Monday, January 15

Construction Review: Alpine Miniatures 82nd Airborne "All American" Bust in 1/16th scale

Alpine Miniatures gives us their second bust in 1/16th scale - and this one looks ready to jump out of a plane! See how this figure of an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper stacks up in our construction review...
Construction Review: 82nd Airborne "All American"
From Alpine Miniatures
1/16th scale
Original Sculpture by Jorge Scorciaffico / Conversion by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Sung Hak Yun & Dr. Jin Kim

Product Link on the Alpine Miniatures Website

This new bust from Alpine Miniatures features a paratrooper of the 82nd Airbourne regiment at the time of late WWII. this is the second in their series of busts that look to capture a new audience. We had a look at the first in this series of an Officer of the 116th Pz Div "Windhund" from Alpine Miniatures recently - today the intrepid US paratrooper of the "All American" is the subject of the sculpt.

"Show me a man who will jump out of an aeroplane, and I'll show you a man who'll fight."
-LTG James Gavin, Commander 82D ABN DIV

This sums us the ethos of a lot of the men jumping out of aircraft just to fight the enemy in WWII. These men of the 82nd airborne trained rigorously to jump into the fight in several operations in WWII. They fought in Sicily in the US invasion as a part of Operation "Husky", in Salerno in "The Oil Drum Drop", in the Anzio invasion in Operation "Shingle", the D-Day Operation "Neptune", also in Holland in Operation Market Garden before fighting on foot in the Ardennes and then as part of the occupation forces in Germany.

82nd Parras in Tunisia in a rare colour photo
Fitted out in unique and modified infantry gear, these paratroopers are pretty popular with modellers, so the subject is already interesting. Let's look at the bust in the package and put him together in our review...
The package is the usual lime green and clear plastic box from Alpine Miniatures, the parts are captured in a zip-loc plastic bag that makes sure all is not lost in transit or if any parts are broken off they don't fall into the cracks.

There are eight parts in total in light grey resin in the kit. These are bubble-free on the figure's surface, and no real seams or flash are a problem if there at all. The parts are connected to a casting block which is part of the process of making the pieces. These are all pretty simple to remove in this case, with only a few delicate cuts and bits to separate from the blocks. The parts clean up took only about ten minutes for me in total (if that).

Looking at the parts of the figure we will start from the top and work our way down - so that two headgear choices are naturally first.

This bust captures the face and body of a GI from the US "All-American" 82nd Airborne Division. As a bit of a trademark Alpine Miniatures features two headgear selections in each of their releases. These feature the same delicate face sculpting, but the helmets the figures are wearing are different. Both choices feature the famed M1  helmet, but the covering is different on each of them.

The helmet choices are very similar, even down to the netting of ver the M1 helmet. The difference in choices is that the helmet on the left-hand side features the First Aid Kit strapped to the front of it. This kit was issued to airborne and glider troops as a supplement to their regular first aid kits. The original packets contained a field dressing, a tourniquet and a morphine syrette. The packets were tied to the helmet, uniform or equipment. 
M1C Paratrooper Helmet - this replaced the M1917A1 helmet in June of 1941. The shell was painted in an OD#7 green colour with a rough textured finish. Shade variations exist on original helmets from a light pea-green to almost black. Below is the helmet with the medical pack on it on the left, and a simple netted M1 helmet with some burlap camouflage added to the netting on the helmet on the right - both of thee are repro-helmets so the wear of them would be different in a wartime look.
A wonderful job of sculpting this netting is shown on the various views around the figure - I don't know how the sculptor, Jorge Scorciaffico (with conversion work by Taesung Harmms), does it - wow.
The largest part of this kit id the bust of the figure. The bottom of this has a few roughly cut stems that need to be tidied up with a knife which takes only a minute or two, then the round stand that is included with the kit simply glues to the bottom of that torso.
Here is the torso of the figure - as you can see it is all in one piece, with the right hand of the figure holding what is soon to be revealed as the rifle strap for his M1 Garand rifle. The jacket that the paratrooper is wearing is the M1942 Paratrooper Jacket is featured on this bust torso - This was an improvement of the earlier clothing worn during early airborne operations in North Africa and Italy, the Airborne uniforms were found to be lacking in several areas, most notably strength. The riggers of the 82nd and 101st each came up with a similar though not quite an identical fix. A heavy, olive drab canvas was used to make elbow and knee patches, and reinforce the edges of the cargo pockets.

An authentic WWII jacket is seen her with several of the same things that this torso features, the button up pockets that were learge enough to house a lot of things the Parras needed to carry, also o the right is the 82nd logo patch that this kit features.
The cloth bandoleer of the M1 Garand ammunition wraps around the figure's waist
Although you cannot see a lot of the lower part of the jacket in this sculpt this side by side comparison shows the collar and the split on the rear of the centre of the jacket as it runs down.
The right arm shows the use of the US flag used for easy identification by fellow soldiers and civilians to the unfamiliar US uniform the riggers/ Paratrooper leather tan gloves are another feature of this figure I liked a lot. The horsehide gloves had a rough exterior and a soft inside finish for comfort. 
The gloves provided not only protection from the elements but also were durable and tough enough to provide the hands with a layer of protection against heated gun barrels, harness straps and protected against abrasion and cuts to the hands. This type of armband was typically used by US Paratroopers for example in North Africa (1942), on the D-Day invasion in Normandy (June 1944) and during Operation Market Garden (September 1944). The armband was fixed to the uniform with a safety pin.
The rifle (the tip of the rifle anyway) is meant to be an M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle. Also on this resin casting stub is the rounded off chinstrap and the straps that attach to the helmet.
The method of chin strap attachment is via a tack stitch to the loops of the shell. The steel shell was worn over the liner. There were multiple types and makes of liners, with many variations. Here is the underside of the figure's face to show where you can attach the straps.
The figure ready for final construction - Only one set of chinstraps means you need to choose the helmet you want to use and glue those straps on for keeps at this point. 
OK - so here he is with the helmet without the medical pack on his helmet - note the cigar he is cheweing in his left sode of the motuth - retty bad-ass.
Secondly here he is with my preferred helmet choice - note the fine details of this figure while we walk around it, the netting on the helmet, the medical pack and the squashed fabric around that. the fine, regular holes on the rifle strap.

The chin straps give just that much more depth to the figure, with both the 82nd and the US flag on the shoulders, the fine burlap camo on the helmet, the nicely made rifle that looks like the real thing.
Here is the figure side by side with the other release so far in this range - they look comparable in details and fine sculpting finesse.

Even though I am not that much into busts I can see the real appeal of this kit. The sculpting and adaptation work is best in class, as is the attention to detail and lifelike drape, pinch and look of the clothing and equipment. The faces are great with a lot of charchter.

A great addition to the Alpine 16th scale bust range - great for Paratrooper lovers and US army fans in particular.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Alpine for sending this kit to us to review. This release is now available from the Alpine Miniatures Website and also from their distributors worldwide

This bust is here painted up in two different head choices by our great friends Sung Hak Yun & Dr. Jin Kim