1st platoon (which I modeled almost at the end of the project, naturally) was one of the more streight-forward units to build. In fact, with a few exceptions, I was almost struggling not to give
into the temptation to just glue the little buggers down. I still wanted to customize each piece as much as I could, despite the simple nature of the scene. For first platoon, that scene would be the assualt on Foy. Pretty simple, when you consider that this assault was basically just an advance over open ground towards an enemy held village. So, how do you work any character into that?
I took another look at that scene in Band of Brothers, looking for anything that really stood out. Of course, every one remembers Lt. Dyke crapping out behind the hay stack, and Lt. Spears jumpting to the rescue, but I had already used these moments to model Spears and Dyke (I'll show ya later). There was a fence along one side of the advance, so I could make use of that for a little detail. I could probably get away with modeling just a hint of the tree line they were moving out of, but I didn't want to do too much with that to keep 1st and 2nd platoons distinct from each other. I really didn't have a lot to work with one this one -- nothing like a German gun battery to assault through!
We'll start by looking at the fence, since it is the only significant modeling feature on this platoon's base work -- most of them just got my standard mud coating. I started out by marking the position of the miniatures and the fence posts on the blank infantry stand. Then using a wide-dead drill bit I dug fence post holes about half way through the base -- not enough to really hold the posts, just enough to give the glue something to hold on to. Then I took tooth picks and cut them to length, using a miniature to give me a roughly accurate fence post sort of height, and glued these into the holes. While the glue was still wet I sprinkled a little sand over it to soak it up and give it a little reinforcement.
Once the glue was dry, I took thin copper wire (I think I stripped it out of an old washing machine power cable) and strung it up, wraping it around the fence posts, changing sides with each pass. I wound it as tight as I could on each post and secured it with a little drop of glue. And there was my fence! I lined up several bases and marked them all at once to keep the fence running in a more-or-less streight line accross the platoon. Once each section was strung up, it was generally a simple matter of glueing down the miniatures.
For the bazooka man moving through the cut section of fence I did the same thing, but left
extra-long strands of wire hanging loose from the cut section. Then, after the miniature was in place, I could cut them to the desired length and position them against the figure in a naturally-hanging way. These were also secured to the miniature with super glue.
I had a few more of those tree-stump castings left, so I decided to include a line of them along the back edge of the rear rank of infantry stands, just to give a subtle impression that the platoon was moving out of its cover. Also visiable here are some spent shell casings. Yes, I know they are a bit too long and slightly out of scale, but when painted I think they will still work and give the impression that he's firing the BAR -- and before anyone says anything, I know damn well that the TO&E for a PIR doesn't include any BARs. Do you honestly think those boys didn't do any scrounging?
With as little scenic detail as I was including on this platoon, most of the detail and interest was going to have to come from the character of the men as depicted in Band of Brothers. As always, I was shuffling things around to fit the historical roster, but a few of them really stand out. Starting with the command elements, we have my Lt. Foley (inspired by a pose from Sgt. Lipton, in this case)...
...and Lt. Peacock, lost as always despite the little foil map I've given him:
I would also like to point out the other soldier's radio. Based on a casting from Resistant Roosters, in the scene from the miniseries this guy had the radio, so he does here, but the Rooster don't make anyone in an overcost with an SCR-300, so this guy got one from the bitz box glued to his back, with a quick wire antenna and putty straps.
Speaking of added details made with putty, check out Sgt. "Bull" Randleman here:
The scene is a bit out of place here, being lifted from Normandy, but hay -- that's where the man fell in the roster. Anyway, everyone's paratrooper castings were all fit and trim, and I needed Bull to look a little husky, so I built up has face and back with a bit of putty. I think it worked OK, but we'll see how it paints up -- the line on his face is a bit harsh, and he might come out looking more like Santa Clause.
This platoon included a number of small changes and details, such as this unlucky soldier:
...someone carrying a big heavy ol' .30 cal...
...and some kind of feed trough (made with scraps of plastic card):
You may also have noticed the high concentration of men wearing heavy field coats. These castings all come from Resistant Roosters, and ended up here because they weren't posable enough to be used with 3rd platoon and weren't seated enough to work well in 2nd. But they look pretty good with 1st, so there you go.
In terms of character, probably the best piece in this unit is this one, #119:
Inspired by a scene during the Market Garden operation (I think it was in the episode "Replacements," but I'm too lazy to look it up now) it depicts three soldiers evacuating their wounded buddy on a liberated door. The castings all required various degrees of repositioning to bring their hands together to hold onto the door -- or to lay on it, as the case may be -- with putty filling in the gaps. The door itself was taken from an HO scale out-house.