Welcome To My Triple Nickel Paratroopers Page.

This page came about after finding out by accident about the Triple Nickle paratroopers, plus seeing these excellent kitbashes by - SSG Felder , romedome and Stall Stuff In the course of making this figure I have had some amazing help from various sources, and with this page I am hoping that I can combine it all together for my fellow modellers.


Some history regarding the 'Triple Nickles' or the 555th parachute regiment and their pioneering techniques can be found from these links - Triple Nickles, here, here and also here. Of all of the figures that I have in my collection, I must admit that these figures have been the most difficult to find any reference material for. And it is only through the very generous help of the people mentioned below, have I been able to assemble this figure. Note: Below are some answers to my questions about the type of paratrooper uniform that was worn by the soldiers.

Many thanks to Ms Dennings and Mr Stefanski from the US Airborne museum at Fort Bragg.

The 555 Parachute Infantry Battalion wore the same clothing as all the paratroopers wore. 1942 jump uniform with Airborne command patch. The parachute they jumped was the T-5 parachute. When they jumped out west in to Oregon they wore bomber cold weather leathers for the protection (extra padding). Boots were jump boots.

Many thanks to Mr Mark Bando from the Trigger Time website.

M42 jump uniforms with red Airborne Command patch on left shoulder.
Blue piping on overseas caps
Don't know about gloves other than the standard tan, horsehide ones with adjusting strap on wrist.

Because of the lack of very clear reference material that I have been able to obtain regarding the 555th airborne division and the equipment for my figure below, I have had to use a little 'Modellers Licence' on some of the equipment that was used. One of the main items which was very kindly supplied to me by Tim (pangaloss) is the US football helmet, which I feel contributed the most to this figure because I wanted the pair of figures similar to the one's that were made by SSG Felder. But somehow I wanted them to be different at the same time, hence my using the Billy Hicks bomber crewman leather uniform.


The headsculpt I am using for this kitbash is the DML Eddie Strong one, this is the same one I used for my Red Ball driver. 

To alter the colour on this headsculpt I used two different brown pastel chalks dry dusted over the head to lose the shine, the first colour was a dark brown chalk scrubbed dry into the eyes, nose, chin and around the lips to add a slight depth to it


I then dry scrubbed a lighter brown to add some more faint highlights, then with a large dry round brush I flicked across the whole head to blend the two colours together. Once I was happy with that I then got a damp paintbrush with some water and flicked across the top of the nose, cheeks, chin and lips to take off some of the chalk from the high points on the face. While this was still damp I flicked across the head with the large brush to blend it all in, the final step is with a small wet paintbrush I removed the chalk from the eyes and the lips. What I did find with making this kitbash is that I did not need to add a dark pastel wash to the headsculpt because of the dark skin colour, all I did need to add was some highlights instead.


This is the helmet shown right as supplied to me by Tim of a modern US football helmet, and with some work and research I have changed it to look like the one's that were used by the 555th soldiers. I have also equipped the soldier with a normal US army steel helmet, as I believe that these would have been used during a parachute drop.


One of the items that I had to make for the fire fighter's helmet was the mesh face guard, and this turned out to be one of the hardest parts to make. Because I had to cut out the mesh to shape and then glue some stretched sprue onto the edge, I originally tried using some super glue to try to attach the sprue to the brass but all I did was end up sticking my fingers together. So I then used my Humbrol Poly glue 'mix' (See Number 31) which has some melted sprue in it, this was better since it helped to melt the sprue strip to shape around the brass mesh.

The next item that has to be made is the pivot point on the front of the helmet, so that the mesh can be able to move up and down. In the picture on the right is the helmet as used by Romeo on his kitbash of a Triple Nickel soldier, and I would like to thank him for all of his help with the reference material for my figure.


The pictures below show how I have had to adapt the helmet to what I want, the only problem that I have with making of the hinge is the material that the helmet is made from. As it is the flexible type of plastic that does not allow anything to really stick to it. So I have had to make 6 rivets from some stretched sprue, 4 of them are for blanking plugs for the holes that the original straps went into.

The other two are to help hold the plastic piece I put on the front so I can mount some brackets for the hinge. Note: To give the front piece and the rivets more strength I have brushed over them and the edges with some of the glue 'mix', as this will all become solid plastic when it dries.

The pictures above from the left show the helmet with the rivets and front plate in place, the mask lined up to check for size and in the third picture the hinge I made. Note: The hinge was made from two pieces of plastic cut and shaped with a hole in each, so that the pin made from stretched sprue can be passed through them, through the centre tube and then mushroomed off with my lighter flame. The next picture shows a piece of shaped plastic glued onto the middle tube to hold the face mask, the step I have shaped in it is to allow the mask to sit low on the support so when it is glued in place it does not look out of scale.


The next picture shows the mask attached to the support, to keep this in place I have used the 'mix' to both glue the pieces together, plus I have also used it to fill in the gaps in the mesh above the support to add some added strength to the hinge assembly. Note: The hardest part of this with making hinge support, was making sure that when the mask was down it lined up to cover the front of the helmet. In the final two pictures above right, I have had to add a small strip of plastic onto the top of the hinge to hold the mesh in place, as the 'mix' alone was not strong enough to hold it. The final picture shows the helmet on the figure to check for alignment of the mesh, and to see if the mask opens and closes as I want. Note: The hinge is not as tidy as I wanted it to be, but I am hoping that when I paint the whole helmet Olive Green it may cover up some of the faults.

This is the finished helmet with the first three pictures of it painted an overall Olive Green, but after asking Paul about it he suggested painting the mask Black which is better. In the last three pictures I have also added a strap and buckle to the helmet and painted the rubber edges Black.


This is the DML Billy Hicks uniform that I managed to obtain separately, although it was not cheap I just had to have it for this kitbash. Mainly because after seeing the reference picture of the soldiers on parade by Danny and the kitbash by Romeo, I just have to have a pair of figures like those in my collection.

This bomber crew uniform has to be one of the best items produced by DML over the last few years, as the material has a very realistic look and feel to it, the collar material is very much in scale and even feels right, plus the jacket zip works and is almost in scale as well. Because of the detail that has been made into the uniform, I am going to leave it as it is as don't think I can do anything to improve on it.


These are the one's from the DiD Albert Ross figure, this is where some of the 'modellers licence' comes into the kitbash. Because although I was told about the soldiers using jump boots, I could not find any sources for what type of boots they were so I have used these for my kitbash. After having a little think about these, I have painted them with the Dullcote again to make them look like they have seen some use. As they will tie in with the worn look to the uniform as well.


From information I have found.

Troopers would jump with full gear, including fifty feet of nylon rope for use in lowering themselves when they landed in a tree (later increased to 150 feet after one fatality). Their steel helmets were replaced with football helmets with wire mesh face protectors. Covering their jumpsuits and/or standard army fatigues, they wore the air corps fleece-lined flying jacket and trousers. Gloves were standard equipment but not worn when jumping; bare hands manipulate shroud lines better.

Regarding the gas mask I believe it was issued due to this information.

Not mentioned publicly at the time was the possibility that Japan might equip the balloons with the capability to carry out some form of chemical-biological warfare. Their experiments with prisoners of war in the notorious unit 731 were not known until much later - but they began in 1937 and point to existence of a Japanese program to develop for use deadly biological agents. Such agents quite possibly could have been delivered in quantity to the United States mainland by balloons.


Again here I have used the 'Modellers Licence' for the type of equipment that the soldiers would have used, coupled with the limited reference material that I was able to obtain. Two items that I wanted for this kitbash I have had to make myself and these are the axes as shown on the right. The heads were cut and shaped from some Basswood, then sanded and painted with some Gunmetal and Silver enamel paint, while the handles were cut from some Balsa wood, shaped and given a wash of Burnt Umber acrylic paint.


One very important item I did find out about was the type of parachute that the soldiers used and that was a T-5 parachute, for this I have used one from my spares box which I believe is a DiD Corbin Black one. I think that the reserve parachute also came from the same figure. The gas mask bag is from DML and the musette bag is from the DiD Albert Ross figure.

This is the belt kit that I have used for this figure and I have thought about what might be on it, so I decided to use two of the 3 pocket pouches as the soldier may have to carry some kind of small equipment on him. The gas mask bag I have used contains a Soldat 2 mask, with the bag's lift dots replaced with some DiD one's. The musette bag has had the small pocket lift dot removed and replaced with plastic rivet, also I have fitted some end tabs to the straps. The pictures below show the belt kit in place, which I have dusted over with some weathering powders to break up the colours.

These are work in progress pictures with how I am working out how to load out the figure, what goes where and what the overall effect will look like. One thing that I have added is a medical bag as I wanted to have something extra added over the shoulder, this had a piece of lead wrapped in tissue put into the bottom of the bag to add weight. On top of that I have two small blocks of balsa wood to bulk the bag out, on top of that I have a spare brown medical pack.


Because the pockets on the trouser legs looked empty I have added some maps of the USA I found on the internet, which I printed out and folded up to fill these. The fire fighter helmet I may attach to the parachute straps, because I believe that the soldiers dropped from the planes wearing either steel helmets or just the liners.


I have just found out about another excellent kitbash of a 'smoke jumper' by Stall Stuff on the OSW forum, but while viewing it I realised that I had forgotten to add the buckles for the face visor, so this is another small detail that I will have to add to the helmet.

This is the finished figure although the steel helmet has to be changed as I want to use a DiD helmet on this figure, for the purposes of the photographs I have used this one. Note: I am still working on a long bag for the axes for this model.

Triple Nickel Class A Uniform

This figure is the other half of my Triple Nickel figures, this is the same headsculpt as I used in my other model but this one is in a class A uniform. The uniform is from the Albert Ross set with the piping on the cap repainted with some Model Color 70943 Grey Blue acrylic paint, which I watered down slightly and put onto the piping with a fine pointed brush.

The assembly was almost the same as my other Class A uniformed figure, with the boots again being polished and buffed to the shade shown above right. I also replaced the jump oval and printed it out onto some cotton paper, which then had the wings added on top of it. I also have used a badge supplied to me by Paul which I placed above the oval, also the cap badge has been replaced with another that I printed out.

Many thanks to justin_g for a link to a You Tube video about the 555th - 555th video

I would like to thank Tim (pangaloss) for the football helmet.

Romeo (romedome) for the excellent reference help.

Danny (SSG Felder) and Stall Stuff for their reference help with this kitbash.

Ms Dennings, Mr Stefansk and Mr Mark Bando for the uniform reference help.

The Triple Nickels website.

Paul (.308) for all of his detailed help and for the badge. 

Plus all of the other modellers whose ideas I have 'borrowed'.


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