Welcome To My Albert Ross Figure Review Page.

This figure is another US paratrooper from DiD which I believe is loosely based on the Band of Brothers mini series, because the figure is supposed to be Lt Nixon. I have made another page up here for reference pictures from that series, I also have images from my Detling visit here of the US paratrooper re-enactors. Also as pointed out below there are some slight errors with the figure such as the name tapes and the cap thread colouring.


Important Note: Just a note of caution to my fellow modellers.

Be careful undoing the zips on the M42 uniform, because the picture on the right shows how one of them broke when I tried to undo the jacket zip for the first time after just having removed the new figure from the box.

 

The zip still works and I can still assemble it as normal, but I have to push it up to close with my finger instead of the little tag. So the jacket can still be closed as normal, so this is more of an annoyance than a problem.


 

After seeing the different coloured jackets in the link here I got to wondering how I can alter the shade of the material somehow. And while I was out shopping today I found the shoe polish as shown above left. And in a big experiment by me I rubbed some of it into the jacket and the colour differences are shown above. The jacket on the left is the one from the box, while the other one has had the polish treatment done to it.

 

To do this I just followed the instructions on the back of the tin, rub it in and polish off with a clean cotton cloth and when I had done that, I then gave it another wipe over with a clean damp (water only) cloth to bring out the shine.

Note: Make sure you wash the polish off your hands before touching any other parts of the model. Plus keep the polish away from the fabric parts of the jacket as it will discolour it.


Below are pictures of the shoulder holster and the boots that came with the figure. The shoulder holster and straps on the right have had the polish mentioned above added to it to give it a darker colour. The boots below on the right have also had the same treatment, but unfortunately the camera has not picked up on the subtle differences compared to the boxed boots. Because when I did the polishing I also covered the laces and the stitching, so they are the same colour as the boots now.


Figure Review

I do like this boxed figure as it is loaded with enough pieces, that if you add the parts listed below you can get possibly three figures from this one box. This to me makes this set very good value for money and I can see that in the months to come it will be very sought after.

 

1. M42 uniform with the pouches, packs, helmet and rifle (The way the figure comes assembled in the box)

2. Class A uniform figure (Just a nude body needed and another pair of boots as the second head is supplied )

3. Leather jacket figure (Nude body and head, shirt and tie, cap, trousers and boots needed)

Two nice photo review's of the figure are - Photo Review 1 and also Photo Review 2.

Many thanks to both Paul (.308) and Justin (justin_g) for the help with the information below.


My personal opinion on this figure, because a lot of very good points have been made in the reviews above already.

Update - Body - After getting the figure out of the box for the first time, I have noticed that the joints on the figure have been improved. As they feel a lot tighter to me when I pose the model, plus the figure holds the pose better which is a very welcome improvement.

 

Headsculpts - Outstanding, they have a 'feel' of a grain in the paint on the face, it feels different to the other DiD headsculpts. Also the eyes on the shaven head have a varnish on them to make them stand out. As for the flocked head that is amazing as it is so well done and it looks so correct. They are calling out to me for a pastel wash to bring out the facial details. Note: The only problem will be the flocked head in case the water destroys this, so I will have to turn the head upside down to do the wash.

Hands - Very nice detail to them and it looks like they have been painted to lose the plastic look to them, also it is true that there is a 'blue' tint to them to emphasise the veins on the back of them, also a 'pinkish' tint to the knuckles as well. The other two sets of hands will come in very useful with me.

Helmet - Very nice and it is a shame it is not a paratrooper one but I can use these, again the usual high quality DiD product which is crying out for a netting cover. Note: One thing I must get for myself is some of the thin white decal stripes that I have seen used by 1/24th scale car modellers, as these can be cut down and used for the insignia on the rear of the helmet.

Bags - The dispatch bag blows the Dragon one out of the water, nice size, lift dots and metal clips. GP bag very nice and again nice detail with metal clips and I like the black colour to them and the buckle. The musette bag... Well this is the tops and I am over the moon I have this item again. The lift dots will have to go and be replaced with two metal flat type buttons instead as shown below. (Many thanks to Paul (.308) for the images.)


 

.30 cal cartridge belt - A nice item but I am afraid I find that it is awkward to work with, because when I use an item like this I have to fill the pockets with ammo clips, and I usually end up either breaking or losing a lift dot in the process.

Note: This is mainly due to my lack of patience rather than a fault with the product, I have also made a page up to show how I have had to replace the Lift Dots that I broke here.

M42 Uniform - Very nice cloth material with a metal clip, and I notice that the belt has the sewing on the pointed end. This will be handy to stop the belt end fraying when it is put through the metal buckle. The Ross badge has to go I am afraid as I feel that it is overscale as I can see the material grain clearly, I will have to print some of these out on some cotton paper.

Note: One point about an error by DiD with the name tapes was brought up on the Sixth Army Forum by justin_g regarding some information from the 101st historian Mark Bando.
 

Another fault as to insignia in Episode 1 was the white name tapes worn by officers and EM alike in England. I have NEVER seen a period photo showing ANYONE in 506th wearing white name tapes. The practice in the 506th was to stencil names in black ink directly onto the chest of an M42 jacket. (there are two vintage examples in my collection). Ample evidence of that is shown in the many photos in the 506th regimental history book 'Currahee', with a couple of officers wearing their names stenciled on an OD#3 name tag. White name tapes WERE worn (mostly by officers) in the 502 and 377th PFA Bn as evidenced by period photos.


Leather Jacket - Outstanding it is better than I hoped it would be, I have attached a picture of the CVI insignia I have on top of the jacket to show the size of the badges. I actually prefer these patches to the one that is supplied by DiD, as I think they are thinner and more in scale. The material is I think called 'Pleather', which is a sort of plastic vinyl and it works very well as the grain on it is amazing. The colour of it was something that did concern me especially as the Expo version was in a darker brown, but I have been told by Paul that this colour jacket was used by the US airborne. A very good website about the A2 jacket is here, and this shows the variations in the colours of the coat. The section about the jacket made by the Cable Raincoat Company shows the lighter brown jacket that came with this figure.


Class A uniform - The set I feel is worth the money for this item only, the cloth is nice and thin and it should hang very well on a figure, it feels like a type of polyester. The insignia is well made and it feels like plastic to me rather than the crisp etched brass I was expecting it to be. It has some 'flash' on the US wording and around the rifles but I can live with this as it will ruin these items if I try to remove it. The buttons are very well detailed and again I think they are plastic but they add a very good effect to the uniform, they may need a rub over with a pencil to bring out the detail better. The side cap is nice shape but again the badge will have to go as it feels overscale again to me, the white thread colour looks wrong to me, I will have to check this. Note: Don't undo the tie, loosen it off if you want to take it off a figure.

 

Note: justin_g has helped with another piece of information about an error with the DiD cap from Mark Bando.


As I had predicted and pointed-out on my website before the series began to air, almost every officer depicted in the first three episodes is shown wearing an enlisted man's overseas cap, with infantry blue piping, instead of the correct gold and black piped officer's version.

In the pictures below, the error regarding the garrison cap can be seen. Because the one on the left worn by Capt Sobel has the correct colour piping for an officer, whereas the cap worn by Lt Nixon has the blue piping for an enlisted infantry soldier.

Note: See the page here about closer details for the officers cap piping colours.

Equipment - This is again to the usual high standard I expect from DiD, the holster is made for a thick but in scale type of pleather material, which I am hoping won't split or break like the Dragon shoulder holsters. The entrenching tool has a threaded metal part that the wooden handle goes into which has to be unscrewed to move the spade part, the spade has a very good thin edge to it and a nice wooden detail which has to be cut down as the handle is too long. Note: I do like this as it will add a nice effect to the figure when it is cut shorter. It also has a very good cover for it as well. The rifle has a 'grainy or rough' feel to the paintwork on it, this could do with being chipped about slightly to add wear and than have a dark brown pastel wash to add some darkness to the paint.


I am definitely going to enjoy putting these figures together, especially the Class A uniform now that I have found the only Dragon shirt I have that has the collar insignia on it. Because I think with this it is the only thing that is missing from the Class A uniform. Well done DiD you have made this modeller very happy.


Some other very interesting points by Paul (.308) regarding the figure are these. Images of the items I have not linked to are on this page under the section U.S.

Leather Jacket

The leather coat is awesome, but when fit to the figure it is a little awkward to work with and the A2 jacket should be very tailored fit. Do I like it yes, but if you try to fit a gun belt and holster to it looks a bit too large in comparison to photo's. As for the color, I said, or rather meant, there are lighter colored jackets but not Necessarily just for the airborne. The color of the Did jacket represents to me a well worn jacket (kind of like stone washed jeans), do I like the color? It has grown on me, but I would have liked to seen a shade darker.

M42 Uniform

The only other thing I have found that I haven't heard from any one else yet is the fact that the class A uniform sports the rank, use of a second Lt. bar denoted in color as gold. The M42 uniform has white bars which would denote a first Lt. Is this really wrong depends, did he get a field promotion to first Lt.? I just thought it was funny. I agree with the name tape it is too out of scale for my taste as well. I do love the 506th, but I do wish to portray some 502nd guys as I do know a few of the vet's. So a name tape is important to me.

The patches don't bother me. The edges are out of scale but the rest is of good enough quality for my taste to find them adequate for me to use them. My biggest complaint about any patch made is they are hard to make perfect in scale. Either the printing is too blurry, or the materials to bulky... What's the trade off? These are a matter of personal choice for me.

Helmet

The attachment of the strap is not correct. I will have to fix this myself as it is unacceptable to me... For many I'm sure they won't complain. I will get some pictures for you, it is not a para helmet. It is standard issue.


These images below were very kindly supplied by Paul (.308) and I believe that they show close ups of the helmet straps,  helmet bales plus the helmet shape and liner of a standard WW2 US helmet.

Helmet shell and liner above left, helmet straps centre and right.

Helmet shells above with images of the helmet straps and helmet bales.


Dispatch Bag

The dispatch bag is great. I'm not sure it was properly scaled, but looking at reference pic's it looks a "tad" too big. That is my opinion, and it is not worth arguing over. I do not have access to a 1/1 to actually compare.

Dispatch Bag Reference Picture - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_mapcase_main.jpg

Dispatch Bag Interior Reference Picture - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_mapcase_inside.jpg

Musette Bag

I feel the musette bag is also "slightly" too big. I have been in-touch with Hank & Co., he says it is right on according to his 1/1, mine seems to be a tad smaller. Is it a big deal? NO! Did has made a great bag, but the lift the dots need to be replaced. If my AMS (Advanced Modeler's Syndrome) takes over sometime I might replace the grosgrain ribbon straps someday with a thin garment tape, but other than that it IS tops on the market!

To show what Paul means I have found these picture links:

Musette Bag Clips - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_howto_musette2.jpg

Musette Bag Bottom Rings - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_howto_musette3.jpg

Musette Bag With A Shoulder Strap - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_howto_musette4.jpg

.30 cal Ammunition Belt

The cartridge belt ~ Tops. I love this piece, it is hard to work with, but it can be done. Glad you added the thing about your patience...

Shoulder Straps

M1936 suspenders wish someone would get these right with decent hardware on them. I don't care about the strap ends, that is an easy fix. I hate the fact it doesn't have the proper hardware for the "D" ring.

Again to show what Paul means I have found these links:

Musette Bag And Shoulder Straps - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_howto_musette1.jpg

Different Types Of Suspender Straps - http://www.atthefront.com/us_gear_suspender.htm

Many thanks to all who have helped with this page as I have learned a lot from it.

 

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