Monday, November 23

Preview: Alpine Miniatures new 1/35th scale 2nd Armoured WW2 US Tank Commander Set

Figures of American tankers are in fashion of recent times it seems, with many tanks and AFV's from 'Murica in the market why not look at some figures to populate the scene? Alpine Miniatures has two new 35th scale tankers to fit the bill, sold as separates or as a pair, we look at them both in our preview...

Alpine Miniature's latest releases available November 30th 2020

Soldiers of the 2nd 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 2nd armoured division.

2nd Armoured Division "Hell on Wheels" patch...
The 2nd Armoured was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia on 15 July 1940. It was originally commanded by Major General Charles L. Scott, with Colonel George S. Patton in charge of training. Scott was promoted to command the I Armoured Corps in November of that year, which put Patton, now a brigadier general, in command of the division. The Division served with the First, Seventh, and Ninth Armies.
The 2nd Armoured was organized as a "heavy" armoured division, having two armoured regiments of four medium tank and two light tank battalions of three companies each. Along with the 3rd Armoured Division, it retained its organization throughout World War II - the 14 other U.S. armoured divisions were reorganized as "light" armoured divisions, having three tank battalions, each consisting of three medium tank companies and one light tank company. Both types had an infantry component of three mechanized battalions, although the heavy divisions maintained an "armoured infantry regiment" organization.

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 core units of the 2AD were the 41st Armoured Infantry Regiment, the 66th Armoured Regiment, the 67th Armor Regiment, the 17th Armoured Engineer Battalion, the 82nd Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 142nd Armoured Signal Company.

The 2nd Armoured had three artillery battalions: (the 14th, 78th, and 92nd). The Division also had support units, including the 2nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, a Supply Battalion, the 48th Armoured Medical Battalion, and a Band and Military Police Platoon. The Military Police and Band were tasked with headquarters defence of base operations under the banner of the 502d Adjutant General Company (502d AG).

A 2nd AD M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage ''LAXATIVE'' during manoeuvres in England, 1944.
Opened front in North Africa & Sicily
Elements of the division were among the first U.S. military to engage in offensive ground combat operations in the European and Mediterranean theatre during World War II. The 2nd served in North Africa along with her "sister" division, the 1st Armoured. The remainder of Torch's American component were infantry divisions, the 1st, 3rd, 9th and 34th Infantry Divisions. They were part of the Western Task Force of Operation Torch, which landed at Casablanca on 8 November 1942. As the reserve force of the Western Task Force of Operation Husky, the division landed on 10 July 1943 in support of the 1st Infantry Division at the Battle of Gela.[3] Afterwards, the division next went into action in the second landing at Licata, Sicily on 21 July following the 3rd Infantry Division's better-known earlier landing on 10 July. The division then fought through to Palermo.
Normandy invasion
The division then landed in Normandy on 9 June 1944 under the command of then Major General Edward H. Brooks, operated in the Cotentin Peninsula and later formed the right flank of the Operation Cobra assault. It blunted the German attack on Avranches, then raced across France with the rest of the Third Army, reaching the Albert Canal in Belgium on 8 September. 

2nd AD M4A1 Shermans at St. Jean de Daye, France, 26 Jul 1944.
It crossed the German border near Sittard, 18 September to take up defensive positions near Geilenkirchen. On 3 October, the division launched an attack on the Siegfried Line from Marienberg, broke through, crossed the Wurm River and seized Puffendorf 16 November and Barmen 28 November.
Rhine campaign
The Division was holding positions on the Roer when it was ordered to help contain the German Ardennes offensive. The Division fought in eastern Belgium, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The Division helped reduce the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow, and cleared the area from Houffalize to the Ourthe River of the enemy. After a rest in February, the division drove on across the Rhine 27 March, and was the first American Division to reach the Elbe at Schonebeck on 11 April. It was halted on the Elbe, 20 April, on orders. 

2nd AD M4 (76) Sherman with concrete armour. Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 19 Mar 1945.
In July the division entered Berlin-the first American unit to enter the German capital city. During World War II, the 2nd Armoured Division took 94,151 prisoners-of-war, liberated 22,538 Allied prisoners of war, shot down or damaged on the ground 266 enemy aircraft, and destroyed or captured uncountable thousands of enemy tanks and other equipment and supplies.
In 238 battle days, the 2nd Armoured suffered 7,348 casualties, including 1,160 killed in action. The division was recognized for distinguished service and bravery with 9,369 individual awards, including two Medals of Honour, twenty-three Distinguished Service Crosses, and 2,302 Silver Stars as well as nearly 6,000 Purple Hearts; among those receiving the silver star were Douglas MacArthur, Bill Bowerman, Hugh Armagio, Stan Aniol and William L. Giblin. The division was twice cited by the Belgian Government and division soldiers for the next 50 years proudly wore the fourragere of the Belgian Croix de Guerre.

2nd Armoured Division enters Berlin, Jul 1945.

These new figures from Alpine Miniatures:
These two figures are sold separately or as a pair. Both are cast in light grey resin, and both come with the choice of two headgears for each figure (4 in total for the twin figure set of course). We will look at them now as singles, then together as a set.

WW2 US Tank Commander #1
Kit No #35284 
1/35th scale
1 figure w/ 2 headgear choices included
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
The first figure is a sergeant of the 2nd Armoured division from the US Army in WWII. The figure from Alpine is provided with two different headgear choices (with the same face for both). Both sport the M1 helmet, but both have some additions to them that set them apart from each other. The picture above shows the M-1938 tank helmet worn under M1 steel helmet . The photo below shows the M1 helmet with what looks like the Resistal M1938 goggles. 
The M-1938 tank helmet worn under M1 steel helmet choice not only helped with the extra ballistic protection, but gave an extra layer of protection from the cold in winter which it is apparent that this soldier is wearing a warmer uniform to suit colder climes. Combining these two headgears was seldom done in the field. The M1 liner had to be removed for the tanker's helmet to fit properly, which required precious seconds during rapidly changing combat conditions. You might notice the M1 helmet sat very high on the tanker's head as is shown here.

The same face of course for both head choices is here, with an almost surly looking soldier here, a pronounced chin and lips are of note, with very realistic looking facial figures. The second headgear choice is the M1 helmet with the Resistal goggles strapped around them. Popular with tankers and vehicle crews, these were issued during the war until replaced after 1945, 
"Trousers, Combat, Winter" is the correct nomenclature for the "Tanker Overalls" that this soldier wears under his "Tanker Jacket" or "Jacket, Combat, Winter" on his torso. 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. His pants fall down over his boots as you can see here. This soldier also has a pair of binoculars slung around his neck and a small medical pack on his right front hip. 
This soldier below is from the 6th AD, and is seen wearing he tanker's overalls as does this figure. This soldier has the overalls OVER his jacket instead of under it like this figure wears.
Over this tanker's overalls he wears the thick "Jacket, Combat, Winter" (formal name) which was also called the "Tanker Jacket" because it was originally issued exclusively to armoured units. The tanker jacket was vastly superior to the flimsy (and cold) M-41 field jacket resulting in a rapid spread of the tanker jacket to any troops who could get their hands on them. The zipper was more convenient than the button/zipper of the M-41 and the shorter length was an improvement over the longer M-41 for anyone sitting or crouching. Tanker Jackets found their way into the Air Force in both the Mediterranean and Pacific theatres. It was especially favoured by officers and in this case tank commanders who took much of the available supply.

WW2 US Tank Commander #2
Kit No #35285 
1/35th scale
1 figure w/ 2 headgear choices included
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
The second figure, which is also sold with his buddy as a set - also comes with the standard from Alpine Miniatures of two headgear choices, both with the same face but alternate headgear choices for the modeller's choice. One choice is the M1 steel helmet and the other, the M1938 tanker's helmet. He is a full body figure even though he is seen sitting down inside the turret or hatch of his vehicle - this means he could be used in many AFV's, tank destroyers and the like as well as tanks with their smaller hatches. 
It is apparent by the three stripes sculpted into his shoulder by the sculptor Taesung Harmms that he is a sergeant , and the very nicely painting of this box-art figure by Dr. Jin Kim reveals the 2nd Armoured Division patch just above his three stripes. Look at the bending of the figure as he hunches forward and is clothing follows him, bending, scrunching and folding in the right places.
I can't help feeling that the expression on this tank commander's face is a fairly impatient one also, he looks a little to the left, lower side as he examines the scene before him. A totally natural facial expression as holdups do exist - even for tank commanders! He is also leaning slightly to the left, following his eye-line. The M1938 headgear choice is featured here on the soldier below, on top of the helmet is the latter-war style M-1944 Goggles. The M-1944 goggle sets were developed by Polaroid and delivered with three lenses (clear, dark polarizing, red) for dust, wind, and sun protection so you can add your own tint here if you like.
The second choice is the "vanilla" M1 steel helmet, the grainy surface and large dome were synonymous with GI's of WWII. Other points of notice that differ him from his comrade commander is the thick woollen scarf rolled around this tanker's neck. 
In his right hand he holds the WWII Era Shure Model T-17B microphone for talking to the other tanks in his unit. These were used extensively in tanks, aircraft and on other military radios. It has a black Bakelite body with a Shure SW-109 talk switch on the side and metal loop on the top for hanging. Comes with a 5' long rubber insulated cord without jack. Not tested, we are selling this mic "as is" as a prop or collectible.
Tucked into his shoepacs are his trouser legs. The shoepac consists of a moccasin shaped foot of rubber and a laced top, coming well up the calf, of waterproof leather. It is intended to be worn with felt insoles and one or two pairs of wool socks. For its time, it was the best footgear for wear in the colder climates in fall and spring when the temperature is not extreme and the ground is muddy or has slushy snow. They were great for keeping the moisture and mud out and the warmth in and pretty well suited to these tankers in warmer gear.

WW2 US Tank Commander Set
(2 figures)
Kit No #35286 
1/35th scale
(2 figures in the set - both with two head choices)
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Dr. Jin Kim
These two tankers both look a little war weary don't they? They look like the drudge of their everyday is getting them down, and they are running out of patience. That's great - because these soldiers are depicted at war after all! not in combat, but in the other, larger percentage of time which was the driving, waiting and more waiting. These two could be at many places, watching traffic, looking at soldiers passing by or slowly driving up the road.

They are undoubtedly from the same unit at the same time, but dressed just differently enough to be complementary as a set or by themselves used singularly.
These figures are available to buy from the 30th of November

If ordering within the continental United States Alpine provide free shipping if you buy from their website. Find out more about these and alpine's other figures at their website...