Tuesday, August 19

Review: "Let's go!" with the Alpine Miniatures BAR Gunner US 29th Infantry Division in 1/16th scale...

Although not a new kit by any means we have just acquired the Alpine Miniatures 1/16th scale kit of the BAR gunner from the US 29th Infantry Division in WWII to use in a diorama. As you do not see many of the 1/16th scale Alpine kits in reviews (I haven't seen a decent review of this kit anywhere) we thought before we paint him up we would review him so you can see what he is made of…


BAR Gunner US 29th Infantry Division
1/16th scale
Parts in light grey resin
Alternate head choice included.  
Figure with 2 different head choices.
Sculpted by Ebroin
Boxart Painted by Ernesto Reyes

This figure in the larger 120mm or 1/16th scale from Alpine Miniatures was released last year. We have always like it and Clayton will be using it with his build of the Verlinden FlaK 37 he built last week. We thought before he is all dolled up we could at least show you the package and the form of this resin figure that represents a U.S. BAR Gunner from the famous 29th Infantry Division.
The 29th Infantry division is a well-known US Army unit that has fought all around the world from 1917 in world War I. The division is well known to have been in the first wave of soldiers on shore on “Bloody Omaha” beach on D-Day 1944 and then for their push into France and then on to Germany until the end of the war. It is from this period of time that our soldier has been plucked by the sculptor Ebroin. This figure shows a figure in a colder clime – maybe winter 1944 as he wears both a scarf and woollen gloves and he does not have any of the D-Day flotation devices or other paraphernalia on him.

The patch on the shoulder of the 29th is seen as a ying/yang type of roundel - The shoulder patch of the 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed "29, let's go!"
The figure comes in sealed bags inside the premium Alpine Miniatures box with block card and gold lettering. The padded interior shielded my figure just fine in transport. And the whole package is a nice representation of that luxury or special feel you get when you examine these large scale boxings from Alpine.
Fourteen parts of light grey resin are inside Zip-Loc bags and this includes the choice of two heads with the same facial features. The resin inside is well cast without any residue of release agent. I found a bubble on the back of the helmet but that was the only real imperfection on this resin. There was a mould seam on the right arm which takes a minute to clean up as well. All of the parts are attached to pouring blocks but none of these are in silly or butt-clenching places for removal.
Let’s look at the parts individually now before we put him all together.
The two heads are sporting the same faces – you know I think he almost looks like the actor Larry Hagman with his slightly pushed up nose and squinting eyes with large lips and strong jaw. He has all of the facial figures of the young handsome G.I.

Both choices sport the steel M1 helmet common to G.I.’s during WWII. Both have the straps attached to the top of the helmet but the difference here is the netting on one of the choices of helmets. You can see the pulling of the netting represented in these sculpts.
You can see on this view of the rear of the helmets the one bubble I found on this figure. You can also see the very nicely done camouflage netting pulling and stretching the further it goes down from the crown of the top. You can also see the pitted and roughly painted surface on the bare helmet – both are great choices for this figure..
The torso comes in two halves, upper torso and legs divided at the waist. The upper torso features the GI standard issue jacket over his regulation tunic with a woolen scarf around the figure’s neck and tucked into the front of the jacket.

The jacket is the “Field Jacket, O.D.”  - more widely known as the "Parson's Jacket" or the "M41 Jacket" and it was standard field jacket issued to enlisted and commissioned personnel during the early war although the M43 layered jacket didn’t get to all troops during the war this jacket was commonplace still until war’s end. This jacket can be worn for any European campaign impression. You can see here on the front the two slash pockets and epaulets coming out from under the webbing. You can see in some very nice detail the buttons and detailed latches.
The rear shows the side expansion slits of the jackets running vertically up and down the sides. The jacket is held and pinched under the “X” shaped webbing on this soldier’s back. You can see where the material gathers on the seams and the belt which is again gathered under the cloth belt he is wearing. The warm material of the scarf is evident here also.
The arms of this soldier come together on a casting block – you can see that the left arm (on the right here) is seen with some hollowed out spaces in the arms…
.…Along with the right arm (on the right) that features some cut out space that the butt of the BAR fits into. You will notice as well the texture on the cuff of the jumper in the open jacket sleeves and the button and fabric to tighten up the cuffs on the jacket. The 29th infantry division is here prominently on the shoulder – I guess he could be any US G.I. apart from this marking so if you by chance wanted him to be from another unit you could well remove this easily enough. I would keep this nice detail though. At this scale it’s dead on and helpful come painting time.
The woolen drill pants are pulled with the forward movement of the soldier as he stalks foot by foot cautiously it looks like. You can see from looking at the waist, the M41 jacket popping out from underneath the belt. You can see the buttons on the rear of the jacket and the pulling of the pant material looking very natural here in this sculpt.
When you see the lower and upper body together there are some notched left in the body – these are designed to house the pouched of ammunition for the BAR which the gunners carried on their cloth belts. Although heavy they were well liked by their users and often others in the section carried spare ammo for the BAR gunner. You can see these here – they fit right into the front fuselage of the figure.
You can see here the notches which fit into the front of the torso...
This soldier carries an M1910 aluminium water canteen in it’s cloth pouch made from cotton/canvas with patented "lift the dot" fasteners. Also you see the small squat M-1942 First Aid Pouch as well.
Both of these have notches that fit hem securely onto the torso without the constant pain of them just popping off whilst giving the impression of being a separate entity and not moulded on.

The long jump boots you see here with lovely lace detail. Not only the laces but stitching on the seams of the leather is delicately sculpted here. I like the wrinkled surfaces in the leather and the twisting of the feet inside portrayed in this sculpt.

About his gun for a second – It comes on a separate pouring block along with his gloved hand that is holding onto the barrel as it rests on the soldier’s shoulder. This United States G.I. carries a very important weapon, the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR as it was called for short.
This was a light machine gun developed to give the infantryman more mobile rapid firepower. Designed to be fired from the hip or from a bi-pod mount, this gun gave the G.I.’s the advantage in heavy firepower from the very last stages of the First World War and through the WWII to Korea and the opening stages of the Vietnam War. 
The BAR was given one-to–a-section of GI’s where possible and was a partial counter to the feared light machine guns the Germans carried.

Notice the thick woolen gloves this soldier is wearing which really do place him in the cold of winter somewhere in Europe.

The holes int he barrel - the sights and the detail in the butt and the gloved fingers holding the gun are very nice and add to the realism of the figure.

The strap of the BAR is the last to go on because it is thin and you have to be careful not to break it. After some gentle bending you get it just int he right place. The adjustment holes and catches are delicate and well sculpted.
You can see here the notches in the legs to the boots and the space where the torso locks into the waist with the ammo packs of the BAR masking the gaps. You can see here a mould seam on the bottom of the right arm which I removed in half a minute’s carving.
And here he is all put together – firstly with the bare helmet choice...
...And now with the camo netting on the helmet – both great choices and in place here pretty naturally. 
Well there he is – he is going off in a box to be placed in a dio this week, and we will add some pictures of the completed figure in-situ soon. The figure is a great addition to your winter WWII European diorama/ Vignette. Nice details with accurate sculpting and some fine details in the scarf, clothing and not to mention the face (don’t forget the camo netting) this is a figure that I know has been popular and now I know why.
Another great release from Alpine – more of him in the next few weeks as he is painted up and put into a scene.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine for sending him out – he is available thru Alpine Miniatures Distributors Worldwide

If you would like to see him painted up by the very talented Ernesto Reyes then feast your eyes on what is possible in this gallery from Alpine…