Sunday, February 26

Review - MasterBox MB3589: U.S. Marines in Jungle. WWII Era

MasterBox have sent us the three newest of their March releases so we can pour over the contents – the German housebreakers got a going over the other day – now it is time to scrutinize these four young US marines in the MasterBox kit MB3589: U.S. Marines in Jungle – straight to the point as title suggests - let's get straight on to the kit.

Kit No: MB3589
Kit type: Styrene injection moulded           
Sprues: 1 in tan
Figures: 4
Scale: 1/35
Available from:  MasterBox Distributors

Ever feel you were being watched?  well I think like these four soldiers feel that way – there are four U.S. Marines in this set from MasterBox “MB3589: U.S. Marines in Jungle. WWII Era” – creeping through the jungle swamps in the lovely box art (as usual by these guys) Whether the squad commander has seen something and is mouthing it on the art I am not sure but he had better keep it down!
The one tan sprue has no instruction numbers – they are on the back of the kit in usual MasterBox fashion along with any variation in load out (for the radio op.) as well as a sprue map. One thing we are missing is a colour call out which is usually on the rear box art but I think has been forgotten from this release. An interesting omission but not the end of the world.

The figures come on one tan sprue with the four soldiers all around the middle of the “tree” centre with their equipment spread to the outsides of the sprue but close to each of the applicable soldiers that carry it. You can change the weapons and there is an extra rifle here amongst all of the kit – but we will speak about weapons later – let’s look at the figures.
The tan moulded figures are moulded very sharply for an injected kit. The only problems I can see with the moulding is the small seam which seems to plague all figures in IM plastic – evident down either side of the torso and down the middle of the front and rear of the legs. This is slight and only a few scrapes of a sharp blade will remove this. 

There is no flash and there are no injection marks on any of the figures. There are smart locations of where to attach the sprues as well and MasterBox’s injection moulders are getting smarter and better at this all of the time. Joints “seam” to be mostly on areas like the elbows and tops of heads under helmets and rifle buts. Good thinking.

The inspiration for this kit as seen on the Masterbox Website - niiicee
Special due as well to the sculptor Mr Gagarin for the excellent work on the improving faces – individual features and even the expression which I saw on the box art of the soldier opening his yap can be clearly seen. A good painter (AKA not me) will make a great model out of this set. All of the heads are interchangeable as we will see later – and all have some character to them.

Individually we will look at the figures and their gear – staring with the Radio Operator
Well you can tell he is the radio operator as he is carrying a radio in his pack which is well represented here in a Styrene back pack radio which has all of the right indentations on its side with the “X” and “+” patterns in it – looks pretty good to me. The instructions say to add some wires on the soldier to connect his radio which is pretty acceptable. The soldier carries either and M1 Carbine or he can carry the M1 Garand Semi-auto rifle as well (usually a choice to carry a lighter weapon for load bearing troops – good addition) 

This radio operator carries as equipment two water bottles (as do all of the troops here – good CLEAN water is like gold to soldiers in the hot pacific) and a knife (3 choices available) some ammo for his carbine, a large entrenching tool plus a medical kit for his hip. All of these are able to be added or left off – your choice.
The radio operator is wearing an M1 helmet and standard marine battle-dress with long sleeves and pants (read trousers for the English readers) which are tapered down and fit into his USMC leggings and those in turn into his boots. The soldier is seen looking up and to the right on the instructions on the box.

The next soldier is walking along with his rifle up to port and his hands draped over his gun.
This Marine is in similar clothes to the first Marine, with again the choice of a cloth coloured M1 helmet (there is one bare helmet here if you want to swap amongst figures) He is wearing Marines pattern webbing with belt (hook style buckles here on all of these troops) This soldier’s body language is of a man walking along looking up in a pretty casual pose as he isn’t holding his rifle rather resting his hands on the top of it. He has USMC Gaiters on and like all of these soldiers US Navy short boots on as well.
The soldier carries An M1 Garand Semi-auto and bandoliers of ammo for it, two water bottles, a M1910 folding shovel in its holster, a medical pack to hang off his belt and the choice of a bayonet or/and a marines fighting knife which they praised. The Marine is also carrying two packs – a smaller M1936 backpack and a M41 backpack as well.

The third soldier is holding his rifle upwards and walking straight forward – head straight ahead - he looks like the squad leader from his body language but could be a regular soldier as well – you be the judge. On the box art he is seen with his mouth open but on the sprue it is the fourth soldier here – The heads are interchangeable here so no problems though.
He is wearing the same standard USMC battledress as the first two here – cloth covered M1 helmet, main belt with two canteens, personal dressing, ammo pouches entrenching tool plus the larger M41 backpack and a smaller backpack which has three toggles on the front. The soldier also has the option to carry a large “Collins knife” machete as well. Judge I rest my case he IS the squad leader!

The last soldier here in this kit is the trooper who is seen walking ahead looking up with his neck craned for Japanese snipers in the trees I imagine! He himself carries a 1903 A4 Springfield sniper bolt actioned rifle with tell-tale long protruding muzzle and thin frame. He has as well the option to carry a M1 Garand rifle if you are not using it on your radio operator.
PhotobucketThis soldier is wearing the same as the last soldier almost. Long sleeved pants and shirt battledress – (excellent draping of the cuffs on this soldier especially) an M1 helmet, main belt with two canteens, personal dressing kit, ammo pouches entrenching tool plus the larger M41 backpack and a smaller backpack as well as a bayonet. He has no gaiters but again like the other marines is wearing standard short US Navy bootsPhotobucketThe good thing about this soldier and all of the soldiers here is that you can interchange equipment – so they can carry or wear as much or as little as you want to.
A word about the equipment and weapons – great! all realistic and I could recognize them all at once (I am not a gun nut) about the choice – as well as the equipment – to mix and match and add and take away things is great on soldiers especially in the pacific where the hot conditions led to a lot of different equipment changes and alternatives being used. The only thing I would have possibly added would have been a cameo poncho for each soldier in his pack.

 I almost forgot to tell you MasterBox include some excellently reproduced Mk.II grenades as well – of which there are six. They are so small – but well detailed I may add - that they are easy to miss but a welcome addition as they would have been carried by these troops certainly.
I liked this kit even though I am a German and European WWII fan – the great equipment and head choices along with sharp details on the moulding would sell this for me.

Adam Norenberg

Many thanks to the guys at MasterBox for this kit to review