Hesco Barriers

Mil1 Set1

Kit : # LWM004

Review by Marc Mercier

This subject is not exactly a mainstream one in the contemporary modelling community, but I find the set nonetheless very useful.
These modern gabions, called HESCO bastions, are something you see more and more wherever Western armies are deployed. They have become a common sight in every compound in Afghanistan or Iraq and even during training in Europe or America.
HESCO earth-filled barriers are rapidly deployed defensive units that can be surface mounted and provide protection against threats, both natural and man-made. It is made of a collapsible wire mesh container and heavy duty fabric liner and used as a temporary to semi-permanent levee or blast wall against explosions or small-arms.

The idea behind the hesco is quite simple : the empty wire containers, all linked in one long chain, can be transported into the deployment area, being properly folded in a classic sea container. Once in theatre, the engineers deploy the quantity needed and, using a bucket loader, quickly fill these with locally found soil like sand, stones, etc.... giving the troops an instant blast protection. Individual units can be obtained by taking out the connection rods.
You can see the process here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesco_bastion.

This concept was originally developed by a British company in the late 1980s. Since then, it has been copied by several other manufactures, which results in a great variety in sizes, colours and wire patterns available. This picture gives you a nice example what combinations can be found in the field.

This set gives you 6 individual gabions with a slight, typical deformation all around. So, should you want to put these into one long line, you'll have to file the connecting sides flat so they fit properly, giving the impression that they are linked together.

Just putting them one next to the other doesn’t look right :

The wire mesh is nicely reproduced and the few (small) air bubbles that can be seen are no disaster.

However, when looking at a real ”filled” hesco, you often see the sides bulging out a little bit in the middle, certainly when filled with sand or small stones. This effect is missing here.
Lonewulf has avoided a monotone look by giving each container a different top textures. However, some of these have quite large holes which, in reality are only present if filled with big stones. I certainly will detail the top sides with some extra fine sand to get a more gritty effect.

HESCO gabions are produced with different heights, varying from 1.37m (54") to approx. 2.74m (108"), optimized for specific functions (e.g. a simple parapet or a complete bunker). These in the set are 2 cm (0.78") high, so in real life these would be 1.44 m (56") which is within the limits.

I’d have preferred this set to contain some gabions closely connected into one longer wall and maybe one with some damage (e.g. with a hole and liner poking out of it) to have a big more variation. But as this set is labelled Mil1 Set1, maybe someday we'll see Set2 offering just that?


A very useful set for modellers of contemporary vehicles who want to add something different to their vignettes.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 18 July 2015