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 "US Marine Reconnaissance” kit is one of the commissioned works from Mr. Rebkowski done exclusively for Deyun Hobbies.
In the Marine Corp, there are two kinds of reconnaissance: one is Force Recon; the other is Battalion or Division Recon. Both belong to distinct units outside of the conventional Marines.
The Force Recon Marines will operate in the commander’s area of interest (the whole battlespace) whereas the Battalion Recon will operate in the commander’s area of influence (where the Marines’ armor, troops, and aircraft can make a direct difference). What this means is that Force Recon operates outside the USMC’s artillery envelope, often by itself deep behind enemy lines, whereas Battalion Recon will operate inside the USMC’s artillery envelope, often just in front of the conventional Marines’ front lines.
While trained in reconnaissance at the same schools, Force Recon Marines are generally better trained and equipped, more heavily armed and armored, and have skills closely matching those of Special Forces than compared to Marine Recon units.
DS120001 represents the Marine (Battalion) Recon (operating just in front of the conventional Marines’ frontlines) and this figure is equipped as such.
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 Recon Marine taken at different angles. The box contains parts to assemble one figure and a relatively lightweight plaster base as shown in the photos. No instructions are included.
Opening the box reveals one clear plastic Ziploc bags containing the kit’s parts surrounded by bubblewrap. The plaster base is also encased in bubblewrap and taped closed. The parts are: Torso with the following molded onto it:
- Head with headscarf that wraps around the face and neck
- Four vest ammo pouches
- One grenade pouch arranged sideways
- Load Bearing Vest
- Camelbak with MOLLE straps
- Drinking tube running to the ammo pouches
- Web belt
Legs with molded-on thigh holster attachment straps
Left arm (to cradle M-16A2)
Bent right arm (option to clutch buttstock)
Straight right arm (option to hang limp)
Two ALICE canteens
Two soft LBV side pouches
Two large side pouches for the web belt
LBV grenade pouch
One-piece M-16A2 with 30-round magazine
M-16A2 barrel and front iron sight
The parts are exceptionally cast in an off-white resin. All the details are remarkably crisp, right down to the Fastex buckles and straps. The Fastex buckles and straps (and there are many) are a marvel to look at and all appear the same size and width. The MOLLE loops are well-defined, uniform, and evenly-spaced. I overlaid the M-16’s magazine over the vest ammo pouches; the pouches are large enough to contain the magazine inside if viewed from the top or bottom since the pouch’s design has a narrower center strap that makes the pouch appear thinner than it really is. This Marine wears no body armor, just the LBV over his desert uniform blouse. I found an air bubble on the left side of my web belt, but a large pouch should hide it. The drinking tube is sharp and of consistent thickness with many attachment points to the LBV, indicating Maciek’s impressive attention to detail.
The one-piece legs also look very nice with both sharp and subtle wrinkles in all the right places. The legs’ bottoms are flat surfaces to glue the boots. I test fitted the boots to the surfaces and the fit is flush.
The head with molded-on headscarf looks good and proportional. The cloth is completely tied, leaving no tails to flap in the wind, and wrapped in a logical sense with a thick band on the forehead to absorb sweat. The covered features of the nose and the mouth, which is slightly agape, can be seen. The eyes look great with pupils centered and surrounding lines indicating a bit of a squint.
With the legs and torso pour blocks cut off, I test fitted the two pieces and noticed that the torso was slightly larger than the legs at the front and the back and one can see a crescent of 1mm of the torso’s glue surface area. However, if one aligns the torso to the legs flush in front, the buttpack does a very good job of hiding the slight overlap in the back.
The arms had their pour blocks cut off so I test fitted them to the shoulder glue spots. The fit is quite good with almost no gaps; sanding the pour block flush will make the fit even better. Best of all, the biceps aren’t larger than the shoulders, and wrinkles continue from the torso onto the arms. The wrists are a bit skinny; the fingers are long and bony. I found the left hand almost skeletal with huge knuckles and almost no meat on the fingers. Even though the wrists and fingers may border near skeletal, fortunately, the arms, hands, and fingers are the same consistent thickness, indicating that this Recon Marine may just be a lanky kid.
The figure is pretty well-armed with the standard Load Bearing Vest complement of four vest ammo pouches, two grenade pouches, and two soft side pouches. In addition, the two large “dump bags” on the web belt and the buttpack give the figure added punch and storage. The M-16A2 is accurate for the time period before the Iraq War where the Rail Interface System and riflescopes gained popularity with the Marine Corps.
The plaster base has a hole for the left boot’s heel and a flat spot to rest the right boot. I tested the placement of the legs resting on the boots onto these spots and found the fit to be very good, meaning that the raised-leg pose and the flush fit of the boots to the pants legs won’t contribute to a troublesome placement of getting the boots to rest on the base only if you use the following method. The photos show the left boot’s toes in mid-air, as if the Marine just stepped uphill a second ago. I discovered that the left toes have to be raised for the best fit. Place the left boot’s heel into the hole and leave the toes suspended in the air as if the Marine is leaning most of his weight down on his right leg. If you place the left boot’s sole entirely flush with the base, the right leg and its boot will be suspended in the air, which you don’t want.
The more I examine Maciek’s 120mm figures, the more I’m impressed with the attention to detail and thinking. Maciek excels in creating realism in all his sculpts. He doesn’t depict straps by drawing lines into the putty; he actually makes the straps out of putty. The consistency is paramount, such as the Fastex buckles on the vest pouches or thigh holsters all having the same size, as they should in Real Life. Everything that has thickness does have thickness from straps to water tube to buttons to buckles to loops and folded cloth. This gives the figure a real three-dimensional sense. Even with a Camelbak, the Marine has “sense enough” to carry two ALICE canteens into the hot deserts of Afghanistan. Even with four vest pouches, the Marine carries more ammo in two large web belt pouches. And even on a breather, the Marine has his rifle right there before him, armed and ready-to-use. The gear, pose, and details all depict a realistic Recon Marine.
This Recon Marine may not be the largest 120mm figure, nor the most complex or generous in parts, but it’s unique and does represent a Recon Marine in 2002 with the proper gear and hastily deployed as America’s response to 9/11 (no rifle scopes, no radio, no night vision, no backpack). The M-16A2 is separate; the figure modeler may even wish to substitute another weapon in its place or even strive to make a soldier representing another nation that uses and wears the same gear as a United States soldier.
I could find nothing really wrong with this figure apart from the head being molded on, limiting “kitbashing” options. Although the removed pour blocks aren’t sanded flush, the limbs fit pretty flush. The proportions are also generally correct. There are no runs, blobs, major air bubbles numbering above five (or one in my sample), warps, or gouges. Ambitious figure modelers may wish to add 120mm extras such as smoke grenades, a walkie-talkie, Ka-bar knife, angle-head flashlight, and plastic cuffs.
My thanks go to Deyun Hobbies and to Paul Owen for photographing, cutting off the major pour blocks, and sending the review samples.