Orion released this set a few months after their set 1 made its debut. In our review of that set we pointed out how temporary the label ‘modern’ must be, and that while the set was indeed quite modern events were already beginning to overtake it. As we shall see, this second set of 'moderns' is actually rather less modern than the first.
As with the first set, we will begin with the uniforms. Again most of the figures are wearing standard Israel Defence Force (IDF) fatigues, and again the pockets have been erroneously placed on the front of the thigh rather than to the side. The helmets are the standard Israeli ballistic type (with the retaining rubber strap placed abnormally high), and the webbing is the usual Ephod type. All this only limits these figures to the later 1970s onwards, as all these items are still in use today. Therefore we must consider the weapons in order to gain a more precise idea of to which years these figures refer.
Several figures have the M16 assault rifle, and two have the M4 carbine version of this weapon (one with the M203 grenade launcher). The M16 dates from the early 1970s, while the M4 is from the start of the 21st century. However it is hard to be certain about these identifications, and what we have assumed to be the M16 could just as easily be the Colt CAR-15, which is good as it effectively means both weapons are being modelled. Some of the figures are carrying the Galil assault rifle, which again is quite appropriate and dates from the 1970s, but there is not much doubt about the last weapon on show here. The Uzi 9mm submachine gun is very easy to recognise, and was issued to those parts of the IDF that could benefit from its light weight and high rate of fire without suffering from the poor accurate range. It was therefore often used by special forces in hostage rescues, and also issued to women. First developed in the 1950s, it began to disappear in the 1980s, but was still in use by some units until 2003. Three figures here are handling an Uzi, including the only female figure. Finally we have the second prone figure in the bottom row, who’s weapon is impossible to identify with certainly.
From the uniforms and weapons we would suggest this set is aimed at the IDF for the last quarter of the 20th century, after which Set 1 takes over. Unlike set 1 this has a lot more ordinary infantry figures, but there are still a number of specialists worthy of further comment. The first figure in the top row is wearing an NBC suit and gasmask, which severely limits his usefulness in most situations but is an interesting addition to the set nonetheless. His suit is correctly done apart from the trousers, which should mimic the three-pocket arrangement of the normal fatigues if they are standard issue. The second figure in the second row has a number of bullet-trap rifle grenades for his Galil, but is otherwise dressed and equipped as normal. The most surprising figure is the diver in the bottom row. The IDF certainly made extensive use of divers, particularly for raids on coastal targets in Lebanon etc. This man has a reasonable-looking wetsuit with goggles and a knife strapped to his leg. He looks to be using a Galil SAR, which would be a logical choice for his situation, and while he has no breathing apparatus this could easily have been stashed somewhere until the fighting was over and the time to evacuate arrived. However he does have a simple snorkel, which we would have thought highly improbable for such a mission. Also, if he has stowed his gear, why is he still carrying his fins, which cannot be helping him as he is clearly in the presence of the enemy?
The differences between these figures are all about subtle variations in clothing and weaponry, and not the poses. Indeed most of the poses are pretty much the same thing - advancing and firing with your weapon - so there is not a lot of variety here. Such poses are there are seem quite reasonable however, and all are useful.
Sculpting is much the same as the first set in terms of both quality and style. Generally it is very good with fair detail and good proportions. There is no flash to speak of and most of the figures, being fairly flat, have no excess plastic. However the prone man firing is another matter, as his face is entirely lost in a massive block of plastic which of course you cannot see above because our view of this figure is the same as the mould's.
With the variety of uniforms and equipment some of these figures are clearly not meant to be placed together. The diver would only be with other divers, and the man in the NBC suit probably never had the need to go into action dressed in this way. However the small differences like those without the helmet do much to reflect the variety often seen on the modern battlefield, particularly when engaging in largely policing roles (and therefore close to base), and particularly given the IDF’s famous relaxed attitude to the appearance of their troops. We liked this set, and apart from the small accuracy problems and the missing face on the prone figure the main problem is the monotonous selection of poses. Modern? Well more recent history really, but don’t pay any attention to the reused box artwork, which seriously misrepresents what’s inside the box.