by: Peter Ong [ ]
Originally published on:
“Operation Neptune Spear,” the attack on Osama Bin Laden’s secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealed this helmet and its never-before-made-public four tube GPNVG-18s instead of the usual binocular and monocular Night Vision Goggles (NVGs). The NVG-18s allow for 180-degree night vision view (in green and black shades) compared to the narrow field of view in monocular or binocular NVGs which Operators say is similar to looking down a toilet roll tube. This Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) and GPNVG-18s, now no longer a secret, have since filtered down from the top-secret and elite U.S. Naval Development Group (DEVGRU), better known as “SEAL Team Six” Special Forces Operators to elite commandos in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.
Legend Productions of South Korea continues to be a contributor of products for the modern U.S. military 1/16th (120mm) figure line, which some modelers might find hard to obtain accessories for.
Now with the advent of 3D digital rendering and printing, creating these 1/16th products is now easier and more accurate than traditional sculpting with putty and casting in molds. The details, texture, and accessories can easily get added and reproduced in identical sizes and appearances.
Legend’s 1/16 Ops-Core Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) Ballistic Maritime Helmets w/GP Night Vision Goggles (NVG)-18 represent one of the latest U.S. military helmet as of 2018. The front has the smooth diamond NVG attachment mount instead of the vertical rectangular bracket declared “not preferred” because it contains sharp edges that might get caught on twigs and branches when walking by. The NVGs flip down for viewing and flip up when the Operator wants to see with the naked eyes.
What makes the Ops-Core Advanced Combat Helmets (ACH) unique comes from the side mounting rails that allow for the attachment of small flashlights, cameras, laser aiming devices, infra-red beacons, and other small electronic devices using mounting brackets that slip into the rails. This allows for “hands-free” means of recording scenes and adding light or identification to the situation instead of having to mount these devices on the Rail Interface System of the rifle and weighing down the weapon or sticking them with tape and Velcro to the helmet.
Helmets normally come with a cloth cover that could be fitted over the ballistic shell; however, Legend decided not to model this cloth cover and that’s technically accurate as not all elite Special Forces soldiers use the cloth cover.
More information about the gear and technology on the Legends Ops-Core FAST helmet can be found by reading the 1/35th and 1/16th scale reviews of this same product on Armorama.
An infra-red blinker strobe rests on top of the helmet for friend and foe and “follow the leader” identification techniques and tactics.
Legend Productions provides three 1/16th FAST resin helmets in a clear plastic sealable bag, kit LF3D16005. The resin is a light cream gray. Since the accessories, parts, build-up, and technology have already been covered in the 1/35th and 1/16th scale reviews of this product, I’ll focus on other aspects of the kit.
The details are technically amazing and the 3D sculpting really brings forth the accuracy and details. Obviously, the figure modeler would find the 1/16th NVG and mounting brackets easier to build compared to the much smaller 1/35th version.
The benefits of 3D sculpting really show in this product. Legend reproduced the cross Velcro tape on top of the ballistic shell with nice texturing and subtle indentations with a realistic tape thickness and shape. The side mounting rails, a unique feature in Ops-Core helmets, are faithfully reproduced with nicely spaced indentations and straight smooth lines.
The diamond NVG mounting bracket looks excellent with its deep recesses and well-defined edges right down to the perfectly circular mounting holes.
I didn’t detect a trace of resin blobs, debris, runs, warping, or air bubbles on any of the helmets or parts. Each looks identically perfect to the other.
The four-tube NVGs, mounting brackets, and actual mounts are perfectly cast, and being 3D sculpted, are all identical in size and details, an important aspect that might seem unachievable using traditional sculpting tools and molds.
The hardest part would be removing the mounting plugs attached to the interior of the helmet. I used sharp Xuron nippers with thin pointed tips to really get inside and snip away the resin. Use a snipper tool that is both lightweight and with thin pointed tips to prevent cracking the helmet or applying too much force. Once removed, sanding with sandpaper should make for a clean interior and allow the helmet to fit on top of a 120mm figure’s head.
I built one of the helmets with the NVG tubes down. Even at 1/16th scale, I found construction tricky as there are no instructions except for the box art 3D rendering photo.
The NVG brackets and clips have little nubs and pour block triangles that make it difficult to tell what to cut off and what to save. The best advice is to adhere to the 3D box art photo and search for photos online of the real NVG mounting brackets. Snip away any of the tiny plugs that don’t match the photos. There is a thin triangle block at the back of the helmet that needs to be cut and sanded off as this is not a mounting tab. The back of the helmet should be a smooth curve for mounting the battery pouch holder.
Washing the parts with solution helps in removing the greasy mold release agent and aid in getting the tiny parts to stick to one another with superglue.
Use thin liquid superglue (not thick gel) and a toothpick for the best gluing results. I had an old bottle of superglue that solidified enough into a slow-flowing gel and the stringy glue isn’t helpful. So I opened a new bottle of thin liquid superglue and that helps apply the glue to the small surfaces with a toothpick.
I’d start by gluing the back (battery pouch/helmet counterweight) and top (IR strobe) pieces first as these are the easiest to mount and glue. The NVG assembly is the most difficult.
Although the box photo doesn’t really make this clear, the NVG mounts assemble via a square tab within a square tab. The NVG clip to the diamond helmet bracket is a rectangular piece that glues into the center of the diamond mount. The horizontal bar NVG tube holder attaches to the helmet mount’s center two prongs also with a tab and the fit is perfect. So it’s a tab within a tab leading from the diamond bracket and once you figure this out, the assembly and fit is perfect.
I would start the assembly of the NVG brackets in slow steps, allowing each piece to thoroughly dry before proceeding or risk misaligning the entire mount. Glue on the diamond helmet mount first and just leave it alone to dry as adding the NVG tube bar bracket when the glue is still wet will just add more weight and misalign everything. Once the bracket mount is dry, glue on the horizontal NVG tube bar bracket and allow that to dry. The horizontal NVG tube bar bracket fits into the flip mount via a center tab. Once that NVG horizontal tube bar bracket is dry, then glue on the two dual NVG tubes on the bar.
The dual NVG tubes mount on the horizontal bar nicely. I glued the cut pour block surface onto the bar, leaving the ridged details of the tubes on the bottom. Ensure that the dual goggles line up perfectly next to each other from the top and front views as any alignment deviation would show.
3D sculpting, rendering, and printing has produced a line of 1/16th Legend accessories that are virtually identical to each other and near perfection. Such a quality isn’t easy to achieve with the traditional sculpting and eyeballing. I do kind of wish that the helmets came with paper or photoetch chin and head straps just in case the figure wants to hold onto the helmet.
The details, quality, texture, and error-free benefits of 3D digital rendering really show in these 1/16th scale Ops-Core FAST helmets. These helmets will make a valuable addition for any 1/16th scale figure to update and “militarize” then for any imaginable scenario. Highly recommended.
Special Thanks to Legend Productions of Korea of the review sample.