Ever since societies have organised armies there have been elite units which have had more money and attention spent on them but also more expectations. In modern times the concept of special forces has arisen, which are basically units trained to carry out tasks that are outside the normal parameters of war and therefore special. Such tasks typically include operating behind enemy lines, infiltration into foreign countries and counter terrorism, but there is no set definition of the term. Almost every country on Earth claims to have special forces, and the same goes for the other main element in this set - elite police, which are essentially the same idea but in a civilian internal security role.
Caesar have placed no specific labels on this set in terms of nationality or unit, and that is deliberate so that the widest possible potential for these figures can be conveyed. Indeed even the distinction between military and police units is frequently blurred in some countries, so no one figure in this set is specifically intended to depict a particular unit. However in general terms the top two rows pictured above are most appropriate for the military units, so we will discuss these first.
When you research into the clothing, weaponry and equipment of modern special forces you soon realise that there is an immense amount of it around. A whole host of companies are competing with each other to provide every single element that such a soldier might need, and the amount of choice is bewildering. Also many competing products will actually look quite similar to the untrained observer, so identifying a particular rifle or flak jacket can be quite a specialised task. When you reduce all such items to 1/72 scale the task becomes a lot harder. As you can probably guess, we certainly found it too hard. Since special forces are often given a considerable degree of freedom in the weapons and equipment they use, any item can in theory appear in almost any hands, and soldiers from two different armies could appear very similar, particularly at this scale. Without any specific unit to guide us we had hoped to identify the kit on each figure as a guide, but it became obvious that while these are really well detailed much of the kit could easily be one of several possibilities, and in fact that is a good thing. These are meant to be generic, so whether a customer wants figures carrying one particular type of rifle or another, the differences will often be so small that a figure could pass for either.
What we will say is these are extremely diverse figures in terms of just about everything. Some are heavily weighed down with assorted packs and pouches while others are lightly kitted. There is a good range of flak jackets and webbing systems, and while much of it is identifiably American this does not preclude other nationalities being depicted by these figures too. Given the Delta, SEAL and SAS inspiration for these figures we would say they all look authentic.
Weaponry too is diverse, since as with the kit and clothing no two figures are the same. Most carry a rifle of some description, ranging from the long barrelled and rather simple model held by the man sitting down to what looks like the Heckler & Koch MP5K in the hands of the second figure in the top row. Again absolute identification is all but impossible, but they all look realistic although we were surprised that so many were without sights. The final man in the second row is, according to Caesar, using a US Army experimental weapon, which might be the now shelved OICW or the XM8 assault rifle.
The first three figures in the bottom row, while potentially military too, are perhaps more suitable as police. Again there is no attempt at precise identification, and indeed in the modern world it is common to see police wearing flak jackets and armed with machine guns, particularly at vulnerable places such as airports. The first figure wears a gasmask, which might imply riot control, although as he is carrying a machine gun it is more likely he is entering a hazardous situation such as a hostage taking where gas is used. The second man looks to be firing his rifle while the third is armed with a pistol, wearing a ballistic helmet with visor lowered and carrying a shield.
Finally we come to the last two figures in the set, which are the divers. One is clearly swimming while the other is on dry land and is advancing with his rifle at the ready; his flippers attached to his belt on the right hip. Diving is another very high-tech area where equipment changes rapidly, and we do not pretend to be experts or anything like it (indeed we were surprised to discover that these days breathing apparatus is on the chest, not the back). All that we can really say is from looking at various references to diving equipment used by the military (or indeed the police, although these figures use rebreather technology), both these figures seem fine to us.
The poses too gave us no cause for concern. Not surprisingly there are few photographs of special forces at work, but enough at training to show that all these poses are perfectly reasonable. We particularly liked the fact that so many of the men have their weapon at or about shoulder height.
Caesar have always delivered nothing less than very good sculpting, and these are better than that. This subject demands lots of fussy detail and these figures have it in spades. Believe it or not even the knee pads have the correct six indentations round the edge, and while they are not quite in the right place (for which we did not have the heart to deduct an accuracy point), it is a testament to the high degree of detail that all these figures can boast. Once again Caesar have made good use of multi-part moulds, so no detail is lost anywhere. Even the policeman with the shield has perfect detail everywhere (and yes, Caesar achieved that pose without a separate arm, which is most impressive). Only the shield itself is separate and needs gluing. We can rarely fault Caesar’s sculpting, and this is not one of those occasions.
Special forces are usually made out to be glamorous and exciting, and while the reality is an immense amount of hard work and usually anything but exciting their image will help to make this excellent set a very attractive addition to the hobby. Caesar say that this set also offers converters much that they can use for creating their own modern forces, and so it does. We would have preferred a separate set of police so that subject could be explored in more depth than is possible here, but we can have no complaints with what we have got.