Wednesday, April 1

A brace of new 101'st paras in 35th from Alpine Miniatures "drop"

Always a favourite because of their rarity in the hobby, US Paratroopers are often sought after by modellers, and when Alpine Miniatures are making a new set in 35th scale - well... See a little bit more about this latest release, the gear & history of the unit in our preview...

Alpine Miniatures four new products for April 2020.

Taesung Harmms has sculpted both of these figures in 1/35th scale, and they are sold as separates or as a set. We will look at both of them alone and the weapons and equipment they carry before we look at them as a pair and how they fit together as a set. 
First, a short history of the 101st "Screaming Eagles" parachute division. 

U.S. 101st Airborne Division Shoulder Flash.
First, I thought I would give you an overview of the Screamin' Eagles WWII service, and show you some of their uniforms and equipment along the way...

The 101st Airborne in WWII.

The two 35th scale paratroopers belong to the US 101st Airborne Division in WWII. This unit is one of the most famous of the US divisions during the war and it is still in service. This unit was made even more famous of recent times by the Mini-series "Band of Brothers" "What's the goddam hold-up Mr Sobel?", this unit had many famous images attached to it from the battlefields of France, Belgium, Holland & Germany during WWII.
The 101st Airborne Division (the "Screaming Eagles") is a specialized light infantry division of the US Army trained for air assault operations. The 101st Airborne Division has a history that is nearly a century-long. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings and airborne landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France), Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands and its action during the Battle of the Bulge around the city of Bastogne, Belgium.

The 101st American Airborne Division officially activated on August 16, 1942, and made its debut at the base of Camp Claiborne, in the State of Louisiana, later moving to Fort Benning, Georgia where the division trained before moving to the UK in time for the D-Day invasion of the European continent.

This shot of "Ike" talking to the troops before D-Day is perhaps the best known of the 101st during the war.

101st on D-Day
On the night of June 5-6, 1944, the paratroopers of the 101st jumped into Normandy to seize a variety of bridges, strategic junctions and villages, in order to secure the western allied invasion flank as part of Operation Overlord. Above the Cotentin Peninsula, the C-47 aircraft the 101st travelled in were heavily targeted by the German Flak, many aircraft were hit or forced to fly low or off course and so many of the division did not land in the right place. Some more than 20 kilometres away from their drop zone.

The 101st's commander General Taylor, gathered a handful of officers foot soldiers to attack the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont in a noted action on the day. At the end of the morning of Tuesday, June 6, 1944, the airborne troops made the junction with the troops coming from Utah Beach from the 4th Infantry Division.
On June 10, 1944, the 101st Airborne Division was to seize the village of Saint-Côme-du-Mont and on June 12 the Carentan crossroads (connecting Utah Beach and Omaha Beach) when the German counter-attacked. After heavy fighting, the two American bridgeheads became joined on the 14th June. For nearly three weeks, the 101st Airborne Division remained on the Normandy front. At the beginning of July, it was ordered to return to England in order to prepare a new offensive in Holland.

Paratroopers of the US 101st Airborne Division holding a Nazi German flag captured in a village near Utah Beach, Saint-Marcouf, France, 8 Jun 1944
Operation Market Garden.
Operation Market Garden was a large airborne and ground offensive in Holland, which was planned to allow the Allies to seize the bridges on the Rhine. Launched on September 17th, Market Garden 20,000 allied paratroopers jumped into the Dutch sky. The 101st is responsible for liberating several cities (including Antwerp) and villages ensuring the front line. The unit suffered several casualties in this operation, mostly from German counterattacks.
Men of the 101st Airborne Division inspect a broken glider, September 1944 during Operation Market Garden.
In December 1944 A fresh German counter-offensive was launched. The "Ardennes Offensive", the "Battle of the Bulge" or in German "Wacht Am Rhein" saw several elite German divisions counterattack between the US and Commonwealth forces in a dash for the Elbe river. The 101st was thrown in to combat to help shore up the line around the Hurtgen forest and the crossroad town of Bastogne. Isolated from help for several days, short on food, suitable clothing and medical supplies, the 101st division suffered extreme cold and the German onslaught but refused to surrender. When offered an honourable surrender by the Germans a now-famous was given my General McAuliffe (pictured below).

To the German Commander.
The American Commander.

The German major appeared confused and asked Harper what the message meant. Harper said, "In plain English? Go to hell." The choice of "Nuts!" rather than something earthier was typical for McAuliffe. Vincent Vicari, his personal aide at the time, recalled that "General Mac was the only general I ever knew who did not use profane language. 'Nuts' was part of his normal vocabulary."

Two soldiers of US 101st Airborne Division manning a forward post near a road, near Bastogne
Although General Patton and his 3rd Army took credit for the relief of Bastogne none of the soldiers of the 101st saw it as that. The 101st Division then received the Presidential Unit Citation, issued by the President of the United States himself, for acts of bravery in Bastogne.

A staged picture from the soldiers of Bastogne
"The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" as the 101st called themselves.

On to Germany & War's end.
In April 1945, the 101st Airborne Division was sent to Germany to clean up the resistance pocket in the industrial region of the Ruhr. The Allies decided to leave the city of Berlin to the Soviets, so most of the American divisions were moved south. Thus, the 101st Airborne is sent to fight the last faithful of Hitler near the city of Berchtesgaden, rumoured to be one of the last hold-outs of various members and soldiers of the Nazi party.
The airborne soldiers spent their days hunting members of the Nazi leadership that had gone into hiding and after the German surrender occupying the town. On the 1st of August, the 42d Infantry Division relieved the 101st, which moved back to France to train for a possible airborne assault on Japan. These plans were cancelled after the Japanese surrender, and the division was deactivated 30 November 1945 in France.

One of the victorious 101st Airborne Division enjoying the view and a cognac at Berchtesgaden in 1945.

US 101st Airborne Officer
1/35th scale
Cast in light grey resin 
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
The first of this brace of figures wear the eagle of the US 101'st airborne division. One of the most famous units of WWII, and especially dude to a recent TV show, much favoured among modellers. Each of these two figures, cast in light great resin in 35ths scale comes with an alternate choice of headgear to better individualize them in the scene you are planning. Of note on this picture below is the large and long canvas WWII US Army Map Case. A US Army field gear item it was issued to officers or individuals in a leadership position. The case has a shoulder strap and a series of small openings to hold pens and pencils. This bag is usually seen with the officer in charge. The date has been black ink stamped to the inside of the flap.
Both of the US Parachutinsts have M1 steel helmet of WWII era, both of these helmets wear a netted cover to hold camouflage or break up their outline. One of them has some burlap already sewn through the netting. The helmet is a little like the one on this in the picture below from the 326th - part of the 101st in Bastogne in 1944. You can see the Screamin' eagle emblem on this Sargent on the left also - just like the sculpt.
You can see that this paratrooper is wearing the regular battledress of the US Paratroopers, with the square chest pockets at an angle denoting this as an M2 Jump Suit. The classic American paratrooper uniform of WW2 was the M42 jumpsuit. Designed by LTC William P.Yarborough, they featured characteristic slanted below's pockets and flaps secured by two snaps on each flap, Wear began in 1942 and ended sometime in 1944. The 101st M42 suits were turned-in after Normandy, to be replaced by green M43 combat suits for the duration of WW2.
The soldier carries a very common weapon of the Airborne, the M1 Carbine. This one has the folding stock that was favoured for vehicle bourne or Paratroopers of the time due to its small size when folded. When the M1 Carbine finally went into production in 1941, it became a hot property. The carbine’s safety was a simple push-button sited on the front of the trigger guard and behind a similar control that released the gun’s 15-­round magazine. In the heat of battle, it was found that many soldiers mistakenly hit the mag release instead of the safety, unwittingly dropping the magazine. This problem was later rectified by the drop-­in modification of a lever-­style safety. A simple flip-­over L­shaped peep sufficed for a rear sight, though a more sophisticated dial-­operated unit was eventually designed for the gun. 
You can see also that this figure wears the Airborne Rigger's modified M42 jump trousers with an added strip of treated canvas to the edges of both cargo pockets. The rear of the back of the figure shows a canvas-covered entrenching tool and water bottle on the rear of the belt, with straps for his gear really finely sculpted and cast here that give the figure even more depth. 

US 101st Airborne Trooper #2
1/35th scale
Cast in light grey resin
The pictures show the figure with 2 different heads.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
This second figure has more than a little in common with his partner we have already looked at. Sculpted again in 35th scale by Taesung Harmms and cast in light grey resin, this figure is also a member of the "Screamin' Eagles", this time the single stripe on his shoulder under the eagle denotes him as a corporal. he has again the choice of two headgear, slightly different to each other - a staple of this brand. 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.
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.
Again, this soldier wears the M42 Jump Suit. You can see the slanted below's pockets and flaps secured by two snaps on each flap
This trooper carries with him the M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle. This was the primary weapon for most U.S. soldiers throughout World War II. It shot .30-'06 bullets from an eight-round clip, and a paratrooper might typically jump with 136 total rounds of ammunition. The rifle had a maximum effective range of 440 yards, but could still do damage in excess of 1,000 yards. What really made the Garand so effective was its semi-automatic firing. He is seen resting his rifle to the port, ready, but casual, so you would think this is a soldier behind the front line in his mannerisms.
The M42 trousers with the toughened patches on the knees are tucked into Russet "Jump Boots" -  the signature of the airborne forces in WW2. The sculpt showing the legs wrinkled up quite a bit as they bend and fold to fit into his pants. The US general-purpose ammo bag is slung around his torso and pinch and fold the cloth the interact with very naturally, just like his webbing that criss-crosses his back. The Paras applied knee patches to their trousers and attached tie-down tapes of 3/4" khaki web material to the inseam of each thigh. The tapes could be wrapped around each cargo pocket and tied, (as shown in this figure) to help secure the pocket's contents. In his webbing, he carries the water bottle, an entrenching tool on his rear.

US 101st Airborne Set #2 
1/35th scale
Cast in light grey resin
The pictures show 2 figures with 2 different heads each.
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms / Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
(2 figures)
These two figures undoubtedly come from the same unit, they look very much like two members of the same squad. Both int he same weight clothing and the correct gear to be either a Normandy up until Market Garden soldier, some of the more popular times in dioramas for modellers.
The rear of the soldiers - something similar but different. This is another thing that research from the sculptor and forethought brings to make a successful and cohesive set.
If you like these they are released today - 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.