Tuesday, March 18

Review and construction - AC Models – 75mm USMC stretcher team in the Pacific, Peleliu.

Andrew Cairns from AC Models has released some interesting sets of US Marines depicted in medevac duties on the battlefield of Peleliu in 1944 in the Pacific. A complex but very dynamic set of figures in 75mm these look good – do they need urgent aid or some major surgery - or will the patient turn out healthy after all? Le's see in our review.

USMC stretcher team in the Pacific, Peleliu.
AC Models
75mm (1/24th scale)
Kit contains five figures + Stretcher and base.
Parts all cast in grey resin.
Available from AC Models Distributors worldwide

Anyone who has seen some images of the war in the Pacific theatre – or maybe who are fans of the mini-series “The Pacific” will recognize a scene like the one featured on the box art of Andrew Cairns new figure set.
Sculpted in Resin in 75mm of roughly 1/24th scale by Andrew Cairns – these five figures are seen carrying a stretcher with their wounded comrade from the field of battle in the Pacific Island of Peleliu. This island saw a fierce battle and US casualties were severe. The makeshift stretch here is logs with wraps around them, aging whilst they carry their human cargo out of danger.

This is the scene Andy has recreated here; it sure does look like these are the pictures he has recreated from scratch...
The US Marines took the brunt of the hard fighting against a fanatical and brave enemy in the war to win back the pacific from the Japanese empire. Casualties were high on both sides, but the Marines were supported by some of the best medical care you could get at the time (and even that could have been better) soldiers sometimes carried their wounded comrades under fire or harsh conditions to the field hospitals or out of harm’s way.
These soldiers are all wearing cloth covered M1 steel helmets and the HBT uniform in various guises. The jungle and climes of Peleliu was harsh on uniforms and equipment. The soldier’s Herringbone Twill (HBT) uniforms or “Utilities” as the USMC called them, quickly faded and aged. Marines washing their clothes in sea water often sped up the process and this gave them a "salty" look. In combat, the marines would be hot from the intense heat and wet from the often water covered island the sweat, salt water and humidity made the Marines HBT uniforms very heavy.
The four USMC soldiers carrying him are in their Herringbone jungle fatigues with rifles slung over their shoulders, a knife on one of the soldiers and what looks like a medic on the rear with his canvas medic bag. He is seen leaning over to examine his charge and to give him a cigarette. The wounded man timidly is reaching out for it.

The four gaunt marines who are carrying him are a nice human study – they all have loose hanging fatigues that gather at the knees and pockets that sag with the humidity. They look like they are sweating carrying this wounded man as they raise their opposite arms to counter his weight.
The resin is largely bubble free but each piece will need more than it’s fair share of seam removal. This is time consuming but rewarding when you reveal the clean figure underneath it.

Each of the stems of the patient’s litter has small notches that fit into the handles moulded in each figures hands. This helps with construction but they must often be reamed out a little so they fit true.  

Often these parts of the figures have lugs and holes sculpted into them – they help with construction considerable and make the tug of war between construction time and difficulty of excess material removal on the positive side for the modeller.
Let’s look at them separately now – they are of course numbered in their pack but we will say where they are in this set as well.

The weapons, med packs and jungle knives, 2 garand M1 rifles and helmet straps.
These all need a bit of trimming but come out well when trimmed.  I did this but forgot to add them before I took my final photos – DOH! So please forgive me for not adding these extra bits of detail to the sculpt. Often as well there are some seams around the waist that you will see – the medical packs and superglue hide these nicely.

The scene – the Peleliu jungle base
This base is 18cm long and 10cm wide. Just large enough to house this rag-tag bunch. There are holes that can be used to seed the soldiers in the base this – with the hollow handles this makes it easier to glue them all in place. You do not have to use these holes if you do not want – I didn’t for ease of construction ( as I thought) turns out it is easier to stick to the holes given so look after the stems on the marines boots!
The rough base of palm leaves looks very convincing and like an obstacle in itself. The rounded smoothed edges look very “schmick”

No: 1 – front left
This figure is made up of ten parts which all have a few resin casting seams that need removal and there is a small pouring block on the underside of the torso. This snips off easily enough. The small lugs on the twin water bottles (excellently sculpted again) fit into sculpted hollows and hold these nicely in place.

The legs fit together with lugs and the torso – once cut from the casting block fits tightly into the legs. The neck of the helmet slips into the collar easily as does the helmet with a lug on top of the head.
Just like the rest of these figures the wrinkles on the arms and legs along with the pinched cloth on the helmet really do look heavy and aged.  The pistol is a nice addition as well – with a “U.S.” on the holster flap
The soldier on the front left is seen in all over long sleeved HBT “Utilities” and is carrying the stem of the front left handle of the patient’s litter in his hand. This is hollow and fits inside the slot on the litter neatly. Again do not remove these stems and try to work with them and you will have it a degree easier than if you do not.

No: 2 – rear right
Seven parts of this figure in resin make up a marine with baggy and saggy HBT pants and a loose sweat drenched t-shirt on his top. He has one water bottle and a cloth covered M1 steel helmet.

Again he has a casting block attached to the waist that simply snips off without collateral damage.
You see in this picture that the two legs have triangle lugs that secure each other. The right arm in a square lug – and the torso sits snugly inside the legs hollow joint. The helmet has a leg that fits to the top of the head as well.
The leatherneck is covered with of M1 Garand ammo pouches around his belt and more pouches hanging loosely from his chest. His left arm holds the end of the litter handle while his other arm is outstretched to counterbalance the weight of the litter. His large medical bag sits on his right hip as well. He looks to be the doctor or medic in this bunch..

No: 3 – front right
This Marine on the front right comes in nine separate resin pieces. His left arm holds the litter in his hand while his right had a little extra resin to remove around the fingers. The large pockets on the chest of the HBT tunic were often filled with flotation devices during an amphibious landing. It sits baggy and the hang on little features like this and the pants is very well done.
Two water bottles (as was typical on the jungle) are finely detailed on the front with the tabs and pop rivets showing while they are attached to the body buy lugs sculpted into the torso and legs.
As he leans forward this soldier has a strap for his M1 Garand hanging vertically down his chest. He should have a rifle on his back but your trusty reviewer forgot to attach the weapons. Please use your imagination till you see the pictures at the end of this review.

No: 4 – Rear left
These parts really do make a figure! I know he looks very blown up here but it all fits together in the provided lug holes like the rest of the figure. Torso slips into the legs and the front right arm holds the litter.

Here you can see again how he fits together…Lugs are supplied in all parts of this kit to assist with construction and it is a good thing to include them.
The front left is reaching down to the patient either giving or taking the water bottle. I made mine in the act of just handing it over. The hands need some trimming of extra resin and there are some seams to be removed like the rest of these figures but it isn’t the end of the world.
As he leans forward this Marine is a nice study of kindness. His eyes are locked on the patient and his uniform hangs and sags nicely with the weight of moisture and sweat and age. The seams on the pants, the uniform and heavy medical bag on a strap around his chest are worthy additions as are the twin water bottles.

No 5: the patient…
The patient is nearly all in one piece. He has an unsheathed water bottle that he holds in his hand (a little trimming to be done here again) and his thin head that fits neatly into the socket in his torso. He has some nice facial features and hair which you can all see as he isn’t wearing a helmet.
His HBT uniform is all a wrinkled mess as he sits in the litter. You can see his right knee raised and bandaged with wrinkled wrapping.He is leaning off to his left side to take the water bottle from one of his stretcher bearers.The wrapped logs and cloth sit and hang just right with the weight of the patient.

The litter
The litter the patient sits in is just on 10cm long and really looks neat. Like the terrain they are walking on it really does look like it is made of disused trees. The sculptor’s artistic flare really is shown here.
There is also a nook sculpted for the patient’s head so again you cannot get him the wrong way around.
A casting block underneath is an easy task to remove
You can see here the sag of the litter as the patient sits inside it – very convincing
Here they are all made up
And on their jungle base
For the sharp eyed amongst you might have seen i have forgotten to stick on the rifles, helmet straps and Bowie knives and med packs on some of these soldiers - my apologies to you all for not including them in my pictures earlier in the review.

You can see from each of these soldiers that they have been quite rightly sculpted skinny and emaciated (often from poor rations or weakness from malaria or dysentery) and their uniforms looked heavy and thick. This is handled very well by the sculptor here and I like the look of his hand’s work. He has a definite style of his own and is an artist indeed.
This is a set not aimed at the beginner – an experienced hand in resin working will be needed to get the best out of these figures. Once trimmed and carved and put together in this scenario these are a real special set and a great study in human movement and emotion.

Very well done by the sculptor! This set – in the right hands will make a mightily impressive set to your collecting.

Adam Norenberg

This set is now available from AC models Distributors Thanks to them for sending this to us to build and review..
Here are the soldiers in the press shot with all weapons, med packs and helmet straps which add some depth as well.