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Esci

Set 229

North Vietnamese Soldiers and Vietcong

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1986
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green, Light Tan
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

The USA has been involved in a lot of military operations since World War II, but without much doubt one of the most important of these in terms of its consequences was the Vietnam War, called the American War in that country. When Esci produced these figures and the accompanying Americans, the war cannot long have finished, and there would have been many tens of thousands of first-hand witnesses who could judge their accuracy.

This set, which is labelled North Vietnamese on the box, in fact has representatives of most of the communist forces engaged in that war apart from the Chinese, whose level of participation is still hotly contested. Of course the two main groups are the Viet Minh/Viet Cong - the NLF - and the North Vietnamese regular army. The Viet Minh mostly wore black 'pyjamas' and simple black rubber sandals made from motor tyres. As with any irregular force, though, clothing was extremely varied and all manner of clothing and headgear was observed, including khaki fatigues captured from the French and Americans. When operating in the South, North Vietnamese troops frequently wore much the same dress, though later in the war they were more often seen wearing their regular olive green uniform. Webbing and equipment was equally varied and often home made. Weaponry would often include captured items and weapons supplied by other communist states.

With such a non-uniform appearance, it would have been quite difficult for Esci to go far wrong with this subject. Sure enough, the homework has been done and these figures faithfully reflect the appearance of their subject. For the reasons stated above it is not possible to positively identify which figures are Viet Minh and which regular North Vietnamese, though at least two of them are wearing a more formal uniform and characteristic sun helmet (sometimes referred to as a pith helmet) which was typical of the NVA. Others wear a floppy bush hat and assorted ammunition pouches attached to belts and webbing of many styles. Several also wear a cloth roll across the body, in which would be kept their rice ration.

One figure is particularly interesting (first figure on second row above). He wears a round soft cap with a peak and a neck towel, both of which identify him as a member of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, a body that assisted the Vietnamese Communists during the war.

The weaponry suffers from some minor accuracy problems, but includes such common items as the Simonov SKS rifle, the AK-47 and the Soviet RPD light machine gun, although any could easily be copies produced locally. Also there is one RPG-7 rocket launcher, so a good selection of weapons.

As usual a first class effort from Esci, with good accuracy, interesting variety and faultless sculpting. A handful of the poses are a little wooden (such as the grenade-thrower), a common Esci fault, but in total this set is a great piece of work.


Ratings

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

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of the Vietnam War (2)" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.143) - Lee Russell - 9780850455144
"Armies of the Vietnam War 1962-75" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.104) - Philip Katcher - 9780850453607
"Khe Sanh 1967-68" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.150) - Gordon Rottman - 9781841768632
"Modern Military Uniforms" - Silverdale - Chris McNab - 9781856055345
"North Vietnamese Army Soldier 1958-75" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.135) - Gordon Rottman - 9781846033711
"Tet Offensive 1968" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.4) - James Arnold - 9780850459609
"The AK-47" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.8) - Gordon Rottman - 9781849084611
"The NVA and Viet Cong" - Osprey (Elite Series No.38) - Kenneth Conboy - 9781855321625
"The Rocket Propelled Grenade" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.2) - Gordon Rottman - 9781849081535
"Uniforms of the Indo-China and Vietnam Wars" - Blandford - Leroy Thompson - 9780713712643
"US Marine versus NVA Soldier" - Osprey (Combat Series No.13) - David Higgins - 9781472808998
"Viet Cong Fighter" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.116) - Gordon Rottman - 9781846031267
"Weapons and Field Gear of the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong" - Schiffer - Edward Emering - 9780764305832

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