I remember I was looking forward to new resin figure releases after the Desert Storm campaign in 1991; I was thinking of making a 1/35 scale vignette depicting US Army soldiers entering Kuwait. However, with only several Verlinden figure kits becoming available in the following years, I finally abandoned the whole idea. Almost 20 years after the liberation of Kuwait, Minisoldiers
announced several Desert Storm figure releases representing US Army soldiers of 101st Airborne Division. The first figure in this line is Sergeant of the 101st Airborne Division, Iraq 1990-1991 (MS-0012)
, and there are similar figures in the pipeline which are going to work as a group. I’m really happy to see such nicely sculpted figures in very attractive poses; the idea of a Desert Storm vignette is definitely resurfacing in my mind.
The figure arrived in a clear, very firm plastic box which features unpainted figure box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Dmitry Shevtsov) and interestingly, the painter as well (Anar Aytaliev). I guess painting of the figure is in progress and although all the different modern camouflage patterns will probably take some time, I’m sure Minisoldiers will soon use painted box art picture. Opening the zip-lock bag and reviewing all the parts of the figure revealed very nice molding of the parts. Cast in white resin, the parts are completely clean of imperfections: there are no air bubbles, no flash or seam lines. I must admit I’m not satisfied with the photos of the kit pieces I made; such light colored resin is pretty hard to photograph to show all the details well.
The figure consists of 8 parts:
- Full body with both legs
- Left arm
- Right arm
- Extra equipment (2x)
Cleaning the pieces is not difficult; casting plugs are easy to remove while some smaller pieces do not even have the plugs. The fit of the parts is really good and I had absolutely no problems building the figure. Be patient when attaching the arms to the torso and fitting the weapon: aligning the arms to the torso properly and then fitting the weapon should do the trick. However, I’m not quite convinced with the way the figure’s right hand holds the weapon… the grip is just not tight enough. I would prefer if the hands were sculpted and cast with the weapon itself; that way the grip would be perfect.
This figure represents a Sergeant of the 101st Airborne Division serving in Operation Desert Storm. The figure is advancing carefully with its weapon ready for any sign of hostile activity. A difficult “in action” pose is very well balanced and the anatomy is spot on.
The figure is wearing the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU)
. BDU was the standard military uniform in US Armed Forces since September 1981, when it appeared in the woodland camouflage pattern. Initially printed onto cotton-nylon blend twill cloth, the pattern was based primarily on the woodland colors of Northern Europe and it comprised of two shades of green, one of brown and black. A light weight BDU uniform was introduced in 1989 with the pattern printed on 100% rip-stop poplin cloth. The woodland pattern BDUs soon replaced all earlier camouflage pattern uniforms for all wooded, jungle, and tropical environments. The US Army has run trials of many other camouflage patterns and issued environment-specific patterns, most notably the 6-color desert “chocolate chip camouflage”. Although the “chocolate-chip” camouflage became well-known during the Gulf War, it was originally designed in 1962. The Army, believing that it might become necessary to intervene in the Middle East conflicts, developed a test pattern using the deserts of southwestern US as a model. When the Arab-Israeli hostilities wound down, the desert pattern was shelved. The 6-color desert pattern was first used 20 years later, during the combined US-Egyptian Army exercise “Bright Star 82”, but the first mass-production of “chocolate chip” BDU came with the Western intervention in the Persian Gulf. During the war, the Desert BDU (DBDU)
was produced in 100% cotton poplin without reinforcement panels in order to improve comfort in hot desert conditions. However, cost concerns and overall ineffectiveness of the pattern caused the six-color DBDU to be discontinued shortly after the Gulf War. The BDU was phased out in April 2005 and since then it has been replaced in every branch of the US Military. The BDU sculpted on the figure looks really good with realistically shaped folds. The only thing I don’t like is a bit over-pronounced cut below the knee level which I would probably sand down a bit.
The figure is wearing Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT)
, the armor system consisting of a combat helmet and ballistic vest. PASGT Helmet
(nicknamed “K-Pot” or “Fritz” due to its resemblance to the WW2 German army helmet) was first fielded to US military units in the early 1980s, replacing the steel M1 Helmet. The PASGT helmet, available in 5 sizes, provides ballistic protection for the head from fragmenting munitions. It is a one piece structure composed of multiple layers of Kevlar ballistic aramid fabric treated with phenolic PVB resin. The helmet is typically olive drab in color and can be fitted with cloth helmet covers in different camouflage patters. When worn with a helmet cover, it is also often fitted with a band around it that has two reflective patches on the rear intended to reduce friendly fire incidents. The helmet can also be fitted with a Helmet Mount Assembly that allows attachment of night vision goggles. The PASGT helmet has undergone several enhancement programs, which considerably improved helmet comfort, stability and safety. Finally, the helmet was phased out by the MICH Helmet (US Army and US Air Force) and Lightweight Helmet (USMC and US Navy) in 2003. PASGT Vest
(also known as “flak vest”) was the US military’s standard upper torso body armor from the early 1980s, replacing the Vietnam War-era M-69 Fragmentation Protective Body Armor nylon vest. The PASGT Vest features a front opening design, has a ¾ collar, pivoting shoulder pads, two front pockets and two grenade hangers. The front flap and pocket flaps have hook and loop fastener tape closures, while the side overlaps are made flexible through the use of wide elastic webbing. Flak vest was the first body armor in US military that used multiple layers of Kevlar ballistic aramid fabric instead of the ballistic nylon. While incapable of stopping rifle bullets, the PASGT Vest provided better protection against shrapnel and reduced the severity of injuries from small arms fire when compared to the M-69. The superiority of PASGT Vest over the M-69 is not only in ballistic performance, but also in terms of comfort and camouflage properties provided. Overall fit is greatly improved and the vest is more flexible due to both the materials used and the vest design. Because PASGT Vests are only issued in woodland camouflage, desert camouflage covers are available in 6-color and 3-color desert camouflage. PASGT Vest was phased out by the Interceptor Body Armor in 2003. Both PASGT Helmet and PASGT Vest in this kit are perfectly sculpted. I particularly like the PASGT Helmet with all the details; the helmet band with two reflective cat-eyes on its back as well as the unit and rank patch insignia stitched to the side and front of the helmet cover, respectively. Some aftermarket patch decals would definitely come in handy.
As for the webbing, the figure is wearing the All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) system
. ALICE was adopted as US Army Standard in 1973, replacing the LCE and MLCE systems. ALICE fighting load on this figure comprises of the following: Individual Equipment Belt and Individual Equipment Belt Suspenders, First Aid/Compass Pouch, Small Arms Ammunition Pouches and Shotgun Shell Pouch. M1961 Field Pack and M17 Gas Mask are not a part of ALICE system; however, both were a standard issue during the early 1990s and the Operation Desert Storm. The Individual Equipment Belt
is constructed of olive drab nylon webbing with black chemical finish adjusting buckles, keepers, and a belt buckle. The individual equipment items are attached by interlocking belt-strap keepers or are hooked through eyelets along the bottom of the individual equipment belt. The eyelets along the top of the individual equipment belt are for attaching the individual equipment belt suspenders. The Individual Equipment Belt Suspenders
are Y shaped with three adjusting straps, but four points of attachment to the individual equipment belt and small arms ammunition cases. The shoulder straps are padded with spacer cloth. Each shoulder strap has a web loop and a non-slip buckle on each of the straps in the front and one at the back through which the adjusting straps pass. The First Aid/Compass Pouch
is constructed of olive green nylon duck. It has a metal snap-type fastener closure and is attached to the individual equipment belt or individual equipment belt suspenders by a belt-strap keeper with interlocking slide. The pouch is designed to accommodate either the First Aid Dressing or the Compass. The Small Arms Ammunition Pouch
is designed to accommodate three 30-round 5.56 magazines. It is constructed of nylon duck and webbing with polyester sheet stiffeners in the front, rear and lid of the small arms ammunition case. The lid is closed by means of a plastic latch. Grenade carrying pockets are located on each side of the small arms ammunition case which are secured by means of a nylon web strap and metal snap fastener. The Shotgun Shell Pouch
is designed to hold 12 shells. It is constructed of nylon duck with double metal snap-type closure and is attached to the individual equipment belt by a belt-strap keeper. M1961 Combat Field Pack
was originally a part of LCE and MLCE, but it was also frequently used with ALICE system. Constructed of cotton canvas, the Field Pack's placement at the rear of the individual equipment belt led to it being referred to colloquially as the "butt pack". It includes a web handle at the top for hand-carriage, web strap along the side with eyelets for the attachment of equipment with either slide keepers or wire hangers, and a pair of web straps at the bottom of the pack for attaching items like the poncho and poncho liner. Cotton canvas M17 Gas Mask Bag
was first issued to the troops in Vietnam War and it was still a standard issue for the US Army until the early 1990's. The bag is usually worn on the left side at hip level with the thick strap around the waist and the thin strap around the left leg. All the equipment pieces, except First Aid/Compass Pouch and M17 Gas Mask Bag, are sculpted on the figure. The details on the equipment are well defined and accurate in every aspect. However, Minisoldiers missed to include another essential piece of ALICE system in this figure kit; two ALICE canteens
are a must and should have been incorporated in the kit. A M12 hip holster with secondary firearm would be a good addition as well.
The figure is armed with, what I believe is, a Mossberg 590 pump action shotgun
. The shotgun is developed by the Mossberg & Sons company as a "mil spec" modification of the Mossberg 500 shotgun. "Militarization" included strengthening of the receiver and other parts, installation of the vented heatshield around the barrel, bayonet lug and extended magazine, as well as an aluminum trigger guard instead of plastic one. Since 1987 this shotgun is a standard equipment of US Armed forces; while it was officially replaced in US Army with Benelli M1014 semi-automatic shotgun, Mossberg 590 shotguns are still widely used by US Navy and US Marine Corps.
I like this figure very much. It is well researched, nicely sculpted and perfectly cast. The sculptor did a great job on posing the figure; the sense of motion and balance is very good. The details on the uniform and the equipment are very crisp… the facial features are well defined too. I must admit I always had a soft spot for Desert Storm figures and I really hope to see more of this figure line under Minisoldiers label… I’m pretty sure those could prove to be very popular.
Thanks to Anar from Minisoldiers for the review sample.
The Gulf War 1991 (Osprey, Essential Histories); Alastair Finlan
Victory: Desert Storm (Europa Militaria); Eric Micheletti and Yves Debay
Desert Garb and Gear: Equipment of America's Desert Warriors (Concord Publications); Joel Paskauskas