U.S. Paratroops WWII Incoming!
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Verlinden Productions

This is a dynamic pair of figures that would look good in any action-packed diorama—provided you are working in 1/32 or 54mm scale. In their advertised scale of 1/35, these two soldiers measure nearly 7'6" tall. They completely dwarf other paratroopers from Nemrod, Warriors, Sol, and even Verlinden's other soldiers.

It's a pity, because the action is better done than typical VP figures. The soldier running under fire is precariously balanced. The wounded man's pose is convincing, though the sculptor could have bunched up the uniform's shoulders more. The body parts fit together better than recent VP figures. Unfortunately, because of how the company casts its figures, typically with pour plugs at the bottom of the torso, there are no reverse folds or undercuts at the hem of the jacket, which would give added movement to these 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 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?

The one advantage to these oversized figures is that for the first time the 1/32 Airfix Garand knockoff scales better with the figure (there is no weapon provided for the wounded soldier, but he is equipped for a Garand). The usual assortment of VP gear is provided. You might want to sand or carve down the musette bag straps as they cross the back. They are a bit thick and the bags appear to float over the back.

Also, note that while the box art shows the reinforced knees in a greener canvas cloth, this is a trick of painting and not sculpted into the figures themselves, as the patches are with figures from other manufacturers. Not all troopers had their uniforms reinforced, so you can opt not to depict them this way.

I was very keen on getting this set when I saw it advertised because I thought it would work well in a diorama I'm planning. Whether I'm able to use them or not will depend on how they look with the other figures I've collected and how I position all of them. Keeping them apart from the standard sized figures or placed on a lower level might work. It's not that I don't mind challenges in my hobby, but I do prefer manufacturers work within the scale they advertise—and either accurately render their subjects or admit their mistakes in their box art.



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