U.S. Marines, Guadalcanal 1942
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Dragon Models Limited

Being that this is a site for modeling the U.S. Army, this review may seem out of place. However, you may find this useful, so bear with me. DML has just released a new set of US Marines, normally something I rejoice over. Especially when said set's box is graced with the artwork of Mr. Ron Volstad. The art depicts four Marines out on a patrol. The poses on the box makes you want to rip it open and grab your X-acto knife! They are all hesitantly scanning the trees for snipers. Of the four, two are armed with the M1903 Springfield rifle, one with the bayonet fixed. The bayonet is the correct M1905, with appropriate M3 scabbard. The third is armed with a BAR, and lastly, the fourth is armed with an M50 Reising sub machine gun. A what?!?, you ask. A Reising machine gun was a cheaper, lighter alternative to the Thompson that was short-lived in the Corps.

All the figures are outfitted with the P1941 green herringbone twill utilities, leather 'boondocker' boots, and M1 steel helmets. The helmets are bare, meaning no camo covers that are so associated with the Marines in the Pacific. The P1941 utility shirts do have the USMC and Eagle, Globe, and Anchor engraved into the pockets, but that can be filled and sanded if using for Army troops, and again, the bare M1 Helmets will be more useful to you for Army troops as well.

More useful will be the canteen covers, depicted as the U.S. Army style, as opposed to the more appropriate, and common M1910 canteen cover, the "cross flap" style used by the USMC.

Construction breaks down in typical DML fashion, legs split at the crotch and waist, a torso, a head and arms. Dry-fitting of the parts reveal no major gaps or ill-fitting pieces. Detail on the bodies themselves is excellent, the "baggy" look of these uniforms in the jungle environment is well done, one figure even has the knee of his trousers ripped. All the webgear and ammo belts come as seperate components, needing to be placed around the belts. The two riflemen also have ammo bandoleers around their necks, broken down into several pieces as well. If you want rifle slings, be prepared to either make your own, or use a set of phot-etch.

Now, as for the weapons included in the set. This is the weak area. The Reising is pretty nice. The M1903 Springfields are also pretty decent, definately usable. The BAR comes in another sprue, labeled "6802" which is a generic set of US weapons that DML have included for years. Also on the sprue are M1 Garands. I thought "Great!" I can depict Marines at other battles! Nope, the M1 rifle are not useable. Detail is soft, and they are short. Replace them if showing Marines elsewhere, or if using these as Army troops. The man carrying the Reising can be shown carrying a Thompson, but one isn't included, so again, supply your own.

All in all, the set is good. I recommend replacing the heads with ones from Hornet. Hornet makes a set of USMC heads, as well as the Army heads. Weapons are up to you.

To sum it up, a nice set that, with some tweaking, can be made into a good looking set of Marines on patrol, warily scanning the coconut trees for Japanese snipers. OR, a nice set of early war Army troops in the Pacific theater. OR, a nice set of U.S. Army troops during hot summer months just about anywhere, either stateside training, summer in Italy, or summer in Europe. They even have conversion potential for U.S. Marines in Korea! Recommended.

-Rod Crisman


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2009 Timothy S. Streeter