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In-Box Review
135
Dien Bien Phu '54
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by: Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]


Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

introduction

As you all may know, Vladimir Demchenko mainly sculpts Vietnam War US Army, Marines, Special Forces (including Aussie SAS) and Viet Cong figures and now he decided to take us to the first days of Vietnam conflict. The new series of BRAVO-6 is about the Indochina War and the first kit; B6-35201 Huguette-Agony(1) Dien Bien Phu 54’ is a two-figure kit in action poses with a French soldier firing his gun and a Viet Minh guerilla got shot.

box

The figures come well packed in BRAVO-6 standard light brown cardboard box in 50x80x25 mm dimensions. The front part of the box shows a photo of the assembled and painted figures which can be helpful during painting. The backside of the box has a photo of Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and a drawing how to make the buttstock of SMG from wire.
Figure bodies are seperately inserted in small plastic zip-lock bags to avoid unexpected damages during transfer or storage and small parts like arms, personal gear and helmets are secured in a different bigger plastic bag.
parts

Both figures are sculpted by Vladimir Demchenko in crisp details and cast in medium grey resin. The resin quality is very good . The junctions between figure parts and casting blocks are well placed and the parts can be easily removed from the blocks with no damage. There will be a small need to clean the vertical seamline on the face of Viet Minh figure.

FRENCH PARATROOPER – CEFEO – FRENCH FAR EAST EXPEDITIONARY CORPS

Posed to fire his SMG, it comes in 6 pieces. The main part is Body with head and legs. Facial details are well defined with an open mouth showing the upper teeth. The French modified M1 paratrooper liner of the helmet covering the ears are cast on the head part. Top of the head is carved for the good fit of the helmet. He wears M1947/52 model French Paratrooper lizard camouflage uniform. The jacket has two big breast pockets and two small diagonal waist pockets. The trousers has two big side pockets , 2 small ones inside the big pockets and an upper one(not visible on this figure). Cloth folds, pocket details, shoulder straps and flap type groin guard on the back of the uniform used during jumps are well represented. He has French TAP M1950 model utility belt and Y-suspenders. On the right hip, he carries a large pouch for the submachine gun magazines. As for the footgear; he has M1950 Jump boots.
Other parts are ;
  • Right arm : Posed to fire his MAT-49 submachine gun.
  • Left arm : Posed to hold the submachine gun grabbing the magazine.
  • US style M3 Fighting Knife
  • Mle 51 canteen in canvas cover.
  • Part to make the rectractable stock of MAT-49 from copper wire.
  • M1 Steel helmet.

    VIET MINH GUERILLA

    Viet Minh regulars called bo doi wore a wide mix of French, Chinese and locally made clothing in various shades of khaki and green drab. Some wore French airborne camouflage uniforms captured from misdirected air drops. Posed shot by the French soldier, it comes in 6 pieces. Main part is Body with head and legs. Facial details, hair and suffering expression on the face of being shot are well defined. He wears a Chinese style quilted cold weather jacket with a quilted torso, deep fall collar and lined, unquilted sleeves. He has pocketless loosy trousers and PAVN Bata style shoes. A wide leather belt having a big buckle with a PPsh 41 drum magazine pouch attached on the left side and a leather strap crossed on left shoulder to carry the water bottle are cast on the figure.
    Other parts are ;
  • Right arm : Posed to hold his machine gun
  • Left arm
  • Chinese Type 50 machine gun as a variant of PPsh 41.
  • Chinese style water bottle.
  • Pith style bamboo-fiber helmet with camouflage netting.
    about the kit

    During the French Indochina colonial period, Dien Bien Phu was the capital of the province of Dien Bien, located in the North of Vietnam, near the Chinese border. No one outside Vietman had ever heard of it, but after the long brutal battle it still resounds as one of France’s darkest moments.
    The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the biggest and most ferocious battle that took place during the French Indochina War. It was fought between the French Far East Expeditionary Corps and the Viet Minh forces, commanded by Vo Nguyen Giap, from March 13 to May 7, 1954. With the complete support of neighboring China and the Soviet Union, the communist forces, which had surrounded the valley of Dien Bien with 50,000 men, defeated the French troops in northern Vietnam, suffering 14,000 casualties.
    French began an operation to support their soldiers at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos, a French ally, and tactically draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation that would cripple them. Instead, the Viet Minh surrounded and besieged the French, who were unaware of the Viet Minh's possession of heavy artillery and more importantly, their ability to move such weapons through extremely difficult terrain to the mountain crests overlooking the French encampment. The Viet Minh occupied the highlands around Dien Bien Phu and were able to accurately bombard French positions at will. Tenacious fighting on the ground ensued, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War I. The French repeatedly repulsed Viet Minh assaults on their positions. Supplies and reinforcements were delivered by air, though as the French positions were overrun and the anti-aircraft fire took its toll, fewer and fewer of those supplies reached them. After a two-month siege, the garrison was overrun and most French forces surrendered, only a few successfully escaping to Laos.
    Shortly after the battle, the war ended with the 1954 Geneva Accords, under which France agreed to withdraw from its former Indochinesecolonies. The accords partitioned Vietnam in two; fighting later broke out between opposing Vietnamese factions in 1959, resulting in the Vietnam (Second Indochina) War.
    references

    The following book can be useful when paintingthis kit ;
  • Osprey Publishing - Men At Arms 322 – The French Indochina War 1946-54
    conclusion

    A very nice kit with two figures in dynamic poses in BRAVO-6 sculpting and casting quality. It is a unique kit as the first kit of this Indochina War series which is hard to find figures on market for this period.

    Very Highly Recommended
  • SUMMARY
    Highs: Unique kit as there is almost no kits available for this period. Good to know the series will continue. Nice sculpt and cast. Nice poses and gives modeler to show the action in small vignette base.
    Lows: I believe some modelers will ask for a piece of copper wire inside the kit for building the stock of SMG.
    Verdict: I think this is what Indochina war figure painters were waiting for long. Besides this, it is a nice kit to paint for all modelers.
    Percentage Rating
    95%
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: B6-35201
      Related Link: 
      PUBLISHED: Sep 13, 2011
      NATIONALITY: France
    NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
      THIS REVIEWER: 92.05%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 95.03%

    Our Thanks to BRAVO-6!
    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 Engin Kayral (Graywolf)
    FROM: IZMIR, TURKEY / TüRKçE

    Born in 1962,married and having 2 sons. I started modelling about 8 years old building USS Fletcher with mom. It was a model dad brought from USA., I think in those days only a few people in Turkey had info on scale model kits. Grown as an AF officer son , I built many aircraft models in years. Som...

    Copyright ©2017 text by Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]. All rights reserved.


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