As has been observed before, any set that claims to be 'modern' will soon date, and this set was produced in 2002. Wars always accelerate development in uniforms and equipment, and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are no different, so this set should be considered in relation to the US Army of five years ago, not the Army as it is today.
Like most of the Preiser military sets these figures come in a number of parts as can be seen by viewing the sprue above. However in this case the parts are only just sufficient to construct the suggested poses, which we have duplicated above, and there are no spares or alternatives to add variety. Naturally some arms can be mixed up but in general the scope for this sort of experimenting is quite small. Therefore we are left largely with the poses as shown, and happily they are a pretty fair bunch. Nicely animated and looking very realistic, we felt they captured the flavour of the scenes broadcast around the world over the past few years. We would have liked to have seen a pose or two acting as spotters for the heavy weapons though.
These are pretty good looking figures, and accuracy is not bad either. Most of the men carry the M16 rifle, with two (first figure in first and second rows) also having the M203 grenade launcher. Two others carry the M249 SAW ('Squad Automatic Weapon'), and the heavier weapons are an AT-4 and a M47 Dragon. All these are nicely done, with just a suspicion of some being a little too small or thin, but nothing too significant. The uniforms and array of kit is also quite well done, apart from the jackets, which only come a short way under the belt when they should be noticeably longer (ironically today these jackets are this length, but in 2002 they were longer). However those soldiers with the grenade launcher or SAW have the same ammunition pouches as the rest when they should have considerably larger ones (or a bandolier) to accommodate their ammunition.
The sculpting is of the usual high Preiser standard, with well detailed parts and separate components like arms and weapons that fit together pretty well. We found no trace of flash on our review figures, and nothing needed to be sanded or filed to achieve a better fit. The overall proportions and 'life' in the figures are also excellent, but in one result the sculptor has failed to capture the subject properly. Such troops habitually wear very baggy uniforms, yet all the uniforms on these figures look well fitting. This is often a problem in figure sets, and while their uniform has not been modelled as skin-tight it still lacks the slightly shapeless and loose feel usually associated with the real thing.
If there is one big criticism, it is that these men are too uniform, too perfect, in fact too much like clones. We have already said they all have the same kit, regardless of what weapon they carry, but what is missing is the array of personal adjustments all soldiers make. For example, no one has a rucksack, or a telescopic sight on their weapon, or is wearing gloves or goggles. The helmets have the very faintest of lines to suggest the band holding the cover, but there are no night-vision goggles for the dark hours, nor sunglasses for the light. Finally, no one has any extra weapons - most particularly grenades. All these items would not have been universal, but in a random group of 12 men most might be expected to have one or more of these items, making a more motley but realistic collection.
In general then these are really nice figures. The main failing - a complete lack of all the extra impedimenta that most soldiers either require or choose to carry - is a challenge to converters as much as anything. The unusually well-fitting uniforms and shortened jackets also detract from the look, but at the technical level this is a very fine product. Be aware, however, that the years since this set was made have been busy ones for the US Army and already some kit, clothing and body armour have changed, making these figures less appropriate for the current forces.