Mail Call Pt. 1
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Custom Dioramics

This set and its companion part two were announced by Harper Castings, but was produced under the Custom Dioramics label after Dave Harper joined the VLS organization.

A trio of figures seated on crates while reading magazines and looking at “nudie” pictures, two soldiers wear M1943 OD jackets, one with web suspenders and ammo pouches. The third wears the khaki winter combat jacket, or windcheater, common to tank crews but also found on leg infantry. This man and one of the others have black rubber four-buckle overshoes on their feet. So these latter two figures, at least, are dressed for a cold weather setting, not August in Mortain. All three are wearing steel pot helmets.

On the face of it, these and the figures in Part 2 look like a mixed bunch of infantry and tankers. And that necessarily wouldn’t be out of place; there are numerous photos of Shermans standing guard over infantry in foxholes in the Ardennes. They could also be a Greyhound or M20 crew, which could easily have had this mix of uniforms. But one would need to do some diligent research to portray them as a tank crew, as I’ve never seen the M1943 OD jacket on a tanker in the hundred of photos I’ve looked at over the years.

One figure holds an unsheathed canteen in his hand, with the empty cover provided to attach to his belt. But other than that and the three crates and a sheet of unconvincing magazine pages and photos, there is no other gear or weapons provided for the figures. Better Verlinden or DIOART products could replace the printed materials.

Bill Chilstrom’s sculpting is good, though it doesn’t capture the ribbed cuffs, collar and waistband of the windcheater like Verlinden or Warriors figures. Flash and seam lines are minimal and easily cleaned up. The figures measure less than 6’.

Overall, this is a good set that that, mixed with Part 2 or other figures, will create a nice “at ease” diorama.



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