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Set 239

Modern U.S. Soldiers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 1987
Contents 50 figures
Poses 15 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Brown, Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


Modern is a word manufacturers use at their peril in describing their products, as it dates very quickly. In this case, as the set was released in 1987, 'modern' means the US army of the mid 1980s.

The usual 15 poses in this Esci set are interesting but not particularly outstanding. Many, such as the standing and kneeling firing figures, display no apparent life or feeling of action, and even those that are clearly meant to be on the move seem stiff and unconvincing. Two in the top row are holding their rifles in a very peculiar way, with both having their right hand on the stock rather than near the trigger. However the poses in the third row, which are clearly not intended to be very active, are much more natural and appealing as a result.

The men wear the standard Battle Dress Uniform ('BDU') along with PASGT armour, and have the ALICE gear. This has generally been properly modelled, though some areas caused us some doubt, such as the high position of the ammo pouches on the waist and the fact that everyone has a knife prominently displayed.

Weaponry is mostly the M16A1 rifle current at the time, which in some cases has the 40mm grenade launcher attached. Those grenadiers also wear the special grenadier's vest, which held 24 rounds. The first two figures in the second row are armed with the M60 general purpose machine gun, again a popular weapon of the period, despite some attempts to replace it during the 1980s. One man is carrying an M47 Dragon missile system, neatly packed in its case, while another is actually using one. This last figure makes an interesting comparison with the similar figure from Revell in their Modern US Infantry set. Other weapons could also have been included of course, but the selection here is reasonable, and nicely done.

All the usual Esci qualities are on show in this set, with excellent sculpting and beautiful detail throughout. The sculpting of the weapons is particularly good, and it is a pity that the quite rigid poses let this set down. Virtually no flash was to be found on these copies at least, and apart from some extra plastic between the arms on the Dragon operator (a sacrifice we felt worthwhile for the realistic pose), there is no trimming required anywhere. With US troops seeing service in many parts of the world during the 1980s, these figures should find plenty of reasons to see action, but as they are several decades old they are certainly anything but modern now.


Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
"American Web Equipment 1967-1991" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.37) - C Monroe - 9781847973153
"Flak Jackets" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.157) - Simon Dunstan - 9780850455694
"Inside the US Army" - Osprey (Elite Series No.20) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850458558
"Just Cause: Intervention in Panama" - Concord (Warrior Series No.6503) - Gordon Rottman - 9789623616331
"Modern American Soldier" - Weidenfeld (Uniforms Illustrated Series No.16) - Arnold Meisner - 9780853687627
"Modern Body Armour" - Crowood - Martin Brayley - 9781847972484
"Panama 1989-90" - Osprey (Elite Series No.37) - Gordon Rottman - 9781855321564
"The M16" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.14) - Gordon Rottman - 9781849086905
"The M60 Machine Gun" - Osprey (Weapon Series No.20) - Kevin Dockery - 9781849088442
"US Army Combat Equipments 1910-1988" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.205) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850458428
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