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Friday, December 21, 2012

Bolt Action - Review: Black Tree Design Americans

Black Tree Design had a really good Black Friday sale this year, so I took the opportunity to start up my Bolt Action army for cheap.  Among many things, I ordered the the US Platoon (WW2065) - let's take a look!

These guys came in a bag with 30 dudes with very few - maybe even no - repeat poses.  I was also very pleased that the flashing was minimal and all in easy to trim locations.
So, I am making A Co., 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division and generally would like for my guys to be post-St.Lo -- which gave A Co. time enough to recover from the disaster at Omaha Beach.  This means that I want most of my guys to have M1928 packs, M1910 E-tools, wools and M1941 jackets.

Now, as far as historical accuracy, these guys were pretty good.  I did notice some peculiar choices, but not many.  For example, I have a guy armed with a US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1, but clearly has both an M1923 cartridge belt and a Thompson magazine belt.  Absolutely no figures have bayonets -- something no USGI would leave behind.

Also, these guys are generally kitted out for late war.  They all have M1943 Entrenching Tools instead of the M1910.  There seemed to be a mix of M1941 Field Jackets and also quite a few with M1943 jackets.... which I promptly trimmed of the pockets to look like M1941s.  It was also curious that the guys with the '43 jackets did not have the '43 trousers.

This guy is great.  He has a '41 jacket and leggings.  I really like the bandolier around his '41 jacket.  It is interesting that they got the knot correct on this figure, as it is necessary for most people to knot the bandolier to make it sit high enough to be accessible during a firefight.  Also, this figure has no '28 pack, which is fine - it was general practice to dump anything not completely necessary at a marshaling area before an offensive operation.

This gentleman, who is our Squad Leader, came from another pack of carbine teams.  The detail on the field gear is very good, with the 'lift the dot' fasteners and the laces on the leggings done in very good detail.  Our Squad Leader is armed with the M1Carbine that was used as a replacement for the M1911 pistol.  It was not unusual for Sergeants to 'acquire' these or Thompson sub-machine guns during their travels.  This figure also has the Lightweight Gas Mask Bag that routinely replaced the '28 pack for many GIs.  The '28 pack is a total pain in the butt to deal with and was 'lost' by many, many US troops in the ETO.  

This figure will be our Assistant Squad Leader, as he is equipped with binoculars.  This guy marks our first appearance of the M1936 Bag, Canvas, Field or "Musette Bag".  It is paired with some M1936 suspenders to replace the '28 pack.  Add in a folding shovel, and this guy is very late war, indeed.  One might also notice that he has on 'Jump Boots' which were issued to Rangers and Paratroopers... but also 'acquired' by many regular troops -- often to impress the ladies in England.

 Now, there were troops who went to the 29th Ranger Battalion who kept their boots when the unit was disbanded and they were sent back to their regular units.  I was told by Sgt. Bob Slaughter that he got some comments from Paratroops and Rangers, who declined to "come over here and take'm off" the 6'5" 29'er.  This guy is pretty wrong for the 29th and the time period I want, but I don't think many people will notice. 

Apparently, another 29th Ranger!  More Jump Boots and a Lightweight Gas Mask Bag.  This guy also has the helmet netting.  While correct, the pattern is a little off and makes a weird circle on the top of the helm.
The Real Thing in my garage.  Musette bag and a netted M1 helmet.

Oops!  Painted the BAR wood in the middle.  What was I thinking?

And finally, we see our BAR gunner.  Apparently, yet another 29th Ranger!  It was great that they got the BAR ammo belt correct.  He features a Musette bag and a Gas Mask Bag.

Conclusion:  8/10 Milkshakes

These figures are very nice.  I found trimming and painting them to be very easy.  With the sale, these were about $1USD each -- for metal figures, this was a great deal.

I would prefer to see less of the jump boots - these should be available in Ranger packs, due to the lack of '43 trousers on the models which keeps them from being Airborne.  I would also like to see the 'standard' US troops equipped with the M1928 Haversack and M1910 E-tool, as that was the most common combination in the field.  The lack of any bayonet is a little weird as well.

So, in the end, these guys are correct mostly for late '44 through the end of the war.  If you are doing Italy or North Africa, they are not recommended.

Update:  Here is the whole Squad:

What do you think?  Tell us in the forums....

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