U.S. Infantry July, 1944
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Master Box Ltd.

This is the third of three GI sets that MB issued in quick order in the summer of 2007. As such, it shares some of the same problems with U.S. Machine-Gunners and D-Day June 6, 1944 with regard to the uniform jackets (two of the figures have breast pockets on their Parsons jackets) and the return of the out-of-place Marine canteen. Both these issues can be overcome, so let's look at the upside.

Once again, MB comes up with some figures that kick the "A" in Action. The most striking is the dog face pulling his wounded buddy out of harm's way. Don't take MB's suggestion in the diagrams on the back of the box and put a medic's decal on him unless you set aside the Garand and ammo pouches for the belt. It would be highly unlikely for a U.S. ETO medic to be armed in that manner. But if you drop the weaponry and include the medic's bag and the handy decal MB provides in its set of insignia, you'll have a brave medic. Otherwise you can make him a brave combat soldier. He pulls the injured GI by the strap of his M1928 haversack (the section of strap is conveniently molded into the rescuer's hand). The sculpting gives a good sense of the effort exerted to bring this fellow to safety.

The other two figures remind me how wonderfully far we have come since Tamiya's old U.S Army Infantry. The dramatic poses of the rifleman and grenade thrower echo through time. This is a rare time, however, when the finished figures have even more pizzazz than the compelling two-dimensional brush strokes. Sculptor A. Gagarin has the rifleman's stance searching out his target, ready for the recoil. The grenade thrower has the familiar sideways posture, about to reach out and touch somebody with his white phosphorous grenade.

The GIs are kitted out with haversacks and entrenching tools, but curiously there are no meat can pouches that typically sat over the shovels (visible on two of the haversacks in the box art). Gagarin again does something virtually unheard of in today's figure sets: he gives us three uniquely sculpted haversacks, not three clones.

MB again provides a small sheet of decals. While the are four figures in the set, there are only three sets of insignia per unit: 1st, 2nd, 29th Infantry Divisions (and perhaps 4th, if the reversed out decal is the ivy insignia), as well as the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions. There are even lieutenant's and captain's bars. However, there are only three corporal and sergeant stripes; with one for each arm, that's the equivalent of only one and a half soldiers. Also on the sheet are six red cross circles if you choose the medic route.

While there is room for improvement, MB is energizing the plastic figure market and seems determined to move past Dragon. Here's looking forward to a healthy competition.

Review sample courtesy of Master Box.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter