WWII U.S. Tank Crew #1
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Alpine Miniatures

This is the first of what can be hoped will be a long series of GI figures from sculptor Taesung Harmms and Alpine Miniatures. Standing with his Colt automatic in one hand and his left fist clenched, he appears to be barking orders to some German prisoners - or cussing out the Quartermaster Corps.

This poor guy looks like he was last in line when uniforms were issued. His winter combat jacket looks a few sizes too small. The M7 shoulder holster for his M-1911A1 is fitted snuggly around his chest. His wool field trousers with the flap on the left hip pocket, which appears to hold a pack of smokes trousers, appear a little too large and baggy. Perhaps he's wearing an extra pair underneath for warmth. However, there are large raised seams running up the outer legs and through the seat. These actually may be the missing weld seams from Tamiya's M4A3 - they certainly are not appropriate for these trousers, where the edges of the seams would be on the inside of the trousers. So your dilemma is clear: scrape off the seams and have no seams or try to carve your own, or keep the seams and have wrong seams. I'd also suggest painting the woolen trousers more of a brownish drab than the tan shown in the box art.

But this is really the only quibble with nicely detailed figure that has a very realistic look about him. The body is impeccably cast in one piece; the arms fit close to his sides, and you may want to paint them separately in order to get the undersides of the hands cleanly and without getting flesh or gunmetal paint on the uniform. The detail is crisp and more subtle than found on Warriors or Verlinden figures. Things like the ribbed cuff on his jacket seem more in scale, but may require a little more skillful painting to bring to life.

On the jacket over the figure's heart, is the armored division triangle, as George Patton directed his soldiers to wear the patch. Rank insignia is also molded onto the arms of the soldier. These items can be painted, or gently scrapped off and replaced with insignia from Archer Fine Transfers or Verlinden decals.

Alpine offers the growling head clad in either the M-1941 wool knit cap, or with the M1 steel pot helmet pulled over the cap. The heads are conveniently cast so the casting plug is on the bottom of the neck, not on top of the helmet or cap - a practice that all resin manufacturers should follow. And he's definitely a cold winter hero, as the combat shoes with leather gaiters were not widely issued until the fall of 1944. The figure scales to right around 6' tall.

This figure can also be found paired with his WWII US Tank Crew #2 companion in the Alpine offering WWII US Tank Crew Set (35011).

Perhaps as a signal that Alpine promises to be different than its competitors, their figures come small boxes of partially clear plastic that seems to hold up as well as cardboard boxes. The "box art" is a small piece of folded card stock visible inside the front panel, and four products are cleverly shown on each of the "pages" of the card.

Product sample provided by Alpine Miniatures.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter