Scale figures depicting US Army troops from the recent conflicts in Middle East are easily found, both in plastic and in resin. However, modern USMC figures are quite rare and one of the loudest pleas aimed at figure companies has been to release more Jarheads in 1/35 scale.
recently offered a new batch of 1/35 scale miniatures, with six of those representing USMC wearing the latest garb and gear. This review covers the USMC Machine Gunner, the figure sculpted by the talented Dmitri Shevtsov, and a pair to the figure reviewed here: link
Machine Gunner, USMC, Afghanistan 2012 (AM-35006)
is packed in a nicely designed plastic box, with the parts safely secured in a zip-lock bag. The front of the box features an image showing assembled but unpainted model. However, Pavel Ilyin recently painted the miniature and the kit is now supplied with the painted boxart image (as seen in the header of this review).
The kit consists of 10 pieces:
- right arm,
- left arm,
- left hand,
- weapon (2x),
- weapon accessories (2x).
The pieces are molded in grey resin and the cast is absolutely flawless, featuring a ton of incredibly sharp details perfectly delivered in scale. Although the assembly might seem a bit complex at first, guys at Assault Models did a splendid job engineering the kit parts... the fit is top-notch and the figure goes together quite easily. I would suggest attaching both arms to the torso first, dry-fitting the weapon grip into the right hand and then optimally positioning the left hand with weapon bipod.
The figure depicts an USMC machine gunner walking. The first thing to notice is the pose; the figure is well balanced in an incredibly realistic posture... in my opinion this is the best rendered pose in the entire Assault Models figure catalogue. The figure wears Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) and Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC). SPC was fielded to combat units operating in Afghanistan as a lightweight alternative to the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV). The SPC features a heavy machine gunner loadout: two 200-round pouches, two M16 double magazine pouches, first aid kit pouch, grenade pouch, triple M16 open pouch and a small utility pouch, plus a hydration pack on the back. All this equipment is cast on the SPC, as well as M16 three-point weapon sling. The figure also wears knee pads pulled down to his ankles and sports the secondary weapon secured to the drop leg platform on his right thigh. As for the headgear, the figure wears Lightweight Helmet (LWH), the current combat helmet of the USMC.
The figure is armed with M240B, a 7.62mm machine gun deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The weapon features a handguard with heatshield to provide thermal protection to the operator and Picatinny rails on the receiver cover and forearm, which serve as attachment points for different optical systems and target illuminators. ELCAN M145 Machine Gun Optics is cast on the weapon, while the carrying handle and bipod are supplied as separate pieces in this kit. I wish the set also included a 7.62mm ammo belt, which could then be draped around the weapon, similar to what the references of the marching USMC machine gunners show.
Also, the figure sports an M16A4 around his shoulders. The weapon features flat top upper receiver with an integral rail and rail adapter system (RAS) handguard consisting of full length quad Picatinny rail. This kind of M16A4 is designated MWS (or Modular Weapon System) as the system offers soldiers flexibility to configure their weapons with accessories required to fulfill an assigned mission: the upper receiver rail provides an attachment point for optical devices while handguard could be fitted with various laser designators, forward grips, tactical lights or bipods. The weapon in this kit is equipped with ACOG sight and forward grip.
This figure is one of my favorites in the entire Assault Models miniature range. The sculpt is absolutely amazing, with very impressively rendered walking pose. The cast is perfect and, as far as my references show, all the details on the uniform and equipment are accurately delivered in scale. The kit consists of 10 pieces, but flawless fit of the pieces makes the figure easy to assemble.
Altogether, I can't recommend this figure enough. It really is a work of art.