This figure came about, after watching the film of
the Battle of the Bulge,
and it got me thinking about can I make something based on one of the US
soldiers I saw in the opening scenes of the German attack on the pillbox. The
soldier a sergeant I believe was using an M1 Garand rifle, with a grenade
launcher attachment on it.
So after a quick raid on my spares boxes, as I
knew I had the piece I wanted somewhere. I have decided to put together this
kitbash of a US soldier during the Ardennes offensive.
The kit used with this figure
is a pair of DID Ricky Foster trousers, a pair of Newline US double buckle
boots, a DML helmet with the heart symbol on it covered with white cloth. And
for something different a captured German winter padded smock. The idea for the
use of the smock came from another film called Battleground, and in that after
capturing some German troops, the US soldiers are seen wearing the German's
The problem I soon found with
this kitbash is, that although I could pose the figure as I wanted, I could not
get the rifle butt on the ground as well. So it was with great nervousness, I
decided that I would have to take my drill and grinding piece to the figure...
This is my first major use of my model drill on a
figure, and I used the tutorial by
Ed (1stlooey) for
instructions on how to do this. Luckily for me I only had to do minor surgery on
my figure, compared to the extensive work Ed has done with his figures. As all I
had to remove was the part behind the knee on the folded leg to give me more
movement there, and the removal of some of the front of the hip joint on the
As I could then get the figure posed as I wanted,
so that the rifle butt was touching the ground. The original
headsculpt that I wanted to use was the DML Lou MP figure, but after a chat with
Terry (The Bhoy), he mentioned about using maybe a younger head for this figure.
And after a quick
think about it, I then swapped the heads over to the DML Sam Blake one, and I
have to admit that Terry's idea is a lot better, as this head adds a whole
different effect to the whole kitbash.
While putting this kitbash together I got to
wondering about the actual launcher itself, and if I could find any information
about it. And after a quick look though the
5th Rangers website and I found
Rifle Grenade Launcher, M7
& Grenade, Projection Adapter, M1
The M7 rifle grenade launcher was
attached to the barrel of the M1 Garand; allowing it to project various types of
AT and AP rifle grenades such as the M9, M9A1, signal flares, gas grenades, and
standard fragmentation grenades using the adaptor as shown in the picture on the
A special blank grenade launching round was used to propel the grenade from the
launcher; and fitting the projector to the muzzle disabled the gas system on the
M1 by depressing the gas screw and cutting off the gas port.
To fire the weapon normally; the launcher had to
The rifle grenade sight, M15 was used on the M1 for aimed fire; but was seldom
seen in combat since practice and improvisation would result in suitable
practical fire. The M7 along with the rifle grenade was a common weapon
encountered in the Ranger company. It was used to great effect against all
manner of targets, and can be seen in good numbers during the D-Day landing.
Another website I have found for some very
detailed information on this type of launcher and grenades is from the
Inert-Ord website. This
is a very informative site, as I was curious how the grenade would have been
held in place with the pin removed. Further details on how this launcher was
This device pictured on the right, first adopted
early in WWII, allowed a hand grenade to be fired from a rifle. It replaced the
M7 fragmentation rifle grenade.
With practice, a grenade could be accurately fired out to a distance of about
The grenade was mounted as shown and the safety pin removed. When fired inertia
would cause the arming clip, holding the safety lever, to drop releasing the
lever, arming the grenade.
Many thanks to Ed at Inert-Ord.net for all his
I have just made a new page up for my website,
after doing some work setting up the pose this figure.
As it suddenly dawned on
me just how much of my model making skills just come automatically to me after
about 30 odd years of model making. So to explain some of my techniques with my
figures, I have made a new
Figure Posing page.
I have finally found some spare time to update
this kitbash, and above are some images of the snowy landscape that I want for
this figure. The base was made the same as my others and for this one I just
left the plaster mix as it is as I want to add some Snow material to the top of
Make sure that the base is primed to stop the water from the PVA mix penetrating
the wood. The best material for this I feel is clear varnish as it acts like a
shell on the base. Because on this base I have had it warp on me, when I added
more of the plaster mix on top of what I had already used.
In the pictures above I have placed the figure
onto the base, as I want to check the position and to get the feet right on the
base. In the first picture above I have pressed the foot into the mix, so in the
second picture when it is removed it leaves a footprint. To bind all the plaster
into the base, I then mixed up some water and PVA glue and painted it over the
whole of the plaster. The purpose of this is to remove all the lines and marks
from the plaster mix as shown on the right above. Also with the stones that I
added to the base, when I am painting on the PVA I can smooth the mix around them to make them look like they are part of the landscape, rather than them
just plonked into it.
These pictures show the feet again after I have
painted the PVA over the top, as now I want to emphasise the weight of the figure
snow I have also done this where the knee would be as well. So to do this I again pose
the figure and press the feet into the plaster then remove it
again. With the last picture above, I make ridges around where the
will be. So that the figure is part of the base, which adds to the weight
The effect can be seen with the pictures
above I obtained from a book I have on 1/35th scale figures, in these you can
see that the models are part of the landscape. So building up the plaster mix
around the feet helps with the illusion. Plus, to add more depth to the foot,
when the plaster is dry I will score it slightly with a knife (to help it bind)
and add more plaster and the PVA to make the snow look deeper before I add the
Snow material on top.
This update will help to explain what I mean about
not sealing the base properly. Because I thought I had done and that it would be
alright now once it had fully dried, to add more of the PVA and plaster mix onto
the base on top of the dried material I had already applied. But was I
As I thought that I would just build up the
landscape a bit and cover the small cracks that had appeared, but because I had
not sealed the base properly and I was adding more plaster and water to it. The
result is shown on the right here.
A is where the
added groundwork has cracked again because the base has bowed upwards in the
middle. And B is showing the slight bow that
developed in the wooden base. This has annoyed me immensely, as I thought that I
had stopped this from happening because of the amount of neat PVA that I had
used to seal the base. But I think what is occurring is that as I am adding more
plaster mix to the base, the protective layer of PVA I thought I had, has become
liquid again due to the water which makes it useless.
Note: I have
never come across this happening before with my bases, so I can only think that
because of the amount of plaster that I am using to make the shape of the snow
landscape. And the base not being sealed properly, this is why I am having this
many problems with this diorama. So with all of my bases from now on, I am going
to use a non-water based varnish on the base first to seal it. That way I
can add more of the plaster mix to the base, without the worry of the base
bowing on me.
Adding the Snow
This where I have finished the base with the
Woodland Scenics Snow on it. I was very nervous about how to use it, as it was
explained to me but I was still concerned in case I ended up ruining the effect.
Maybe this is why I have taken so long to finally getting around to doing this.
But I did not need to have worried because the
application of the material is very easy, and the effect it has is amazing and I
am very impressed with it.
To apply the Snow material I was told to paint on
a coat of watered down PVA, and then use a shaker or sieve to sprinkle the Snow
onto the base. This I did making sure that I kept as much of the water mix off
the base edges as I could, once I had covered the groundwork with the Snow.
I then tipped it up slightly on it's edge to
remove any excess material, this I then saved and put back into the bag.
Any spots that I had missed were covered by
dripping the water mix onto the groundwork, and then pinching some
material between my fingers and sprinkled it onto the wet patch. The next step I
was told about to do with this, was to get
a sprayer something like the bottles the gardeners use to spray feed onto
plants. Mix up a very weak mixture of PVA glue and water, shake well and set it
to a fine mist setting.
spray the whole base gently at arm's length, I aimed the spray so that it would
go past it and the water mix would drop onto the base. The whole point of doing
this is to gently dampen the Snow material not soak it.
This was then set aside to dry ( I am not sure how
long it takes so I am leaving it overnight) and the result that has now happened
is that the Snow material has started to 'fluff' up, and it does actually look
like very fine snow. Also I have found that taking my time to smooth all of the
lines and brush marks out of the plaster mix when I was sculpting it, has had the
added benefit of making it all look like smoother deeper snow.
Many thanks to Terry for
helping me and sharing some of his Snow material with me.
Here I have just added my figure back into the
diorama and he looks like he is part of it. Not just sitting on top of it and
all that is needed now is a touch up with some PVA water mix onto the boots and
trousers, and a sprinkling of the Snow mix onto that to look like he is snow