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Soldiers S90-14 Paratrooper

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by Jim Patrick, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Ok, here is my first review and hopefully not the last. I've sat silent for too long. First up is one of Soldiers newest 90mm releases, S90-14 Paratrooper, "Easy" Co., 506th PIR 101st Airborne Division, Normandy, 1944. Whew! , now that's one heck of a title for a figure. Try putting all that on a nameplate :lol: . In any case, you get this nicely packaged figure.

    [IMG]

    Once opened, you see these parts:
    one item of note: yes, there are two right arms. More to follow on this later

    [IMG]

    You also get a "color guide". One nice thing about this guide, you will see that this figure is limited to a run of 999 pieces and you can see what piece yours is numbered. My example is #287 and is initialed by none other than Adriano laruccia who happens to also be the sculpter of this figure.

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    First impressions are very good when drooling/looking at the parts to it. The detail is outstanding with the seams of the uniform represented well throughout this figure. When looking at the right arm, i noticed something a little strange. On the right hand, the last digit on all the fingers were missing. I'm a fan of Adriano's work so I was almost positive he wouldn't leave something this important off. The left arm hand was fine. A quick call and a speedy replacement part later and all was cured. No more missing fingers. Besides, my paratrooper would have a terrible time trying to fire his rifle without those "over rated" items. Here are two pics to show you what I'm talking about:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    Allow me to digress a little for a minute here. I personally feel this paratroopers right thumb should be behind the rifle with his garand resting in the "V" of his hand between the thumb and index finger. A good friend of mine has a garand and I tried to hold it the way the figure is sculpted and it just doesn't "set" right. It also makes it difficult to handle and nearly impossible to fire. Look closely at the pics and you can see what I'm talking about. This is in no way a major problem and actually, could be fixed rather easily or ignored altogether. Your choice. On to the rest of the figure.
    Some of you will be relieved to hear this part. The first-aid pouch IS NOT attached to the helmet. Look at the picture and see for yourself. There are two places on the helmet where the netting doesn't come together. I marked these two spots with a black marker. You can see them in the picture. The first-aid pouch has two corresponding "keys" that help you in aligning this item on the helmet. For those of you who are un-informed: The first-aid packages on the helmet that are so prevalent in so many figures out there today, isn't correct Or 99.9% not correct. There are some (read: very few) pictures with a couple of medics with this but no examples of this can be found in most wartime photos. Look and see for yourself.

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    Well, how does the figure go together? See for yourself. There is a gap where the two legs and the torso come together. A lot more pronounced between the torso and legs.

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    The arms are held in place with some low tack "sticky stuff". I forgot the name. As you can see, a nice looking figure with a very relaxed, natural pose. The latter is a nice touch because far too many figures suffer from "metal rod shoved in the arse- itis" :lol: .

    [IMG]

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    Not sure if you can tell by the photo or not but the face is nicely sculpted with some nice looking features as well as some great eyes. Another note for the "I wish it was there" column. The 101st patch detail isn't there. Just a flat, blank patch. This would have been a nice touch as we have a terrific example of this being present in a 54mm offered by Michael Roberts.
    Ok, I started this review and I will finish it. Just not as fast as Anders would ;) . Bear with me as I work on this. Whenever I do some more on this figure, I'll post it up here. Any questions before I start sanding/filing/filling (just for you Anders)/pinning? Fire away and I'll answer what I can.

    Jim Patrick
  2. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Excellent review Jim! That is how they all should be!!

    As for the filling, it dont look as bad on the pics as it did in real life, although after you cleaned him up a little it might have helped.

    Still an aweful amount of filling for a $90 figure!
  3. Pete_H New Member

    Jim,
    I don't want to sound to be negative, but I've seen too many inaccuracies in the figure that would keep me from buying it. First off, I'm glad to see that you spotted the inaccuracy of the field dressing tied to the helmet (a common misconception perhaps instilled by the movie "the Longest Day"). The fact of the matter is that the 101st. Airborne did not make it common practice to tie an extra field dressing to the helmet - at least not until Op. Market-Garden (did anybody remember that today is the 60th. anniversary of the end of the heroic defence of Arnhem bridge by the 2nd.Batallion Parachute Regiment 1st Brit. Airborne Div.?). If I may, I would advise to fill in the holes in the helmet, and attach the field dressing to the upper part of the web gear upon the chest - from what I've seen in pictures, most likely the left side - instead of attaching it to the helmet.
    Also, from your pictures, it appears that this figure depicts this Screaming Eagle with a U.S flag stitched to his right arm. Again, this is a historical inaccuracy. Only select units in the 82nd. Airborne Division stitched U.S flags (printed or painted on standard field gause) to their right shoulders. Again, this was adopted by all U.S airborne forces landing in Holland as part of Operation Market-Garden, and then these were mostly paper cuffs around the right sleeve (quickly removed upon landing since it was quite obvious who they were - not Germans! :) ).
    Yet another inaccuracy I've spotted in the figure is the positioning of the bayonet scabbard - in front of the left leg. Think about it: if someone were to kneel with that long scabbard there, they'd either face some major discomfort on their left leg or likely end up singing Soprano for months ;) This can be argued to be a trivial point since one can easily reposition it somewhere else on the web belt or at the bottom of the ammo belt. These ammo belts had metal loops at the bottom corner of each ammo pouch for hanging gear from them, so positioning the scabbard there wouldn't be out of the ordinary. I'd recommend the back right side (as close to the side of the hip as possible) instead since most humans are right-handed.
    On the plus side, this figure leaves a lot of space for customising. For instance, a skein of white rope can be rolled & folded out of wire and attached just about anywhere - most commonly tied to the back left or right side of the web belt or across the bottom of the musette bag. Another thought would be to sculpt on a folded blanket under the musette bag's flap (this would require carving off the musette bag closing straps & flap, attaching the blanket, and sculpting over a flap & new straps). One thing that should be taken care of including is the "famous" Indian war-paint on the face. The only unit to do so was the demolitions platoon of the 506 PIR in the 101st. Airborne. Fortunately, they were immortalised by photographers for "Life" magazine when a photographer was lucky enough to come across a couple of members of this unit helping each other with their warpaint. Unfortunately, the unit's top-secret status (only recently cleared in the mid-1990's) propagated the myth that a whole lot of paratroopers from the 82nd. and 101st. sported such paint, as well as mohawk haircuts. So unless you're depicting a Screaming Eagle with a big white "E" on the side of his helmet, you'd be way off in painting him in Indian warpaint and/or with a mohawk haircut.
    Now I know what you're thinking - "hey, it's a damn good kit so why not buy it and simply take care of these simply-fixed inaccuracies?" Well, I'll tell you - IT'S TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE!!! The last time I checked, this kit was retailing at close (if not over) $90. Sorry, but at $1.00/scale-mm, that is far too rich for my blood. I'll stick to lower-cost manufacturers who produce far more superior products, like ............. nah, I won't get into that here ;)
  4. Guy A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Excellent review Jim..............I wish more of us would lay out a kit they have purchased and take pictures of it. It sure would help the rest of us with a decision to buy or not to buy.
  5. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Pete, thanks for your insight and pointers. As far as the cost go, actually the figure is more like $72 (still a lot) but what have any of us seen coming out of Europe that isn't expensive these days. I also won't digress here as this conversation has been hashed out before and this certianly isn't the place to start discussing the price of tea in China. The highroad. Thanks for the tip about the flag insignia and the bayonet scabbard. I did know about that but completely overlooked that part :( . I'll look closer at some photos to see where the men who fought in Normandy placed theirs if they even carried it. I probably will not be adding ropes and that sort though. I'm pretty much going to stick with what is in the kit.

    Back to the books, then the figure.
    Jim Patrick
  6. amherbert Member

    Hi Jim

    Nice review, and Pete's comments are helpful too.
    When I win the lottery...

    Andy
  7. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Ok, after a little self taught history lesson, I can make this assumption as to the airborne troopers and their knives/bayonets. I found only a few examples (a couple more were too fuzzy to see what was hanging off their pistol belt) where the bayonet scabbard was worn exactly how this figure is sculpted. Granted one was standing at the embarcation point with a TON of gear all over his body, but still. It would seem (to me anyway) that carrying the boot knife on the pistol belt was far more common than actually on the leg. One could argue that it would be a lot easier to grab on the belt v.s. the boot in case you "needed it" but who knows. I also saw several pictures of the bayonet scabbard being carried on either hip but more towards the front rather than the back. I personally find this a bit strange but what do I know? I wasn't in Normandy fighting for my life. One thing I did find rather strange was several photos of 82nd paratroopers with the bayonet scabbard attached to their right leg like a boot knife. It was pretty apparent because the top of the scabbard was beside the knee in the pictures I saw. One last note about American uniform policies during wartime. They don't exist. The American soldier, throughout history, has made a point of doing whatever with anything, however to accomplish everything :lol: . Simply put, we don't follow our own rules, much less someone else's. Now where was I?.........Oh yeah, back to the figure.

    Jim Patrick
  8. Guy A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    (y) ........go paint your figure
  9. KeithP Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Great detailed review, Jim. Good input from Pete H., too.

    Keith
  10. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    OK, the last shots of the figure for this review. I cleaned up the major parts of the fig and added a little of my groundwork to the base to get it to fit in the round base I chose. After I epoxied the two legs together, i found the resulting gap was filled with the glue. Not a glaring need for putty now except to retexture the smooth epoxy glue. Fitting the torso to the legs proved to be an excerise in patience. There were gaps in the front and back of the figure. Regardless of what I did, I couldn't get rid of these. I guess an overflow of the trusty glue would work here as well but I'd reccomend putty here. In fact, I reccomend putty for all gaps. The overflow of glue was an accident. The gaps between the arms and the torso aren't anything to worry about. I pinned the head and arms and simply haven't glued them in yet. They all fit well with only a small bead of putty needed around the arms. Nothing unusual there either. I did take the liberty of removing the molded on flag located on his right arm (Thanks Pete (y) , even if you won't buy it! LOL! ;) ) . I also glued the fieldpack on. There is some EXCELLENT detail under this and it's a shame to cover it up. The straps stopped where the fieldpack goes so you either need to sculpt/make new straps or use the pack as I have chosen. I checked the location and it shouldn't provide any serious obstacles to painting so I decided to go ahead and glue it in place. Alright, enough already. Here is the primered figure:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

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    Here is a good shot of the face so you can see the detail for yourself:

    [IMG]

    One last thing before I leave you with this review. I mistakenly said there is no detail for the unit patch. After sanding the seams on his left arm today, I saw the detail on the unit patch. It's all there but rather than provide raised detail, it's engraved. The word "AIRBORNE" isn't there but wouldn't be too hard to get there. Simply use a 0.5 mechanical pencil with a sharp point and write it there. If not satisified, erase it. Easy. Of course, wait until the paint is dried. Once your'e happy with your letters, paint over the pencil lead. At least that's what I do. Regardless, here is the detail I spoke of on the patch:

    [IMG]

    I hope you all have enjoyed this figure review. I'll now be moving to my v bench for painting where I hope to continue the SBS there. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Until next time,
    Jim Patrick
  11. Pete_H New Member

    Jim,
    Thanks for the detailed review. I have to admit that I'm still fighting the urge to sink all that $$$ into it. Perhaps I'll buy it when I see it on eBay in the future ;) :)
  12. RobH Active Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    BTW guys, I bought the Laruccia 54mm Ranger (Soldiers) at Euro

    When I sort out my camera, I'll review that

    cheers

    Rob
  13. LCoote New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Excellent review Jim, and those great close ups, exactly how I like to see a figure. Thanks!

    Rob, I'd love to see a review on the Ranger when you can manage it.
  14. Robert Merz New Member

  15. y_wong New Member

    Dear Jim and Pete,

    I'm glad that one of you provides the review and the other the critique. In this way, it enables those of us that want to be as accurate as possible to check it out and do whatever necessary modification to the figure.

    Keep up the good job both of you.

    regards :)
  16. jitch0t Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Hey Jim, great review, my girlfriend purchased that fig for my birthday last august (Kit 16/999 ;) ) . I've been waiting to improve my skills to paint it :lol:

    I read a great review too in the magazine Figurines. I remember it said the Garand rifle was a bit big in scale... I have to take a look again.

    Hey RobH!! I'm very very very interested in that new Ranger so i'll appreciate the review (y)

    Regards
  17. amherbert Member

    I read the Figurines review last week. It says that the Garand is too short! The reviewer cut the gun and added to it. I beleive the area that needs lengthening is in front of the front swivel, so one just has to add more of the wood towards the business end.

    I'll check again, but I'm pretty sure the rifle needed to be lengthened, not shortened.

    Andy
  18. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hmmmmmm, this is need to know information. If either of you find out this information, and we can verify it (shouldn't be too hard, I could measure my friends), it should be added to this review. Not trying to be a "bolt counter" but if a item really is out of scale, then by all means, include it here.

    Thanks,
    Jim Patrick
  19. Jim Patrick Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    OK, inquisitive minds got the best of me. Here is what I came up with:

    The length of my friends garand was 43 1/2"

    Using the "Scaler" above, that = 6.1383333 cm

    Converted, that = 61.383333 mm

    Here is a pic of the garand:

    [IMG]

    The dimensions might look a little off but chalk this up to photagraphy, or at least mine :lol: . As you can see, it measures out very close to the correct size. I didn't measure out each individual piece but you can see that at least the overall length is correct. Nitpicking.....nah. If a kit part is or isn't the correct dimensions, especially in 90mm, readers should at least know that especially in a review.

    Thanks again to all,
    Jim Patrick
  20. amherbert Member

    Hi

    On pages 80 and 81 of issue 58 of Figurines Dominique Breffort gives us a 'prise en main' for the figure. There is a list of corrections spanning the second through fourth columns of the article.

    1) DB states that the Garand is 'nettement sousdimensionné', which I translate as really undersized. He (she?) makes some comments about the rifle looking too close to the M1 carbine in size, and states the 'undersizing' is towards the barrel end. The solution described is to add some plastic card and putty over it. As I read it, the plastic card is put in to lengthen the barrel just ahead of the rifle sling (original French: ...d'insérer, au niveau de la partie avant du garde-main, soit à l'endroit où vient s'accrocher l'avant de la bretelle...). According to your pic, Jim, the Garand is almost 2mm short. This seems a small error, but it's pretty clearly short. DB suggests correcting this early on, because you have to assemble the arms and rifle simultaneously, you can't add the rifle later.

    2) A gas detector band needs to be added, and as you said, the US flag needs removing and can be covered with the gas reactive cloth.

    You've covered the other items mentioned. He suggests adding the med kit to the leg.

    The photos in the article do show the bayonet to be located in a potentially awkward place! There are some photos of reenactors with the painted kit photos.

    DB states that the changes were suggested in consultation with the editor of Militaria Magazine and the sculptor of Nemrod's US paras.

    There's some of what's in the article FWIW.

    Andy

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