|DRAGON - US Marines Peleliu 1944|
A look at a figure set that's been a long time in coming!
US Marines Peleliu 1944
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Serial Number: 6554
This brand new four-figure set from Dragon, represents four US Marines on the island of Peleliu in 1944, where nearly 2,000 Americans and over 10,000 Japanese were killed over a period of two months in the battle for this small atoll.
For anybody who has been waiting for this set, it must have seemed at times that they'd been forgotten. The set was actually announced back in April 2010 but is only now seeing the light of day. Go search the Dragon website and you'll find some interesting items around this one.
The set arrives in the standard end-opening Dragon figure box, box art on one side, assembly instructions on the back. Inside there are three sprues of grey styrene, one large, the other two small. The set consists of four US Marine figures as they would have appeared on Peleliu, but also in other actions around this time also.
All parts are crisply moulded, free from flash, detail not too soft, but unfortunately the dreaded cooling lines are back on the torsos of each figure. These are fine lines, which form due to the differential cooling of the styrene as it's injected into large, thick parts. They've been absent on the last few Dragon figure releases, so I had hoped the problem had been solved.
Parts breakdown is conventional, i.e. separate upper torso, head and headgear, arms and legs, all on the main sprue, which also holds various items of personal kit. The two small sprues included all hold weapons.
The poses in this set are slightly unusual, in that two of the figures are sculpted 'together', as a medic, helping dress a wound of a casualty, and because of the way they're moulded, it would prove difficult to use the figures separately without major work. The other two figures can be treated more as separate, both being 'action' poses.
The first figure is the casualty, posed sitting, right hand holding his M1 rifle upright, butt into the ground. His legs are slightly drawn up, the left being injured, trouser leg ripped off above the knee, which is being bandaged. That figure is having his knee dressed by the second figure, sculpted as a medic, that has his left hand supporting the casualty's knee, and right hand moulded in dressing the knee.
The detail on both figures is outstanding. This may well be somewhat coloured by the fact that I've spent the last month re-scribing a lot of 'older' Dragon figures, where the detail and moulding left something to be desired. Looks good to me though! All the various kit items on both figures are provided as separate items on the same sprue, and again are sharply detailed. The medic has specific items of kit suited to his role, and his right hand is even moulded holding a short length of bandage. He has a red cross armband also moulded onto his left upper arm. Both of these figures are moulded wearing the canvas leggings, whilst the other two figures are moulded wearing initially what appears to be ankle gaiters, but if you look closely, they're actually both wearing canvas leggings too, but have their trousers pulled out and over them.
The third figure is posed stepping forward on his left leg, holding a BAR with bipod attached, and the fourth figure is crouching down, taking aim with an M1.
The outstanding features of this figures set to my mind are the weapons. I've stopped short of rummaging around in the loft for another US figure set to compare them with, but I'm almost sure that Dragon have either re-worked these or produced brand new ones. They are superbly detailed. Each of the weapons on both of the small sprues are supplied with slide-moulded, pre-drilled barrels, and separate parts for the bolt mechanisms, opened or closed, and magazines. We're supplied with two M1's, the BAR, an M1 carbine and a Thompson.
A great figure set! As a result of the very specific poses of two of the figures, this might not be as popular as it deserves to be, which would be a great shame, as the quality of the weapons sprues alone is nearly worth the purchase price!
My thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.