Windrow - 9781847970336
"United States Army Uniforms: Europe 1944-45" - Arms & Armour Press (Uniforms Illustrated Series No.14) - Cameron Laughlin - 9780853687276
"US Army Uniforms of World War II" - Stackpole - Shelby Stanton - 9780811725958

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