U.S. 101st Airborne Division (Bastogne 1944)
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Dragon Models Limited

It took over a year and a half from when this kit of winter GIs was announced and when it finally hit the shelves in mid 2002. During that time Tamiya released several nice winter "action figures" with their two Ardennes Sherman variants. While they may be late, these four DML troopers are a fine complement to the Tamiya releases.

This team is posed in wary stances, pictured in the box art as being on patrol. Two soldiers wear the long wool melton overcoats, which are cast in several pieces and drape nicely. A bit of Testors Contour Putty will help fill the few slight gaps where the pieces mate. One of these figures carries a BAR; the other holds a Garand.

The third figure, stepping forward cautiously with his Thompson submachine gun, wears a tan mackinaw coat. These were common in the ETO but only recently have they been available in plastic figures.

The last figure is kneeling, his Garand raised to his cheek and ready to fire. He's dressed in the M1943 OD jacket and the airborne pattern trousers with the large pleated cargo pockets. The trousers are really the only feature distinguishing any of these soldiers as airborne troops, and you could carve the large pockets off to make him straight infantry. He totes not just one, but two bandoliers, one slung over the other. These take a bit of work adding in layers and you'll probably want to add a strip of paper to extend from the molded strap to the edges of the outer bandolier for a more realistic effect.

The set comes with the typical assortment of gear. Note that the entrenching tools were originally designed for one of the older DML sets and have a partial loop around the handle, just under the tool cover, for attaching the shovel to a backpack. You should carve this bit off the handles, as there are no packs for these figures (though you could add musette bags from DML's Varsity airborne set or any of the other Tamiya or Verlinden bags available). All figures wear the black rubber boots with the four buckles.

The figures are nicely molded and fit together well. The heads, however, are a big disappointment - all four actually look identical, at least prior to painting. Ron Volstad's exquisite artwork raised hopes that there would be one or two bearded faces in this batch, but that's not the case. Replacing these noggins with Hornet or Warriors heads will give the figures more distinctive characters. The figures stand just under 6'. The helmets are much more to scale than previous DML sets.

You can mix and match these guys with the Tamiya figures and other DML sets and put together a pretty decent squad of GIs battling back the German advance in the Ardennes. I highly recommend this set.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2009 Timothy S. Streeter