Gecko Models is in the process of releasing a six figure set of US Navy Seals with a rubber raiding craft. The item arrives in a robust flip top cardboard box, with an additional card lid with all the artwork on it. Inside there are a number of plastic bags, both sealed and Ziploc. An examination of the contents reveals no obvious concerns at this time beyond the usual. There are minor moulding seams that will need to be addressed and a surprisingly large number on the figures which will require careful cleanup, but there are no imperfections marring the surfaces. Some flow lines are present on the larger pieces, but these have also caused no issues with the finish.
The figures provided consist of a five man team in defensive poses, and a sixth figure controlling the boat. Special Forces of this period within the US military are not my speciality, but looking at on-line images of Navy Seals of this period does depict the camouflage and clothing provided here. The camouflage painting of this uniform is the only aspect I am not looking forward to. The boonie style hat provided for all of the figures does seem to be used a lot, but for those modellers who wish to personalise their figures, the plain vented helmet or cloth wrapped around the head could be used if you can source or scratch build it.
The standard webbing utilised does not appear to be present in this release, elements of it are provided but it will be up to the modeller to get this to look as they wish. It should be noted, that the US Navy Seals do seem to modify the equipment they carry to suit their needs. There are some nice elements I like to see here, in that boot tread is provided separately and so is well covered. A body armour package appears to be utilised, but I am unable to indentify it. Some flippers have been provided, and checked against issued equipment appear to be accurate, even if the detail is a little over emphasized. Each of the figures is on its own unique sprue, but it is my opinion that the modeller can mix and match to meet their own requirements.
Looking at the hands and faces provided in this release, I am more than happy with what is present. Rather than worry about replacing heads and hands, it’s worth bearing in mind that grease paint in worn on the skin to break up your colours. Weapons wise we have a good mix, some being more suitable than others. We have an M60E3, a M4 rifle with M203 grenade launcher, an M16 with the same package, an M16A1, a CAR15, M14 EBR, a M14, a M15E2 completes the weapons package. It is good to see that Gecko Models has again provided photo etched slings for the weapons. When looking at the weapons, I did notice that the M16 with the grenade launcher has a bent barrel that will need some careful restoration if going to be used. The SEAL with the M60 has a choice of arms including bare arms.
Moving on the rubber boat, detail has not been compromised in its production with the inflatable portions being replicated by a large number of parts in order to provide good undercut detail. There is an outboard motor replicated for propulsion, with a choice of assemblies for the actual propulsion element (ie encased or open). Grab handles around the side are added during construction, and there are some photo etched straps holding the rear board in place. While an outboard motor is acceptable when sound is not an issue, there is a compressed air cylinder for a quiet form of propulsion. One thing not provided are oars, as I would have thought these would be general equipment being both quiet and never breaking down.
The star of the show for those modellers always looking for something to add the Wow factor, a display base is provided with four plastic pieces making up a display frame and a clear green insert with a cut out at an angle in it into which the boat will fit perfectly. The upper face of the clear green part has been given a realistic water surface, including disrupted surface that the propulsion would cause.
In my opinion this is another case of Gecko at their best. They take a subject and release a high end representation of it, and then go the extra mile to provide a realistic display setting for the model. The weapons provided seem a little odd in some cases, but I believe that Special Forces select their weapon of choice and are not tied down to specifics. It is my opinion that the modeller who has the ability to tackle figures when it comes to painting could create some great looks to the figures and this release as a whole could be built into a stunning and eye catching model. Lastly the price is very competitive in the UK as regards what you get for your money.