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In-Box Review
US Marine RTO
US Marine Radio Telephone Operator

by: Peter Ong [ TRISAW ]


Think-180 is already known for making figures with high standards of craftsmanship, quality, and having a reasonable size. Their subjects are generally unique with the main emphasis on post-9/11 figures.

The subject of this review is item number 35009 US Marine RTO (Operation Iraqi Freedom).

One of the most important and essential jobs in a Marine squad, the Marine Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) communicates with higher headquarters, other units, medical evacuation, transportation, and most importantly, fire support, either naval, air, or artillery. Without the RTO, the Marine squad is left to fend for itself without external support.


As the box photo shows, Think-180’s “US Marine RTO” (35009) is standing talking into his microphone. The height and width of the mouth indicates that the conversation is casual and the situation isn’t life threatening or dire.

The figure depicts a Marine during the opening stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, sometime in 2003, when the perceived use of chemical and biological warfare by the Iraqi Army forced all US troops to don protective suits as a precaution.

Cast in gray resin, Think-180’s “RTO” comes in a clear plastic box with the following 13 parts:

  • One-piece body from the shoulders down to the boots clad in Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) and (the new) MOPP Nuclear, Biological, Chemical suit. Molded on the body are the MOPP gas mask bag, hood, radio backpack, and buttpack with molded-on towel
  • Two ALICE canteens
  • Left arm with hand holding telephone
  • Right arm with open hand
  • One-piece M-16A2
  • ALICE first-aid/compass pouch
  • Four MOLLE 5.56mm ammo vest pouches
  • Antennae (in resin)
  • Copper wire (to coil thinner steel wire)
  • Thinner steel wire (to represent a coiled microphone cord)
  • Large MOLLE pouch
  • Kevlar PAGST helmet with molded-on goggles and goggle cover
  • Full (bald) head with molded-on two-point chinstrap

    One needs to cut and sand off some tiny pour blocks or flash to obtain the actual piece. I didn’t find any flaws, runs, air bubbles, sinkholes, mold shifts, or deformities with my figure.

    Upon inspection of the body, I found that the radio backpack has a nice square shape to it, to denote a radio inside. Another realistic feature is how the backpack kind of angles down and outward, as if the hefty radio leans against the front of the pack away from the body. The backpack flap is closed so the radio’s controls and knobs aren’t visible. I’m not going to hazard a guess as to what type of radio it is except that it’s a modern one.

    The delicate thin resin “tape antennae” fits into a hole on the top left side. A test-fit reveals a good antennae fit into the backpack hole. I recommend using extra superglue and to fix the antennae on last once the figure is painted to avoid breaking it.

    The backpack straps over the IBA are also nicely done with a little flat appearance to signify that the radio must be tugging pretty hard behind the Marine, straining those straps. But the Marine’s pack is well secured with hints of SNAP-LOCK buckles at the ribs (which won’t really be visible once the arms and canteens are glued on). On the right backpack strap is a little pad by the shoulder to possibly indicate something to attach the microphone on when not in use.

    The two legs aren’t separated and there is resin between them. I could see a few trace blobs of resin between the legs, which can be cleaned up with a sharp knife. An adventurous modeler may wish to use a razor saw and cut from boots to crotch to give an indication of space between the legs (note that this cut will not separate the legs whatsoever), although I’ve seen this figure painted nicely with just black paint between the molded-together legs to imply a little degree of separation. The pant legs have nice Velcro straps.

    The IBA’s MOLLE loops are straight, having equal width and thicknesses, and are evenly spaced. The torso has ample room for mounting the canteens and MOLLE vest pouches.

    I test-fitted the head to the neck and experienced no problems. This Marine wears the PAGST Kevlar helmet since it has the two-point chinstrap and the helmet covers the ears. The modeler may wish to tilt the helmet a little to the left side to free the right ear for the microphone.

    The other pieces look pretty straightforward: the standard complement of four MOLLE 5.56mm ammo vest pouches, two ALICE canteens, a compass pouch, and a large MOLLE pouch for stowing the microphone or maps.

    The M-16A2 seems a bit oversized by DML standards. Since the gun isn’t molded onto the hand, one can replace this rifle with another plastic or resin 1/35 rifle if so desired. I test-fitted the rifle into the open right hand and found that the hand grips the rifle right behind the barrel handguard and before the carrying handle/receiver.

    Think-180 provides a copper wire to act as a circular rod to coil a thinner steel wire to represent the microphone’s coiled cord. This is a nice touch and attention to detail since the two wires will produce a realistic-looking coiled cord. Your kit may vary, but 13 centimeters of copper wire and 12 centimeters of steel wire were in my kit, enough wire to produce the coiled cord.

    The only main downside I found with this RTO kit was not with the figure, but the package showing an unpainted primed figure. Thus, the modeler needs to hunt for color photo references on how to paint the figure and its associated gear (but at the time of this review, several Think-180 RTOs have been nicely constructed and painted by figure modelers).


    Think-180’s “Marine RTO OIF” is actually generic, not specific. This figure has no features, rifle, knife, or gear that really classifies it as a Marine, only the title. Thus Think-180’s figure kit #35009 can also represent an Army “RTO OIF” in MOPP gear. The only certainty is that it’s a conventional Army or Marine RTO, not a US Special Forces radio operator.

    As of this writing, this figure also is the only RTO in MOPP gear. I have seen completed and painted Think-180 “Marine RTO OIFs” that look stunning, a testament to the kit’s sculptor and the figure modeler.

    I highly recommend this figure if you’re looking for a modern radio operator wearing a MOPP suit and engaged in a non-action-oriented conversation.


  • Primed figure photo from Think-180 Studios, used with permission.
  • Think-180 “USMC RTO” painted and photographed by Artur Miniszewski. Photos used with permission for this review.

    Highs: The figure is shown in its element, talking on the radio and can also be used to represent a US Army RTO.
    Lows: The MOPP suit limits the time and place this figure can be used. Some may view the M-16A2 as too large, but since the rifle is molded separate from the gun, it can be replaced.
    Verdict: As the only 1/35 RTO in a MOPP suit, Think-180's figure looks great and scales well with other 1/35 resin figures. Construction is simple and all the parts fit. The figure wears the appropriate gear required for a combat environment.
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: 35009
      Suggested Retail: 14.00 USD
      PUBLISHED: Feb 19, 2007
      NATIONALITY: United States
      THIS REVIEWER: 89.47%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.83%

    Our Thanks to Elite!
    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 Peter Ong (Trisaw)

    I model modern topics, mainly post 1991 Gulf War onwards. My modeling interests include: * Science-fiction/ fantasy * 1/100 Gundam * 1/35 armor * Kitbashed projects * Special Forces * Resin or plastic modern figures * 1/24 Police, fire, medical, and Government vehicles * Rare, unique, ori...

    Copyright ©2021 text by Peter Ong [ TRISAW ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


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