U.S. Tanker Pair WWII
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


Upon initially seeing this set on VLS's website, I was pleased that Warriors was offering a couple new poses that could be useful in a bivouac setting, perhaps digging in for the night. The tanker toting the Thompson submachine gun wears the one-piece herringbone twill work suit. This earlier light green pattern is noted by the two breast pockets, the right pocket having a diagonal flap. The legs are bloused over the canvas leggings. For some reason sculptor Bill Chilstrom omitted the bands at the bottom of the leggings that slide under the combat shoes and keep the leggings from riding up.

His companion sports the second pattern winter combat trousers featuring the off-centered zipper fly. There are no leggings or gaiters visible.

Nor is the shovel that this figures leans on visible. Well, it's visible in the box art, along with the note "Shovel not included." I found this very strange. After all, the other figure's Tommy gun is included. Jaguar made a set of tanker figures filling sandbags, and they managed to include a shovel. Why couldn't Warriors? The whole idea of the figure is that he's leaning on a shovel. What's next—tank commanders looking through binoculars (not included) or GIs firing their Garands (not included)?

Without this inclusion of a shovel of the correct height, the assembly of this figure is more problematic. With the arms affixed (they stretch out much more parallel to the ground than the box art suggests), you need to scrounge up a shovel from your parts box approximately 4' tall. Unfortunately, the shovels that come with Tamiya or Italeri vehicles are all in the 3' range. This means the figure will need to lean forward to the point of absurdity. Or, you need to build up a 1' mound of dirt the shovel blade can rest in. Or, you can shell out another $8 for Italeri's work shop accessory set, which appears to be the source of the shovel used in the box art photo.

The muzzle was busted off the Tommy gun, but was found amid the detritus of resin bits in the bottom of the bag. The gun was also warped, and there was a bit of flash to clean up. When I get around you using these figures, I will probably remove the barrel back to the magazine and replace it with a section from a Tamiya gun, which is of the same size.

As usual, Chilstrom's sculpting is nicely defined. However, the more I examined the figures, the more they seemed familiar too me. A quick look through the VLS catalog and my stash of figure sets revealed that these are actually clones of Custom Dioramics' earlier U.S. Tank Recovery Crew WWII set, in which the man in overalls is chalking notes on the side of a destroyed tank and the fellow in the combat trousers is leaning over and looking into the commander's hatch. Ah, that explains a lot about the shovel problem.

While it's not likely that the two figure sets would be used together as built, it's disappointing to see VLS is cannibalizing figure sets across product lines. And it's hard to believe profit margins are so tight these days they can't afford to give the modeler a measly shovel.

Product sample was provided by VLS.



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