This set of two figures represents modern, ACU (Army Combat Uniform) clad soldiers well. The set comes packaged in a sturdy, folded clear plastic box with a paper insert showing the completed figures in color. Further, each figure is individually bagged in a small Ziploc to keep all the parts together. There were no damaged or broken pieces on my samples. The figures are up to Alpines usual excellent standards in molding and detail. Each figure is comprised of 7 pieces; body, 2 arms, 2 heads (one in a CVC helmet, one in a PAGST kevlar helmet), a small boom microphone for the CVC, and a 9mm. in a leg holster. All of the pieces are flash free with pour blocks located in areas that do not compromise detail at all. They are molded in a smooth, gray resin which holds fine details well.
The two figures are in natural poses and look very relaxed. One has a thumb hooked into his pocket. The other is holding a pack of cigarettes. The new ACU uniform is rendered excellently as well. Each of its features of leg and shoulder pockets look very realistic. To add to the realism, the leg pockets on each are partially open. One is half open and shows the velcro closure details well. The second is fully opened and tucks in; again showing the two strips of velcro that hold it closed very well.
The uniforms also have details such as the pen holders on the left sleeve, but no pens in them. They would be easy to add with some stretched sprue or styrene rod. The ACU pattern is also extended to the helmet cover with details for IR squares and the flap for mounting an NVG bracket well rendered as well. Their body armor and gear look great too. They have cargo pouches and 9mm ammo pouches attached to their vests, and a D-ring carabineer (a very common accessory) for safely securing items to themselves. One of the vests has the rear armor plate pouch half opened as well, again nicely showing the velcro strip that secures it as well.
The figures represent soldiers deployed from about 2005 to present, but before early 2008. In early 2008, deploying soldiers were issued new body armor and helmets. The body armor on the figures is the older IBA vests which secure across the chest like a normal vest. The new body armor is known as the IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest). It goes over the soldiers head and secures at the sides with velcro. The new helmet is known as the MICH helmet and is shorter on the sides and front than the older PAGST helmet. These new items are still being fielded to deploying soldiers, but many of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still have the older helmets and vests as well.
The only down-fall I can find, and it is a small one, is that the sleeves have a raised area for 2ID patches and a US flag patch on them. The 2ID patch is very distinctive and does not allow for any other patch since no other has the same shape. I would have preferred slick sleeves and/or decals for multiple units to give some variety. The decals would have been a nice extra. Both Verlinden and Echelon make decals that could be used though.
Overall, these are great modern soldiers in the current ACU pattern uniform. By using the PAGST helmets and adding an M4 and maybe some 5.56 ammo pouches, they can represent any modern US Army soldier as well, not just armor crewmen. Another great set of figures by Alpine.
Highs: Finely cast and well detailed. They accurately represent the current ACU pattern well and look great.Lows: The sleeve pockets have molded on patches and no patch details. Some raised patch detail or a decal for the 2ID patch would have been a nice extra.Verdict: Overall a great set of new figures that represent current US Army soldiers very well. These are a welcome addition by modern armor builders. Thanks to the Alpine team for another great set, keep them coming.
About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty) FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 35+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 30 or so.