by: Adam Berhidi [ ]
This Verlinden set in 1/35th scale depicts a US soldier and his dog performing so called „tunnel rat” duties in Vietnam. The tunnel rats were servicemen who descended into the tunnel systems of the NVA for extremely dangerous search and destroy missions. These soldiers were chiefly equipped with their service pistol, a knife and a torch as everything else would hinder their movement in the confined spaces underground.
Verlinden’s number 2797 set comes in a small cardboard box with a printed cover, showing the assembled and painted figures. It contains 14 parts in a ziploc bag that does not offer too much protection but the cast parts are firm enough anyway – although maybe some additional padding would have been nice just in case…
We receive a figure that is made up from 5 parts, a dog cast into a single piece and 8 accessories, all in cream colored resin.
The soldier has nice details and no casting errors except for some light flash on the arms. The straps, the belt and the collar are very-well modeled, including the shoelaces which are very delicate. The posture and the clothing appear pretty natural to me. The face and the expression is clean and well detailed, but the knot on the headscarf is a bit bulky and does not create the impression of being made of textile – although some sculpting might help. My other concerns are the attachment points – these are a bit too big and a pain to remove as it will require recreating part of the clothes (for the arms) and headscarf (for the head). The pistol (supposedly a .45 Colt) is not too well detailed and also a bit bent.
The dog appears to be a German shepherd and looks the part, although it is a bit oversized to my eyes, but these dogs can be really big in the real word. The tongue is a bit bulky and will require very careful painting, just like the mouth. Unfortunately removing the molded base seems to be a challenge but that is the only way to go if we want to place the doggy on a diorama.
The accessories include two flasks, two pouches, two smoke canisters and two frag grenades. These do not have sharp details but still look good and can be added as seen fit by the modeler.
As of paining instructions – we receive none which is quite annoying to me, so some help or reference would come handy here.
This is a well-made set depicting a rare subject, with a few small errors and difficulties but that is how kits sometimes are.