Question for GG, J-Tam, and any other Military. "Nam"

  • Guys the Rubicon figures that I`m using for "Nam", how versitile could they be as "Marines in Europe. How long could I stretch the time period of these with just painting schemes. I realized as I was going through the vehicle list, that in actual fact, I was getting machines that in some ways have reached even today with the "National guard".  They certainly can mix in for a "Twilight 2000" re-mix but are the figures limited to "Nam"  I am aware that the "Fritz" helmet arived but not sure when but how different are uniforms them selves. Can you give a date they can`t advance past .  

  • Bear in mind I am not quite old enough to have served in ’Nam....

    The minis should work fine if you paint them in Woodland camo for up to mid-80’s in my opinion, for regular Army/Marines. Maybe mid 90’s for National Guard/Reserve. 

    The little details like pocket shape and load bearing equipment material (canvas switching to nylon) differences are pretty small and easy to overlook.

    That is my humble opinion anyway.@JTam  probably will see a small detail my old eyes have overlooked. 👁👁

  • The "Fritz" helmet started to enter in service in early '80s, but f.e. in Lebanon marines had yet the old M1, probabilly it was widespread for the mid '80s.

  • US Army supply services can be less uniform than some folks might suspect. In Berlin 88-91 some of my platoon had the latest woodland camo kevla flak jackets but some, like me had the older, softer olive armor of the Vietnam era. At one point I even had a set without the collar, which would be going back to 50’s-60’s era issue. And that was the “elite” Berlin Brigade with recently just issued kevlar “fritz” helmets (k-pots) and m16a2s. When I got to 5th Mechanized Infantry Division at Fort Polk in 1991 they were in the process of transitioning from M1911a1 pistols to the M9 Berettas.


    EDIT: For the record I prefer the .45 caliber M1911a1 to the 9mm M9 Beretta. Reliability, stopping power and a narrower grip better suited to my tiny Gnomish hands. 

  • Pretty much concur with @Grumpy Gnome here:

    There's a few things worth discussing.

    1.  I don't believe the USMC has ever had a sizeable presence in Europe. To the best of my knowledge there's always been a headquarters and they periodically send MEUs to Norway to freeze their bits off in training rotations.

    I believe it that Cold War went hot, that was their thing.  Reinforcing Norway.  Bit of a side theater.  I wonder what Soviet/Warsaw Pact forces were pointing that way?

    2.  There's two main things/indicators on the minis that set the right limit of use.  The M16A1s and the PASGT helmets.  The triangle handguards of the A1 versus the round and ribbed handguards of the A2 is pretty distinctive.  The old steel pots and the PASGTs can not be mistaken for each other.  

    The USMC adopted the M16A2 in 1983 and the Army in 1986.  Bear in mind adopted, in widespread use, and completely replaced are all very different things.

    For the helmet:

    I entered the Army in 94 and saw neither hide nor hair of the old steel helmets.  The PASGTs are often referred to as "Fritz" helmets in publications but I've never heard anyone use the term in real life. Kevlar, K-Pot, or helmet would be the most common names.  Brain bucket or Dome of Obedience some times in jest.  Also, if you're a young Private and your Team Leader asks if you "Want to hear what two turtles f*cking sound like"?  Watch out. He's about to whack your helmeted head with his helmet which is uncomfortable at best.  

    3.  Use of these minis to represent Army troops.  I'm definitely a rivet counter but you can get away with it.  The body armor is wrong but it's not terrible.  The webbing and uniform is definitely close enough.  The weirdest thing is the minis wearing the armor over the webbing suspenders.  Was that the done thing in Vietnam?  Suspenders over the armor for the Cold War Army of the 80s.  

    4.  I don't think any Vietnam era vehicles have made it to today.  You used to see deuce and a half trucks knocking around here and there in the 90s.  The last of the Army Hueys were still supporting US Army Ranger School at Dahlonega in 2007 but I'm pretty sure they are gone.  The ASV more or less is an updated Commando but they were all new builds and they are being retired/are retired as we speak.

    5.  Probably the paint job is most important. We need to pin down the change over from pickle suit to woodlands camflage uniforms.




    @JTam Ah, you make fair points and jog my memory some. I concur with your observations and recollections. Good shout on the webbing suspenders over instead of under the armor, however that looks just like the collared body armor I wore for a bit in Berlin. I preferred it over the newer, stiff Kevlar vests as it made a better pillow and with the collar it was better for napping in the armor on a road match in the back of an APC than the soft, earlier issue collarless armor.

    Kpots were often seen hanging off a hip mounted canteen until an NCO spotted the offender. 

    I had to wear a M1 steel pot helmet liner in basic training until I qualified with my then M16a1 if I remember correctly. Then it was a kpot without helmet cover. Once out of training and in Berlin I was given a kpot with cover and helmet cover band with “cats’ eyes” on the back and name written on the front. I seem to recall Marines had helmet covers without the visible helmet band. 


    I served active duty 1988 to 1992, then National Guard 1992 to 2000. Unit SOPs and issue kit changed from unit to unit with some being more strict than others. All the US units I served in were more strict on uniform kit in the field than what I saw the 4 months I served in the British Army on exchange in 1990.  I believe Desert Shield/Storm helped push National Guard units to catch up quicker with active duty units. 

    More important to me than what rifle I carried and helmet or body armor I wore at the time was the switch over from olive green rubberized wet weather gear and WW2/Korean War issue cold weather gear to woodland camouflage Gortex kit and polypropylene underwear when I was in. My daily quality of life improved dramatically. 

    I did not know the Marines adopted the M16a2 first. See, you learn something new every day. 

    Fun fact, in the Vietnam conflict US Army Rangers were quick to get their hands on camouflage uniforms instead of the wide spread olive green general issue uniforms. In the 80’s and probably into the 90’s the Ranger Battalions were quick to wear olive green uniforms while the rest of the Army had switched over to woodland camouflage BDU’s. Rangers... Lead the Way, as they like to say.  

    EDIT: Has the Army replaced all the M113 family of vehicles? On active duty I was a mortar maggot, so we had Vietnam era 4.2 inch mortars M106s (M113 based mortar vehicle) and a M577 command track for the FDC.

  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    Whoops.  You're a 100% right.  The M113 family is still going strong in the US Army.  The 4.2 inch is gone, but now it's 120mm mortars in the back of M113s (M1064A3s if I remember correctly).

  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    Did you know a guy named Aikens?  My first Squad Leader.  He was a Berlin BDE guy and 11C.

  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    I think your right that the USMC doesn't do helmet bands.  Which is weird as they obviously did in Vietnam.

    For the unititated we are talking about this thing:

    It helps hold foliage.  In the 90s in the Army it was popular to put a magazine stripper clip guide there.  Nothing else was going to fly.  (Unlike Vietnam with its cigarettes, oil bottles, mosquito repellent, and what not, tucked up there).

    Stripper clip charger:

    Works like this:

    This is the "cat eyes":

    They grow slightly in the dark (at least if charged). Helps during night movements.

  • @JTam @Grumpy Gnome New I could count on you two, thank you both, it`s a bit better than I thought. Play about change of some helmets, add bits of more modern types of weaponary. Wood land camo and I`m away, it was the M113 series that I tought great. Then the Sheridan, because I belive 82nd Airborne still use them, and the Mutts. Plus several of the Russian machines all in it means wilst painting "Nam" a to close duplicate figure, could be up time lined. Really greatfull cheers guys. Now what about the Army

  • Plot twist.

    If you paint them with ERDL camouflage you can use them from 1968 to pretty late.   

    I would argue there is no discernable difference between ERDL and woodland when painted on a 28mm mini.

  • @JTam Thanks Tam I hadn`t seen any pictures of Marines waring ERDL only tiger stripe on the pathfinders and Rangers. Even black and white photos show camo, and I`ve amasssed quite a few. that would fit for both.

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    The Battle of Hue (good beer) was early '68 and there's no ERDL to be seen.  Not sure how long it took to get to the field.

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    The M113 remains in wide spread service with ALL of the Army.

    Sheridan was retired out of the 82nd decades? ago.


  • @JTam  I recall you mentioning your Squad Leader before, different battalion I seem to recall. I was in the Heavy Mortat Platoon, Combat Support Company 4/502nd. If I did know him, his name has been lost along with some of the brain cells sacrificed during one of the many nights of debauchery that followed in the years after those wild days in Berlin.

    You do a better job of educating folks, nice info dump brother.

    Everything I said about the Rubicon Marine sets applies to the Army sets. I think you should be able to kitbash and get some nice diversity. Operational units in the field start getting a haphazard look pretty quick in my experience. 

  • Plot twist 2.

    Just paint them green.  

    It's certainly the iconic look for Vietnam.  It IS appropriate for a big chunk of the Cold War.

    And after the introduction of the woodland camouflage BDUs just pretend the troops are at MOPP level 1.  

    What is MOPP level 1?  MOPP is Mission Orientated Protective Posture... i.e. your NBC kit.  Protective Mask, chemical suit, rubber gloves, rubber boots.   In the 90s when we were still orientated towards a peer fight we near always at MOPP level 1 during field exercises.  So MOPP suit worn, body armor and webbing over that.  Rubber boots and gloves go on last because they really limit mobility and dexterity.  Here's the good part - MOPP suits during the Cold War were just plain green.  

    Now MOPP suits don't really have thigh pockets and they should be kind of gathered at the bottom....  But at tabletop distance I could live with it.  

    The above just shows the MOPP levels.  Trust me the MOPP suits were green back then.

    Also, all this MOPP gear was before we learned you can get the same effect by wearing a piece of cloth on your face.   

  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    The USMC definitely had different body armor than the Army in Vietnam.  More hard plates.  Might have been left over Korean War stuff.  But they are all very similar in general appearance.


  • A similar thread over on Lead Adventure...

  • @Grumpy Gnome Thanks for the link, nice snipets. with that one cheaky note "landfill"  what a plonker.

    So many go the ERDL, route, it looks promissing.

  • That one smoking appears to be drawing on a MASSIVE spliff. Not casting any shade - very historically accurate - but if they intended it to be a Lucky Strike they really screwed up the scaling...

  • @Mark Dewis Spliff or Cuban rolled on the  thiewwes of maidens etc,

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    This is a newish book:

    I don't have it, but it looks like it might be idea for your needs.


  • @JTam Ordered by my darling Eileen from Amazon around £15, thank you Tam, now I`ve one present garented to come, with all our other woes this year "Royal Mail" is doing a series of strikes and 3 of my gifts + more important, Eileens disable buggy bateries, are stuckin this mire. I know our Goverment did a major blow to our Economey, and all the other joys of life every one needs more , but delaying presents and losing item at "Christmas" is not really geting people on your side, they are in the same sinking ship. Doing there best to paddle to shore and enjoy some thing.  

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