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IMEX

Set 529

Korean War US Army

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 51 figures
Poses 14 poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Hard)
Colours Dark Green
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

Although several countries came to the aid of South Korea after it was invaded by the North in June 1950, the overwhelming part of that support came from just one, the United States. From the original trickle of troops sent as an emergency measure the US built up its forces and played a dominant part in the war against the communists, with several hundred thousand Americans eventually serving in Korea before 1954.

In 1950 the US army still resembled that at the end of the 41-45 war, but was only a fraction of the size. Consequently these figures could almost pass for World War II troops, with the familiar M1 helmet and fatigues. These figures have been given a quite tight-fitting cover for the helmet, which was common amongst Marines, but they wear M1951 field trouser-shells, identifiable by the low cargo pockets on both legs, which were only adopted in August 1951 and did not appear in Korea until the last months of the fighting. This alone means the figures are only truly accurate for the end of the conflict (with earlier troops achievable by using WWII sets). Most wear their jacket tucked in to the trousers, while the Marines (and most of the rest of the army) left theirs outside, so this set is not representative in that respect. None have cold-weather clothing, and Korean winters are very cold, so these men are operating in the summer months.

Different combat equipment was issued to personnel depending on their issued weapon, and it was designed to be flexible and adaptive. These figures have quite a diverse range of straps etc., with most being fairly lightly encumbered (i.e. without packs). In all cases the kit is entirely authentic, although some of those with rifles seem to have kit more appropriate to users of the carbine. While the radio man and flame thrower have been correctly given sidearms, we would have expected the same of the heavy weapon crews.

As with most of the clothing weapons were largely of World War II vintage during the Korean War. Most of the men in this set carry the M1 rifle, but one has the M1 carbine instead. There is also a flamethrower, a two-man crew operating an M20 3.5 inch rocket launcher and another operating a water-cooled .30 calibre M1917A1 machine gun. The flamethrower is particularly sharp because it comes in several parts, making a figure that requires effort to complete but results in a much better and more realistic model. Similarly the machine gun crew and the rocket launcher crew require assembly, so again the result is a better model than conventional one-piece castings. The final weapon is the bipod-mounted Bren gun, as fired by the prone gunner. As with all of the weapons this is a well detailed and accurate model with some quite delicate parts, although in this case the bipod itself has been twisted to get it to mould correctly. The plastic used for this set can be bent without returning to its original position, but we found that trying to bend this fragile piece caused it to break. However this problem is largely irrelevant as the Bren gun was used in large numbers by the British, Commonwealth and Chinese forces but not the Americans, so it has no reason to be included in this set at all.

All the poses are OK (apart from the useless Bren gunner), although with several being used to properly crew all the specialist weapons there are obviously not so many ordinary riflemen as in most sets. Half of the poses require assembly of two or more pieces, and while these generally fitted together well we would still recommend gluing - fortunately we found this plastic made a very strong bond. Some items like the separate heads for the prone figures present no problems, but the separate water supply hose for the machine gun makes for an accurate but fragile model, and wargamers may choose to omit this sort of detail in the name of robustness. Whether you like having to assemble figures to gain a better model is largely a matter of personal taste, but multi-part figures such as these are expensive and difficult to produce well, and we think IMEX should be applauded for their successful efforts in this regard.

The sculpting of these figures is really nice, and the detail is of a very high standard (although the dark green that the production figures are made in makes it difficult to make out). For example, many of the men have been given two hand grenades fastened by their safety lever 'spoons' to each breast pocket - a practice confirmed in several contemporary photos. Why a Bren gun was included is a mystery, and we would have much preferred to see a BAR in its stead, but that aside this is a good set. The Bren can be useful if the figures are used as French troops, as these were equipped with the Bren and wore mostly American uniforms.


Ratings

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

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