Been for awhile now since I actually review any figure set I purchased. Namely because i'm lazy and I had a life outside hte radius of my keyboards.
Here we have if you didn't actually read the title - Soldier Story USMC 1st MSOB (Marine Special Operations Battalions) boxset. While another identical set also USMC 1st MSOB w/ M249 SAW coming our way.
Soldier Story (SS) has been through and through with the release lately and successfully gained ground in 1/6 universe. Amidst the absent of Hot Toys' (HT) Military lines - SS seized the opportunity so showcase the "ubersome" of their quality and creativity.
While their release now includes the much beloved leather boots and real gloves, this set actually showcase a working torch on the M4 rifle. Gears and accessories are abundant as well. While giant HTs set lately being cutting gears and accessories aside their head sculpt are 2nd to none. It doesn't really create a screaming sensation among us 1/6 junkies.
official promotional pictures
The quality has being AAA+ in another word - GREAT !!! many collectors and bashers are still in doubt about their qualities. Rest assure that I can guarantee satisfaction with their sets. With experiences I had with other brands, SS is definitely my choice of good parts.
Of course nothing is perfect 10. This is the review to point out a few.
Let's start from the basic. The body !! SS utilizes their S2 bodies in this release. Articulations are standard (don't ask me how many point of articulations because I didn't count it) as any others mid-high ended bodies. The buttock are made-of soft ABS plastic so it's pinch-able (it sounded so gay in my head there - pinch able butt !! hahaz) The neck joint on this body are limited. The head pop-out easily and it's a pain to attached the head back. So do not stress the head to far-off or else you'll get yourself in a pretty frustrating situation.
S2 bodies are stiffer that the old S1 (ala BBi G3) bodies so the joint will not get loose after a few pose.
This set comes with two (2) sets of hands. A standard non-gloved (bare) hands and a bendable non-gloved hands. This is my favorite part. The bendy hands are the best yet out there !!! Its so stiff that actually so easy for you to glove it. HT did a bendable hands before but it failed utterly. Other brands too had with their share with bendy hands but their pins/pegs arent universal as of today standards.
The head sculpt of SS are usually smaller but its the right scale unlike the notorious but wonderful sculpted HTs heads. The HS this time (ever since S2 bodies) isn't compatible with other brands. At least not friendly compatible. They still can interchange between BBi heads but require small modding. This goes for it if you wanna pop SS head into HT bodies.
The uniform - Well, it's good but can be great. This set featured a newly release land MARPAT (sometimes called DARPAT) pattern BDU with the newly designed Combat Shirt. It's the correct scale but I personally think is 1 size larger on this one. After you geared up the figure, if somewhat look great. So not much harm there.
The helmet is great too, but keep in mind if you're using an older HT head, it will look weird and under-sized. The only hard time if gave me was during setting up the HS + Helmet + Radio headset. But it fitted nicely once you're done with it. Helmet padding are included too, just like the real thing !
Boots in this set is the usual - leather!!. Working fast-lace system and well built but can be better. The bootcraft in this one felt like something missing which I can't tell which because I myself can't tell it either.
Gloves are wonderful too and easy to wear it on the marvelous SS bendy hands. But this time around, the glove are abit loose, felt like its 1 size larger. Overall its great.
The gears - This set comes with a CIRAS (land version) vest. SS has been releasing them in few sets in different color variations. The vest is just a bit too bulky after you've set them up. So I need to "nip/tuck" them simply by removing a layer of padding inside the vest. This improves the overall look of the figure as well. It won't look like a fat dude and the vest actually hang naturally in place - as it should be !!! The pouches are done nicely. Just that you need to re-adjust and re-fill some of them, to make them look much more bulky and realistic.
In my setup, I removed one of the triple M4 mag pouch. It doesn't hang correctly in place and it will just add more pound on this figure. I have a tough time figuring how to apply the dump pouch as there's no instruction manual on this figure (same as any other sets). I finally use my own creativity - a thin metal pin, hooked them around the Molle slots and voila - it actually works.
The drop leg medi-kit comes a bit too slim. So I had to fatten 'em up with fillings using wad of cottons. The fanny pack is great as well, much better than the flimsy HTs.
The armaments - This set comes with the highly publicised and anticipated M4. What makes it so special is that there's actually a working/functional torch/lights on this one. Just like the real thing. The battery are hidden (not that well) under the infra-red illuminator. To turn in on, y0u need to squeeze the forward hand grip. Another great thing about this SS weapons is that you can actually detach the rifle in to smaller bits like the real thing !!
The sidearms this time is a M1911 MARSOC pistol. Nicely made but the lanyard are confusing to setup. SS may want to put in more effort to fix it up for end-users. I broke the pin/hook that suppose to hold the string on the lanyard. So - no lanyard for me in this figure, unless I figure out a way to fix it !! damn !!!
Magazines if of nothing unusual. This set comes with 7+1 M4 mags (4 black 4 tan) and 3+1 M1911 pistol clip.
Judging by it,they aren't enough to fill all those pouches given.
Accessories - This set comes with the usual accessories available just like previous releases. What I like about SS, is the patches the provided. It was printed on a cloth-like material much like a real thing *again*.When snapping photos, at least it won't reflect the lighting. This time around, it misses some light stick but substituted with a medic scissors instead. It comes with 2 hand grenades, 1 Green smoke grenades and 1 Red smoke grenades. A standard MBITR radio are included in this set which I need to glue down the receiver & and the antenna.
Overall - This set came as a shocking set because of the working lights on the M4. Much more shocking is an identical release but with a M248 w/parastock SAW coming this way (still not officially announced). The quality of SS release are consistent and improving. It is what we the 1/6 junkies wanted to see and they actually heeds our words and thoughts.
Tiny dismay is their small details need to be improved. My pistol now can't hook onto the lanyard. Even if it could, a lot of us have no idea how to set it on the vest. SS may wanna downsize the packaging a little as to save cost which hopefully can work both ways.
Their constant creativity and great offerings surely captivated a lot 1/6 junkies while HTs literally gave up on the military lines. I dare to say, now SS already pounding on HT backyards and soon, they will be number one !!
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