US Para's Rescue
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Verlinden Productions

A soldier helping a buddy with a nasty leg wound has been done several times with German figures, but only once for US soldiers, that being an out-of-production General Issue set. Verlinden now offers a paratrooper duo dressed for a D-Day outing gone bad.

Unfortunately, these figures do not wear the M1942 jump jackets seen in Normandy, 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 was 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?

When fixing the torsos to the lower body segment, you always need to be mindful of keeping the two parts properly situated so there is enough thickness of the uniform coat over the trousers (as opposed to the torso extending to the bottom edge of the belt). There isn't much leeway with this pair.

Because of the close proximity of the two figures, this set is a little tricky to assemble. I haven't yet completed putting all the pieces together because it will be easier to paint some of the areas separately.

I started with the wounded soldier, whose right arm twists around behind him. His hand is molded onto his rear thigh, and I glued these pieces together first.

The right hand of the "helper" is molded to the wounded figure's back. I glued the helper's right arm after shaving off a bit of the lower wrist of the right hand so it would fit better against the arm sleeve.

The wounded man's left arm is supposed to drape over the M1936 musette bag (a duplicate of the bags with Nemrod's paratroopers, by the way). I glued the arm to the bag. That way, I can position that onto the helper's back. Ideally, the bag will be pulled down a bit by the weight of the arm.

As things stand, it looks like the figures will fit together in a natural looking way. I'm considering swapping the helper's left arm, partly since the cuff is wrong (not that it would be difficult to repair it) but mainly because I'd like a little more physical exertion from the helper. Ideally, he'd be leaning a bit to the left side, under the weight of the wounded man. His left arm would be used more for balance. Since he's equipped with the cartridge pouches for an M1 Garand or carbine, it would look better than with the MG (though there's nothing saying he didn't pick it up after losing his rifle, or that it's the injured soldier's weapon, etc.). Perhaps I'll grab a rifle from my spares and strap it over the helper's shoulder, or put it in his left hand.

All in all, it's a decent offering, without the accuracy, finesse, sense of action that would make it great.



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