Vietnam Helicopter Crew Member
In the early 1960s, the US Army’s Howze Board recommended testing new forms of mobility to make the soldier “free from the tyranny of terrain.” The result was the 11th Air Assault Division, to be rechristened the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and sent to Vietnam in 1965. Rather than moving to combat by truck or by foot march, as in wars past, the Cav rode in helicopters, lots of helicopters. Those many choppers, from OH-13s and OH-6s to CH-47s and UH-1s needed crew members and door gunners. This figure represents one of those aviators.
Opening the Box
Well, there actually is no box. The heavy duty poly bag was stapled to display cardboard backing. An inner bag contains the figure cast in cream resin with raised hand pointing / resting on a chopper ( as in the box art), a post or whatever a vignette might call for. A separate bag has two heads, one bare and one to wear the provided flight helmet, two weapons to choose from -- M-16 rifle or M-60 machinegun. The figure is provided a hip holster M1911A1 .45. I puzzled over this weapon, but research showed the M10 .38 revolver was standard if showing a flier after 1969. [see Winged Sabers, the Air Cavalry in Vietnam by Lawrence H. Johnson III, Stackpole Books 1990 and 2001]
While the accompanying pictures show the figure posed with some boxes, etc,. the kit ONLY has the figure and the optional choices mentioned.
The excellent castings had no flash. The instruction page shows an example of completed figure for the modeler’s guidance. The images on the full color instruction sheet suggest the painting instructions of overall Olive Drab, such as the older cotton flight suits called for. Later two-piece Vietnam era flight suits were brown Nomex, and the survival vest (SRU-21/P) was OD or a Sage Green. Patches are mentioned in instructions write up, but not provided as decals nor sculpted on the figure. I had an old decal sheet which yielded the subdued NCO sleeve rank appropriate to the cotton flight suit I depicted, as well as a yellow cav patch for his helmet. (Verlinden US Army Badges WWII - 1988 Decals # 383 1:35 )
The APH-5 series flight helmet is well represented and could be found in theater over a span of years that would include the cotton flight suit, Nomex, .45 pistols or .38 revolver. This gives the builder a nice selection of choices. Instructions call for a scratch built boom mike. I used a bit of copper wire from inside an old electrical extension cord. An added benefit of using the head with the helmet: for modelers who do not like to paint faces, only the lower half of this figure’s face is exposed! No eyes to paint!
If you are building 1:35 scale Vietnam era chopper and need a crew member to show off your ship, this may be the guy for you. This reviewer’s verdict: Recommended. My thanks to Werner’s Wings for providing the kit and to IPMS for the opportunity to review it.