Monday, November 11

Alpine Miniatures 35162 US Tanker Vietnam War Set (1/35) in review

Alpine takes a worthy detour from the regular WWII figures this month with a pair of Vietnam tank crew – both riding their vehicles – sold as a set and individually

Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
1/35th scale
11 parts in grey resin / box contains 2 figures
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim

Alpine Miniatures
- They do lots of figures of Germans pointing right? well you may be in need of some education on that one - as several of their kits have been of US, Italian, Soviet and British subjects. Not many though from the modern or Post WWII period in their ranges. Well taking the tip from a lot of modern boxings of the M48 Patton tank from Dragon and the popular M113 APC, Alpine has provided us with a set of Tankers from the Vietnam War.
Arriving in that nifty little green box that is Alpine's trademark this set - No:35162 "US Tankers Vietnam war Set" is a combination of two single figure tankers (35160 +35161) that are put together in a set and that can be used on one or on two different vehicles depending on your needs. We thought that we will review and construct them first singularly and then construct and review them together. We also have some painted images by their boxart painter Dr. Jin Kim at the end of the review for you for inspiration.
One thing common to both of the soldiers is the soft(ish) grey resin which is easy to work and hard to photograph in equal parts. Both of the figures are attached to pouring blocks at some point, but these are easy to remove as the resin isn't that stiff stuff that flies off when you cut or snip it. I had no problems with cleaning mine up or gluing it up. The resin is also bubble free and not smelly. There was no release agent on my figures but i would give them a wash before painting - just in case.
There are no instructions as they really aren't needed, the parts slot in with carving parts from the pouring blocks left to a minimum and it is joined to the parts in sensible places. The painting instructions are really whatever you like - but there is guidance on the excellent box art painting and of course the website for which we supplied the links for you. Dream on in my instance as I am out of practice, but I am sure there are plenty of modellers who can achieve a painting result like this.
Both of the tankers wear Jungle boots with high ankle support, both wear combat trousers with pockets in the legs and both wear the early pattern M52 flak vest which was issued (along with others of course) to tankers in Vietnam. It was popular with crewman because the adjustable side laces make this vest much more comfortable. You can see on both of these figures the laces featured delicately and the fold over flap with it’s zippered and pop fixings easily picked out when it comes to paint. You can even see the armoured plates inside the tanker’s vests, subtle and very nicely done.
Both as well sport the CVC Combat Vehicle Crewman's Communications Helmet on three of the four head choices. This helmet was made by the Sierra Engineering Company and includes all of the communications attachments (fully adjustable mic, headset, and connector cable)
These helmets were issued in Vietnam to both Army and Marine Corps vehicle crew members and APC crews; they were made from a combination of lightweight foam with a fibreglass shell. The helmets feature on three of the choices of these figures features not just the shell but the communication electronics which include headphones (cans) and a microphone. 

This microphone is thin in real life and very much more so in resin in 1/35th scale. You do have to cut, trim and handle this as little as you can. Mine both came off without mishap and so will yours too if you just be careful with this part!

OK now on to the figures in the box....

Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
1/35th scale
6 parts in grey resin
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim

Captured standing in the turret of his tank – this Vietnam era crewman is leaning off to the left and talking into his radio mic to either his crewmen or to his platoon mates in other vehicles. He is sculpted by Alpine’s  head man Taesung Harmms and you can see he has used quite a lot of his varied skillset on both this and  his companion figure.

The figure comes with the trademark of alpine others have followed - two head choices with the same face but different headwear choices – both are wearing a tanker’s helmet but one has a pair of goggles moulded into the helmet. Both of these helmets have the radio "cans" that show inside the helmet as well as the bakelite attachments to the helmet that the mic goes through It is on the left side that the microphone is attached to the helmet. There was a slight seam line on the rear bottom rim of the helmet that took just a minute to remove with a hobby knife.

Notice above the hole in the left hand side where the mic slots in just like the real helmets...And here are the helmets in real life -  these are the originals and pictures they were modelled on
Small and perfectly formed - his radio mic attached to his helmet. It is a fine piece for a resin sculpting that - as we mentioned earlier you must take care with when shaping - It is seen here on it's casting with the arms of the tanker.
You can see on his arms his rolled up sleeves concealing his cigarette packet. Something much more common with soldiers then - but now its "bad for your health" as if soldiering isn't! Nice to see here are his bones and sinews of the hands - not many sculptors bother with such tiny detail.

Delicate folding in the combat pants and his M52 early pattern  bullet proof vest with his rolled up T-shirt underneath - of note is the cigarette packet rolled up under his sleeve  it just adds an individual feature to the figure.
The well sculpted boots and nice sculpting on the hands and equipment. Speaking of equipment he carries a self-defence colt.45 pistol in a three point holster on his torso.

Construction - The helmet was a small pause for me as I had no large pictures showing exactly how it fit to the microphone. but once i found where it fitted i had no problem fixing it at the right angle knowing the figure's arm was raised at just the right angle to cradle it in his hands - and lo - it met just right. nice engineering Alpine. Once the arms and the head of your choice go on the rest is plain sailing.

On both of these tankers there is a small circular part that sits neatly in the arm of the microphone - and once you understand that they are easy to locate an place on the figure. They hold well in this little locator with the aid of some superglue.
Here he all put together is with both head choices. (with microphones in place on both) first without goggles..

....and with goggles
Sculpted by Taesung Harmms
1/35th scale
5 parts in grey resin
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim

Sculpted again by Taesung Harmms, this figure is seen reclining a little on top of the turret or tank superstructure – there is some flexibility with this pose (I suppose) and he could be posed sitting on a few different things if you put your imagination to it. He does sit very well in the turret of a Patton tank as we will show you in some pictures later.

The companion figure also has a choice of two headgears - the tanker’s helmet with radio mic again (without goggles) and also the standard issue Vietnam era G.I. M1 helmet of the day complete with in a strap on the side holding some bug Juice (insect repellent) – both figures have the same delicate facial features.
The real M1 helmet with Insect repellent.  The other CVC helmet is in pictures earlier in the review. Shown here is an M1 helmet with the cloth cam jacket over it and some "Bug juice" carried in the camo strap. Taesung has captured both of these very well. you can see the seams of the helmet and the bug juice container looks like it is sitting ON the helmet rather than a part of it.
Seen only with his Early pattern M-52 Flak jacket  towel around his neck - obviously he is feeling the heat! Like his companion he wears some nicely wrinkled combat pants which hang off the knees and drape down to the jungle boots he is wearing. These have a great thick pattern in the bottom of them as well that you can see as his leg is raised. Really nicely done.
Gain there is the very fine microphone that attaches to the CVC Combat Vehicle Crewman's Communications Helmet and one arm on a pouring block this time. The other arms is on the figure already. I noticed the arm was a little bit hollow on the inside...
.....Thoughtful engineering on the sculpt ensued that this left arm contoured into the flak jacket. The inside of the arm is hollowed a little to allow a flush fit that needs just a little glue in the socket to hold and stay held.
Wearing just the necessities this tanker looks like he is feeling the heat of South East Asia and he is bare skinned otherwise. He certainly looks very much like he is a passive passenger!

Here he is all made up with both headwear choices of the CVC or the M1 helmet. Both would be common at the time.
and the head choice with the CVC helmet

Sculpted by Taesung Harmms 
1/35th scale
11 parts in grey resin/ 2 figures
Boxart Painted by Dr. Jin Kim

This west of the two figures above includes of course the four head choices (two for each) they look like a natural combination of the commander and his tanker though you could well use them in separate tanks if you want to convoy.
It is a shame almost that you dont see a lot of the legs of the standing commander figure - as you can see by the picture below these figures are very much based in reality..Also note the different helmet choices on the passenger figure in real life as shown in the many pictures below of the painted figures.

Vietnam era tankers in their AFV’s that I think could serve as good fodder for your painting inspiration – 

I know that this set was painted by Dr. Jin Kim – and he really did bring Taesung's sculpts to life – congratulations to him for the excellent job on these!

So i think that says it all from me - i think you get it that i thank these are a pair of great figures. they fit extremely well, have nice options for both of the head choices and the quality of the sculpt with not only the heads but the bodies and torsos which are extremely well done. Detail is just waiting to be picked out with your paint brush.

Two great figures that make a wonderful set for your Vietnam era diorama. Below are pictures of each of the figures painted up by  Dr. Jin Kim to show you what is possible with these figures.

Adam Norenberg

Again thanks to Alpine Miniatures for sending these figures and Dr. Kim for sending me his "in process" pictures