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Set 72141

U.S. Paratroopers (Part 2)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2024
Contents 40 figures
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Green
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)


The US had not seriously experimented with paratroops before the Second World War, but when they began to build such units from 1940 they soon found they were creating some exceptional fighting formations. All paratroopers were volunteers, and the very fact that men who were already facing the uncertainties of a soldier’s life would volunteer for extra, much more rigorous training in a much more hazardous activity meant the new units were filled with particularly courageous and resourceful individuals. The result was that, even when nowhere near an actual parachute drop, paratroop units played a major role in the US war effort in Europe and the Pacific, establishing a reputation as elite infantry for use in the toughest of missions.

It should be noted straight away that this is set 2 of US paratroopers from Mars. Set 1 (which we reviewed here) was a really good set but the figures were significantly smaller than normal, and very much smaller than the average American man of the 1940s. Happily this second set rectifies that problem, providing another eight poses at a much more respectable size, and offering an even more diverse range of weapons, since no two figures in this set are handling the same one. The first pictured man is carrying an M3 ‘Grease Gun’ submachine gun and is running in a pose that is much more natural than many running poses we have seen in the past. Next is a staple of the genre, a man standing, or rather walking, firing a rifle, probably the M1 Garand. The third is firing his Thompson submachine gun from the shoulder, and again is a nice and dynamic pose – no straight backs or stiff poses here. The fourth man is something of an oddity, as he is lying on the ground firing a BAR M1919A2, supporting it partly by his left leg. This may have made the weapon easier to aim, but we are not sure how common this particular method of firing was, and it is not one we have seen recreated or illustrated anywhere.

Our second row begins with a paratrooper firing an M1919A6 machine gun (the model with the shoulder stock) from the hip. Again this is possible, but not the ideal method of using such a powerful gun, especially as there is no one feeding it ammunition - part of the ammo belt can be seen hanging limply by the man’s left leg. It would look great in a movie, and it looks good here, but how atypical a pose this is can best be imagined. A much more conventional pose comes next as we find a kneeling man holding an M2 flamethrower, which was widely used in the Pacific theatre. Flamethrowers tended to be held in particular dread by defending troops, and so their operators were often specifically targeted, not least because a shot that punctured the apparatus might cause the whole thing to explode, man and all, so if not required at the moment, it is wise for such a man to make himself a less obvious target by kneeling. The last two men are crewing a small mortar, which is the model T18E6, a lightened version of the standard 60 mm M2 without a bipod, and with a curved spade-type base instead of a baseplate. This all made it much lighter, and so was often issued to airborne troops such as these, although it was correspondingly less accurate to use. It is nice to see this weapon included, and particularly that it has been given a crew of two rather than a single operator as is so often seen. The pair go together very well, with the second man about to drop a round down the barrel.

So the poses are good if occasionally unconventional, but while we are talking about weapons we need to mention that five of the figures carry a holstered pistol, which were available to all, and widely carried by those without a Garand, but not all took this option, so the representation here is pretty good. In addition there are some secondary weapons such as a Garand and another Thompson on some of these figures, and the majority of the figures have a trench knife strapped to their right ankle, which was another common feature. The desire to include such a wide range of weapons means this set does not accurately reflect the proportions of each within a unit, but there are now many sets of US paratroopers for this period (see below), so seen as an additional set for those previously made, this is not a big issue.

Moving from the weapons to the uniform, all of these men wear the usual ‘turtle’ helmet, mostly with netting cover and moulded chin cup, and they all seem to wear the M1942 jump suit. This is identified by the external pockets on the skirts, but the breast pockets are entirely hidden on all of them, which would have helped to confirm the identification. Nevertheless, most such sets depict this uniform, which is fine, though it rapidly got replaced by the M1943 some time after D-Day but before Operation Market Garden. The trousers with their large cargo pockets look fine, so there are no issues with the accuracy of their clothing. Kit too looks good, with appropriate pouches for the weapons carried, water canteen and small first aid pouch worn at the back of the belt. The rifleman has his bayonet scabbard, and all except the flamethrower wear a pack on the back, one of which has the entrenching tool strapped to it.

World War II figures from Mars have been routinely very well sculpted, and these are no different. Nice lively poses as we have said, with no hint of any flat ones, and good detail on clothing, kit and weaponry. There is no excess plastic in difficult locations for the mould to reach, but there is a little flash in places. These models look really good, and although the dark plastic colour makes it hard to see clearly, they should paint up very well. Although not necessary as he does stand, we would still have liked to see a base on the man feeding the mortar – lacking a base achieves nothing in our view, and just makes him that bit shorter and harder to keep upright (you could argue the same for the prone BAR man too).

So there you have it. Again a fairly small set from Mars, but one that expands on the first, and those made by others, with some interesting weapons and useful poses well sculpted. The BAR and machine gunner are to our mind a bit too niche to be great poses, but the rest are well worth having, and as they wear the same older uniform as most other sets, they should blend with them seamlessly. Some of the weapons like the M3 were only issued late in the war, which somewhat jars with the earlier jacket being worn, so some purists may have an issue with that, but we can find no other criticisms on the accuracy of their appearance. Not a collection to set the world on fire, but one worth having to expand on the US paratroopers already available.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 10
Mould 8

Further Reading
"American Web Equipment 1910-1967" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Series No.33) - Martin J Brayley - 9781861268327
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"The World War II GI" - Crowood - Richard Windrow - 9781847970336
"US Army Airborne 1940-90" - Osprey (Elite Series No.31) - Gordon Rottman - 9780850459487
"US Army Paratrooper in the Pacific Theater 1943-45" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.165) - Gordon Rottman - 9781780961293
"US Paratrooper 1941-45" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.26) - Carl Smith - 9781855328426

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