by: Jason Bobrowich [ ]
Whether it be the threat of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) or Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) warfare in the real world or the fantasy driven post apocalyptic Zombie hunting mass hysteria for the most part until recent years the ability for military modellers to portray figures in protective equipment has been very sparse.
As a bit of background the M17 Protective Mask was developed for the U.S. Military and entered service in the late 1950s/early 1960s. The M17 mask comprises essentially of the face mask, filters, and lens outserts. Voicemitter amplification units and drinking tubes were added as the mask versions evolved. There were also eyeglass inserts available as well to provide prescription glass wearing personnel regular vision. There have been copies of the M17 mask made in Japan, Bulgaria, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
For an added level of protection against enemy attacks the M6A2 Chemical-Biological mask hood was introduced and fitted over the M17 mask in order to provide full head and neck protection against vapour and droplets. It was made of a Butyl-Rubber coated fabric and had integral eyepieces, inlet valves, and a voicemitter opening to match the M17 mask as well as draw strings/slide fasteners and underarm straps to secure the hood and cape.
Ideally the M17/M6A2 combo would be worn in conjunction with the MOPP (Mission Orientated protective Posture) battledress overgarment, gloves, and boots in full MOPP Level 4.
Modern NBC and CBRN protective equipment has been for the most part ignored by 1/35 figure producers. There have been a limited amount of Soviet era figures in the past and the now out of production Verlinden NBC protected Infantry figures and M25A1 wearing tank crew figures.
Live Resin has produced a variety of 1/35 head sets dedicated to the M17 Protective Mask. Let’s take a look at a very unique set.
This set is the 1/35 Live Resin LRE-35267 M17 US Protective Gas Mask with NBC hood and M1 helmet-Shot-Explosive Damage. It consists of five heads wearing damaged M17 Protective masks and the M6A2 mask hood in addition to battle damaged M1 helmets.
The M1 helmet dates back to 1941. If you want to use this head set in a realistic setting strive for the early 1960s onward to about the mid 1980s when the M1 Helmet was replaced with the PASGT helmet. This should lend itself to great projects ranging from Vietnam to Cold War Europe. For fantasy related projects the sky is the limit! There are always anomalies with respect to equipment entering and leaving service so make sure you use good references.
I am very impressed with the quality of the product. I am always skeptical when model producers wave fancy high tech CAD images as advertising but this set is very impressive.
The set includes five forward looking heads. The M1 helmets have the helmet cover and helmet band. The level of detail on the heads is very high. You can easily see details associated to the eyepieces, voicemitter, and the inlet valves. The damage to the M17 mask is through the right eyepiece. You can easily see the face detail through the exposed eyepiece…very cool!
The mask hood encompasses the entire head and extends on to the shoulder area. The slide fastener is visible under the neckline. The hood for sure captures the baggy look commonly seen.
The M1 helmets are a treat for the eye. The texture of the helmet cover is visible and adds an additional level of realism. Fabric seam lines and wrinkles are visible. The damage to the helmets is the same on all five helmets. There is a dented in entry point on the left rear of the helmet and what possible could be a larger exit point hole on the right front of the helmet. Either way this would be catastrophic and fatal damage if the helmet was on a human head.
Attaching the helmets to the masked heads should not be an issue as all of the helmets are completely hollow. The heads can be used with our without helmets as the mask hood is complete. Cleanup will be straight forward and simple of both the heads and helmets.
As the heads include the shoulder portion of the mask hood it will be interesting to see how they will actually fit to the 1/35 figure of your choosing. The shoulder area of the hood mask are contoured to fit over figure shoulders and are hollowed out underneath. However, I would recommend some proper dry fitting to ensure you get a proper seating and fit of the mask hood on a figure. I suspect that removing details such as uniform collars and possibly some of the upper shoulder details might be required to make sure the mask and mask hood don’t look like they are floating ala “Headless Horseman”.
This is a fun set! It adds a new element to figure projects based on reality or a wide variety of “what if” possibilities. The M17 mask and mask should ideally be worn with the MOPP Level 4 we are still severely lacking 1/35 figures in MOPP gear or even figures in the old OG U.S. rain gear. Perhaps we will see some new 1/35 MOPP gear figures both fully intact and with additional wounds in the future?
Live Resin also produces other sets related to the M17 gas mask including bare heads with the mask, masked heads with mask hood the M1 helmet, masked heads with the mask hood and PASGT helmets, and the M17 pouch. Add to this the Live Resin Soviet era gas mask head sets and you are ready to create a variety of NBC/CBRN related projects. Have fun and create your own NBC wasteland!