Caesar have made quite a few ‘modern’ soldier sets, and back in 2014 they included a set of modern US infantry. There were some reservations on accuracy, but particularly notable was the fact that with only 10 poses there was no room for any but the ordinary rifleman. With such a wide array of heavier infantry weapons available today a second set depicting these makes perfect sense, and with this set that is exactly what Caesar is offering us. This time there are no rifles at all, so we will run through the weapons that are on offer.
Our top row begins with a prone soldier (centre) using what looks like it must be a M240 machine gun. This is a weapon still in use today, and here it is depicted being fed by an ammunition belt, though a magazine feed is also common, particularly when mounted on a vehicle, for example. The detail on this weapon is reasonable but not particularly crisp, and both poses are nicely done if slightly stiff, though having no excess plastic thanks to a clever mould and some separate parts. The row concludes with another prone figure using a viewfinder, which also benefits from a good mould to eliminate the excess plastic you normally find on such poses.
Our second row begins with a tripod-mounted weapon which we struggled to identify but which looks most like a MK19 40mm grenade launcher. It is not a great model, lacking much detail, and as a MK19 it seems to have a very small ammunition box from which it is being fed. The gunner leaves much to be desired too, as he is upright and clearly not sighting his weapon, so this relaxed and exposed pose suggests he is on a range somewhere and not in the face of the enemy. Beside him is a soldier apparently feeding a 60mm M224 mortar. This is a reasonable model, including a separate sight piece, but is most notable for having what seems to be a round half visible at the muzzle, as if in the act of being dropped by the man, who looks to be leaning dangerously close to the weapon. The walking figure at the end is simply carrying a couple of mortar rounds, which serves to remind us of the importance of bringing up ammunition for such weapons.
The interesting and modern-looking weapon in the third row is an M252 81mm mortar, which first entered US service in 1987 and is still in use at the time of writing. This weapon comes as a small kit of parts and as you can see has no display base. The two crew intended for this weapon are pictured either side, and unfortunately they too have no base, which for the standing man means he simply will not stay upright. Why they have been done this way we cannot guess, but we do not approve. The ‘standing’ man is clearly feeding a round into the mortar while the kneeling man holds or adjusts the stand, and both look to be taken directly from a photograph currently to be found on the Wikipedia page for this weapon, which also shows our friend carrying mortar rounds from the second row. The remaining two figures in this row are more generic, with the first man covering his ears and the second in a nondescript but perfectly usable pose.
The final row has just one figure - a really nice figure but one that confused us initially. Our first thought was he was about to throw a grenade, which was interesting in that he was left-handed. However it seems that this pose was 'inspired' by the Trumpeter Models set 00423 Modern US Marine M252 Mortar Team. There this figure seems to be in charge of the mortar, so is presumably pointing at a target, though why his left hand is against his ear is unclear (holding an earpiece perhaps?).
The quality of these figures is entirely typical of Caesar, so the detail is generally very good, though on individual weapons it is not as sharp as it might be. There is some assembly such as the weapons and some separate arms, but the latter fit very neatly and are easy to locate properly, while ordinary cement makes a good strong bond. However there are no assembly instructions in the set, and not even a clear photo of the final models, so we had some difficulty working out what went where, which we hope others can avoid thanks to our photos. The necessarily flimsy mortar and tripod weapon models are tricky to build as they have little contact between the small parts, and, in another typical Caesar trait, we found many parts were bent, so would recommend a short immersion in vapour from a boiling kettle to cause the plastic to revert to its intended shape. Once that is done, and you know what goes where, the models are still not especially strong, but that is inevitable as they are correctly sized. The top row shows men with holes in their backs, and in fact five of the poses have such a hole for the assorted backpacks and Camelbaks shown in the bottom row. There are twelve of these so enough with spare for the eight figures that can take them. The fit is far from secure so they must be glued.
The uniform and kit is much the same as in the first set, so most of the comments are the same here. Apart from the man feeding the M224 mortar (who has goggles on his helmet) no one has eye protection, which is disappointing, though the helmets look fine and all have the night vision mounting bracket on the front. The jacket is largely obscured, but the MOLLE webbing and body armour have some small issues which make them more generic than identifiable as a particular model, though many will still find it acceptable. Much the same is true of the pouches, which can be a bit confused to an expert, but nothing too terrible. Every man has trousers with a straight cargo pocket on each thigh and no pocket on the lower leg, meaning they are not the standard trouser of today’s Army – the ACU. However the use of the previously mentioned Wikipedia photo suggests the designer was copying US Marines, who wear such BDU trousers, and at a pinch you could even treat them as ECWS.
No one has knee pads, which is not a problem though it would have been nice to see a few here, and no one has a personal weapon apart from the holstered pistol of the soldier operating the MK19. Most of these men would have a rifle, so we must assume they have laid this aside but not too far away. Clearly this set is intended to match the first set reviewed here, and they do work well together, so this one fills many of the gaps perceived in the first set. The choice of weapons is good, and overall the quality of sculpting and accuracy are very good, so this does indeed deliver a very worthwhile second set for this subject, though in our view some of the design decisions could have been better.