U.S. Airborne WWII Para Down!
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Verlinden Productions

This set features a paratrooper kneeling next to the body (wounded or lifeless) of another soldier, probably calling for a medic or warning his comrades.

The anonymous sculptor has created one of the more realistic casualties I've seen in a long time, including Verlinden's previous "Marine Casualties." Its depiction in the box art, where it seems to hover above the cobblestones, doesn't do it justice. The figure does a good sense of conveying the physical gravity of being "grounded." When you apply this piece to your diorama, make sure to impress him into the ground, grass, or urban debris.

The figure is molded in one piece, except for the head, with the carrier block and runners on the bottom. It appears that someone added a wad of putty under the inner thigh of the left leg, perhaps after some test shots showed not enough resin was pouring through the mold to the leg. I felt this looked very unrealistic when viewing the figure from a lower angle, so I carved and dremeled out this area. The result looks much better.

The eyes of the head appear to be open (I haven't painted the figure yet so I can't be sure), the mouth is slightly open. He wears the M1C helmet with the parachute chin strap. The helmet has a finer mesh netting with foliage; I believe the fine mesh did not appear until later in the war.

His buddy is comprised of the typically separated Verlinden figure parts: torso, legs, feet, arms, and head, with the typically situated mold plugs. There was some gapping where the right arm meets the torso, which required a shot of Testor's Contour Putty. The soldier is shouting, but his face does not have the urgency I've seen from other heads from Warriors and Hornet (Hornet heads, however, tend to be too small to satisfactorily replace Verlinden noggins). Both figures look to scale to the 6' range, common for VP figures.

Unfortunately, these figures do not wear the M1942 jump jackets, as the box art implies by the tan color of the jackets and trousers. Actually, the unidentified sculptor has fashioned M1943 OD jackets. I was fooled by the box art at first, but further examination shows the one-button arrow tab on sleeve cuffs, no pleated front hip pockets, and a larger cut lapel—all hallmarks of the M1943 jacket that ws introduced to airborne soldiers for Operation Market Garden in September, 1944. So, if you want to use these figures in Normandy, as the box art suggests, you need to make some alterations to the jackets, the most difficult of which will be fixing the lapels. Verlinden has often had problems with accuracy throughout his product line, but this seems to reach a new low. If he and his team can't get a simple uniform correct, what does that suggest for other VP products? What is worse—ineptitude, or a con job?

The usual gear is included with these figures: overscale M1 Garands, M36 musette bags, three(?) entrenching tools, and four(!) canteens, etc. The molds for these pieces are going on twenty years now, and it would be nice to see this gear replaced by fresher sculptings—particularly the 1/32 scale Garands!

Even though this set does not have the sculpting finesse seen from Warriors or Hobby Fan, or even many of DML's recent figures, it's much better than some of the previous Verlinden paratroopers, and will lend some drama to any action scene with US paratroopers. You can try to slide by on the historical inaccuracies of the uniforms, or make the necessary changes to cover for Verlinden's cynical promotion of these figures.



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