by: Gareth McGorman [ ]
The Bazooka was probably the most important individual innovation the United States brought into the Second World War. Almost every modern infantry antitank rocked system is in one way or another a direct descendant of this concept.
Inside the box we have four figures on one grey sprue and 4 separate weapons sprues.
These two operators represent US Army troops of approximately 1943 onward and can accurately represent infantry in Italy and North-Western Europe, right up to late 1944.
Figure A is the loader. Detail is somewhat soft here compared to some of the newer kits on the market and the face, as with those of all three other figures seems expressionless. There are still however, some striking features, most notably that the fingers on this figure's right hand are spread outwards – an impressive achievement in styrene.
Also worth noting here is that the ammunition pouches are each individually moulded. I have found in the past with similar kits from Dragon that there can be fit issues since they tended to cast all pouches the same size and shape around the time this kit was issued. It may prove necessary to pare down a few of these, especially those positioned underneath the arms. Otherwise, these figures may prove to be impossible to pose correctly.
Figure B is aiming an M1 bazooka. Detail here is good, without any exceptional details that jump out.
These two figures represent an antitank team in North West Europe at any point from 1944 until the end of the war. They are wearing the M1943 boot, which used a combination of leather straps and laces to serve the same function as the archaic and unpopular canvas leggings. They may at first glance appear to be wearing jump boots, but that is not the case. These are not paratroopers and they should not be issued with the folding stock M1A1 carbines provided. Since you have 16 other weapons included in the box to choose from, this should not prove to be a major problem.
Figure C is intended to be the loader, but can be used in any setting. He is shown kneeling with a grenade launcher cup attached to the end of his rifle. Should you choose not to use the grenade launcher, there are 3 more Garand rifles included in this kit – two of which have fixed bayonets.
Figure D is standing, with an M9 Bazooka. Because this figure is cast with his hand closed, you will have to cut off the grip of his bazooka during assembly.
There is something to be said for the fact that Dragon's figure sets have a way of keeping the small arms cache in my spares box fully stocked. Dragon has an interesting habit of shipping models with far more parts than you're ever going to actually use. In this case Dragon takes that tendency to the most extreme extent I've yet encountered from them. There are 18 individual small arms on 4 different sprues including 4 Garands, 3 BARs, 2 Thompson SMGs, 1 pump action shotgun and a flamethrower. You will only use 6 of these small arms at most (including the bazookas). One sprue of Volksturm weapons which somehow found its way into this box will not be used at all. I won't bother photographing all the weapons sprues, because there's a lot of them, most of which won't be used and there's nothing particularly remarkable about them since they are all up to Dragon's usual standards and are all available in other kits.
A note regarding placement in a diorama
While Dragon has chosen to entitle this kit “US Army Anti-Tank Team, it is immediately clear before even opening the box that what you are actually getting is two antitank teams. For dioramas representing 1944 up until the end of the war in Europe there isn't really anything that should prevent the modeler from swapping the loaders and gunners in these teams to represent the fact that some soldiers got new equipment and uniforms before others. Switching these two figures could be one way of reflecting the fact that troops at the front, even within the same unit, did not always get the same gear issued at the same time. Some soldiers would continue to wear or carry kit that had been superseded right up until the end of the war, either as a result of preference or the fact that new kit just might not have been made available to them. Even items as universally despised as the high canvas gators would still be have been seen in the field well after they had been replaced by the M1943 high top boot.
I have included a couple photos in which a mix of footwear is in evidence. As can be seen in these photos many soldiers chose not to wear their footwear according to regulation.
This here is a useful little kit. The poses are all well sculpted and for dioramas they will work well in a number of different contexts. The extra weapons are also welcome. While most will go straight into the spares box, they're nice to have available. You never know when an extra flamethrower might come in handy.