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In-Box Review
135
MACV-SOG
MACV-SOG(1) Top Secret
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by: Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]

introduction

I appreciate BRAVO-6 Tet ’68 Marines figures in excellent static and dynamic poses so much, as they give us many oppurtinies for different Vietnam War scenes, but my favorite sculpts of the company are always Vietnam War special operations figures. As you may know, the company released Australian SAS and U.S. Navy SEALs kits before and now Vladimir started a series of MACV-SOG. The series will probably be three kits with two figures each.
The first kit of this series - B6-35043 MACV-SOG(1) Top Secret includes two members of the unit as an American and the a Vietnamese with typical uniforms and gear.
about the kit

MACV-SOG Military Assistance Command Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group was a highly classified, multi-service United States Special Operations Forces unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Second Indochina War, aka Vietnam War. Established on 24 January 1964, the unit conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; carried out the capture of enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, and conducted rescue operations to retrieve allied prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia; and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations against that country.
The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Tonkin Gulf Incident which precipitated American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was formally disbanded and replaced by the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972.
box

The figures come well packed in standard BRAVO-6 light brown two-figure cardboard box . A photo of the assembled and painted figures covers the front part of the box and can serve as a basic painting guide. Inside the box, parts are represented with the casting blocks which are placed carefully that allows modeler to remove the parts with no damage. Note that rifle barrels are always fragile and should be removed carefully. Each figure body and small parts are seperately inserted in small plastic zip-lock bags to avoid unexpected damages during transfer.
parts

The figures are sculpted by Vladimir Demchenko and cast in medium grey resin . The resin quality is very good and details are very crisp. No air bubbles, excess resin or any casting mistakes on the review samples.

FIGURE #1
U.S. member of the team is posed pointing the right side with his right hand and his head turned to the same side as he carries a machine gun on the left. The figure comes in 10 parts; body with head and legs, two arms, weapon and equipment. Facial details, open mouth with teeth, bandana on his head and scarf tied on his neck are well defined. He wears black spraypainted Sterile jungle uniform of jacket and trousers. Sterile uniform means they were void of all tags and insignia, sometimes veteran’s blood type was marked in pen on both the jacket and trousers. Cloth folds of the uniform, loaded cargo pockets and torn effect on the right knee are well represented. As for the footgear, he has long khaki leggings over the jungle boots. During Vietnam War, special forces used these leggings, put trotters inside boots or secured legs wrapping black electrical tape on ankles to protect themselves from reptile dangers. He carries a CISO Indiginous Rucksack. Counter Insurgency Support Office (CISO) designed the indigenous rucksack based on a VC/NVA design on request of the Special Forces in Vietnam. The rucksack was made from rubberized cotton canvas that was water resistant, had a thin waist strap and featured three outside front pockets and a back map pocket inside the flap. Though designed for indigenous personnel and their advisors, the rucksack was also popular with SOG Recon teams before the Tropical Rucksack become a more common item. The figure wears M1967 canvas suspenders secured on the utility belt and continues between legs. Most of the personal gear is cast on the figure. Two snap links are carried on the suspenders on both front sides , a compass pouch is attached to right harness and a map case to the left one. Four canteen canvas covers are cast two on both sides. Some of the canteen pouchs seem to used to storage other personal gear.
  • Right arm : Posed with a pointing finger, it shows nice cloth folds. Pocket details, finger-cut gloves and wrist strap are well defined.
  • Left arm : Posed to carry the rifle. Cloth folds and loaded pocket are well represented.
  • Rifle : The figure carries a shortened barrel RPD machine gun. As a standard infantry squad support weapon, the RPD was analogous to the US M-60 and fired a 7.62mm slug from a 100 round belt which was usually contained in a drum mounted below the gun. The drum itself could be changed in a matter of seconds by an experienced gunner and protected the ammo from dirt and hence jamming. With a maximum rate of cyclic fire of about 150 rounds per minute, an effective range of 800m and rapid reload time, this light and uncomplicated weapon was capable of laying down sustained heavy fire. Weapon details are well represented. Left hand with finger-cut gloves is cast on the handguard of RPD.
  • Drum magazine for RPD
  • Ammo links - 2 pieces : Part with bullets will be assembled on the left side of the drum magazine and part with no bullets to the right side. Please see boxart and drum magazine photo for any doubts.
  • M1956 one quart canteen in canvas cover- 3 pieces : One pouch is given with no bottle cap.

    FIGURE #2
    Vietnamese member of the team is posed kneeling to fire his assault rifle. The figure comes in 9 parts; body with head and legs, two arms, weapon and personal gear. Asian facial details like snub nosed , stuffed lips, slanting eyes and high cheek bones are very well sculpted. Hair is also well defined and top of head is carved for the easy fit of pith helmet. There is a tied scarf around his neck mostly used for natural protection and camouflage. He wears tropical jungle jacket, trousers with trotters inserted inside leather- canvas combined jungle boots and M1967 suspenders with groin extension. He carries a Chicom AK-47 Chest rig and a CISO Indiginous Rucksack. He has two snap links attached to his harness on both sides.Two AK-47 ammo pouches is cast on the left waist and a water bottle canvas cover on the right.
  • Arms – 2 pieces : Posed to hold the machine gun in aiming or firing pose. They show nice cloth folds.
  • Rifle : The figure carries an AK-47 or its Chinese version Type 56 commonly used during Vietnam War. It is easily recognized with its high front sights, large selector/safety switch on the right side and the long, curved banana magazine. AK-47 is a gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle which has a semiautomatic fire rate of 40 rounds with an effective range about 400 meters. It is shorter and heavier than the M-16 but with a lower fire rate and muzzle velocity. Details of the rifle are well defined. Hands of the figure are cast on the rifle for easy assembly.
  • Rope hank : It will be attached to the right side of the middle pocket of rucksack.
  • M1956 one quart canteen in canvas cover - 2 pieces
  • KA-BAR knife in brown leather scabbard
  • Pith Helmet : It is a lightweight cloth covered helmet made of cork or pith usually worn by NVA and VietCong forces. It didn’t provide adequate protection in periods of combat but was useful in hard natural conditions.
    references

    The following book and website can be useful when painting this kit.
  • Osprey Publishing-Warrior 159-US MACV-SOG Reconnaissance Team in Vietnam by Gordon L.Rottman & Brian Delf
  • SOG : A Photo History of the Secret Wars by John L. Plaster
  • Modern Forces website by Paul Bishop : an excellent website with many reference and repro photos.
    conclusion

    Absolutely a perfect kit for Vietnam Jungle scenes. Nice subject, great sculpt and flawless cast. I wish it doesn’t take long for BRAVO-6 to release the other kits of this series.
  • SUMMARY
    Highs: Great subject, great details,very nice sculpt and flawless casting.
    Lows: No lows for this product.
    Verdict: IMO, no doubt this kit will be asked to paint by all Vietnam Era modellers. I wish the other MACV-SOG kits will be releases sooner.
    Percentage Rating
    98%
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: B6-35043
      PUBLISHED: Apr 23, 2012
      NATIONALITY: United States
    NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
      THIS REVIEWER: 92.20%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 95.07%

    Our Thanks to BRAVO-6!
    This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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    About Engin Kayral (Graywolf)
    FROM: IZMIR, TURKEY / TüRKçE

    Born in 1962,married and having 2 sons. I started modelling about 8 years old building USS Fletcher with mom. It was a model dad brought from USA., I think in those days only a few people in Turkey had info on scale model kits. Grown as an AF officer son , I built many aircraft models in years. Som...

    Copyright ©2019 text by Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.



       

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