I have received my first small order from Pendraken, five packs of Vietnam War miniatures:
- V4, Rifleman running, M16 bush hat. I ordered these to see what the Pendraken US infantry looks like. Although nice sculpts, the barrels are too short. These miniatures wear the butt-pack. I will modify them into LRRP soldiers with backpacks, one guy with a radio, and the Colt Commando instead of the M-16.
- VC5, 12.7mm DshKM & crew, bush hat. You get three of these. Nice sculpts of the heavy MG on the anti-aircraft tripod. Some flash between the tripod legs that’s difficult to remove without bending the legs.
- VC6, 82mm Mortar and crew. Also three, once again nice sculpts.
- VM30, Civilians. These are great sculpts, I really like them – five different poses. An old man with a stick (3), a woman planting rice (3), a boy (2), a woman with child (2), and a man carrying things. I would have preferred a second porter instead of three of the old men.
- VM31, Water buffalo. You get five of these, identical sculpts. While definitely recognisable as water buffalos, they are sculpted as being quite skinny with ribs visible. I don’t like that and will modify them with some Green Stuff.
All miniatures had, with the exception of the DshKM tripods, no flash and only barely visible mold lines. I’ll probably order some more heavy weapons in the future (recoilless rifles). Pendraken also make a Fieseler Fi-156 Storch that I want to convert into a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog.
I also received my order from Miniature Figurines:
- MI021, US Marines. These are labelled as Marines and consequently all of them wear body armor. I received 32 miniatures in 8 individual poses. Half of the poses carry the M16. There’s also an M79 grenadier, an M60 gunner and two poses with the M14 rifle. This make them ideal for post-’68 Marines. You would have to buy a number of packs to get sufficient riflemen if you wanted to build an M14-only force for pre-’68. I will actually not be too picky and use these for Army as well, were body armor wasn’t worn that often.
It has to be noted that the miniatures carry very little gear, no backpacks e.g., so they wouldn’t be a good match for jungle patrols. I plan on converting some of them to get an RTO and a medic as well as a recognizable lieutenant and platoon sergeant. Some miniatures carry a LAW.
- MI082, Viet Cong Irregulars. Once again 32 figures in 8 poses, all with the characteristic hat. One pose with RPG, but apparently fired (no warhead visible), one with an RPK. The others carry AK-47s or PPS submachineguns, it’s difficult to tell in this scale. The miniatures are quite “smooth” without deep creases in their clothing, so washes probably won’t work too well.
- MAV-103, M113 ACAV. This is a multi-part kit that even comes with a detailed interior. Some filing and filling are necessary. Upon seeing pictures I feared that it would only be possible to build it with the skirts on, which were often removed in Vietnam to avoid mud clogging up the tracks. Luckily, the tracks have to be glued on and are sculpted both on the inside and outside. This makes it possible to grind off the skirt and glue them on “the wrong way”.
- ACMA54, UH-1B. I bought this to convert into a gunship. Once again a multi-part kit, I for some reason got four doors. It comes with two doorgunners. The skids are very soft and cannot carry the weight of the chopper. The rotor blades are also from soft metal and will thus never stay straight – guess I’ll have to use a transparent plastic rotor disc.
Overall these are nice miniatures, I like the number of poses and the look of the weapons. There was almost no flash and the mold lines clean up easily, but the M113 and the Huey will need some work. In the future I’ll probably get a pack of NVA, a UH-1D/H Huey as Medevac chopper, plus a couple of M48s and M113s for an Armored Cavalry troop. The Australians might also be interesting.