US Paratroopers, 1944–1945

Revell 1:72 Scale Figure Review

US Paratroopers of World War Two, 1944–1945, 1:72 Miniatures Revell 02517

This set duplicates a subject already covered years ago by ESCI. Accordingly, wargamers and modellers, given a choice in the matter, would have asked for poses and equipment not previously available in the ESCI paratrooper set: radio operator, bazooka team, 60 mm mortar team, scout, sniper, anti-tank gunners and leaders. Unfortunately, the opportunity was missed. With the exception of the officer and NCO this set offers nothing new and exciting. The sculpting style is noticeably different, the miniatures are smaller and much less detailed than the ESCI paras.

The miniatures are sculpted with the M1943 uniform, consisting of the »M1943 Field Jacket« and rigger-modified »M1943 Field Trousers« with added thigh pockets. This uniform was introduced in 1942, tested by a small number of soldiers during the 1943 campaign in Italy, and first worn by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions in September 1944, during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. The colour of the M1943 Uniform was the light olive drab № 7 initially, followed by the darker olive drab № 9.

Contents

44 Figures in 12 Poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm Height

  • 2 Officers, 5 NCOs with SMG
  • 2 Gunners (.30 cal MMG), 2 Loaders
  • Para folding Chute
  • 2 Paras recovering Kit Bag
  • 5 Paras with BAR
  • 4 Paras with Carbine
  • 5 Paras with SMG
  • 5 Paras throwing Grenade
  • 11 Paras firing, 2 Poses

Evaluation

Poor choice of subject, US Paratroopers had already been done in better quality. Less value for money, Revell offers only 44 figures in 12 poses, compared to 48 ESCI-Paratroopers in 14 poses. The Revell figures not nearly as detailed as the US Paratroopers produced by ESCI, and they are wearing the later M1943 uniform which only became available in September of 1944, in time for »Operation Market Garden« in the Netherlands. Detail and casting quality are not up to the usual Revell standard; noticeable flash, and mould lines need to be removed prior to painting.

The NCO is probably the best and most useful figure in the set.

There are enough attacking and firing poses for a small diorama.

The .30 calibre MMG may be used to equip jeeps and other vehicles.

The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) is modelled with the bipod and the carrying handle in place, despite the fact that experienced troops – paratroopers in particular – usually removed these items. The handle may be sliced off the weapon easily, but removing the bipod will take a little care.

The assistant gunner for the .30 calibre MMG is caught in an unfortunate pose: forever trying to place an ammo box on the ground before him. To be of any use to the gunner, the loader might as well begin opening one of the boxes.

The officer carries an unusually long pistol, too long to fit into the holster.

The kneeling, firing paratrooper has his legs parted in a rather uncomfortable way, practically ruining the pose.

Several of the men are without entrenching tool, and not one of them carries a grenade on his body.

The bareheaded para seems to have lost or discarded his helmet. The ESCI set features a similar pose, bareheaded to show off the Mohawk hairstyle, except that this man has attached his helmet to the back of his belt.

Historical Employment

  • US 17th, 82nd & 101st Airborne Division
    • Arnheim, September 1944
    • Ardennes, December 1944
    • Germany, March 1945
    • Korea, 1951

Possible Conversions

  • French Foreign Legion Paratroops, Dien Bien Phu, 1954

This box of US Paratroopers is a disappointment compared to the excellent ESCI set covering the same subject. An opportunity to fill in the gaps in the ESCI set has been missed. Incompatible miniatures are likely to fail as miserably as incompatible software. One wonders why the design and development effort was not better spent on an entirely new subject, something with more probability of success in the market. Readers of Military Miniatures Magazine have put forward a good number of interesting new product ideas in our annual Wishlist section, manufacturers need only adopt some of them.

Sample from Revell

US Paratroops, 1942–1945