the release of this pair of figures in 2001, the only running GIs
you could find were in the ancient Tamiya set of the 1970s. Likewise,
there were only a couple of U.S. figures in white camouflage sheets
from Verlinden and MK35, and there are still no GIs in white camo
suits. Consequently I was very excited when this action packed
release was pre-announced as I could use these figure in a diorama
Ive been working on and ordered them sight unseen.
this set is a major disappointment. No, the main problem is that
Custom Dioramics has borrowed a tendency of Verlinden Productions
to reuse major body parts and reconfiguring them in new releases.
At least VP spreads this out among different kits. CD, however,
has done something I havent seen since the old Tamiya Afrika
Korps set: the two figures are essentially in the same pose and
share the same legs and torso. The effect, after constructing and
standing them side-by-side or running in line, is sadly ludicrous.
The differences in heads, arms and some gear cannot compensate for
the fact that you cant position these figures next to one
another without it being apparent that the fact that their legs
and the folds in the pants would not be identical in real life.
box art attempts to fool us into thinking these are two distinct
figures. One is positioned running towards the viewer, the other
is more in profile. The identical nature of the legs is further
minimized by painting one set in woolen trousers, and the other
in OD fatigues. Both wear the M1943 boot with the buckled gaiter.
torsos are essentially the same except one has two bandoliers strung
across his chest, and the other has one bandolier and a strap for
a musette bag, which rides on his hip. The cuff tabs are the same
found on the khaki M1941 combat jacket, but CD has painted them
OD like the M1943 coat.
faces are well-sculpted by Brian Stewart, and one in particular
has an openmouthed, wide-eyed look that is wholly appropriate for
a combat scene, whether running into battle or fleeing oncoming
panzers. Overall the sculpting is excellent and nicely detailed
as is typical with Mr. Stewarts work, though there are more
mold seams than one typically finds on resin figures. One can understand
why this cloning of figures happens. Its obviously
economics, more quickly recouping the costs of research and sculpting
by swapping parts around. Its a shame CD has resorted to this
within a single offering. And its baffling that theyre
charging $25 for this set, compared to the $19 they charge for the
pair of figures in Chow Time or $24 for each of the
two trios of figures in the HQ Personnel series. When
I sent a note to Bob Letterman at VLS (parent company to Custom
Dioramics) expressing my dismay with both the approach and price
of this set, his wife Susan simply replied that I could send them
back if I was not satisfied.
it appears that Custom Dioramics may have more of this cloning in
store for us. A close look at the box art for Chow Time
and US Reconnaissance Team suggests the poses are again
the same, with changes in arms, heads and gear to create a new set;
both sets find their parentage in WWII US Tank Crew #1).
But at least they are two sets that will be unlikely used together.