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Fivure Reviews: 28mm
VietNam Australians by Eureka

Originally Published on the Spanner and the Yank Web Site. Used by permission.

25 October 2002

This is a quick look at some samples sent to me by Nic Robson. Designed and sculpted by Mike Broadbent, the figures represent Australians from the period 1969 to 1973. They'll also do as reservists up until 1988 or so.

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The range to date covers a number of different packs- patrolling, firing, HQ, etc. Mike's done a lot of work to get these figures as accurate as possible, though there's a few things he's either changing or will change, in response to feedback from nit-picking ex-diggers. The trousers are being modified, for example, and hopefully the frag grenades on the webbing will disappear. (Aussies learned in W.W.II New Guinea, and relearned in Malaya, that you NEVER hang frag grenades from your webbing- you put them in your basic pouch, where they won't get caught on vegetation, get pulled off the webbing and go BOOM!). Smoke canisters, on the other hand, were often worn on the webbing (but never WP!).

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The metal is a hardish white metal alloy that holds the detail well. The figures themselves are generally very well proportioned, though there's a couple with overly large hands or heads. The proportions of the SLR look a little off as well- the magazine appears too small. But it is recognizably an SLR. I'm not sure what the SMG is supposed to represent. It's too short to be an Owen and the mag was straight, not curved like an F-1 (which was used for a very short time, if at all, by infantry in Viet Nam). Besides, infantry units had discarded the SMG for the M-16 by the end of 1967, though it was still used in Army Reserve units and by non-infantry types. Does the figure represent a sapper or gunner?

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Most importantly, these figures have the "feel" of Australian troops. I joined up less than three years after we pulled out of Viet Nam and as a young infantryman was dressed and armed as the troops were in Viet Nam. These figures capture the look of that period, from the shapeless "giggle hat" to the sweat rags around their necks and toggle ropes hanging off the left-hand basic pouch. There’s no slings on the GPMG's (M-60's), either- a sling was considered to slow you down when getting the gun into action, and could also be caught on vegetation, etc. So you carried it like a rifle, patrolling like a rifleman. Similarly, the prone figure hasn't deployed the bipod- he's firing the weapon like a rifle, as he would during the "fight through" of an enemy position.

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So far the only "Australian" figures I've seen that have been anywhere near accurate are Peter Pigs 15 mm examples. With this release Eureka has filled a big gap, at least for Australians. These figures can be used not only for Viet Nam, but for Singapore in the early '70's, Malaysia until 1989 and also Papua New Guinea until 1975. Hopefully we'll be seeing M-203's and perhaps gun crews, vehicle crews and sapper "splinter teams".

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The figures come in packs of 10, representing a rifle section or command group and support, for $27.50AUD (about   $15.00 USD). There are six packs currently in the range. There's also a "flat top" M-113 with gunshield for $45.00AUD and a couple of "civilian" packs with an ox cart and load for $23.00AUD.

Thoroughly recommended!

Have fun.


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