Crazy Dummy : US Army ISAF In Afghanistan - Review

 

DSCF9894I've been kit-bashing together various modern military figures for almost two years now and believe it or not, apart from a few old Dragon and BBI purchases, I've never bought a boxed and complete modern-era figure.  I've always enjoyed the process of putting together my own design and choosing carefully the elements that you wish to display, plus there was always a cost saving to be had in making up your figure as you went along.  More recently there has been an upwards trend in the pricing of loose parts available on the internet and with the rapid demise of some of the older figures from the two aforementioned manufacturers, the abundance of cheap parts is no longer what it was.

We've recently been spoilt for choice when it comes to military action figures, with the likes of Soldier Story, DAM and Crazy Dummy all offering high quality pieces at an affordable price.  If you take into consideration the average price in the UK of £89.99 for a boxed set; that represents excellent value for money and the cost saving gap between kit-bashing and purchasing boxed sets is gradually narrowing.

Crazy Dummy have an excellent reputation for their high quality boxed figures, and their head sculpts are particularly well detailed.  The US ARMY ISAF figure is no exception and priced at around £94.99 in the UK, it comes with a whole host of amazing gear... so let's take a closer look.

In the box, you get (are you ready for this, there is a lot of stuff!) :

REAL LIKE HEAD SCULPT AND BODY
MICH 2000 HELMET WITH OCP COVER
UNIVERSAL GOGGLE RETENTION STRAPS
ARMY T-SHIRT
OCP ACU COAT
OCP ACU PANTS
BDU BELT

OCP SPCS PLATE CARRIER
OCP TAP CHEST RIG
TAP HARNESS
MOLLE2 100R POUCH
MOLLE2 M4 MAG POUCH
MOLLE2 TRIPLE M4 MAG POUCH
MOLLE2 FRAG GRENADE POUCH X 2
MOLLE2 CANTEEN POUCH
1QT CANTEEN
DOUBLE PISTOL MAG POUCH
MOLLE2 DOUBLE 40MM GRENADE POUCH
MOLLE2 HYDRATION PACK
MULTPURPOSE LOCKING D-RING X 4
40MM GRENADE BELT
USGI KNEE PADS One pair
USGI ELBOW PADS One pair
43515X Olive GTX BOOTS - One pair
WORK GLOVES (CB) One pair
COMBAT APPLICATION TOURNIQUET

IR FLAG
RANK TAB
NAME TAB
ARMY TAB
ISAF PACH
ARMY DIVISION PACH

M4 CARBINE WITH M203 GRENADELAUNCHER
COMP M4 SCOPE WITH COVER AND KILLFLASH
AN/PEQ15 LASER
SF TACTICAL LIGHT
SLING ADAPTOR

3POINT SLING
PMAG X 7
40MM HE GRENADE X 12
40MM SMOKE GRENADE X 2
M9 PISTOL WITH PISTOL LANYARD
M9 MAG X 3
DROPLEG HOLSTER

USGI NVG MOUNT
AN/PVS-14 NVG
AN/PRC152 RADIO
HAND MIC
SF HELMET LIGHT
G-SHOCK WATCH
2.0 M FRAME BALLISTIC EYEWEAR
FORE TREX 201 GPS
MS2000 STROBE
M67 FRAG GRENADE X 2

DSCF9816I've been spoilt really with regards to my boxed set purchases or acquisitions when it comes to the boxes.  Mainly my boxed figure purchases amount to Hot Toys DX figures, or review items from Art Figures, where the packaging can be described as 'premium'.  Not so with this particular release, but it is by no means sub-standard.  Here you will find the usual 'blister plastic' vacuum formed affair keeping all of the pieces secure, and a lot of pieces there are indeed, which you can certainly fully appreciate with the see-through plastic.  The format is reminiscent of the figures of yester-year (e.g Dragon), with the main figure on the right and small accessories in a plastic tray on the left inside lid.  The packaging is actually very similar to that of Soldier Story also (from what I saw of my FBI CIRG purchase).

Removing the right hand plastic tray from the box, in here you will find the figure, already clothed in his OCP (multi-cam) uniform and boots.  Also in this tray is the hydration bladder, plate carrier, MICH helmet and NVG goggle, elbow and knee pads, a spare set of hands (non-bendy type), chest rig, pistol holster and the canteen and 100rnd pouches..... *phew* that's a lot of stuff... wait until you get to the next tray!

The first thing that stuck me when removing the figure from the tray was the outstanding head-sculpt and paint applications.  Crazy Dummy really deliver well in this department.  Although I don't think it's meant to look like any particular person (Solider Story for instance have a habit of representing certain movie stars), a few celebrity names have been banded around on the OSW forum, Heath Ledger being one of them.  The second thing that struck me when looking at the figures were the hands, they are damn ugly.  The skin-tone is awful, the fingers appear too long and they are very stiff to bend.  I did think about swapping them out for Art Figures brand of 'bendy' hands as these look far superior, but once I'd carefully put the Mechanix gloves on, everything looked back in scale again... panic over.

DSCF9846The boots are of very high quality, although they are a different colour from the promotional pictures of the ISAF figure.  They originally started out as a blue-ish colour, and now they appear tan, a change for the better I feel as they look much more in keeping with the uniform.  The laces, out of the box, are a little too long and require re-tying and trimming to length, no big job as I had plans to customise this figure a little along the way.

Opening up the left hand tray to inspect the contents, it is here we find the majority of the loose items.  The weapons and associated accessories are located here, including the M4 rifle with M203 grenade launcher attachment along with 7 P-Mags in total and 12 HE 40mm grenades.  A Beretta M9 with 4 magazines in total, 2 M67 Grenades, 2 40mm illumination grenades and 1 M18 smoke grenade top off the list of weapons and related paraphernalia.  I was slightly bemused to find Crazy Dummy did not include a combat knife of any sort, something that would have been pretty much standard issue.

Other such accessories include the aimpoint sight, flashlight and PEQ modules for the rifle, radio, watch, GPS unit, strobe, helmet light and various smaller pouches.  As previously mentioned, this figure represents excellent value for money with the included loose parts alone.

The M4 that comes with the figure is on par with the usual offerings we've seen recently that include opening ejection port covers, and spring loading cocking handle with moving bolt; all for that added dose of realism.  On this model the M203 launcher tube is metal, and opens and closes as one would expect, with working 'safety' lever too.  I did find the M203 mounting assembly and RIS sections to be fairly loose however, with a fair amount of rotation possible on the barrel, nothing a small dab of superglue would not quickly resolve.  The hinged upper receiver does actually come apart, much like the HK416 on the Soldier Story FBI CIRG, by first pushing out a small pin.  It is however, slightly more tricky to put it all back together again, making sure the spring is correct located inside the buffer tube.  The stock, unlike on the SS HK416 does move backwards and forwards after first pulling down on the stock release.  A small set of sticker decals can be located in a bag underneath the plate carrier in the right hand tray, which are the manufacturers' trade marks to be placed on either side of the magazine well of the rifle.

One other slight fault I had with the rifle was the P-Mags did not hold very secure and I found them to work themselves loose quite easily.  I chose to glue one into the rifle in a fixed position.  It is also worth nothing that the removable plates on the bottom of the magazines are also pretty loose and could get lost easily, again, spot of glue to keep these in place as I can't see any purpose in having them removable to be honest.

DSCF9889I decided that whilst conducting this review that I would weather the individual parts as I put it together.  This would make it far easier than performing the review and photo-shoot, then pulling it all apart again only to have to start from the beginning; it also allows a nice even coverage of the 'weathering effect'.  The worn and weathered 'desert combat' look is achieved by dry-brushing tan coloured acrylic paint onto all the surfaces, and is something I do quite often to all of my figures for a more realistic appearance.  You will also notice a few additional items added to the figure not included in the set, these are a pair of sunglasses, modified so they fold; a cylume glow stick in the helmet band and some 'flexi-cuffs' hanging from the vest.

The chest rig is easily put together and configured before it is mounted on the plate carrier, which makes putting the figure together that little bit easier.  Crazy Dummy have offered an additional harness for use with the chest rig, in case you wish to not utilise the plate carrier configuration; not something that I would be doing personally.

Those of familiar with the MOLLE system in 1/6th should note a pair of tweezers is always handy here to help thread the straps through the appropriate loops and secure the various pouches in place.  I followed a similar set-up as depicted on the box art, although you should feel free to configure the layout as you see fit, it is after-all your figure and you should display him as you wish.

A couple of observations I made whilst putting this figure together are as follows.  The hydration bladder wasn't quite as 'stuffed' as I'd like it, so I padded this out with some thin foam pieces to add extra bulk and realism.  The black 'grommets' that secure the straps in place on the knee pads, caution has to be taken that these do not come loose from the corners of the pads.  Unfortunately it is only the smaller diameter hole on the material that stops these from coming straight out.  I recommend before putting the elasticised straps on, a dab of superglue at the base of these 'grommets' to keep them secure on the pad.  And finally, micro-velcro... it is the bane of my life!  It never seems to stick properly and you'll find flaps on pouches just randomly popping open.  As I'd got this configured exactly as I liked it, the magazine pouch flaps; I glued them all down in place.

It is worth noting with this figure that you get an excellent set of Velcro patches and sticker decals for the rifle, including a sheet of multi-cam 'OCP' pattern name-tags and rank insignia that you simply cut out with a scalpel and choose the ones you like – nice touch Crazy Dummy!  Also included, but not used was a sheet of helmet camouflage netting in tan colour.

DSCF9872Conclusions...

I've tried to keep this review shorter than usual and to the point, and I'm hoping that the pictures speak for themselves.  As mentioned earlier, this was my first modern-era boxed set, aside from any previous Dragon or BBI figures and I've certainly been impressed with the overall quality, attention to detail and sheer amount of parts that are included.  I found putting it together not as difficult as I would have imagined, the box art really assisting with that.  If you find you're struggling, it's always handy to check out the product release images you can usually find on the OSW forum when the figure is announced; these are larger and there are many of them.

It has certainly tempted me to make future modern boxed purchases, with Crazy Dummy being a manufacturer who I'd look at in the future for their next releases.

Overall, if you're after something a little different from the floods of 'special forces' figures that dominate the market at the moment, then this one comes well recommended!

Special thanks to Collectable Kitbash who provided the Crazy Dummy US ARMY In Afghanistan ISAF figure for review.  You can pick one up from their on-line store here, priced at £94.99.

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