Wednesday, October 24, 2007

US Paratroopers Army Update –1: Glider Riders - Never a Dull Moment

Ah, the inglorious bastards of the airborne glider troops. Same risks and hazards as the paratroopers, plus a crappy glider ride, without the sexy boots or jump pay. Ain't war grand? Plus, as a bonus, years after the war some punk kid will jump them all together under a single blog post!

The glider-based units in my army provide most of the heavy weapons and support elements. For my army, that means a Glider Intel & Recon Platoon, an Anti-Tank gun platoon, and a Glider Field Artillery Battery. None of these units were depicted in Band of Brothers, so as long as their base work matched the rest of the force I could do pretty much whatever I wanted to with them.


Glider Field Artillery Battery

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When the job calls for a little more bang than a 75mm shell can deliver, you turn it over to the big boys of airborne artillery. Gun for gun they hit harder than the 75s, and at six tubes to the battery they've got two more guns than the heavy 105s of the ground pounders -- they're like UberMortars!

Right now, the bases look a little sparse -- no rocks or sand bags, very little spare equipment laying around. All that will change when I add the snow. The idea here is that, drawn by jeeps, this mobile unit was pulled into position just moments ago and haven't yet had time to make a mess. The flat open space of their large artillery bases will give me room to model fresh tire tracks in the snow. Later. Some day. After I paint everything.

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The shell casings were made just like the 75mm shells -- plastic rod, with a score line around one end and the other bored out with a pin vice. Here we see something I've wanted to include on an artillery piece for quite a while -- a spent shell being removed from the gun. This was one of the basic shell loader poses, with one hand removed from the shell, the tip cut off, and the metal casings hollowed out just like all the plastic examples. A bit of green stuff hides where he got uglied up when I carved the arm away from the body.

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I did all my normal tricks to these guys, with raised boots and close positioning, bent arms and rotated heads. Here we see one of the loaders with his shell much further into the gun than normal -- all I did was clip off the front of the shell and move his left arm out of the way.

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I do like the opened up ammo box on that one, though.

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By the time I got to this unit, I was (finally) starting to run low on figures, so I didn't have quite as much variety available as I might have wanted. But I did my best, and mixed artillery and AT gun crew with a few basic infantry men. And every gun got a field telephone - riding a glider does come with some advantages.

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The command team for this platoon is pretty basic, though it did involve a bit of arm repositioning.

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And I like the observer team, but its nothing special.

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But I rather taken with the idea I came up with for the staff team:

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When you're on the go, what makes a better staff table than the hood of a jeep? I'll add in a large map on the hood after I paint it all. Even now it has some fun details, like wires for radio and telephone.

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And extra papers, made of little bits of plastic from the blister packs.

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Glider Anti-Tank Gun Platoon

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This fairly straight-forward unit is mounted on nice, matching bases showing simple dug-in positions -- from the spares box I had lengths of plastic logs stacks up that were almost the perfect size. In fact, I used the trimmed-off ends to make the short sections on the bazooka teams. Super glue and sand made a nice, natural build up of earth in front of each little stack, giving these boys just a bit of cover.

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The guns themselves don't involve very much, just my basic mix of as many poses as I can get, trying to work as much action into a rather static scene as I can. Sometimes I get happy accidents -- something went wrong with fitting this guy to the gun, so it ended up looking like he's peaking around the side of the gun shield.

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I didn't use any card board or anything like that to base these guys. Some of them had their base tabs removed to make them a bit more flush to the ground, especially figures between the legs of the gun carriages, but many of them were just glued down, with a little super glue and sand around the edge of their base tab to make the lump more natural.

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Shell casings and stacks of ammo boxes are what links the teams in this platoon together, aside from the low wood-and-earth wall. They were made just like the 105mm shell cases, just using smaller plastic rod -- about 1/2 the size, to be about 57mm in rough scale.

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Maybe I was starting to run out of ideas, but much like the 105mm platoon, this glider command team is a little bit stock:

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But I do like this bazooka team. The prone casting, with its base tab sawn off with a razor saw, was just the right height to take cover behind my low wall. Too bad for the load, though, 'eh?

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To make something distinctive and matching about this platoon's jeeps, I gave them all a coil of rope around the front bumper in addition to other random goodies. Oh, and curse the resin vehicles with cast-on bases. They suck, BF. I'm just sayin'.

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Glider Intel & Recon Platoon

OK, finally more infantry for me to have fun with! Since I could do whatever I wanted to with these guys, and didn't have a big cannon to contend with, I decided they would be scouting their way through a very rough, dense forest.

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This also gave me another opportunity to use one of my favorite modeling materials. Its something I always seem to have plenty of just laying around the ash tray, and its texture paints up as such nice, interesting bark...

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And I still like my little Woodland Scenics stumps. But seriously, with all the layers and undercuts, I think all this is going to look really cool when it has snow on it with stumps and things poking out.

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I did a lot of my half-removed base tab stuff in this platoon. By that, I mean I'd use a razor saw to cut one foot up from the base tab, leaving the other foot attached, and then with some wire clippers I'd hack off half the base tab. That way I still have half a base tab to make a stable gluing point, but I have the other foot loose to place up on some handy object, like a fallen tree trunk. I really think this makes the figure look more dynamic.

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It also lets me do things like above, using change in angle to affect the miniature's stance. By rocking the guy above so far back, I effectively change him from walking along with his rifle pointed at the ground to braced and firing from the hip, like this:

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I did that a few times in this platoon, trying to make as many figures as possible look like they are actually hooting. For what ever reason, Phil at Battle Front likes to show troops walking more than fighting.

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Now, half of the intel platoon are the jeeps, and I had a lot of fun with these. I could usually only cram three guys on a jeep, but I did want it to look as much as possible like the infantry teams had just boarded their own transports. I also wanted to be able to tell the difference between armed, roaming MG teams and unarmed, lurking observers, so I had to include the guns. This gave me the opportunity to do things like this:

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There was lots of cutting, bending, and puttying to make it all come back together. I didn't want to just cram the men and guns on...

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...I wanted the men to look like they were using the gun, like this guy from Old Glory:

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The Battle Front figures could do it, but they required a lot of hacking and gluing to make it happen.

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Ahw, look, the scout thinks he sees something!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I added some pictures to my iPhone on one computer with iTunes synchronizing, and i want to transfer them over to another computer. How do i do this? (its not the camera album pictures i want to transfer, but the photo library pictures)



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