The trouble with 'modern' sets is that they quickly become merely 'recent' and after a while just 'old fashioned'. This set of modern figures from Revell was produced at the end of the last century, but that means they are already over a decade old and more recent figures have since been made by Caesar. With various American military operations around the world there are a number of situations in which these could be deployed, but since this set appeared the world has witnessed the 9/11 attacks as well as invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, so much has changed since then.
With the ever improving technology available to the US army today, battlefields with large bodies of men in action are a thing of the past, and most of the poses in this set reflect this, with troops apparently on patrol or moving quickly between positions. Those that are firing are doing so while kneeling or flat on the ground, which is much more authentic than simply reproducing poses seen in World War II sets. One or two of the poses are rather flat, such as the figure in the bottom row, second from left, but for the most part the poses were well chosen and appropriate to the subject.
The appearance of these men is also a strong point. They wear the standard uniform with most wearing the PASGT ('Personal Armor System for Ground Troops') armour vest and 'fritz' style helmet, both made of Kevlar. One of the grenadiers (first figure, first row) wears a grenade carrier vest, and the sculptor has even made a fair attempt at showing the nylon mesh back of this garment. Personal kit is quite varied, as it should be, with all manner of pouches, rucksacks etc on display. All these items were in common use and have been well sculpted, with good detail.
Weaponry too is spot on, or at least as good as you could hope for in this scale. Most of the men are carrying the M16 rifle, in some cases with the 40mm M203 grenade launcher attached. The third and fourth figures on the top row seem to have the M249E1 SAW ('Squad Automatic Weapon'), and the second figure in the bottom row is carrying an M60 machine gun. The fourth figure on the middle row has an 84mm AT4 multipurpose weapon on his back as well as carrying his rifle, and the last figure on the last row is firing an M47 Dragon missile system, used against armoured vehicles and enemy positions. This last item comes in four parts, with the man, weapon, weapon support and base being separate. These all fit together quite well, though gluing would be advisable if rough handling is expected. All these weapons are suitable for these men and time, and all have been very well done, though the sight on the Dragon should be in front of the operator's face and right up against his eye rather than perched on top as here.
The usually good standard of sculpting from Revell has been maintained here, with clear detail, good anatomical proportions and lifelike poses. Accuracy is excellent, but then so it should be for a contemporary subject, and the misplaced sight for the Dragon is a result of the limitations of the mould, which makes it forgivable. Though only a few years old, there are already developments such as hi-tech helmets which are replacing some elements in this set, particularly in elite units such as Rangers and Marines, but then that will always be the case. Nonetheless this is a very commendable set from Revell.