by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
The Vietnam War was fought by the US against the Communist North Vietnamese Army and the Insurgent Viet Cong from 1956 (with US Advisors) until April 1975 with the fall of Saigon, the S. Vietnamese capital. Vietnam is predominantly a jungle country with few roads and rough terrain. The war was fought mainly by light infantry troops being transported into battle on foot or via truck or helicopter. One of their main missions was to conduct combat patrols around a base camp to secure the immediate area around it and root out any enemy in the surrounding area.
Master Box brings us their 4th figure set in their Vietnam War series. This one is a four figure set in poses that show a fire team that is tense and on patrol in a jungle setting. The set comes on two sprues; one for the figures and their parts (A), and the other an accessories and gear sprue (B). They are crisply molded in light grey plastic with no flash.
On the A sprue, the figures are broken down into the typical parts of two legs/lower torsos, an upper torso, individual arms, and a separate head. Further, for better detail and definition, the shirt tails and pants cargo pockets are all molded separately. Two of the figures (The M60 gunner and the radioman) wear US Army M69 flak vests, while the other two riflemen wear only jungle fatigues. All four have the proper jungle boots and H-backed load carrying suspenders with pistol belts. Included are also alternate heads for three of the figures with both a full head for the included helmets and one that is cut flat above the brow for included boonie caps. Additionally, there are alternate arms for the M60 gunner and the Fire Team Leader to hold their weapons in different positions. Also on the figure sprue are a selection of weapons; an M79 grenade launcher, an M14 rifle, an M870 combat shotgun, and an M60 machine gun. The M60 also includes separate front bipod legs. There is also a selection of ammo pouches, ammo bandoleers, and two M72 LAW rocket launchers. Lastly, this sprue contains an AN/PRC-77 radio and its components (hand mike and accessory bag).
The B sprue contains all the accessories and gear you will need to outfit these figures, and then some. On the sprue are four M1 steel pot helmets with camouflage covers, four each of two styles of boonie caps, four patrol caps, six M26 fragmentation hand grenades, four M18 smoke grenades, four fighting knives, eight one-quart canteens in pouches, three folding entrenching tools in cases, one non-folding entrenching tool in a pouch, one M1911 .45 calibre pistol in a holster, eight ammo pouches, one butt pack, two rucksack frames, two rucksacks with separate pocket pieces and pack frame bases, two rucksacks with bedrolls molded on top of them with separate end pieces for good definition, and two separate bedrolls. Also on this sprue are two M16A1s with 20 rd magazines, one M16A1 with 30 rd magazine, and one M16A1 with a 30 rd magazine and an under the barrel M203 grenade launcher. All of the accessories and gear are appropriate for the time period and are very nicely molded. The weapons have crisp details and look very nice. The vast amount of gear can be arranged on the figures in any way you prefer. There is plenty of it to go around.
The first figure is the RTO (Radio Telephone Operator). He is crouched with an AN/PRC-77 radio on his back and a rifle in his hands, held low. His torso is molded with the M69 flak vest and he has straps molded on for the rucksack frame his radio is strapped to. He also has an ammo bandoleer slung across his chest. Additionally, he also has the option of two different heads; one with a cut off top and plain face as if he is looking off into the distance. The second is a full head and looks to be talking.
The second figure is for the Fire Team Leader and has three chevrons, representing a Sergeant, molded onto his sleeves and the holstered M1911 on his side. He has on jungle fatigues, and H suspenders and pistol belt molded on, along with a couple ammo bandoleers in an X pattern across his torso. This figure has the option of two sets of arms. The first set is holding a weapon low across his body, pointing to the left. The second set allows you to build him pointing with his left hand and holding a weapon up around his shoulder with the right. This figure also has the option of two different heads; one with a cut off top and plain face. The second is a full head and is yelling or calling out.
The third figure is the M60 gunner. He is wearing an M69 flak vest and has a belt of ammo molded onto his torso. For better detail and definition, the areas of the belt that go on either side and over his left shoulder are provided as separate pieces. These look really good when added to the figure. He also has the standard H suspenders and pistol belt molded on and is in a t-shirt under his flak vest. He also has two sets of arms provided for some variety. The first set holds the M60 in a high across the body, at-the-ready position. The second set holds the M60 off to his side as if he is bringing it up to fire. This figure also has the option of two different heads; one with a cut off top and plain face as if he is looking off into the distance. The second is a full head and is yelling or calling out.
The last figure is of a Rifleman advancing and holding a rifle to his cheek, sighting down the barrel. He is wearing jungle fatigues and has the straps for a rucksack molded onto his torso. He too has the standard H suspenders and pistol belt and an ammo bandoleer across his body. There is an option of two versions shown on the instructions for different hats, but only one full head is included.
Master Box has done a great job of providing a few options and very fine detail. I like how there are separate pieces for shirt tails and smaller items such as the ammo belt around the M60 gunner. I also like the myriad of gear and extras you get with this set. I found no issues with construction of in any areas.