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In-Box Review
2nd Division USMC (Tarawa 1943)

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:

Uniform Notes

HBT - Herringbone Twill - from 1941, following a (forced) process of modernization, the old, wool (for winter) and cotton (for summer) U.S.M.C. uniforms were replaced with a newly designed (and more practical) cotton uniform. HBT was originally introduced as 'fatigues' but quickly became standard combat wear...

Camouflage Uniforms First introduced in 1942, the original camo uniforms were reversible one-piece 'jumpsuits' . The following year, a two-piece camo uniform was introduced only to be replaced (in 1943) by a reversion to the HBT...

Both of these uniforms (and both being worn in various combinations) are the subject of the new DML set - a factor which can be seen in many contemporary photos of the time - the reason for this excursion into 'uniformology'....

Dragon's new figure set...

DRA6272 - 2nd Division USMC (Tarawa 1943) is a 1/35th scale, four figure set. The kit is moulded in light-grey plastic with over 230 parts and an etched-brass sheet for insignia and weapon straps. The set consists of six sprues (two for the figures) and four containing the weapons and ancilliary equipment. The figures come in a fairly large box and include a double-sided color instruction sheet/painting guide.

The figures come in a good mixture of uniform styles:

One wearing the complete (two-part) camouflage unifiorm

One with HBT trousers/Camouflaged jacket

One wearing the HBT

One with camo trousers/HBT jacket.


The initial impression is excellent. The poses are well-considered with two kneeling/crouching figures, one prone and one standing. All give, at least at first glance an air of 'combat wariness' Moulding is excellent with little evidence of excess flash and the 'weaker' areas of plastic figures such as faces or hands and VERY well done. Although the first set of Generation 2 figures was excellent (if a trifle difficult to build), i'll put my head on the line here and say that I am getting the impression that they are improving with every new release. I'll now do a 'breakdown' on some of the features of this set:


Both the Fairbairn and the Ka-Bar are included amongst the equipment (see close-up pic of the latter). All the relevant pouches for the various weapons and personal gear such as the First Aid Packet Pouch, M-1942, the M-1917/1941Canteen and cover, ammo pouches for the M1 Garand, the M1 Carbine and the M-1928A1 Thompson SMG 'Tommy Gun' . In addition, several (holstered) M1911 Colt Automatic Pistols are also provided.


N.B. all the weapons in this set are completely new mouldings...

The following are provided in the kit:

Two M1 Garands

One M1 Carbine

One M-1928A1 Thompson SMG

One M1 Flamethrower

The Garands are about as good as one could imagine, Hollow muzzle, seperate bolt action (open AND closed) and spare 5-round clips.The M1 carbine is equally well represented - again with seperate bolt and magazines. The Thompson SMG is probably the best model ever done of this weapon (see close-up)..

The M1 flamethrower is in 12 parts and is excellently done with all valves being faithfully represented although replacing the plastic hose with a flexible (vinyl) one would improve it marginally...

The Figures:

An innovative feature of this set, is the inclusion of extra arms to vary the poses of the figures a little. Once again, hands are moulded seperately and are excellently designed to grasp a weapon.

The upper torsos need to be examined under a strong magnifying glass.. Somehow they have managed to reproduce the Eagle, Globe and Anchor stencil on the breast pocket... All creasing is subtly done and seperate collars are provided to give a more three-dimensional effect than the usual 'flat' moulding. The webbing belts are equally impressive and will require VERY careful work to bring out the fineness of the detail. The 'skirting' of the jackets are provided as seperate parts, again, to give more 'depth' to the finished figure.

The M1 Helmets come with a very subtly-moulded helmet cover which (and this is not reflected in the painting instructions) can be painted either in two-tone camouflage or (using the reverse side) in the Sage Green color used for the HBT uniform.

The boots, as we have come to expect in Generation 2 sets are moulded seperately. These are superb representations of the Model 1939 "Shoes, Service, Compositon Sole" which were ankle length boots. Details of the sole studs are correct and well-done...

Final conclusions

Even in an 'in-box' review, the quality of this set, well supercedes anything which has come before in Allied (plastic) figure sets. Not, I feel a set for the absolute novice although a modeller with some prior experience should make a worthwhile job of them. My only real 'gripe' comes with a lack of spares to buiild the 'Number Two' for the flamethrower (normally they operated as two-man teams) although buying two sets and consulting some good references would be enough. That aside, there is a real depth to this set and the flexibity of the uniform variation is enough to cover virtually all scenarios in the Pacific Theater. Due to the nature of USMC uniforms, the figures cannot really be anything BUT 'Leathernecks' although there are many possibilities with conversions to Raiders or even SeaBees (Construction Battalions). There ARE a good selection of vehicles available for this period as well (including the LCM, DUKW and LCVP) along with many possibilities for AFVs such as the LVT. Primarily these figures will crop-up in dioramas and with the addition of heavy weaponry there are limitless possibilities. Definitely, this is one of these sets which will be bought three or four boxes at a time - something that DML must have envisaged.

Finally, this set should be seen as the 'shape of things to come' with their first Allied set. The choice could not be better either, an excellent way to commemorate one of the most brutal battles in U.S. history - 'Bloody' Tarawa...

VERY Highly Recommended

Armorama would like to thank Dragon Models Limited for supplying this and their many other new releases for review...

It is no exaggeration to say that, last year, when Dragon Models introduced their new range of figure sets under the label of 'Generation 2', the way we viewed 1/35th scale (plastic) figures changed forever. So far, there have been four sets issued, this, the fifth is the first Allied set
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6272
  Suggested Retail: Around $12.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 14, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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