U.S. Army Assault Infantry Set
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


Many enthusiasts of U.S. WWII subjects hailed this 1995 set as the best Tamiya kit since their M4A3 Sherman.  Even though DML had come out with Rangers and Airborne figures the year before, this set gave hope that Tamiya might show greater interest in producing U.S. subjects, spurred on by Tamiya’s release of the M4 Sherman kit (even though that kit cribbed many components of the old M4A3).  This figure set was completely new, even down to the rifles and hand grenades.  And in many ways it did presage the coming of the retooled Jeep, GMC Deuce and a Half, and the M8 and M20 Greyhounds.  But the drought in U.S. figures has persisted. 

The six figures in this set are better integrated than the previous U.S. sets from Tamiya.  Rather than a few figures marching and a few figures in combat poses, all six of these GIs seem to be on the same mission. 

The squad leader, his M1A1 Thompson submachine gun at his side, is signaling to his team with an outstretched arm.  The second-in-command is hunched over, pulling out a new cartridge for his M1 carbine.  Lying back, supported by an elbow, a rifleman is about to launch a grenade from his M1 Garand.  All three of these figures wear the M1941 jacket.  Tamiya suggests painting the jackets with their dark yellow, but you can also do them in shades of buff or khaki. 

The three other figures wear the longer olive drab M1943 coat.  The BAR gunner has his weapon at the ready, and has the large ammo pouches around his waist.  One rifleman is crouched forward, while another is kneeling.  This latter figure has a three-pocket grenade pouch hooked to his belt.  This was a late war item, designed exclusively for grenade storage. All figures wear the M1938 canvas leggings.  Tamiya suggests the pants be painted in their flat earth color (XF59).  This is acceptable, but I prefer mixing one part Model Master's field drab with two parts leather brown.  This gives a more greenish cast that is evident in many color photos of the period.  But with anything concerning colors, fading and varying manufacturers, there’s a good bit of leeway. 

The faces have much better expressions than previous Tamiya sets, but if you don't like them, you can swap replacements from Hornet or Ultracast. 

The figures, with the exception of the squad leader, all wear equipment webbing over their jackets.  One of the riflemen has an ammo bandoleer over his chest.  The webbing and bandoleer can be painted numerous shades of buff, dark yellow, khaki, or ochre, as can the nicely sculpted M1928 haversack with the meat can pouch, and the covers for the M1910 and M1943 entrenching tools.  My only quibble is that the collapsible M1943 shovel seems a bit under scale in the length and thickness of the handle. 

The weapons included this kit are light years ahead of the old 1970s weapons from Tamiya.  The canteens, bayonets, and grenades are nicely rendered as well.  Shortly after this kit was released, Tamiya spun off the weapons and gear sprue as a separate item.

The figures scale to about 5’6”, which is quite accurate, given the average male’s height during the war was 5’7” or so.  They tend to look dwarfish next to Verlinden or Warriors figures that can scale up to 6’6”, and there is a very noticeable difference in the size of the weapons, helmets, and other gear.  They do look acceptable alongside the slightly larger figures from DML and Yanks.  But be aware that there was only ONE size of the M1 helmet worn by US soldiers during the war (Germans had five or six sizes).  If you are a stickler for accuracy, you'll find a bit of a challenge in this regard. 

Alas, Tamiya has not capitalized on the lack of U.S. figures and released subsequent sets, while they’ve released a half dozen German figure sets over the same period of time.  But this is an excellent kit to have.



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