I also started thinking about what I'd do with the other gun teams that would eventually make up the entire collection, namely the glider-crewed short 105s and the big 105s of the ground-pounders. I decided that it would look cool to model their bases to represent the sort of terrain that gun might have been positioned in. More on this later, but what that boiled down to was making the bases for the Pak 75s the most rugged, the heavy 105s the most permanently emplaced, and the light 105s sort of in the open, as if their jeeps had just dropped them off. For this platoon, a semi-rugged firing position is suggested by modeling the guns pushed up to the edge of a low ridge.
I don't have any shots of this platoon before I put the coffee on them, but I still used my old trick of cutting out a few layers of card and covering about 1/2 of the top of each base with it. The front edge of this card layer formed a bit of a miniature cliff face towards the front of each base, which I faced with small pieces of rock. I tried to glue them onto the base at a slight angle to create a small overhanging shelf. That way, when I put the snow on at the very end there would be a small clear area and you'd be able to see under the rock shelf and it wouldn't just look like a snow drift. I used super glue and sand to hide the joint between the rock and the card board and then went about adding the guns and crew. This profile shot gives about the best view of this as I've got:
Most of the figures were just glued down to the top layer of card, unless I'd thought up a clever way to model yet another soldier with one foot up on top of something. I wanted to get a lot of interaction around the guns, with men standing on the trails, loading shells, removing shell casings, and anything else I could think up. I got a good bit of millage out of working a crew member up against the wheels of the gun carriage or up onto the exposed lip of rock.
To visually link all the teams together, everyone got a large storage crate of ammo, and plenty of spent shells. I made the shells for this platoon from plastic rod, roughly to scale for a 75mm shell. I cut small lengths of rod for each shell, and used an xacto blade of lightly score a ring around the rear end of each. Then I used a pin vice to hollow out the center of the rod, leaving an empty canister. This was, let me assure you, a pain in the ass, especially since each gun would need four or five shells.
The gun crews are a mix of just about every gun crew type of American Battle Front make: paratrooper artillery and mortar crew figures were used for most, but there are a good helping of basic American artillery and anti-tank gun crew figures, as well as a few intended for basic infantry duties.
The command team for this unit is based on a scene of Winters trying to explain the plan of attack to Dyke. It didn't have anything to do with artillery, but it did make for a decent scene to model. I made the map board out of a small piece of plastic card, with lead foil from a whine bottle glued on and folded back to look like a wrinkled map. Their heads were slightly rotated so the two officers would be looking at each other, and a little bit of green stuff cleaned up the seams after I repositioned their arms to hold the map board. The base got the same "lip of rock" treatment as the guns, with a spent shell (hidden in this view) to tie it into its platoon.
The staff team for this battery was a lot of fun to do. Based on a scene in the HQ tent just before a mission, with officers going over a map, it seamed like a good place to put a little more rear-echelon detail into this force.
There were some arm and head position adjustments to make everyone look at each other funny, as well as some table details, like the extra papers made of foil, and a sidearm shaved off of a model. Both that and the pack of smokes on the table are details right from the show -- I love that kind of thing.
I went nuts with the details around the table on this one. I set lower rocks onto the base without any cardboard, trying to make it look like the staff team was just down the hill from the guns. Some of the items are pretty generic, like packs and ration boxes:
But others are more specific. Resting on the platoon's standard matching ammo box is my representation of an electric signaling light used by observation teams during the war:
Speaking of observation teams, I based this platoon's Observer on the scenes in the forward OP bunker in Band of Brothers. Covered in logs and down in a deep fox hole (made from layers of card and sand, smoothed on the outside with epoxy paste) this would really match well with 2nd Platoon:
And the top comes off to reveal the team inside... along with Joe Toye's boots drying on the back edge.
Finishing off the artillery battery is their supply container. Rather than use another cart, I made these two guys drag the parapack along the ground. Besides the green-stuff pack, there was just a bit of arm repositioning and a few straps to model. I also added a batter-powered beacon on the ground, with just a hint of the rock lip. You can see a real pic of the beacon at Trigger Time.