U.S. Jeep Crew and MP
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

U.S. Jeep Crew and MP


Along with a popular line of styrene diorama buildings, MiniArt has a growing reputation for producing quality utilitarian figure sets such as this offering, which originally accompanied its Bantam jeep.

The set presents three jeep riders, one of them standing and leaning upon the windshield, who can be posed with the two MPs to easily populate a scene of a jeep at a checkpoint or soldiers asking for directions. Three of the soldiers wear the M1941 second pattern field jacket. The Tommy gunner wears the tanker winter combat jacket, which was often seen on infantry. The driver has the M1943 jacket, which came to the line troops in early autumn 1944, (though the Bantam was phased out well before the driver's M1943 jacket was fielded, so keep that in mind with your chosen setting). Three of the figures wear scarves, which also suggest cooler weather, though there are photos of soldiers embarking on D-Day with white scarves around their necks.

Overall, the quality of the sculpting and poses is excellent, and I suspect they work well in the Bantam for which they were designed. Unfortunately, the seated figures will need some modifications to use in a Tamiya jeep (my desired destination for these figures). A partial gluing and dry fitting of the parts suggests the driver may need to lose some toes to sit down better into the Tamiya seat, and adjustments may be necessary for the arms and steering wheel. The joe with the Tommy gun appears to be positioned for the back seat with his arm leaning on the stowed roof supports, but his butt floats a 1/8 inch above the seat. You could sculpt a tarp to sit him. He'd probably enjoy the extra cushioning!

The heads are noteworthy as they are better sculpted than most DML and Tamiya figures and are full noggins—meaning the tops are not lopped off to set helmets upon (the helmets are fully scooped out). This enables you to use some epoxy putty to sculpt hair if you wish to have bareheaded figures. Hands also are better defined than most plastic figures. There are the usual seams to tend to, and a bit of extra flash around the heads.

The set is light on equipment. The M1 Garand and Thompson submachine gun appear to be fresh renditions rather than sourced from other companies, and provide some extra detailing with attachment points for slings (not provided).

Neither does MiniArt include decals (offered with the Bantam) for the uniform insignia and MP armbands, which are molded onto the jackets. I'll pull some decals from Hudson and Allen for the helmet markings, and Archer Fine Transfers for rank chevrons. It's also a simple matter of whittling away the marking areas on the figures if you don't want to deal with decals or painting the markings by hand. Indeed, removing the armbands from the MPs will make them more versatile.

I'm not going to ding this kit for not fitting the Tamiya jeep, as it doesn't make any claim that figures are suited for it. If I don't split them up and apportion them for other uses, I may have to get them a Bantam, as there is some photographic evidence of its use in North Africa. I'd have to swap out the driver, but I have a few extra Tamiya drivers around....



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © Timothy S. Streeter