Although United States had become military involved in Vietnam since 1959, infantry units were not deployed there until 1965. Situation was different for aviation units; helicopter crew were first deployed in 1961 to support Vietnamese Army and they were also among the last units to leave in 1973. They served in many ways like transporting troops and supplies, reconnaissance, fire support, artillery spotting, medical evacuation and more.
Helicopter crew members looked the same in appereance to other soldiers. They were guys in dark green suits and gauntleted gloves, straped into seats, wearing dome helmets with eyes hidden by visors or sunglasses. They were very brave, trustable and self-sacrifing and were liked a lot by all ground units for taking them countless times out of trouble.
B6-35096 U.S. Helo Crew(1) Saddlin Up
includes two standing figures depicting helicopter pilots to be used in Vietnam War Hueys and also other helicopters like AH-1 Cobra,OH-6 Cayuse,etc.
Labeled with a photo of the pilots painted by Vladimir Demchenko
, also the sculptor, figures come inside standard BRAVO-6 cardboard box. Two body parts, small parts like heads, arms and weapons are inserted into seperate transparent zip-lock bags and PE parts are secured in a fourth one. Casting quality is high standard in clean and crisp details as usual. No mistakes or air bubbles on review samples. There are a few seamlines to clean on the legs and inside arms which can be easily removed by a quick sanding.
Figures are sculpted in 1/35 scale and cast in gray resin. Served on easy to remove casting blocks, each figure comes in 6 pieces - Head, body, two arms, pistol and knife. Figures are posed standing and getting ready for a flight as named Saddling up
on box cover. Figure-A shows a pose wearing his gloves and Figure-B adjusting chinstrap of his helmet. In my opinion, poses can be considered vice versa for an after flight scene as Figure-A take off his gloves and Figure-B unbuckle his helmets chinstrap.
Both of the pilots wear typical Vietnam War Helicopter Crew uniform and personal gear. As for the headgear; they have AFH-1 - Aircrew Crash Ballistic Protective Flying Helmets. In response to the need for a helmet that offered greater ballistic protection than APH-5 known as Brain Bucket, AFH-1 was adopted in 1965. It had a laminated ballistic nylon fabric shell lined with an expanded polystyrene plastic that provides improved crash and fragmentation protection, and also relief from the rotor noise. Helmet was equipped with a retractable shatter resistant clear visor giving the eyes sun and glare protection and also some relief from small fragments and splintered windshield plexiglas. Besides nicely defined facial features, details of the helmet are well represented and M-87/AIC mics are given as PE parts. Helmet should be painted in olive drab as issued but to make it colorful; names, slogans, unit insignia, home state flags, and humorous pictures can be added to the helmets.
They wear two-piece Nomex Flight Suit, made of of flame resistant nylon in Olive Green Army Shade 106 color, consisting of Hip Length Shirt and Trousers. Shirt has long sleeves, fold down collar, two breast pockets with concealed button flap closure, a small pocket with vertical zipper on the left upper arm and cuffs with velcro adjustable fastening pads. Trousers has zipper fly, two rear pockets with flap covers, two large Velcro secured pockets with vertical openings on the front of the thighs for large maps and smaller pockets on the sides of the calves. Trotters are closed with Velcro tabs and are inserted into the boots.
Their boots are 1st type leather direct-molded sole combat boots. Helicopter pilots tended to wear full leather boots because of fears about the nylon boot melting in a fire, also the lack of heavy lugs on the boot soles prevented aircrew from getting hung up on things such as rudder pedals. Wrinkles, cloth folds and uniform details and cloth folds are well defined.
They have GS/FRP-1 Flight Gloves made of olive drab Nomex offering a high degree of flame protection. Palms and inside fingers were faced with light gray leather to aid sweat resistance and manual dexterity.
Over the uniform, they wear MIL-C-43544 Aircrew Body Armor known as Chicken Plate or Bullet Bouncer, a two-part cloth carrier with large external front and back pockets containing rigid aluminium oxide ceramic plates. Quick release snap-fasteners with non-slip buckles on both shoulders, wrap-around velcro waist flaps and big front pocket for maps are well defined on figures.
As standard Aircrew gear; they carry knives on the left hip and pistols on the right. Both have Air Force Survival Knife in leather scabbard on the left hip. The knife had a 5-in. blade with serrations on the top edge to cut through an aircraft's aluminum skin and scabbard had a whetstone pocket. Figure-A has a M1911A1 and Figure-B has a Smith&Wesson Model 10 in leather holsters.
Three PE boom mics are given as a small metal sheet. An humorous photo of Nixon wearing a helicopter pilot helmet explaining how to make photoetched microphones is labeled on the back cover of box.
BRAVO-6 formerly released two dynamic posed kits Pilots and Door Gunners to fill the gap on Vietnam Era Helicopter Crew figures. This is another high quality kit for a static scene with good poses, clean and crisp details and flawless cast. Great figures to display with a Huey, Cobra or Cayuse.