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Dragons in Dreams 101st Airborne
"Ricky Foster"

Jeff is back tonight with another of his terrific sixth scale guest reviews - take it away, Jeff!

Thank you as always to Michael, If it wasn't for him running this website I'd have spent a lot less time and money over the past few years obsessing over toys....hang on, what am I thanking him for?

I have to admit I own very few military figures, it's just not an area I know much about, and there's always been the lure of figures from movies, comics and other fantasy/cult/weird stuff. But every now and then one comes along that makes me sit up and take notice. The U2 pilot BBi did a couple of years back, likewise the George 'Dubya' in flight suit, now I'm no fan of the man, but a 1/6 depiction of moment in 'dubious' modern history just seemed too left-field to pass up. Then there was the BBi 101st figure, I'd just watched Band of Brothers, and was pretty blown away by it, and seeing this figure I was amazed at the detail and amount of his accessories (he even has an opening pen-knife attached to a lanyard). It was exactly this kind of detail that drew me to this DiD release well.











Packaging - ***1/2
DiD's boxes have come a long way since the Lord of the Rings figures they put out a couple of years ago, for those who haven't seen them, they basically came in a shoe box and all six were exactly the same bar a small character name sticker. Ricky however comes in a large double fronted Velcro fastened box. Full colour throughout with tons of pics of the figure 'on location' and close ups of his accessories. The panels open to show two separate mounted trays on the inside of the flaps. This is similar to the BBi/Takara method that both Michael and myself have railed about in the past. This time however you'll be pleased to know they open easily with no need to destroy your packaging. The figure sits in the main box, supported by a clear vac formed tray. This also holds his bulky parachute pack. 

Sculpting - ***1/2
Now obviously any figure with this amount of accessories has a lot of sculpting going on, but for this section I'll stick to his hands and heads. Yes thatís right 'heads' he comes with two completely different character sculpts. One (my favourite) comes with a relaxed expression and a face not dissimilar to a young Keanu Reeves, the other has a more aggressive expression, and bears a slight (only 'slight') resemblance to DeNiro in Taxi Driver. Though to be fair it's a resemblance I probably wouldn't have picked up on had it not been for the fact both sculpts have a 'Mohawk' hairstyle (though as all you pedants out there will know, it should be called the 'scalp lock' hairstyle, at least thatís the best approximate translation from the 'Huron' Native Americans who first used this style). Now if you remember a few years back Dragon also released a 101'st paratrooper and he also sported this hairstyle. 

I did a quick web search and found out a little about the history behind it. Apparently a single twelve man squad renowned for it's courage, endurance and combat skills and named 'The Filthy 13' (courage...maybe, counting ability...I don't think so!) got its name, reputation and hairstyle from a member of the company 'Jake McNiece' who was a half Native American from Oklahoma and was the hardest man in the squad. They were made legend by a Stars and Stripes photographer who shot them gearing up for action and applying their war paint. It's rumoured the Nazi's got hold of these photos and circulated them to the occupied French telling them "The Americans are savages and will eat your babies" a little propaganda can go a long way, something we should all be painfully aware of these days. As keeping people under an all too often false climate of fear works wonders for governments and military alike.

Well there's the history lesson over with, so you know what the hairs about. Now the hands, they're bendy, not much more can be said. I'm not a big fan of bendy hands, they serve their purpose but thatís about it. The LOTR figures came with alternate sculpted hands with hinged fingers, I wish Ricky had too as IMHO the bendy ones do look a little wimpy at times. 

Paint - ****
Nice tight paint ops on both heads, only the DeNiro has painted hair as Keanu's is rooted....well more kind of stuck on to a countersunk strip, it looks pretty good but personally mine will always be displayed with the helmet on anyway. All the flesh tones are realistic and details on things like eyes and mouth are tight with no over-painting etc. The only other thing painted is his rifle, which has a wood grain effect and is again very convincing. 

Articulation - ***1/2
Good range of movement and everything you'd expect from a modern 1/6 figure double elbows and knees swiveling neck etc. Though it does have to be said that when kited up with his parachute, the amount of webbing and straps severely hamper his range of movement, but no more than it would in the real world.

Accessories - ****
This guy, like most military figures comes loaded with accessories, some of which kind of straddle the outfit category, my rule of thumb however, on this occasion is if he isnít wearing it in the box-it's an accessory. So you get an inner cushioned helmet with chin straps, an outer 'die-cast' helmet with strap and netting. Then there's his full packed parachute with straps and scaled quick release buckle. Webbing to attach two canvas pocket pouches, two canvas magazine pouches and eight die-cast magazines to fill them, a soft leatherette binocular case with camo wrapped field glasses, a canvas training gas mask holder to strap to his leg, a bayonet and sheath of which the bayonet can attach to his M1 Garand rifle that comes with a clip of eight metal bullets and scaled zip up padded cloth protective cover/drop bag, then there's a Thompson machine gun, again with a zip up shaped protective cover/drop bag. Lastly there's a belt of 20 mm scaled ammunition, he doesn't come with a weapon that it fits but all personnel were instructed to carry as much ammunition as they physically could, and to cannibalize any weapons or ammo they might find along the way, the rational being it might not be of use to you, but it might be of use to allied troops you'll meet up with. And more importantly do not let it fall into enemy hands. 

There's no stand but I haven't had a problem making him stay upright even with the full parachute rig on.

Outfit - ****
This really is the area that DiD seem to be raising the bar. The attention to fine detail on the combat jacket and pants is amazing, but when you get to his boots you'll see they are perfectly realized stitched and soled leatherette. Whether or not this is something other manufacturers will follow suit on remains to be seen, but it's surely the finest footwear I've seen at 1/6 scale, and it means his ankles still have the same degree of movement his real life counterpart would have had. To give anything other than top marks would be churlish.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Like most high'ish end 1/6 stuff, this isnít designed as a plaything. However it is robust enough to stand up to play should little Johnny want to recreate Operation Market Garden. But as a display item its top-notch stuff!

Value - ***1/4
He isnít cheap but you get fine quality and a lot of accessories (with many bits made of metal) so he compares favourably against SST and is down right inexpensive compared to most Far East manufacturers. Here in the UK not many people seem to carry DiD figures, but one place that does and also have a number of exclusive Napoleonic figures from them, is the Modellers Loft, it's where I got mine and they have it up for £40. 

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nothing major to report but be careful with those tiny bits, especially the clip for the rifle. 

Overall - ***3/4
I freely admit to a lack of expertise in WWII militaria, but knowing how much research DiD have lavished on their Napoleonic series I'd imagine this is as close as you're going to get to a perfectly 1/6 scaled US Paratrooper. And the good people at Modellers Loft reliably inform me that their sales of DiD now outstrip Dragon 3 to 1, so collectors in the know must be impressed.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/4
Overall - ***3/4

Where To Buy:
Here in the UK modellersloft.co.uk seems to be the best/only place, they have it up for £40. I'm sure some independent traders/importers may have it, so eBay is always worth a look as well.

In the US I would imagine most stockists of 1/6 military figures would carry it; I've seen it at valhallahobbies.com who have it for $59.99 inc shipping and monkeydepot.com have it for $54.95 with shipping on top.

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Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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