Bill Cross reviews a new source for Vietnam figures and vehicles.

Having recently returned from a two-week trip to Vietnam, I have been busily acquiring and building all things about the war there from 1945-1975. I was surprised at how much the conflict has been erased from the modeling world, with a few exceptions. While there are at least two build groups on Facebook, most of the kit and accessories manufacturers have either let their Vietnam-era products go out-of-print, or just aren't releasing anything new.

After joining a FB group made up mostly of Vietnamese modelers, I discovered a gentlemen working in 3D resin named Bao Nguyen who produces some unique and highly-useful sets of figures and vehicles under the trade name B&L Models. Vietnamese modelers build all sorts of vehicles and figures from all time periods, but naturally are keenly-interested in the Vietnam War period. Bao has a series of offerings, including one called "Cho Lon 1968" about the sanguinary Tet Offensive in that suburb of Saigon. Communist leaders believed all they had to do was attack across a broad range of cities and towns, and the ARVN forces (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) would collapse like a straw man in a hail storm. The ARVN, backed by US troops and air power, crushed the Viet Cong, though the perception in America was that the war was not going as well as the public had been told.

The kit includes a 3D printed resin Renault taxi and five ARVN troops in action (see photos and the original the kit is based on). The detail is amazing, as one has come to expect from 3D printing. Removing the "trees" the printing is done on requires some care and patience, and the curved sides of the Renault taxi have small channels or grooves consistent with 3D printing. The simple solution is to spread some filler putty on the surface, let dry and then sand smooth. The sculpting is a bit basic, but there is simply nothing like this anywhere on the market, and a little work (including possibly some Hornet hands) will result in a fine "diorama in a box."

Unfortunately, the only way to order these products is through Bao's FaceBook page. Still, if you are interested in Vietnam and the Vietnam War period, I strongly urge you to order this set and other offerings B&L Models has.

The actual photograph that inspired the kit (for explanatory purposes only).

The actual photograph that inspired the kit (for explanatory purposes only).



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