U.S. Infantry West European Theater
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


First offered in 1974, this set of eight figures has been eclipsed by Tamiya’s 1995 assault infantry set.  But for twenty years this was the mainstay of modelers interested in creating U.S. infantry theme dioramas. 

Four of the figures wear the olive drab M1943 jacket.  One of these is walking, carrying a BAR.  He has the large BAR ammo pouches around his waist.  He wears the M1943 combat service boot with the leather gaiter that eliminated the canvas leggings.  Two other soldiers in the M1943 jacket are running.  One carries an M1 Garand rifle; the other has an M1 Carbine.  The fourth figure is in a prone position, shooting a Garand.  All three of these figures also wear the M1943 combat boot, which generally did not appear in the ETO until later in 1944. 

Contrary to the illustration and instructions on the back of the box, there are three figures wearing the short M1941 jacket, which was usually a tannish color.  The soldier kneeling and firing his carbine is correctly painted; he carries on his back a featureless square bag that has more in common with a musette bag than the 1928 haversack most widely used.  The jackets on Figures #3 and #4, the soldier firing the Thompson submachine gun and the other marching GI are really M1941 jackets and should be painted as such.  (Because of wear and the differences in fabrics used by jacket manufacturers, you can use a variety of colors and be correct.  I use Tamiya Buff, Khaki, and Dark Yellow, and varying shades of those.)  The marching figure carries the M1944 combat and cargo packs.  This dual pack was designed to replace the M1928 haversack, and enabled the GI to leave the bottom cargo pack behind, usually containing spare clothes, while bringing essentials along in the combat pack.  The two packs are molded together, with a rolled blanket draped over them.  An M1943 shovel is glued onto the packs.  All three of these figures wear canvas leggings.  The final figure wears the winter combat jacket most often seen on tankers and highly prized by infantry for its warmth.  This jacket can be painted in a similar fashion as the M1941 jacket.  Carrying a Thompson submachine gun, he also wears canvas leggings. 

These figures are all a bit on the chunky side, and do not offer the level of crisp detail we enjoy with more recent plastic figures from Tamiya and DML, and, of course, resin figures.  However, there are some simple ways to make them much more acceptable. First, the expressionless heads can be replaced with heads from Hornet or Ultracast (heads from Verlinden, Yanks and Warriors are too big).  Hands are a bit on the blobbish side, and there are sets from Verlinden and Warriors that can help here.  The tallest figures scale out to about 5’9” with helmets on, which is quite acceptable, given the average height of a US serviceman in WWII was around 5’8”. 

Finally, all the weapons and gear can be replaced with the sprue found in Tamiya’s assault infantry and offered separately as #35206 U.S. Infantry Equipment Set (though there is only enough gear there for six soldiers). 

With these changes and some careful painting and detailing, a moderately skilled modeler can bring these 25-year-old figures to life.



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