Thursday, March 26

Construction Review: 1/35th scale US Tankers Set (#35271) from Alpine Miniatures

Alpine Miniatures has supplied hungry modellers with two more 35th scale figures this month. A brace of WWII U.S. tankers in summer weight uniforms. One of these figures was set to be perched inside the turret while the other standing outside the tank should enhance most dioramas - we have put them both together for you in our construction review...
Construction Review: 1/35th scale US Tankers Set (#35271) from Alpine Miniatures

US Tank Officer Summer
Kit No #35269
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim

US Tank Commander Summer
Kit No #35270
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim

US Tank Commander Summer Set
Kit No #35271  
(2 figures in the set - both with two head choices)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms  
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
Alpine Miniatures has two new figures for sale, more precisely these are figures from the US Army during World War Two will peak many modeller's interests. Both are sold separately or as a pair for a slightly reduced price. Both of them represent officers in the US Tanker corps and both sport a full body cast in light grey resin. We do not see many figures from Alpine in US guises - so we thought we should up them together in a detailed construction review for you. 

First, however, we thought we would lay some background with a small look at the US Army's Tanker Corps in WWII...
The US Tanker corps during WWII:
Created provisionally in 1940 as Armored Force under Chief of the Armored Force, Brigadier General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. and took control of all tank units in infantry and cavalry units. The armour branch traces its lineage back to the original cavalry units, its first beginnings date from the First World War.

The Armour branch insignia, featuring crossed sabres with an M26 Pershing tank superimposed on top
The US Tankers of WWII made their first appearances in North Africa via the Allied invasion of Morocco in French North Africa during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa, as well as the southern push to meet up with the Commonwealth allies in Tunisia.
Following the successful defeat of the Axis powers under Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel in North Africa, in May 1943, the Armored Corps joined the Allied invasion of Sicily as the spearhead of Operation Husky, and from there - helped the push northwards into the heart of Italy.
After training in England ahead of D-Dy, the US Tank Corps fought from the beaches of Normandy and then later southern France right into Germany in many campaigns.
The US Armoured Corps also fought in the Pacific conflict, with actions all across the pacific, with light and medium tanks, tank destroyers and mobile artillery all being used in the jungles and the volcanic islands on the way through to the end of WWII.
OK - brief overview finished with, we can get down to the figures. 

Construction Review:

Both of them, whether single or in a pair as we have here, comes in a lime green and clear package as we are accustomed to with ALpine's releases, and in this box, the light grey resin parts are kept safely together in zip-loc plastic bags.
What is common to both of the figures is the light grey resin, I could not see any surface imperfections at all in the casting. The figures both have a torso as the largest part and a small casting block that is attached to the smaller parts of the figure that are to be attached to the torso. These are all placed at sensible places that do not require a degree in resin surgery to remove without bricking your pants over deleting any of the surface details. Both of the figures are sculpted by Taesung Harmms, and at first glance, they look very much akin to his sculpting style and high levels of quality control. We will look at them both now singularly and put them together to see everything there is to know about them.


US Tank Officer Summer
Kit No #35269
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim

This first tanker figure of a US Tank Officer in summer uniform comes with the choice of two headgear. Either the first choice of an M1 steel helmet - standard issue to most US soldiers in the field, and also to tankers for wearing when they are anywhere near a combat zone outside the tank, they also needed protection from bullets, shrapnel, not to mention rain and hail! It sports the two bars of the Captain's rank on the box art, but that is only painted on, you can make him any rank of officer you want. 
These officers from WWII-era here each sporting the M1 helmet, notice their rank is signified by the bars on the front of the helmet and the tabs on their collar, just like this fellow.
The details of this face on the man are well sculpted, with ears, eyes, nose passing that "uncanny valley" test of recognition, they look natural enough to my eye and the definition of them means they can be easily painted. The other choice of headgear is the US Tank Helmet M-1938 which was adapted from the pattern of early Gridiron helmets. 
An interesting thing about the tanker’s helmets is that they were actually issued with the tank rather than to each soldier. They were made by four companies; Rawlings Manufacturing Corporation, Sears Saddlery Company, Wilson Athletic Goods Manufacturing Company, and A.G. Spaulding & Brothers. Though essentially built to the same specifications, there were slight variations across the four manufacturers in terms of small details...

This helmet has the same strap and ventilation hole detail as the sculpt I see before me
The figure's torso shows us many details, the officer is wearing his summer weight regulation dress shirt with carefully rolled sleeves, and thick woollen uniform trousers, he wears some of the well -known hallmarks of the armoured corps officers. The soldier's clothing is bent and folded under the straps of his equipment, the officer's pistol in the side holster with two spare  M-1911 .45 ammunition pouch below them being prominent. The pistol and ammo hang on the WWII U.S. Army belt, a cloth OD7 G.I. belt with all brass keepers that clasp together in the waist. The standard-issue 6 x 30 binoculars in their hard, leather case also hang from a strap around his neck, these straps are sculpted partially off the body. This - and the buttons of the shirt and details around the belt clasp are simply amazing to this modeller's eye.
The figure looking from the back show the same attention to detail with the folding of the uniform under the crossed straps on this officer's back and the details on the belt and crumpled, wrinkled thick pants. You can see hanging from the rear waist of the belt the WWII Carlisle field dressing pouch in OD7, and pants that are tucked into the long gaiters that are laced on the sides cover right down over his boots. The boots even show the criss-crossed laces where they poke out from under the cloth of the gaiters.
The casting block that holds the other two parts is also in the zip-loc bag. Both arms, with intricate fingers, a wristwatch that features bands and keeper detail. The left hand of the man is holding the map that he has been studying. 
OK, so a few notes about construction. The sockets of the arm joints fit neatly into the lugs in the torso provided in the sculpt. These fit easily and the lug make the placement of them easier.
The two head choices are also fitted into a lug and socket joint. Be very careful to trim this off the casting block at the right angle or he might look off into the wrong direction!
Here he is together. The body language of the officer is quite neutral, with him looking off into the distance as you can see here by his side profile. The officer's pants are captured just below the knees by the soldier's galoshes, these also go over his laced smart boots.

The first choice - (my first choice anyway) with the M1 steel helmet
...And the alternate with the tanker's padded helmet.



US Tank Commander Summer
Kit No #35270
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
This figure of a US WWII tank commander comes in 1/35th scales, just like his buddy, and he also boasts summer weight clothing. The other thing that this figure has in common is the choice of two headgears for the modeller.

The headgear is the WWII US M1938 Tanker Helmet. Standard issue to all armoured vehicle crews, these were used throughout WWII and Korea. Fibreglass body, with hand-stitched leather liner, goggle hold downs, and headphone provisions. They are made in one size, that will work for 7-7 3/4 by adjusting the drawcord.

In the pictures, you can also see the goggles the tanker has in one of the headgear options.

These look to me like a pair of M-1938 Resistal goggles favoured by pre-World War II aviators and tankers as you can see in the original version in the picture below.
The figure's torso is covered neck - to boots with a one-piece, olive drab herringbone twill coveralls with six metal rivet type buttons to the front and lay down collar. The right breast pocket has a flap. There is a diagonal slash pocket to each hip, a button vertical opening that allows access to the undergarments and a watch pocket beneath the right diagonal slash pocket. 
On the sculpt you can see (just like the real overalls) a pair of pockets are to the rear of the overalls, as well as a tool pocket to the right seam. The belt, with a large square friction buckle, is attached to the rear of the suit, but in this instance, it is covered over with the cloth US GI standard belt. The boots of the tanker are covered at the ankle and go right up to just below his knees over his pantalones and the figure is complete with again a Colt .45 pistol, this time attached to the hip of the belt and some ammo in a pouch on his left.
The belt of the tanker with colt .45 pistol holster and ammo pouches like the one in this picture below
The extra casting block contains three parts, both lower sections of the arms and the separate Colt .45 pistol holster which can be added after the figure is painted if you would like. The lovely treatment of the cloth on the figure is apparent with the wrinkling on the leaves here, along with the hand and finer detail, and watch. The figure also carries an intercom phone in his hand for talking to the other crews and the crew inside his own tank.
Construction notes:
Putting this figure together was just as simple as his other companion. Ten minutes saw him made up thanks to the excellent fit of the extra parts on to the torso.

Again we see the angled joints into the neck socket that allow a seamless gap at the head.
 The same with the arms, which it into the socket/lug joint provided by the sculptor.
The tanker leans forward as he is using his intercom receiver, his left-hand rest high, so it looks like this fella will fit most Shermans pretty well, really any US tank that has a split opening hatch system. You can see by the pictures below that even though this tanker is seen to be sitting inside the turret hatch, he still has a full body right down to the toes. 

The figure without the goggle choice...
The figure with the goggles over his eyes.



US Tank Commander Summer Set
Kit No #35271  
(2 figures in the set - both with two head choices)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms  
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim

These two tankers are also sold as a set, both with yet again two headgears each. Both of them could be used in the same scene, and both have that summer wear that could see them posed in a European or even an Asian scene. 
Although I do not have a Sherman or the correct turret to put hem in, I placed them both in proximity to each other for you to get a feel of how the soldier's gear and poses relate to each other.
Both are excellently sculpted and as you can see in the pictures below this article by the paint jobs from Dr Jin Kim they both finish off very nicely. The high level of quality control in sculpting and engineering of these figures make it easy to turn out something special in your WWII US tanker diorama.

Fans who have been waiting for more nations represented from ALpine should be very, very happy with these two figures.

Adam Norenberg


You can order these two figures separately or as a set as well as any other of Alpine's figures directly from their website if you live in the US, or through their distributors worldwide. There is a sale on right now you should be interested in - 30% off and free shipping within the continental United States!


As an example of how to paint figures well, we have included the boxart painting of these figures by the very talented Dr. Jin Kim

US Tank Officer Summer
Kit No #35269
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim

US Tank Commander Summer

Kit No #35270
The figure comes with two head choices
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
Some wonderful painting work from Dr Jin Kim shows the figure with and without goggles, but also the eyes underneath the goggles!

US Tank Commander Summer Set
Kit No #35271  
(2 figures in the set - both with two head choices)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms  
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim