“Get to ze chopuuuuuhhhh!!” ( Arnie accent) is immediately what came to mind when I saw this new kit from MasterBox in the Ukraine - it features five special forces figures escaping from “Victor Charlie” somewhere in Vietnam ( or maybe next door in Laos?) anyway let’s look at the kit to see what if the chopper turns up…
Kit No: 35107
Kit type: Injection Moulded (2 sprues in tan)
Available from: MasterBox Stockists Worldwide
The new kit from the Vietnam era series “Head for the Huey” contains two sprues of injection moulded plastic - one full of soldiers and the other sprue containing the large load of equipment these soldiers carried on their long marches in that country. Before we dive in and look let’s look at the package itself and the instructions.
That’s it – there aren’t any instructions really – the sprues are shown on the back of the box and are numbered and next to this on the rear of the box are the soldiers painted up and constructed, showing where the numbers go. This is perfectly ok on a small kit like this as there isn't that much scope to become lost in the parts of the sprues – although there are quite a few this isn't a demandingly technical kit and you should even be able to make it without instructions as very helpfully MasterBox has grouped each of the soldier’s parts together on a corner of the sprue tree - Nice thinking there..
Also on the rear of the box is a painting guide with a key and indication paint colours in Vallejo Acrylics. These are really popular right now and the choice of many modellers but I would like a few more types included as well. Whilst I am on it the box art is – as always great work by MasterBox’s in house artist Mr, Karaschuk.
The plastic on offer is tan in colour and there is very little extra material in the way of flash to be seen. The smaller articles like the weapons are very clean and will take little to get ready whilst the figures limbs heads and limbs do have some seams on them. This will take some time to clean up and this is the only part I think needs a little work. It is a minor issue though that takes only a little while to clean up and I am looking for faults a little too hard.
The faces of these figures are looking good. I have criticised the sculptors a little in the past for creating “golem” looking heads but these are getting better all the time from MasterBox. Three of the figures with their flatter features look either Asian or African American in appearance so the three other figures you have some offer some variation in the kit already.
Before we look at each of the figures individually we will go through the Weapons and equipment the soldiers are carrying. The good thing here is that it is all separately moulded from the figure and these packs can be used or discarded. Seeing these are Special Forces troops you could argue for big packs and equipment or the bare minimum depending on their mission. The good thing is that each soldier’s webbing and clothing is as would be normal underneath their equipment so you can include or exclude whatever you like.
The sprue contains two sets of webbing for back packs, eight water bottles, sleeping rolls, more ammo than you can shake a stick at for all of their guns, smoke and frag grenades and small and large packs. There is also the option of changing each of your soldier’s headgear. There are four M-1 US issue standard helmets, 4 small jungle hats, 4 larger flapped “boonie” hats and 4 caps which would be worn mostly around the base but were often worn into combat.
The weapons on show – now there is a wide variety on offer here and all of an good quality – a little trim and nip here and there and these all look like a great representation of the real thing. There are four M-16’s which the grunts were closely associated with – one of these with a grenade launcher under the gun barrel. There is also two some smaller M-4 Carbines which I thought were more common after the war, a stubby-stocked AK-47 and a small captured Machine pistol taken from VC stock as well as the ever popular American M79 40mm Grenade Launcher which was used to slow up and clear out the enemy to great effect. I might hazard to ask for an M60 Machine gun in this mix but there are already these weapons, knives, pistols in their holsters - this lot are a deadly bunch!!
The weapons and equipment being so varied it is hard to tell what special forces these soldiers are from – SEAL’s Green Berets or other I don't know – but they are armed to the teeth.
Getting onto the sprues let’s look at each of these soldiers in turn – starting on the rear of the box working my way down from the left and then down let’s start at the Soldier throwing a grenade
This soldier is throwing a frag or smoke grenade into the soldier’s rear hoping to delay/kill the enemy. He carries a smaller pack and a captured French designed MAT49 7.62mm machine pistol - which looks a little like a German MP40 here. He has the ammo pouches on his chest as well as a large knife on his chest to clear the jungle – he wears a choice of your headgear and jungle fatigues with rolled up sleeves, a small pack on his back, spare ammo and frags and a water bottle.
Because he is lightly packed I and his big-ass knife I think we is probably the scout of the group. I also think he looks of Asian descent so the Earlier model Machine gun and the fact he knows the country as a scout fits. If you see the pictures of him completed t the end of the review you can see his Vietnamese face.
The next soldier on the box to his right is the man doing double duty – Carrying the other soldier’s pack and rifle as well as his own.
This G.I. is the heavy gunner of the group. He has the Grenade Launcher in his hand as well as a captured AK47 over his shoulder and a pistol on his hip. The soldier’s chest is laden with the many rounds of the grenade launcher in a padded pouch carrier whilst the soldier carries a large pack on his back with the metal framed webbing underneath it all. He also carries his wounded comrade’s pack over his shoulder as he runs forward to “ze choppa”
Again this soldier can carry as much or as little as you want him to and he has the choice of four different types of headwear which I discussed earlier.
The first of the next soldiers is the on the left in a bandanna supporting his wounded comrade.
This soldier wears both a bandana on his head but he could be also wearing a helmet - he looks every inch the vet with his M-16 and his bandoleer of ammo across his chest.He carries an entrenching tool and two water bottles which were really common with troops on long/hot patrols and he has full length fatigues on with his boots tucked into his trousers and he has his sleeves rolled up.
The wounded soldier has a bandage around his leg and a torn off trouser which looks great – he also has a large bandage on his head so he looks pretty crook!
The soldier still carries large ammo pouches on his chest but only that and a water bottle on his hip as his comrades are carrying the rest of his equipment.
The last soldier on the right bottom helping support his comrade has very similar equipment to his other supporting buddy – a large bandoleer across his chest carries the ammo for his M-16 as well as a medical pack on his back with two water bottles – one on either hip.
The soldier has galoshes over his trouser legs to differentiate him from his comrades and a large sleeping roll/tent as well.
The good thing about each of these soldiers is that there are plenty of options to differentiate them from each other whilst they still look like they are from the same outfit - this is a great improvement on some other kits whose soldiers all carry the same gear and thus don't look any different – as real people in a similar uniform do look.
If you are looking for some soldiers that are getting to “Ze chopaaaah” then you are in luck with this set. A bit of clean-up of the seams and details will leave you with a great set for your Vietnam (or Cambodian) diorama.
Thanks to MasterBox for the review kit
Here are some pictures from MasterBox showing the kit assembled - it looks pretty dramatic!