A World War II release from Gecko Models contains WWII US Paratroops with Cushman Parascooter and John Wood M3A4 Utility Hand Cart Mod. 1943. If there is one thing that Gecko Models does exceptionally well, it is their figure releases as they contain everything required bar the diorama base. So let’s take a look and see what they offer in this one.
This offering from Gecko Models in a robust cardboard tray with locking flip top lid, further protection is then provided via an end opening carton showing the artwork on one side and the contents on the other. The parts for the various elements are provided in three Ziploc bags and one sealed bag, an examination of the contents reveals no areas of concern beyond the requirement for care during removal of parts from the sprue, due to the finesse of some elements. I did find one damaged part despite the efforts taken.
The hand cart is a relatively easy part of the build, other than the utilisation of some very fine photo etch pieces. So far as I can ascertain all details are correct, and I rather like the items provided for placing into the trolley, the 30cal in particular. The ridge around the top of the cart is the damaged part and so will be easy to rectify.
The second major element in this release is the M53 scooter which looks very similar in many respects to the vehicle used by British paratroopers. You are provided with, a well detailed engine with good utilisation of photo etch and plastic parts that add a high level of detail. The wheels are provided in two halves, with good tread detail, with my only concern being the seam around the middle of the tyre. While technically this would be correct, the seam would quickly disappear in use. You may be surprised to learn that a front and rear mud guard are provided on this bike, and in the case of the front mud guard it is made in photo etch, and so due to the quantity of photo etch used in this model and the small size of many of the parts this will prove problematic for those not comfortable with the use of photo etch elements. However, for those modellers that are comfortable with its use, the result will be a stunning representation of the M53 scooter and what I believe to be the first injection moulded kit of the bike. Something of interest is that the seat is basically openly suspended over the engine, and so in cold weather at least a part of you would be warm.
This set provides three US Paratroopers in the baggy uniform provided to them including the tie downs on the pockets of the leg. The dagger for releasing yourself mounted on the left ankle, has been provided and was designed to be accessible should you need to cut yourself down from a tree or the like. The reinforcement patches on the knees and elbows are well represented, as is the needed crease detail in the uniform. Equipment wise you are provided with drinking bottles, back packs, ammunition bandoleers, entrenchment tools, along with a couple of bags that I am unable to indentify. Something well replicated, are field dressings secured to the front of the helmets that I feel is a nice touch. On the negative side, there are some mould seams present that will be difficult to clean up, due to the high quality of the mouldings to which they are upon. Face and hand detail of the figures, is of a good to high standard. However, I have located flash above the eyes that will need to be addressed and I believe this is due as the result of slide moulding being used on the face. The rifles supplied for these figures are provided with photo etch rifle slings, and the figures themselves are provided with rank badges, US flags, US stencils for the needed equipment, and a choice of the Screaming Eagles or Army Airborne patches.
This release from Gecko models is truly stunning as regards what you get in this release which while more expensive than your average figure set you get a hell of a lot more in the box than you get from other manufacturers. Other than the need to clean up some seam lines, everything you need for the model and the figures is in the box, and I particularly like the choice of units provided.