You cannot mention about the Vietnam War (see my previous post) and not think of "Platoon", the 1986 war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen, which won the Academy Award for best picture in 1986.
Sideshow released their 1:6 scale 12-inch "Platoon" figures in 2002, starting with the trio of Pvt. Chris Taylor, Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias. They were sold as a set of three even though each figure was individually packaged. I missed out on these and only managed to pick up Pvt. Chris Taylor (with Charlie Sheen's likeness) much later on. Personally, I thought this was one of the better head sculpts produced by Sideshow Collectibles and felt that they managed to capture Charlie Sheen as Chris Taylor very well.
Here's the Sideshow 1:6 Pvt. Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) from Platoon in full getup (I'd posted this figure in a much earlier post on December 23, 2007 with interesting observation on Martin Sheen, Charlie's dad), consisting of M1 helmet, towel, dog tags, Tropical Combat Uniform of jacket, belt, pants and jungle boots with his web gear comprising H-harness with belt plus 2 canteens with carrier, 2 ammunition pouches, 1 Compass Case and a first-aid pouch, 3 fragmentation grenades, M7 Bayonet with M8A1 Sheath, M18A1 Claymore mine with plastic trigger and detonator wire carried in a bandolier, and M16 assault rifle with removable 20-round magazine.
In "Platoon", Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a young American who has abandoned college for combat duty in Vietnam. Being the FNG ("effing" New Guy), nobody gives a s**t about him and he is thrown right into the thick of things and looks to the compassionate Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) for directions whilst being ever mindful of Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), the enemy from within.
The color of the Leaf Pattern camouflage cloth cover for the helmet is totally off and not correct as it is too light and washed out. He has the 25th Infantry Division (nicknamed "Tropic Lightning") patch on his left sleeve.
Another look at his web equipment or M1956 Individual Load Carrying Equipment (LCE) which would remain in service throughout the Vietnam War.
A closer look at the 1:6 M1 helmet which was actually a steel pot that had not changed much since World War II.
Pvt Chris Taylor's helmet had the inscription: "When I die, bury me upside down so the world can kiss my ass". Worn down by the exhausting work and poor living conditions, Taylor's enthusiasm for the war soon wanes and he wonders why he volunteered for the war.
The film was marketed with the tag line, "The first casualty of war is innocence", an adaptation of Senator Hiram Johnson's assertion in 1917 that "The first casualty of war is the truth."
And here's another look at the 1:6 Charlie Sheen as Pvt. Chris Taylor head sculpt by Sideshow Collectibles. Although Hot Toys has announced plans that they would be releasing this same figure (sneak peeks HERE), I'm still hoping that the head sculpt can be better. Until then, this will have to do.
Sideshow even released a 1:6 scale dog tag for Pvt Chris Taylor and you can even make out the tiny inscriptions on it. Pretty neat.
The M16 (more formally Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16) is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle. The M16 entered United States Army service as the M16 and was put into action for jungle warfare in South Vietnam in 1963, becoming the standard U.S. rifle of the Vietnam War by 1969, replacing the M14 rifle in that role.
The M16 was called the "black rifle" and "Mattel toy" by the grunts, no thanks to its appearance.
All the pouches produced by Sideshow Collectibles, including the water canteens were plastic molded and could not be opened. Also the scale seems wrong as they appear much smaller than they are supposed to be.
Even the M7 bayonet for the M16 rifle looks wrong. The blade portion seems too short compared to the handle of the M7 Bayonet and makes the M8A1 Sheath / scabbard look undersized as well.
Sideshow also included a 1:6 scale M18A1 Claymore mine with the plastic trigger and detonator wire carried in a bandolier.
An instruction sheet for the directional anti-personnel mine is sewn inside the cover of the bandolier but is not shown on the Sideshow version. This was however done in great detail and accuracy for Hot Toys version which was released with their 1:6 scale Vietnam War SEAL Stoner Machine Gunner military figure (pictures HERE).
Unlike a conventional land mine, the Claymore is command-detonated and directional, meaning it is fired by remote-control, shooting a pattern of metal balls into the kill zone like a shotgun.
The Claymore fires steel balls, out to about 100 meters within a 60° arc in front of the device. It is used primarily in ambushes and as an anti-infiltration device against enemy infantry. It is also of some use against unarmored vehicles.
Dragon also released a 1:6 Claymore with their 12-inch US Army Ranger "Larry" military figure which was more detailed and well produced - pictures HERE
Towards the end of the film, after a confrontation between Taylor and Barnes where Barnes almost kills him, a wounded Taylor finds Barnes and shoots him three times in the chest, killing him. A Medevac chopper arrives for taylor and as the Huey helicopter flies off with the injured Taylor, Taylor weeps as he stares down at the destruction around him.
The Vietnam War has been the subject of many films. One of the first major films based on the Vietnam War was The Green Berets (1968). Further cinematic representations were released during the 1970s and 1980s: The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Hamburger Hill (1987), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and Casualties of War (1989). After that there were Forrest Gump (1994), We Were Soldiers (2002) and also the Rambo films.
There was also the TV series "Tour of Duty", which ran from September 1987 to April 1990. The show follows an American infantry platoon on a tour of duty during the Vietnam War. It was the first television series to regularly show Americans in combat in Vietnam and was one of several similarly-themed series to be produced in the wake of the acclaimed Oliver Stone film, "Platoon".