In a very short
time, Master Box has gotten a well-deserved reputation for producing
some of the more interesting figure sets and creative poses. This
is a highly animated quartet charging the beachhead. From the box
art, it appears the soldiers are dressed in uniforms typical for
not only D-Day, but Operations Torch or Husky, as well. Or, for
that matter, a corn field.
do not wear the waist life vests, rubberized assault gas mask bags,
and gas detection brassards common on D-Day. It's a mixed blessing:
The distinctive features that tie the figures so indelibly to one
central event also limit the figures' diorama options. DML went
both ways in their U.S. 29th Infantry
Division (Omaha Beach), giving you a few figures you could drop
into a cow pasture or town square. MB opted to make the figures
to be more ubiquitous and usable in settings late into the war (swap
the bangalore for a Garand).
But closer examination
of the actual pieces reveals a problem: Only the non-com with the
Thompson has the proper jacket design. The jackets on the other
three figures, which ostensibly would be M1941 "Parsons"
jackets, incorrectly have breast pockets, making the chests look
more similar to the M1943 OD jacketonly with buttons down
the center. The cuffs on the sleeves and bottem hem of the jacket
are common to the Parsons jacket, so these don't represent any type
of shirt (a shirt collar is seen under the jacket). One reviewer
has suggested these are "battle-jerkins," presumably alluding
to the assault vests worn by the Rangers on D-Day (see Dragon's
U.S. Rangers Normandy set), but
that is incorrect. Unfortunately, this hybrid uniform is a problem
shared with the U.S. Machine-Gunners and
U.S. Infantry sets. I shared this observation
with Alexander at MB, who had been kind enough to send me the review
samples. I forwarded some photos to him and he agreed that the jackets
were incorrect and vowed that MB would work toward improving their
But all is not
lost. You can take your hobby knife and scrape down these pockets,
or smooth them over with a dab of putty.
One of the things
that impresses me about Master Box is that they take the time to
sculpt and mold individual backpacks, unlike the other companies
that only provide one generic pack for all the figures. And the
backside of the packs are designed to fit snuggly on the backs of
each soldier. rather than floating atop the folds of clothing and
curve of the spine. Even the two one-piece meat can pouches and
M1938 entrenching tools are also different! The ammo pouches for
the web belts are molded as one piece per side of the belt, rather
than eight or ten individual pouches as done by Dragon. While not
quite as crisply defined as indy pouches, they fit the bodies better
and are quicker to install. The weapons and M1A1 flamethrower are
well done, but the short, holstered handgun identified as part #2
is a bit of a curiousity, not being the standard size .45. As it's
worn by the non-com, perhaps it's a flare gun or private purchase?
the canteens are still the cross-strapped Marine Corps versions
more suitable for the South Pacific than Northern Europe. Alexander
said they will change this to the proper U.S. Army style in future
While a bit
of a step backwards in terms of accuracy from previous Master Box
offerings, the figures are redeemed by their dynamic poses and versatility.
And Master Box seems eager to improve its accuracy, and that's a
good thing for them and us.
courtesy of Master Box.