Sunday, December 25

Review - Masterbox MB 3591 - US checkpoint in Iraq

PhotobucketMasterBox have developed a reputation of creating figure sets that tell a story in a box, they also ‘go with a theme’ the best example of this are the north African themed sets, 3 in total, with a set dedicated to British and German infantry and the third set depicting some intense hand to hand fighting - and  following on from this, MasterBox released a set of Iraqi insurgents (depicting insurgents during the American/British invasion to remove Saddam Hussain) and now we have ‘US checkpoint in Iraq
Masterbox MB 3591 - US checkpoint in Iraq

Kit type: Injection moulded
Scale: 1/35
Sculpted by: A. Gagarin
Artwork/Painted by: A. Karaschuk
Available from:  Masterbox distributors

....Depicting four American soldiers with one shouldering his scoped M14 looking down the sights,  while on is ‘taking a knee’ with a SAW (squad automatic weapon) the last two are standing with one holding his M16 across his chest while the other has his down his side, all are looking in the same direction, which combined with the poses create a scene typical in Iraq, a US check point that may have either just had a few rounds fired at them, or there is something or someone catching their attention, combine this set with a HUMMVE and the master box Iraqi insurgent set, and you have your very own Iraq diorama.
The figures are moulded in a tan coloured plastic, and packed in a box a bit smaller than A4, the box keeps with other master box release, with a black upper half and a white lower half on which the box art is presented along with a print of the ‘Iraq campaign’ medal, awarded to all American service personal involved in the campaign.

The sprue numbered layout on the box
The plastic supplied in the kit

But can they hold their own against big eastern manufactures?

Well the subject for starters is a big plus; there are not a lot of modern American figures (even less British) so any release will always be greatly received, and the poses allow the figures to be used in a wide variety of scenes with the option of mixing parts up to ‘custom’ the figures to the modellers needs, another plus.


However, the modelling lugs are, in some places awkward and a great deal of care to remove will be needed, an example of this is the handle for the SAW, and the bipod stand, both could break easily if care is not taken. There is also a small amount of flash on a few parts, such as heads and the body of the figures, there is also a seam running from shoulder to shoulder on each figure.    

The heads are moulded as a whole and the helmet is just like a real helmet and fits over the head, instead of having half a head and fitting the helmet to a flat (dragon do this with all their figure sets) but the facial expressions aren’t on par with the latest offerings from dragon, particularly the Gen2 releases, but all is not lost, should the modeller wish, the heads can be replaced from the likes of hornet and not have to cut the head in half to get the helmet to fit,  but should you wish to use the kit faces, a bit of careful painting and some well placed washes, you won’t be able to tell the difference anyway.
But saying that the rest of the figures are superb, the weapons are finely detailed and will look superb under a coat of paint, although in our example the barrel of the M114 was bent, this was more likely due to the postal service than master box.

Overall a good set of figures that will look the part when painted and built, although some flash here and there, it’s nothing a quick swipe of a blade and a standing stick wont sort out, and the posses and the subject more than make up for what it is a few more minutes work.
We will soon have these built and painted to see how they go together, and to see if I can try my hand at ‘digital’ this space.

Nick LLoyd
 Our sincere thanks to Masterbox for supplying us with this review kit.

Check out some of the pics from Masterbox of the completed figures assembled ready to paint as well as one for the inspiration for this kit