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In-Box Review
120mm
USAF Pararescue (PJ)

by: Peter Ong [ TRISAW ]


Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

OVERVIEW:

In 2002-2003, prior to OIF, Singaporean Deyun Hobbies commissioned Maciek Rebkowski (owner and sculptor of Airborne Miniatures) to sculpt a series of 120mm modern US soldiers exclusively for Deyun Hobbies to retail. Deyun Hobbies bought the rights, molds, masters, and the permission to sell these figures under its own brand. Therefore, Deyun Hobbies’ 120mm figures are original kits using the original molds, not recasts or stolen property.

This 120mm "USAF Pararescue Jumper (PJ)” kit is one of the commissioned works from Mr. Rebkowski done exclusively for Deyun Hobbies.

BACKGROUND:

The United States Air Force Pararescue (or better know as USAF “Pee Jays”) had its concept created in World War Two when in August 1943, a colonel along with two medical personnel volunteered to be paradropped into the remote jungles of Burma to find 21 airmen forced to bail out of a disabled C-46. Since then, going by the motto of “That Others May Live”, PJs have aided in rescuing military and civilians in both dangerous and remote areas.

PJs are highly trained in mountaineering, emergency medical techniques, parachuting, diving/swimming, navigation, and combat. The main difference between PJs and other medics, in both the conventional and Special Forces, is that PJs may often find themselves operating alone in hostile terrain without any team, leader or support.

Some say that to be a USAF PJ means going through the toughest training the US military has to offer.

FIGURE OVERVIEW:

At the time of writing, Deyun Hobbies’ “USAF PJ” is the only 120mm modern US figure of its type.

In conversations with Maciek back in 2002, he stated that he had decided to do a USAF PJ “cautiously advancing towards the downed pilot with his pistol drawn [for better situational awareness]”. As such, this PJ represents a “daytime rescue mission” more than a combat, medical, night infiltration, or search mission and the pose and light gear represent this.

One could use different 120mm arms and accessories to convert this PJ to represent another role.

KIT OVERVIEW:

My review sample came in a nice, fancy color-printed box with photos of the built and painted figure. A frontal flap opens to show color photos of the PJ taken at different angles. The box contains parts to assemble one figure. No base or instructions are included.

Opening the box reveals two clear plastic zipper-bags containing the kit’s parts surrounded by Styrofoam chips.

The larger bag holds the following parts for the figure:

  • Left arm
  • Right arm
  • Torso with molded-on LBV harness, four vest ammo pouches, and two hand grenade pouches
  • Two ALICE canteens
  • Two ALICE M-16 ammo pouches for the web belt
  • Right and left legs molded together with molded-on thigh holster strap and kneepads
  • Right and left hands clutching a M9 9mm Beretta pistol
  • Head with molded on Gentex helmet, chinstrap, and sun visor
  • Left boot
  • Right boot
  • Small buttpack

    The figure is pretty “beefy” all around and looks proportional (the size compares to Tamiya’s 1/16 Modern US Army Infantryman - Desert Uniform). The parts are exceptionally cast in white resin. My ALICE canteens came in tan resin, but still look crisp and flawless. All the details are remarkably crisp, right down to the stitches for the LBV. I overlaid the M4’s magazine over the vest ammo pouches; the pouches are large enough to contain the magazine inside.

    The pour blocks on the arms and legs are pretty considerable. Fortunately for the gear, most of the blocks are placed at the bottom in what appears to be easy straight cuts.

    The torso block was already cut off mine. The figure leans forward at the waist; hence the pour block for the legs is angled downward at the waist. Having had experience using a razor saw in cutting such a tricky angle on an Airborne Miniatures figure, I recommend cutting a major chunk off the block and then using rough waterproof sandpaper to wet-sand the block down to the actual piece. Sometimes sanding the entire block off is unnecessary since I found that the pieces fit better with some block remnants still attached.

    The pour blocks on the arms are also tricky to cut off because they are angled outward from the arms’ inner glue surfaces. It’ll be hard to use a razor saw or Dremel to make a straight cut. Again, I recommend cutting away most of the block without cutting into the piece, and then using sandpaper to remove the block down to the actual piece. The shoulder patch insignia is prominent on both arms and cast well.

    The ALICE M-16 web belt ammo pouches are wide enough to fit the M-16 magazine. They have droopy side grenade pouches, indicating that no grenades are housed in them. In total, I estimate that this PJ carries 330-450 x 5.56mm rounds, 32 x 9mm rounds, and two hand grenades. Certainly enough ammunition to fight his way in and out of most rescue situations.

    The boots, hands, and arms do not glue into any sockets, just flat surfaces. Therefore, pinning may be required to ensure that these parts do not snap off. I test-fitted the boots to the legs’ glue surfaces and found minimal to no gaps. A few swipes of sandpaper should make for a perfect fit. The neck fits into a socket in the torso. The small buttpack fits snug against the contours of the back BDU shirt.

    The gloved hands clutch the M9 Beretta well; the pistol looks great. I saw no flash or resin blobs between the fingers and around the pistol being held. However, care must be taken to saw off the pour blocks since the block for the left hand goes a bit into the palm so delicate sanding may be required to remove that block from the curved contours of the palm.

    M4 CARBINE AND ACCESSORIES OVERVIEW:

    The smaller clear plastic bag contains the M4 and the following smaller gear:

  • Walkie-talkie radio
  • Boom microphone (earpiece)
  • Boom microphone (talking piece)
  • M4 Receiver
  • M4 barrel handgrips (no Rail Interface System)
  • M4 buttstock
  • M4 barrel with front iron sight and flash suppressor
  • Empty cloth holster with one molded-on 9mm magazine pouch
  • Flashlight with molded-on strap
  • D-Ring
  • Metal fastener for D-Ring

    Following on Airborne Miniatures M4 design, the Deyun Hobbies’ M4 comes in pieces. Just lining the M4 parts up for gluing can be tricky, because the M4 has bulges on both sides; you just can’t lay the M4 flat on the table and glue the pieces together because the M4 won’t really lie flat - it’s not flat on either side. The best way to assemble the M4 is vertically. Rest the M4 on its ammo clip to ensure that the glued parts do not start to lean to one side due to gravity. Since the weapon is separate, one can leave it off or use another 120mm weapon in its place.

    True to form, Maciek sculpted everything he could to complete the image of a realistic PJ. The plastic bag also contains a two-part boom microphone (join both parts to create the angle of the boom mike) attached to the helmet, encased in resin flash. One needs to cut away the flash to free the rods and the microphone and then glue the two pieces together.

    A D-ring encased in flash is provided for the metal carbineer for fast-roping and emergency Special Procedure Insertion Extraction System (SPIES) technique where hooking the metal fastener to a thick rope can make for a fast lifting escape by helicopter. The flash seems thin enough to remove with a sharp hobby knife. The metal rope fastener slips onto the D-Ring and dangles free, a nice touch to add some delicate 3-D detail.

    A rod (looks like a mini flashlight) is also included and the box photo shows this attached to the right shoulder of the LBV harness. I’m not entirely sure what this is; it does look like a mini flashlight.

    A large cloth thigh holster is included with one magazine pouch on the front. The pistol’s butt is correctly missing from the holster.

    The box-art shows a coiled wire from the walkie-talkie leading to the helmet microphone and a M4 weapons sling. My review sample didn’t come with the wire or sling although I do know Airborne Miniatures’ kits often come with a rubber strap for the sling and copper wire. The box doesn’t have a clear photo of the figure’s back so it’s hard to see where on the radio and helmet the coiled wire attach. A photo with this review will show where the wire is attached.

    CONCLUSION:

    Having been sculpted in 2002-2003, Deyun Hobbies’ USAF PJ isn’t the most modern incarnation of the USAF PJs today. It is “the only game in town”, and a very good one too.

    At the time, Maciek was breaking new ground and sculpting most of the 120mm modern US gear and accessories from scratch. One may wish to update this figure with Airborne Miniatures’s more modern and accessorized M4A1 carbines with scope, infra-red designator, and Rail Interface System, Verlinden’s smoke grenades and GPS receiver, a knife, and a red angle-head flashlight. Using another kit’s arms, one may be able to convert this figure into holding a rifle or carbine.

    Nonetheless, this PJ will still represent a modern USAF Pararescueman for many years to come.

    I highly recommend it, but due to the tricky angles of the pour blocks, the M4 carbine coming in separate pieces, and the many small parts surrounded by flash, I recommend this figure for experienced resin figure builders.

    My thanks go to Deyun Hobbies and to Paul Owen for photographing, cutting off the major pour blocks, and sending the review samples.

    REFERENCE:
  • Pushies, Fred J. US Air Force SPECIAL OPS. MBI Publishing Company, China; C 2000.


  • SUMMARY
    Highs: Sculpted by Maciek Rebkowski with plenty of intricate details and objects, which really add a sense of "3-D realism" as there are parts coming out and hanging off the figure. The PJ also appears realistic and "beefy" and not "skinny bones".
    Lows: Some of the pour blocks will require sawing at tricky angles to remove. The M4A1’s separate pieces with small glue surfaces make lining up and assembly difficult. Some of the small pieces may have a tendency to break if mishandled.
    Verdict: This USAF PJ figure does represent the PJs as they appeared before the War on Terror. I highly recommend this kit for those with some experience building resin figures as this kit would require patience and care to assemble.
    Percentage Rating
    94%
      Scale: 120mm
      Mfg. ID: DS120005
      Suggested Retail: $40 USD
      Related Link: 
      PUBLISHED: Feb 15, 2007
      NATIONALITY: United States
    NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
      THIS REVIEWER: 89.47%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.00%

    About Peter Ong (Trisaw)
    FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    I model modern topics, mainly post 1991 Gulf War onwards. My modeling interests include: * Science-fiction/ fantasy * 1/100 Gundam * 1/35 armor * Kitbashed projects * Special Forces * Resin or plastic modern figures * 1/24 Police, fire, medical, and Government vehicles * Rare, unique, ori...

    Copyright ©2017 text by Peter Ong [ TRISAW ]. 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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    Photos
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    • 1-Deyun-PJ
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    • 3-Deyun-PJ
    • 4-Deyun-PJ-Box