’ 120mm M4s are not the first M4s to enter the figure market (DML’s 1/16 Delta Force was); however, Airborne Miniatures M4s are the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art M4A1s on the market
today. As is Airborne Miniature’s common practice, these M4s are geared for combat.
For the sake of this review, I will refer to the Airborne Miniatures’ M4 carbines as M4A1s, the ones the US SOFs use.
The kit gives four M4A1 carbines broken down into these features:
- 1x M4A1 with RIS, forward vertical handgrip, AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Illuminator/Aiming laser and EOTech Holographic Diffraction Sight
- 1x M4A1 with RIS, forward vertical handgrip, AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Illuminator/Aiming laser and Aimpoint Comp-M “Red-dot” sight
- 1x M4A1 with RIS, M203 40mm grenade launcher and sight, AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Illuminator/Aiming laser and EOTech Holographic Diffraction Sight
- 1 x M4A1 with RIS, M203 40mm grenade launcher and sight, AN/PEQ-2 Infrared Illuminator/Aiming laser and Aimpoint Comp-M “Red-dot” sight
The kit comes in a large clear plastic bag with three clear plastic bags inside. Each bag contains the parts of one M4A1. In the case of the M4A1, the parts are: butt stock; receiver; RIS; barrel; magazine; vertical handgrip; optical sight; and AN/PEQ-2. The M4A1/M203 parts are: butt stock; receiver; RIS with M203 attached; barrel; magazine; M203 trigger and guard; optical sight; and AN/PEQ-2. No slings are included.
The craftsmanship and detail show on the pieces. The M203 has a hollow face while the AN/PEQ-2 has curves, grooves, dials, and surface details like the actual device. The rails on the RIS are straight and evenly spaced. The RIS’s barrel cooling holes are uniform and generally straight. I detected no runs, sinkholes, warping, or deformities in the cream resin.
I have not built the M4A1s contained in this kit, but I have built Airborne Miniatures’ M4A1 and M4A1/M203s in other kits. I recommend keeping the M4A1s in pieces and assemble them only when needed for a figure, since when assembled the barrels and butt stocks do snap off if they hit something. Pay extreme attention to where the pieces are at all times. One may even consider constructing the gun in a shoebox just in case the barrel snaps and flies off. I definitely recommend using a toothpick to apply superglue. Since the gun isn’t particularly flat care should be taken to ensure that both sides of the gun are properly aligned, meaning if you construct the gun lying on its side, gravity has a tendency to lean the pieces toward the desk, thus making a horizontally-curved gun. I found the best approach is to glue from butt stock to barrel and propping the gun up so that the barrel points toward the ceiling to ensure a proper straight alignment. After construction, wash the resin, allow to air dry, and then prime before painting. Fortunately, if the gun breaks, chances are that the break will be at a join so just glue the piece back.
Airborne Miniatures’ researched the M4s well. For M4A1s without the M203, the preferred placement of the AN/PEQ-2 is at the top rail (the 12 o’clock position) for best field-of-view. If the top rail is unavailable (such as if the M203 grenade sight taking its place), the preferred rail is the left or right side. For the M4A1/M203s, a flat surface on the right side rail indicates the placement for the AN/PEQ-2.
WHAT CAN I USE THESE GUNS FOR?
Most modelers will not buy an accessory kit just to build the accessories. The modeler wants the accessories to complement something. Clearly, Airborne Miniatures’ 120mm figures, and those Maciej Rebkowski sculpted for Verlinden Productions are already properly equipped with state-of-the-art rifles or carbines. So the question remains, “What good is this kit and what can I use the guns for?”
The guns can update any modern 120mm U.S. figure such as DML’s 1/16 Delta Force and any modern OEF/OIF 120mm Verlinden Productions figure. Since no hands are attached to the guns, they can also be displayed on a table, or with the magazine off, shown being serviced or cleaned. Since the M4s come in parts, they can even be modified for sci-fi purposes. The scopes can be used for other 120mm rifles since in the real world some Operators may tape or tie such scopes to non-M4 weapons.
The M4A1/M203s are particularly valuable for lone SOFs (such as Pararescue) who covet the M203’s added firepower. Just swapping a M4A1 with a M4A1/M203 automatically brands that figure as a grenadier, or one who embarks on a more dangerous unpredictable mission than a M4A1 rifleman.
The Airborne Miniature guns also go well to update 120mm SWAT and tactical police figures. SWAT normally wouldn’t have military AN/PEQ-2s. The AN/PEQ-2 isn’t fixed to the rails so it can be left off, although doing so leaves a flat spot on top of the M4A1 RIS reserved for mounting the sensor. The vertical handgrip and scopes also aren’t mounted. The modeler thus has the option of scratch building accessories to mount on the rails.
With styrene tubing, the modeler can even build an M4A1 with butt stock extended.
When going into battle, SOFs often choose the best weapon for the mission. Airborne Miniature’s 120mm M4A1s and M4A1/M203s fit the bill as the most-modern M4A1 carbines on market. The four carbines give the user many options for four figures. Most importantly, these carbines endow the figure with 4 important criteria: the RIS accessories dates the soldier closer to present times; gives the figure the ability to fight day and night; gives the figure added firepower with 40mm grenades; and gives the figure the ability to direct air-delivered precision ordnance from close-air support, a powerful option for one lone soldier. The M4A1 with SOPMOD: it’s not just the Picatinny-accessory rail and Rail Interface System that make the difference, but what are on them and Airborne Miniatures’ M4A1 SOPMOD rails have it on them!
My thanks go to Maciej Rebkowski
for the review sample.