USMC Heavy Machine Gunner
A few years ago, a company called Blue Box International took it upon themselves to produce action figures based on several military branches and time periods. They tackled mostly “modern” military figures under the label Elite Force, meaning they made toy soldiers from World War II onwards. One of the latter day figures produced was the USMC Heavy Machine Gunner I’m reviewing today.
I am not entirely certain of the marketing that went on at the time for the Elite Force line, but in the packaging they go as far as naming the figure as Graham White, although I don’t think it is a real person they made a figure of.
The figure was produced after the first Gulf War, so the uniform reflects a camouflage pattern fit for arid environments. At the time BBI used a few different basic bodies that could be further personalized by adding pouches and containers to it, and Graham here has a lot of bulky packages covering his upper torso, as well as a hole on his lower back to carry extra equipment.
There is a lot of sculpted detail on the gear, but the uniform itself doesn’t appear to have many textures, other than a few folds and creases. The basic buck used for this figure wasn’t one of the more advanced ones, so the articulation consists of:
• Pegged hinge shoulders.
• Upper Biceps swivel.
• Angled cut elbows.
• Swivel wrists.
• Swivel waist.
• Swivel hips.
• Hinged knees.
• Upper calf swivel.
Even though this is a fairly decent number of joints, they are just not as versatile (nor durable) as modern day designs. I remember that most of the swivel joints on these figures were particularly prone to tearing unless they were mechanically freed before attempting to turn them.
On this Gunner I went carefully and slowly pulling on each of them to make sure none was stuck, so no mishaps occurred, but this is a thing to consider when dealing with this type of figures.
The one thing BBI always took pride of was in the accessory department; This figure comes armed with a M249 heavy machine gun, a tripod, a pair of goggles, a helmet, a removable belt w/holster and a big pack of supplies to plug on his back.
The M249 comes with a detachable bullet magazine and the tripod consists of three separate pieces, the fork, the swiveling center leg, and a rotating gun mount. The only letdown is that the pistol isn’t removable and that the goggles aren’t molded to fit over the figure’s head.
The paint applications are good, but sloppy. You see, on the face, the coloring is neat and they even put some color on the lips, which adds a lot of life to the figure, even though the hairline is not as precise as it needed to be.
The paintjob on the uniform consists on some blobs of green and dark brown applied haphazardly and with a dark brown shading wash applied all over. The machine gun and the tripod also received some paint, mostly in the form of silver highlights drybrushed over the black base color.
In the end, the USMC Machine Gunner is an interesting looking toy to look at, but not a lot more.