U.S. Combat Group Set
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


This set dates back to the mid 1970s and was included with the M3A2 Halftrack before being released as a separate item. For many, many years it was the only decent set of various seated infantry; Monogram had a couple of crudely molded vehicle drivers and a half dozen identical stiff soldiers used to populate a cargo truck, and Italeri had an equally stiff jeep driver. Looking at these figures now, it’s hard to believe they were once state of the art. The same crudely painted figures that have adorned the backside of the box for decades does little to recommend them. However, they are redeemable with some skillful painting and new heads from Hornet or Ultracast (other accessories heads appear disproportionately large on most of the figures). I reconfigured several of these guys in a backdated M3A1 for my Hürtgen Forest diorama and I was pleased with the results. 

If the set is unfamiliar to you, there are eight figures. Five are sitting, two are standing with a leg up on the seats of the halftrack, and the last soldier is walking stiffly, rifle held up and out across his chest. Frankly he looks like he got kicked out of the halftrack for eating too many beans! One soldier is on the SCR-510 field radio; another is displaying the time on his watch. The others, including the two standing soldiers, are looking at one another or off into the distance. This is not a very dynamic bunch, but new heads can animate them – joking, weary, or wary. Six figures wear the M1941 jacket.  Another seated figure sports the winter combat jacket, or windcheater, typically seen on tankers, and the marching figure has his M1943 OD coat buttoned up tightly around his neck. Unlike the others, he has the gaiter boots while the rest have the M1938 canvas leggings, so he’s a bit of an odd duck all the way around.

Tamiya errs in the painting instructions, suggesting that the M1941 jackets be painted in olive drab. Really they should be dark yellow, buff or khaki, as should the winter combat jacket. Trousers can be olive drab or woolen brown.

There’s a full complement of Garands, shovels, canteens and bayonets – all of which should be replaced with Tamiya’s latest weapons and equipment set. There are also mines that originally went into the halftrack racks. The SCR-510 radio is molded with the shock mounts attached, which were used when the radio was mounted in a vehicle like the halftrack or jeep, and would not otherwise be present on a radio. The SCR-195 "walkie-talkie" was replaced in early 1944 by the more familiar SCR-300, and thus would likely not been seen in an ETO setting.

While now one can collect various resin vehicle drivers and seated infantry to fill a deuce and a half or Beep, this set is still the best option in plastic, surpassed only by the drivers found in Tamiya’s jeep and truck kits.



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