And now for something completely different....
I have been planning to pick these guys up from Eureka for quite some time now. I have a soft place in my heart for these sculpts as they so perfectly capture, what for me, was the essence of the looming war in Europe in the 80s. Growing up, I always assumed WWIII would start in the Fulda Gap with an onslaught of Sarin and HE rounds on the front lines, while the POMCUS sites and airfields were doused in persistent slimes like VX. Inevitably, the nukes would start to fly and civilization would collapse. MOPP gear and an M17 Promask would be the last set of clothes for many of us... I know cheery. The front cover from GDW's "The Third World War" pretty much cemented that picture in my head. (Perhaps it was not the best christmas present my parents ever got me....)
But the cold war ended, and with it that apocalyptic vision. Yet, somehow I still found myself as the third guy from the left in the above pictures, only with a Kevlar helmet instead of the steel pot. The suits were incredibly uncomfortable, and I hated the way the sweat pooled in the mask on road marches. As an officer I branched armor, specifically to get away from that. At least the tank offered an air hoses to help cool you off.
Back to the figs. Eureka has 24 separate models which are really just the same 12 sculpts with and without helmets. They are sculpted with Y-harness style field gear (TA-50) including a pair of canteens and magazine pouches. Strangely, none of them have the carriers for their pro-masks on their hips, which would seem a big omission if you are sculpting soldiers in MOPP 4 for like this.
The figures come with M16A1s, a pair of M203s and a pair of M60s. One guy is sculpted firing an M72 LAW while another has a FIM-92 stinger in the ready positions. The steel pot helmets seem to place these guys in the 78-84 timeframe, so I went with green-violet for the MOPP suits and woodland camouflage on the helmet covers. I recall seeing rubber boot covers in both pale green and black, so I went with a mix of both and did the same with the gloves. The inner nerd in me required that I at least paint some M8 detection paper onto their arms and legs for historical authenticity.
One figure I want to call out in this collection, however, is this guy...
Don't get me wrong, this is an excellent sculpt of a guy with a Stinger, including the IFF box on his belt and the cabling My question though is why a Stinger? This is not a very useful figure for wargaming at 28mm. If I am only going to get 12 figures to choose from, and no point am I thinking "boy, I hope I can get some SHORAD" Why not an M16 with a bipod for the Automatic Rifleman, or an M202 Flash?. Why not an M47 Dragon to give the group some actual anti-armor capability? 60mm Mortar?
Eureka also does a set of Russians in chemical suits. Here is what they get to support the basic infantrymen:
- 3 different RPG gunner sculpts
- 3 different RPK sculpts
- A DsHK HMG on tripod.
- 82mm Mortar team
- 2 engineers with flame throwers
- 1 engineer with chem detection kit
- AT-2 sagger set with gunner, controller and two missiles.
- Sniper with SVD rifle.
- A five man tank crew (someone watched "The Beast")
What does the US side get:
- 2 M60 gunners
- 1 guy with LAW
- 2 M203 gunners (no grenadier's vest..)
- Singer missile launcher
This is where things get difficult to support a miniatures line to me. Troops in MOPP gear is a very niche market. It doesn't help your sales if a buyer can't assemble a reasonable force with what's on offer. I would like to be able to at least match up the two sides for a skirmish game. Otherwise, what is the point?
O.k. rant aside, I really like these figs. If Eureka ever gets around to adding to it, I would humbly request: Dragon ATGM and Mortar.