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Set 202

U.S. Soldiers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1982
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown, Olive Green, Dark Green
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This set depicts the American troops that were to become such a familiar sight in Europe and the Pacific from 1941 to 1945.

All the troops are wearing something approximating to the M1943 combat jacket, which is not wrong, but it gives a rather unrealistic 'uniform' look to them. It would have been nice to see more diversity of dress, and for some men to have been wearing other, even non-regulation items, in a more motley but believable mix. The M1 helmet is properly done here, and the figures wear a mixture of the long canvas leggings and the later boots with integral ankle piece.Webbing is fairly sparse, with none of the riflemen having the full complement of ammunition pouches.

The weapons being used are a more realistic collection. There are plenty of rifles and machine guns, but the Thompson being held by the first figure is massively too big. As well as the rifles and machine guns, one man is operating a bazooka, though no figure loading the weapon has been provided. The mortar is much simplified and in barrel length is midway between the 60mm and 81mm calibre mortars used by the Americans, making it good for neither one nor the other. Also the arrangement of the support is simply ridiculous. Then there is a flame-thrower and two machine guns. The first is the old 1917 Browning A1 machine gun with its water-cooled barrel, which was an efficient but old weapon. The lower profile gun is an M1919 A4 .30 calibre machine gun. Both used ammunition belts of 250 rounds, but here both have cut down belts, which was not uncommon and clearly makes the sculptor's task easier. Both would have been fed by a belt from a box, usually guided by another man. The figure on the bottom row with the pistol is presumably intended to be an officer, but officers rarely carried pistols by 1943 (as they were always relatively ineffectual). Finally there is a man with a mine detector. Though several of the men have equipped themselves with hand grenades, no-one is in the process of using one of these, which is a very common pose in World War II sets.

The 15 poses show all the usual action that you would expect. In general they are well done and appropriate for the subject matter. The man with the mortar was not a good idea, as both man and weapon have been moulded as one piece, and a number of compromises were made to achieve this. The base of the mortar is tilted in order to allow engraving of its details, which is unlikely to have happened in reality. Also the supports for the mortar have been moulded at a considerable angle to the barrel in an effort to avoid undercutting on the mould. The result is a very unrealistic stance for the whole piece - Revell have done the same piece very much better by accepting that several separate parts are necessary. Finally, the man has not been provided with a base. He does stand up - just - thanks to the mortar base, but he is more unstable then the rest and it is difficult to see why it was felt desirable to omit the base. This applies equally to the other member of the mortar crew, who manages without a base because he is next to a small pile of bombs. Both figures are unstable and both are noticeably lower than their comrades, simply to avoid a base. Since everyone else has one, why try and avoid them for one or two figures?

Detail and casting are excellent as ever, and a good range of equipment has been included. However we felt that these men are a little too smart to give the impression that they are in battle, and while this is not wrong we would have preferred a more 'casual' look. Size too is a problem, with some weapons being incorrectly sized as well as the packs.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 8
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 Mortars of World War II" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.54) - John Norris - 9781841764146
"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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