US Army Ranger - 1980s

Here are progress photos of my first figure in my fictional WWIII series honoring the service of the men who stood the line in the 1980’s.

This is a mid-1980’s Army Ranger platoon leader. The figure is a kit bash from the Masterbox Vietnam “Patrolling” set. The LBE components are from the Tamiya U.S. Army Infantry set, except for the strobe light pouch which is DML. The ALICE pack is from the DML Army Special Forces set.

There are many more details to complete. I plan on doing a vignette with him and an RTO.


I like it. Seems feasible too. Even though the BDU was in full swing by then, We in 10th Group wore those same slant pocket OG-107’s. Stands to reason Rangers still had a stockpile of them as well. A far better uniform IMHO. What do you plan for footwear? We tested a brown Gore-tex boot that was similar in construction to the jungle boot. They were great. Not sure why the Army didn’t adopt them. The post commander at Devens hated it when we wore them in cantonement. Maybe in your scenario the Rangers got ahold of some.


I’ll get into my full rationale when I make a separate thread. The timeframe is 1986. I owe a shout to ReconTL for providing some more insight. He was a Recon Marine in the 1980’s before switching to the Army and spending time in Alaska. He pointed me to the Osprey Elite “U.S. Army Rangers and LRRP Units 1942 - 1987”. I browsed through the book ages ago, but he directed me to a specific photo of 3rd Bat. Rangers on an exercise in Puerto Rico in April, 1986. They’re wearing jungle fatigues and brand new K-Pots. From what I can gather, the Rangers wore OG-107’s and ERDL/RDF as hot weather uniforms until the mass changeover in 1987. This fits my timeframe perfectly for reasons I’ll explain later.

As for the boots, they’ll be wearing jungle boots. Right now my planned lineup is this Ranger vignette set in Central America or Panama and a larger 5th ID in Europe diorama. Who knows when I could complete that; it might be a bit of a pipe dream. I already have an M-113A2 and a full squad in my imagination. I started some 5th ID guys, but I’m a little burned out on painting camo. It’s also hard to find figures with M-69 vests that would be appropriate for the 1980’s. So I figured it’d be easy to hop over to a couple Rangers.

I would, however, like to add a Special Forces vignette to the mix. It’d be cool to mix in some of those wild, one-off items you keep mentioning, as well as some CFP-90 packs.

1 Like

The Ranger Battalions wore the green jungle fatigues essentially full time when the rest of the Army went to BDUs. The ERDL camo was pretty much gone before Grenada and the forming of the Regiment with 3rd Batt.
I know it’s too late now, but it was sleeves down when in the field, hot or cold. And face paint… or the remnants of that stuff…

Your Ranger figure looks really good.

1 Like

That figure just needs a little camo face paint and you’re good to go, but it still looks great as-is.

1 Like

You could see in the old Ranger Clas pictures of way back when, a motley mixture of OG-106s, ERDLs and early issued Woodlands. It would make a CSM have an aneurism. :rofl:

1 Like

I did not know that about the Rangers. We wore sleeves down when it called for it - wait a minute vines for instance.
If you dont want to make any changes to the sleeves that figure would still make a good SF guy. We wore PC’s just like they did. Sometimes…

1 Like

Our old LRS detachment sergeant had helped establish 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions back in the mid 70’s when the Army stood them up. Most of our unit SOPs came from there, and sleeves down and facepaint in whenever we were in the field were two of many of those SOPs that he brought over.


These guys are re enactors, not real Rangers… the photos are from a Grenada re enactment. That’s a C-130J with six bladed props, not the Combat Talon of 1983

1 Like

Could’ve fooled me.


1 Like

They did :wink:

Just look how nice and new the RE guys jungle fatigues look compared to the real guys. Those things grayed out real quick with laundering.
And let’s just say that Urgent Fury was something of a Charlie Foxtrot when it came to the drop. Most of the Rangers were supposed to air land in the original plan, and not jump. Pre H-Hour surveillance of Pt Salinas airfield revealed that the Cubans had put obstacles on the runway so most of the Rangers had to in flight rig for the jump when they got word while flying to the objective. That was one of several reasons that resulted in the drop being from in pre dawn darkness to daylight



Looking at the actual pictures, their fatigues are REALLY faded. :+1:

1 Like

There’s a lot to respond to and comment on, so I’ll do my best to make my response orderly. Keep in mind that this figure is still a WIP with more details to be completed.

I based this figure off of the following well known photo of a Ranger captain:

I’ve been staring at the same dozen or so Ranger photos from Grenada that are readily available on the web for the past couple of weeks. It’s interesting what one picks out with repeated viewings. This one which Stik published is a good example. I puzzled for days trying to remember the SOP for where the 2 Qt. canteen and E-Tool went on the ALICE pack. Then I saw this photo again. Furthermore, if you look close you can see that the officer in the left rear is wearing a pair of M-1967 suspenders.

This is how a command post should look! No banks of computers inside an air conditioned palace.

I know that the Rangers are sticklers for their SOP’s. But it seems that to some extent, the face paint can go either way. There’s the picture of the officer above.

There are these guys in Panama in 1981. Three clearly applied face paint, but the others definitely did not:

Then there’s this guy at the airfield.


There’s this famous photo with the single RTO with no face paint. I’m not arguing what was clearly the SOP - that’s how I was trained too. But everyone hates face paint and after a while it has a tendency of not being reapplied when it isn’t needed.

What gets me is that in all of these photos, the faces are painted, but the necks and hands are not. If they’re going to go through the pain of wearing that crap, they might as well have gone all the way.

You’ve got me on the sleeves. I didn’t really consider that. I was focused on trying to find a figure with jungle fatigues that could be used in this context and didn’t stand out as a Vietnam figure. I’m not going to break the arms off to find another pair and I’m not confident enough in my sculpting to add long sleeves.

What you can’t see in the photos is that the figure’s mouth is open as though he is laughing. My intent is to have him hanging out with his RTO before or after a mission. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that a Ranger in a tropical environment in WWIII might have his sleeves up for a bit while the CO and 1SG aren’t around.

Lastly, here’s the 1986 reference photo:

Based on the quality of the photo it’s hard to tell if they had face paint on and sweat it off, or if they never applied it. One way or the other, their faces are pretty clean.

1 Like

Does anyone make an M-67 RR? I’ve never seen it at any scale. I’d love to pick up a few.


Just when I thought I had seen all the Grenada pics…

I’m glad to see this one. I don’t get many showing the back of the patrol caps and I wasn’t sure if they sewed their name tapes on them or not. I was also puzzling about the cat’s eyes. I figured they had unit specific cat’s eyes for their rucks and PC’s and this confirms it. Unfortunately, I can’t quite make out the pattern!

One thing that does strike me is how raggedy they looked. The captain in the aforementioned photo has strings dangling from his PC. Some of their LBE looks like it was bleached twice over. I know that the LBE was slung low for jump rigging, but it always strikes me as odd to see pistol belts hanging at butt level.

1 Like

I think it’s James Lee on here does the M67 in 1/35 3-D printed.

One more photo from Pt. Salinas for reference with the M67


@Apache26, I noticed you have the same book I have on Rangers and LRRPs.

1 Like

I certainly do, but mine is a reprint and the quality is not nearly as good as the originals. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more on the Ranger Battalions from the 1970’s forward.


Most of the stuff you see out there is from Operation Just Cause onwards. Not a lot of people remember Urgent Fury as much as it deserves.

One good book I have is for Operation Just Cause, where the US Army Rangers really shine.

Really explains it all, from the taking Omar Torrijos airport andRio Hato Airfield by 1st and 3rd Bn, to the rescue of Kurt Muse by DELTA Force and the battle of Comandancia.


Here is the thread with the 3-d printed M67s

3-D M67

1 Like