Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.6377; U.S. 10th Mountain Division Italy 1945 - Gen2; 214 parts (186 in grey styrene, 28 etched brass); price estimated at US$14.95
Advantages: any new US figures welcome; different figures with different uniforms nice change of pace
Disadvantages: niche uniforms and equipment limit their options for dioramas
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for US figure models and dioramists
The US deployed a large number of specialized forces and troops during WWII, but one of the least publicized was the mountain troops. Essentially cold-weather equipped and trained light infantry, these soldiers were optimized for operations in the mountains. One full division, the 10th Mountain, served in Italy.
DML has now offered a set of four figures representing these personnel and has created them in the Gen2 format. This is a good idea, as they have clothed them in the mountain parka, which means they are quite suitable to the Gen2 formula of separate coat tails and hems.
The figures are all clothed in the knee-length parka with fur-trimmed hoods, wearing the 1944 version of the "shoe-pac" (a rubber sole and lower section with short leather uppers) and carrying the mountain rucksack with the backpack frame. All of these items are pretty much unique except the shoe-pacs.
Each figure comes in 17 parts (2 x head, 2 x torso, 1 x collar, 2 x legs, 2 x arms, 2 x hands, 2 x boots, and 4 x coat tails) with the packs and frames separate. The figures form a vignette with two soldiers standing in relaxed poses, one kneeling and one sitting, massaging what may be a sprained or broken leg. The molding is excellent and matches the references I have for this sort of equipment (the French-printed "GI Collectors Guide" for the ETO).
The US figures do rate Gen2 status and equipment, and come with five different weapon, with the M1 Garands and carbine having optional position bolts (open or closed) and clips and magazines. All are provided with etched brass slings as well.
Other Gen2 bits include helmets, canteens, ammo pouches, first aid pouches, pistol holsters and compass pouches. Helmet chinstraps are etched brass as well as the tie-down straps for the rucksacks (outside, not shoulder straps). However, none of these are indicated on the directions, which is another overlooked item by DML.
Since this is an "A" kit, artwork and directions are by Ron Volstad.
Overall this is a very nicely done effort, but they are a very narrowly focused set whose only only other use is probably Korea in the winter of 1950.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.