Wednesday, August 14

Preview: Alpine Miniatures new figure - 1/16th scale WW2 US 4th AD "First in Bastogne" tanker

We always look forward to seeing more new figures from Alpine Miniatures & today that happened - a new 1/16th scale GI tanker - one of the "First in Bastogne" from the 4th Armoured Division in WWII. we have a little look at him in our preview...

August  2019 new figure from Alpine Miniatures...

WW2 US 4th AD "First in Bastogne"
Alpine Miniatures 
Figure no# 16041  
1/16th Scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms 
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
The 4th Armoured Division in WWII:
The subject of an American Soldier in WWII must surely be positive to those suggesting Alpine only makes German-centric WWII figures - and this US GI is from one of the most famous units of WWII - the 4th armoured division.
The 4th Armoured Division was an armoured division of the United States Army that earned distinction while spearheading General Patton's Third Army in the European theatre of World War II. The name of this figure "First in Bastogne" comes from the 4th Armoured division's claim that they were the first of the allied troops to enter Bastogne's encircled city after the attack of the Germans in what was called "The Battle of the Bulge" or the "Ardennes Offensive" by the Germans.
Two days after the Germans launched their Ardennes Offensive, the 4th AD entered the fight (18 December 1944), racing northwest into Belgium, covering 150 miles in 19 hours. The 4th AD, spearheading Patton's Third Army, attacked the Germans at Bastogne and, on 26 December, was the first unit (Company C, 37th Tank Battalion led the 4th Armoured Division column that relieved Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge) to break through at Bastogne and relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division.

Some 4th Armored Division tankers working on their M4a3e8 -  these fellows wear the US Armour crew tank tanker hood of the tankers that was very handy in the cold winters of Europe.
The crew of this Sherman Jumbo called ‘Cobra King” pose for a celebratory photo in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium, shortly after the tankers led the armour and infantry column that liberated the town on December 1944.
Six weeks later the 4th AD jumped off from Luxembourg City in an eastward plunge that carried it across the Moselle River at Trier, south, and east to Worms, and across the Rhine, 24–25 March 1945. Advancing all night, the 4th AD crossed the Main River the next day, south of Hanau, and continued to push on. Lauterbach fell 29 March, Creuzburg across the Werra on 1 April, Gotha on 4 April – where the 4th AD liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops. By 12 April the 4th AD was across the Saale River. The pursuit of the enemy continued, and by 6 May the division had crossed into Czechoslovakia and established a bridgehead across the Otava River at Strakonice, with forwarding elements at Pisek. The 4th AD was reassigned to the XII Corps on 30 April 1945.

A tanker in a 1941 publicity shot with all of the elements of this figure, the Tanker hood, the Bib- style overalls and the tanker's jacket over that
The new figure from Alpine Miniatures:
Up until recently, we have seen snippets of this sculpture being worked upon. The new figure, sculpted by Sculpture by Taesung Harmms is the next in the 1/16th range of figures from Alpine. That means that like the other figures in the series this figure will come with two different head choices and a high degree of sculpting attention to detail. You can see the detail in these two pictures of the unpainted figures on the sculptor's bench.

You can see the first of the two headgear choices here - the US Armour crew tank tanker hood, with a cotton khaki cloth shell with OD wool liner.
M1 steel helmet is the second headgear choice, this one is worn over the tanker's hood and it does give the soldier a little more depth to the headgear choice. Not so much worn inside the tanks, the M1 was used more so when the tankers were outside their vehicles.
The figure on the boxart was painted by the very talented Dr. Jin Kim, who has given us some of his best work to date - we will look at the pictures of the box-art version with both headgears. You can see from these two close-up photos below the features that add some interest to this tanker. Note the M1911 pistol holster with the German Iron cross, the sergeant's stripes and 4th AD badge on his short tanker's jacket sleeves.
Tankers Overalls Tank crews had specially designed trousers, helmets and other clothing to facilitate their work in cramped quarters that were always too hot or too cold.
"Trousers, Combat, Winter" is the correct nomenclature for the "Tanker Overalls". This is the companion to the "Tanker Jacket" or "Jacket, Combat, Winter". The trousers were made of the same 8.2 oz cotton shell and wool blanket lining as the jacket, cut in the style of bib-overalls as you can see in the top photo on the page. The first pattern had suspenders stitched to the overalls on both front and back. The second pattern had attachment hardware in front, suspender adjustment clips, plus a groin zipper for relief. There are short zippers at the bottom of each leg to facilitate putting on or removing the trousers with the boots on, along with a two-position snap closure.
This GI wears the long overalls on his torso that are met by galoshes at the lower leg, and these go over the boots that can be seen here with the finest of laces criss-crossing them. On his jacket, you can see from the three stripes of a  Sergeant's rank on his shoulders as well as the 4th armour patch on his left shoulder as well. I like the subtlety the box art painter, Dr Jin Kim, has painted on the pattern of the scarf of the soldier that is seen kind of billowing to the side (the sculptor's flourish) here – it’s very good work and really brings out the individuality of this sculpt.
Over his shoulder, he is carrying a preferred weapon of the tankers in the short M3/M3A1 “Grease Gun”. The trademark of motorized troops in the ETO in late WWII, the M3 .45-caliber submachine gun. The M3 was chambered for the same .45 round fired by the Thompson submachine gun, but was cheaper to produce, and lighter, although contrary to popular belief, it was far less accurate. This myth stems from a US army training film portraying the M3 as more accurate than its counterparts. The M3 was commonly referred to as the "Grease Gun" or simply "the Greaser," owing to its visual similarity to the mechanic's tool.
Intended as a replacement for the .45-caliber Thompson series of submachine guns, the M3 began to replace the Thompson in first-line service in mid-1944. Due to delays caused by production issues and approved specification changes, the M3 saw limited combat use in World War II.

This new figure is now available from the Alpine Miniatures site in the USA and from their distributors in the rest of the world