Saturday, June 20

Construction Review: Masterbox's 35th scale "Man Down! US Modern Army, Middle East, Present day"

Masterbox is keeping up with their release schedule – three new kits of varied types make up their March new items which will tempt a few model builders and stash collectors. These three have a lot of emotion in them – let’s take a look shall we…
Construction Review:
"Man Down! US Modern Army, Middle East, Present day"
Masterbox Models
1/35th scale
4 figures in light grey injection moulded plastic
Available from Masterbox's Distributors Worldwide

Masterbx continue to release three or four figure sets each month. The sets continue to have some dynamic poses and this month we see a bunch of US present day marines with a “Man Down” – Let’s put them together to see if we should not leave any man behind…

The soldier's creed this set is based on.
Continuing the recent trend of making kits for the modern period this new kit from Masterbox depicts the actions of a unit of the US Army in a flash point in the Middle East or Afghanistan. This set was designed to go with a vehicle, maybe a Humvee or a MRAP vehicle that is under attack, being fired upon by terrorist/enemy snipers. As a result, one of the fighters has been wounded and his comrades act to call in support. One GI requests evacuation whilst the machine gunner returns fire on the roof top heavy MG of their vehicle.

Let’s start at the start shall we? Masterbox have had a steady rise in quality over the past few years.  I am glad to say this trend is continuing with the figures they make. We will look at the plastic in a second but one thing that has always been a constant is the great artwork on their model boxes. It always seems to be well drawn and evocative of emotion. This box showing the soldiers in trauma does just that – it makes you look at the scene and so it does its job in getting you interested – maybe enough to buy?  Depends on your pocket I suppose, but it is always good art and I like that. Many modellers do I know as well.
The rear of the box is a little bit of a continuation. The figures are shown put together and in in this instance in-situ on the vehicle like they would on a diorama on a Humvee and an Oshkosh MRAP vehicle.
The sprue map is on the rear of the box. Little numbers denote the part numbers and these relate to each figure on the left hand side of the box for construction. Having no numbers on the sprues is not a big deal the way it is done here because the figures all occupy a sector of the sprue. All you need is in the one corner which is logical and it makes assembly so easy.

Colours are shown on the figures of the painted men and in a small chart on the right. Vallejo and Lifecolor, two of the better brushed on shades, are the paints called out.
The plastic…
In the distant past I would have said that Masterbox figures were let down in the one area of the face. What used to be a little simple and Golem like facial figures are nowadays improved to something approaching the best in their scale. The seams on this set of the moulded figures is less than in the past and there is no real flash to contend with. Overall the moulding is as good as any other top quality figure you may see on the market. This company from the Ukraine punches well above its weight in the figure market. The emotion having to be sculpted here in this set is a demonstration of the improvement they have continued to show.
The kit consists of 4 figures showing soldiers of the US Army who are patrolling. Each figure is equipped with a large quantity of various ammunition and packs along with a modern assault weapon and several with side arms as well. These figures are seen wearing what I think is the Desert Combat Uniform, including pants and jackets that make up the official DCU pattern and cloth. This light material is ideal for dry and temperate conditions, specifically the Middle East, the DCU is great for situations that demand stealth in austere, desert environments.

Let’s look at each of these figures now in isolation.

The man “on the horn” calling for back-up – He is probably either the officer or the person closest to the radio in the cab. To be honest I would say he’s the commander of the squad. He is seen in a sitting pose shouting down the line above the firing no doubt going on above him on the main .50 cal and the bullets coming at them.
This soldier’s parts show him wearing the infantry standard pants with many pockets and on his torso the armoured flak jacket that is fairly large on his torso bulks him up a little bit but you should remember he is sitting down inside it so it sits a little wide on his frame.
His M4 carbine pointed out and upward as he yells down the line, his body is slightly leaning out of the vehicle. He has some packs that I have not put on for ammo I have just noticed but they are there on the sprue…
The second soldier is leaning down – giving aid to his wounded comrade. He is seen yelling to his officer who is on the phone/rt.
This man is seen wearing much the same as his commander. The DCU pants and jacket are under the thick flak vest while he wears a water pack on his back and two large packs – one on either hip.
He also has a bunch of ammo stored on his chest. Which bulks him up as well. His M1 carbon fibre helmet is covered with the DCU camo cloth and some goggles with a NVG attachment in the middle. He looks to be holding what could be the heavy hitting SCAR-H assault rifle favoured by some troops because of it’s heavier calibre round – I'm not 100% sure because it is modified.
If I dint know better I would say this soldier is doing “Gangham style” (whop whop whop whop) but he is seen firing the protection .50cal on the top turret of the MRAP, Humvee or whatever you see these soldiers travelling in.
Standing upright in the vehicle he is seen with hands together on the handle trigger of the heavy machine gun. 
He stands in a pretty common pose that would be useful in many a diorama he is seen in DCU fatigues and a bullet proof vest and Kevlar US military style helmet covered with cloth and with his NVG holder in the centre. He can be used with or without non opaque goggles.
Lastly we see the centre of attention – the whole reason for this diorama – the wounded soldier…
This GI is seen shouting in pain as he gestures up to the soldier who is trying to assist him. He is seen here in a position that has him sprawled on the deck with both his arm and leg raised up. His facial figures show the agony of the wound.
The GI is dressed again in Desert fatigues and his M4 carbine hanging around his neck if you make a strap or on the ground – it is discarded as the soldier shows the pain he is in.
The details on this figure are very nicely done – as they are on all of these figures (the wrinkles in his clothing, the detail on his uniform, face and weapons – it all adds up to an important centerpiece to this dio set of figures.
So there they are – all four of the figures and they look pretty good don’t they? Well sculpted, they fit together without problems and they only need a strap on their weapons and a vehicle to put them into and you have an emotive scene.

Again Masterbox makes a great set of figures for a lot less than resin – but pretty much the same quality as some of the best out there.

If you want a modern US dio I would not leave these men behind…

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Masterbox for sending this kit for us to make and review - It is available through all of Masterbox’s distributors now…
Here these guys are in a MRAP from the Masterbox site - showing how they all fit into the scene..