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2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943

DML 1/35 2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943 Gen 2 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Images by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject 2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943 Gen 2 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6272 Primary Media 233 parts (198 in grey styrene and 35 in etched brass)
Pros "Gen 2" molding now comes to American figures; first good new set of styrene Marines in many, many years Cons Much of the etched brass not useable with these figures (see text)
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $10.95

First Look

2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943
2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943
2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943
2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943

Dragon's "Gen 2" series of slide-molded figures have set a totally new standard for styrene figures, but up until now they had concentrated exclusively on German subjects. Now, with a USMC M4A2 mid-production model tank slated to represent those used in the Tarawa campaign on the horizon, DML has now offered up a set of four "Mud Marines" to compliment that tank.

The Marines have not fared well in injection molded figures over the years. For a long time the only good set out there – if you could find it – was the Airfix 1/32 scale (54mm) "Multipose" set. DML had done some Marines earlier, but the primary ones they offered were either for Operation Desert Storm or Korea. While the Korean ones could be backdated, they still were not correct (as they came with winter coats a la the Chosin Reservoir battle.)

Each figure comes in a total of 17 parts – boots (2), legs (2), torso (2), coat skirt (4), arms (2), hands (2), collar (1) , and head (2). But for conversion purposes, a total of 15 arms and 15 hands are provided to give the modeler a wide variety in what the figures do and represent. They provide one standing, one kneeling, one squatting and one prone pose.

This kit provides Marines in 1943 gear with a flamethrower, an M1 Thompson submachine gun, an M1 carbine, and two M1 Garand rifles. The carbine and the M1s both have optional bolts (open/closed, provide your own "M1 Thumb") and all of them come with a number of extra magazines or clips. All are slide molded with hollow bores.

The American figures are now being graced with the same "G" and "W" series sprues as the German kits provide, and GA covers the kit for the figures and WA the weaponry. The GA sprue provides holsters, canteens, first aid pouches, and ammo pouches for all of the included weapons. The helmets are the USMC style with cloth camouflage covers and no "rubber band" as was more common postwar. Three "Ka-Bar" type knives in sheathes are provided as well as one "raider" or "commando" type knife (I am not into edged weapons so bear with me here; the box art refers to it as an M3 trench knife.)

The etched brass is listed as specifically for this kit, but a close examination with a jeweler's loupe shows that is not going to be the case. It comes with US Army infantry brass, lieutenant's bars, and general's stars as well as officers' "US" brass. It also provides slings for all of the weapons as well as "loose" helmet straps, but it is suggested that the brass be heated over an alcohol lamp before use to anneal the tensile strength and make bending the slings easier.

The excellent boxtop painting by Ron Volsted and the matching interior sheet provide good directions for painting as well as how DML suggests the optional arms and hands be used.

Overall this looks to be a great kit, and now to await US Army figures.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.