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Built Review
US Marines Guadalcanal
US Marines Guadalcanal 1942 Figure Set
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by: Andy Renshaw [ SKYHAWK ]

Originally published on:


One area that has been lacking lately is some good quality US Marines figures in plastic. This new set from Dragon Models Limited (DML) helps fill that gap with some great new figures featuring good “in action” poses.

The Kit

The box is the traditional DML fare with attractive box art from Ron Volstad on the front and illustrated instructions on the rear face. Being that these are uncomplicated figures, the instructions are clear and cover painting as well.

Contained in the kit are two light grey plastic sprues. One is the larger sprue with all the parts for the figures, as well as equipment and 3 of the four weapons needed. The forth weapon, a BAR, is supplied on a separate weapons sprue from set 6802; a familiar sprue for anybody who has purchased any other US figures from Dragon.


Molded in the standard light grey, high quality plastic that Dragon uses, is the parts for four figures in some outstanding poses. Each captures the look of marines on a day patrol with apprehensive looks keeping a sharp eye out for snipers and anticipating the next ambush. The quality of the molding on the P1941 herringbone twill utility uniforms is excellent and captures the look of the loose, thin cloth. Facial expressions are adequate for plastic, but for those wanting more robust and animated faces there are some great resin heads from Warriors or Hornet that would fit the bill. Personally I feel with some good painting the plastic faces will do just fine. Headgear is the coverless M1 steel helmet, reflective of the early war period these figures represent.

The equipment is provided with each piece being separate, and requires some careful fitting and planning to get it all on realistically. Each figure has specific equipment depending on the weapon carried, and DML reflects this in the parts breakdown. Of interest is the inclusion of the M3 scabbard with bayonet. One figure has it fixed to his 1903 Springfield, the other still sheathed.

The one miss on the equipment is the canteens. The covers should be the M1910 USMC style with cross flaps and a single seam down the middle. The ones in the kit are US Army style. Granted, some Marines may have acquired some US Army stocks of supplies while on the Canal, but the inclusion of this one detail would have made this a close to perfect figure set.

Weapons included on the figure sprue are two 1903 Springfield’s, one with bayonet fixed, and a M50 Reisling. The only weapon used on the other sprue is the BAR (use without tripod, as this was removed to lessen the weight during jungle patrols).

The M50 Reisling in Combat:
Taking a short side trip, the M50 Reisling was an early weapon issued to USN, USMC, and USCG as a lightweight semi-automatic carbine. Being a selective fire weapon, it could also do full auto, between 450-600 rpm (though limited to a 20 round magazine). It fired from a closed bolt unlike its counterpart, the Thompson which fired from an open bolt. At first, the design seemed to be what was needed with its light weight, accuracy, and high rate of fire. A lighter version, the M55 with a folding stock, was issued to para-marines.

However once the M50 was fielded in combat in both the Solomon’s and Guadalcanal, it was quickly discovered that it was a soldiers nightmare. In combat, it was easily prone to malfunctions because of dirt and mud, critical parts would rust in the humid climate, and the magazines would be easily damaged to uselessness. It quickly earned a terrible reputation and it is rumored that Marines issued this weapon would quickly discard it for anything else they could find.
After the dismal performance in combat, it was regulated to stateside guard duties and lend-lease arms deals and quickly pulled from the front lines.


For the purpose of the review, I constructed one of the four figures. Figure D with his cautious stance and fixed bayonet caught my eye for the first build.
Assembly is straight forward, and the fit on the main parts is fantastic. In the accompanying photos, I used no filler, so you can see how well the arms and legs fit the torso. The only area that required a little work was adding the 10 (yes, ten!) ammo pouches around the belt, as some careful trimming of both the body and some of the pouches was needed to get a good close fit against the figure. You may want to add the pouches before the arms to get full access to the area for trimming.

I also suggest attaching the heads before the arms, as you will need to use a little filler to blend the neck into the chest area where the shirt is open.

When attaching the arms, use the rifle to insure correct alignment. The fit of the rifle in the hands is very good, and the grip will satisfy all but the figure purist.

The bandoleer is provided in 3 separate pieces. I wanted to really make this part hang, so I cut a long strip of Taymia tape, folding and twisting it, and glued one end of it with super glue to the backside of the 3 parts, lining up the 3 parts as I went. I then draped the tape “sling” across the figure, gluing with superglue as I went, and then trimmed and connected the sling to the other end of the bandoleer pouches. Some final shaping to get the proper hang, then some CA glue was flowed into the gaps between the pouches to hold its position.

I corrected the canteen cover flaps with some bits of scrap plastic, cut to shape and glued on. I also scraped away the extra seams on the canteen cover, leaving a single seam in the center. Simple fixes for improved detail and accuracy, and well within the skills of most modelers.

All it needs now is a sling for the rifle. Once painted, some USMC markings from Archer or Hudson and Allen will finish these off nicely. Now if we could just start convincing Dragon to include uniform insignia with all their sets!


A great figure set by Dragon, even for a so called “Gen 1” ('39-'45 Series) release. I’m glad to see some animation coming back into the poses within Dragons newer kits. Hopefully the trend shown with this set continues!

Highly recommended!
Highs: Great poses, very nice sculpting of uniforms, inclusion of M50 and Springfeild rifles.
Lows: Incorrect canteen covers.
Verdict: Highly recommended, and with some simple fixes can be some great figures of early to mid war Marines.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6379
  Suggested Retail: $10.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 19, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Andy Renshaw (skyhawk)

I started modeling around 8 years old when my dad bought me a Monogram 1/48 A-7. We built that together, and after that he turned me loose. Along with armor and figures, I also enjoy building aircraft and trains (model railroading), and tend to cycle between the genres. Recently married, I have...

Copyright ©2020 text by Andy Renshaw [ SKYHAWK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Thanks Bill! My grandfather, and myself are both former Marines, so this set had a special place and those poses just make you want to build it...im already cutting the next one off the sprue and pulling out some PE hardware to make the slings. Maybe ill do a little jungle dio with them at some point in the near future.
JUN 19, 2009 - 04:36 AM
Hi Andy, Good review and a nice looking set of figures. Not my genre but I'll look forward to seeing them appear in some dioramas over the coming months. Al
JUN 19, 2009 - 04:49 AM
I to have bought this set and i must say they are very well done.(not my work )the castings. i have built the crouching. i placed it in a small one man scene and it needs more work but the picture i will post shows what it could be. Rick. Photobucket
JUN 19, 2009 - 05:12 AM
Nice work Rick! Your camo helmet reminds me that if you replace the helmet with a canvas covered one, or just glue on some tissue for the texture, pop in some M1s instead of the 1903's , these can be some good late war figures too. Plus I total forgot to add to my review that they could be converted to some PTO army figs as well. A thought just popped in my head....maybe make a USMC Stuart and have these guys advancing along side. We could even do a M2A3 (do I have that right?), that pre-stuart light tank that was used on Guadalcanal.
JUN 19, 2009 - 05:26 AM
A great kit, that I can't wait to pick up. It should be noted, that the review faults the set for not having cross flap canteen covers. This is not so, the cross flap cover was not introduced till some time in 1943. Early marine canteen covers differ from army externally in that they do not have the stitching up the front of the cover. There were other slight differences but it won't make much difference in 1/35.
JUL 12, 2009 - 03:24 PM
mmm...your post got me pulling out my books and scouring the internet for an hour. Ok, looks like I might have to submit some edits... Man, i had no idea that the canteen history of USMC was so varied in the first half of the century. First, one of my books, Ospreys "US Marine Corps 1941-1945" has a color plate K that discribes an "early war" and "late war" kit. both show the cross flap style, yet the "early" is called out to NOT have a drain hole, while the late cover has a drain hole. Im now realizing that this might be feasable, but probally not common. Looks like they were using 1910 and "2nd pattern" covers throughout the war, and were the most common even after the introduction of the cross flap type. I found a post within a millitaria collectors forum where somebody was asking basicly the same thing---what style canteen for WW2 marines? The reply consisted of one guy posting pictures and history of his entire collection...here is 2 photos of interest... Photobucket Photobucket The first photo is (from his discription) a 1910 cover. This does not have the "eagle snaps" which from what I read is yet another (and more rare) version. There are also covers with plain snaps. Note the stiching that looks like US army "mounted" style covers. Second photo shows 2 "2nd Pattern" covers on left, and 2 different cross flap (the early and late as noted in the Osprey book). Text from a collectors forum---"the 2nd pattern cover issued too the United states marine corps during WWII, these are a short flap, unlined cover, with a double stitched base, reinforced rear seam and specail U.S.M.C. version double hook. The 2nd pattern cover was originally designed produced by United Carr, on behalf of the corps. This style of cover was introduce around about 1942, and replaced the U.S.M.C. version of M1910 cover" The cross flap canteen on the far right is the later style with " ...drain/funnel hole and is dated 1942-1943" So, I guess the reality is that either the 1910 or "2nd pattern" covers would be correct for a Canal figure, with the cross flap being possible, but not likely. One guy even commented that the cross flap didnt even make it to the field in quanity till very late in the war (Okanawa, etc), but was used through the 50s. what a crazy amount of info on some detail that is smaller than a pea! I'll work up a update/edit for James to add to the origional review. Thanks for bringing that to my attention Mike! cheers Andy
JUL 13, 2009 - 03:16 AM
oh, something else to note for the die-hards... Note that the hangers on USMC canteens are much higher than they US Army versions, so should hang lower on the hip than where you would mount canteens on army figures. guess ill be replacing my canteen on my figure I built...no biggie, i was wanting to remake the dog ears anyway!
JUL 13, 2009 - 03:18 AM
No sweat, I was sharing some info that is new to me. I have also learned more about this in the last week than I ever knew about this minor detail. I was looking into the accuracy of the MB tarawa marines set, where every of the marines has 2 crossflap covers, and looking through all the books on hand when I noticed that I saw very few crossflap covers, which i felt was unusual be cause I had always thought that the crossflap was the standard. I didn't see any in the pics I have on hand in several books, crossflap covers till saipan in 44. Also anyone that is way into the details and capable of duplicating them should note that the Marine covers did not have the wool lining of the Army covers and the canteen cup leaves a noticeable wear pattern and ridge on the outside of the cover, that can be seen in the new pics. Only one canteen per Marine would show this. Now I have to locate some canteens for my marines as well.
JUL 13, 2009 - 05:06 AM
with all the USMC figures out there now, I might master up some various canteens (including the pronouced ridge caused by the cup) and make some molds of them. It would be a interesting detail just for us purist. Maybe Dave Harper over at Hard Corps Models would be interested in doing some USMC gear to dress up all the figures out there. The MB figures could probally perk up nicely with some fine resin gear! Andy
JUL 13, 2009 - 05:57 AM

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