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U.S. Marine TOW Team


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I'm building a small diorama (or a vignette more appropriately) featuring a marine anti-tank team equipped with a TOW missile. Basically I'm going to use Dragon U.S. Marine Tank-Killers set (#3012), just without the guy with M47 Dragon. Working title is "TOW team training in Middle East", which pretty much explains what it is all about. I chose the training setting to avoid figuring out in which war a TOW team could have fought and what a realistic war time firing position might look like. Currently I'm planning to either surround the team with sand bags or just add some higher ground in front of the team, giving them some cover (and most importantly, to add interest).


Now, I was hoping you could answer some of the questions that have risen:


1) I believe the figures are correct for late 80s but would they also pass for Gulf War?

2) If not, when and where such a team might have operated, considering the desert camo?

3) If firing live missiles, would the team be in a firing position as described above or just on flat ground (considering safety regulations)?

4) Would the soldiers be carrying personal weapons? I'd like to add a M16 or something to add interest.

5) If so, where would they place them while operating the missile?


I've of course tried to google for pictures, but most of them seem to feature a vehicle mounted TOW (no wonder considering the weight) or the setting and timing are unclear.


Any help is highly appreciated, also any other comments or suggestions.

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1. Yes, All the gear pictured was used by Soldiers in Desert Storm.

2. Fort Erwin, CA.

3. That firing position (IMHO) would only be fired from during training. There is no frontal or overhead cover.

4. Yes, the butt stock of the weapon has to be positioned over the left shoulder.

5. Same as above or on the ground within reach.

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Thank you both for your answers. They seem to confirm I'm on the right path. And Mike, you're absolutely right. I stumbled upon one particularly interesting video earlier which helped quite a bit. Most importantly it explained why there are no personal weapons visible in most of the photos. They seem to be couple of meters from the missile and out of picture. I still have some details to figure out and especially I need to find a way to make the firing position both realistic and interesting.


I'll report back when I've something to show. Don't hold your breath, though.

Edited by Squatty
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Sounds fun. Looking forward to seeing this.


I have had an interest in doing something similar but showing the missile actually being fired so that you can see the missile in action. Thought about TOW, Dragon, Stinger, etc.


Since then I have seen a few pieces depicting what I was thinking about. Sometimes just the vehicle firing with no figures. I think that extra set of "in motion" adds a lot to the overall view and really sells the story.


Course, just my opinion.

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just to open up your options, the basic "chocolate chip" DCU uniform as depicted on the box art is still very similar to the BDUs worn at that time and if you just paint the uniforms in woodland vs. desert, you can do a vignette in the European theater like Kosovo. During this time, the only real differences between Marine Corps uniforms and Army uniforms were the unit patches worn (nothing on USMC, varying unit patches on Army) and the camouflage band on the helmet. The Marines seemed more lax about the elastic band and the Army always wore the band on the helmet. A senior NCO would probably shoot you if you didn't have one on!


The only other difference in uniforms would be the way the sleeves were rolled up, which isn't an issue in a combat or weapons training environment.

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