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In-Box Review
135
US Paratrooper
2nd Lieutenant Parachute Inf. Regt. (Normandy, 1944)
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]

Introduction:

Minisoldiers is a modeling company from Russia, producing resin figures in 1/35 scale. I was really happy to hear from Anar Aytaliev, the owner of the company, expressing interest to have some of his figures reviewed on Historicus Forma. I must admit I didn’t know much about Minisoldiers at the time… However, I had the pleasure of reviewing figures from most Russian figure companies (Bravo6, Evolution, NATO in Miniatures, Battalion Models and ANT Miniatures) and all those were outstanding kits, so I felt pretty confident I wouldn’t be disappointed with figures from Minisoldiers.

I received several figure samples from Anar, but the 2nd Lieutenant Parachute Inf. Regt. (Normandy, 1944) immediately caught my eye: the superb sculpting, the powerful posture of the figure, the amount of equipment in the kit and the historical setting… the figure was really impressive at the first glance. I never reviewed a WW2 figure before as that period is not my forte, however this one is definitely a true gem and I decided to give it a go.


review:

The figure arrived in a clear, very firm plastic box which features nicely painted box art picture and lists both the sculptor (Dmitry Shevtsov) and the painter (Anar Aytaliev). After opening the zip-lock bag and reviewing all the parts of the figure I was really amazed by the amount of detail on the figure and fantastic molding of all the parts. The parts are cast in light grey resin (which is almost impossible to photograph in order to show the details well) and are clean of imperfections: there are no air bubbles or flash, the only thing I noticed was a tiny seam line on the helmet.

This figure represents a US Paratrooper during American airborne D-Day landings in Normandy, 1944. It consists of 16 parts:

- Full body with the head
- Left arm
- Right arm
- M1C Helmet
- T-5 primary parachute
- T-5 reserve parachute
- M1936 “Musette” Field Bag
- M7 Gas Mask Bag
- M1910 Entrenching Tool handle
- M1942 Canteen in M1910 Cover
- 30-round .45 Magazine Bag
- Map Case
- Paratrooper coiled rope
- M1911 A1 .45 Cal Pistol in M1916 Leather Holster
- M3 Trench Knife in M6 Leather Scabbard
- M1A1 Thompson Submachine Gun

I cleaned the parts and dry-fitted them. This figure is pretty complex to assemble and finding the correct place for all the equipment parts could be a problem without some sort of part placement information. I found help in pictures of the finished figure on the Internet, however I wish Minisoldiers would supply some more photos in the kit box to ease the assembly of the figure without modelers having to browse the WWW. The fit of all parts is excellent; some of the larger pieces even have locating pins and I was really amazed to see Thompson submachine gun fit perfectly to the parachute strap holding it while still fitting flawlessly to the weapon sling sculpted on the figure… The only problem I encountered was the fact that the whole lot of equipment was just too much to be held by blue-tack for taking “built figure” photos, so instead I used the photos of the assembled figure I found on the Internet for this review.
The assembled figure looks fantastic; the pose is well balanced and the anatomy of the figure is perfect. The details are amazing and all the equipment adds to the realism of a heavy laden US Paratrooper ready for boarding the plane which is about to take him to Normandy.

The figure wears M1942 Paratrooper Jacket and Pants, both made in tan cotton. The jacket features a zipper front, an adjustable waist belt, dual collar snaps, snap cuffs, shoulder straps, 2 snap-closure slanted bellows chest pockets and 2 snap-closure waist cargo pockets. The peculiarities of M42 Paratrooper Jacket are bellows in the middle of the back and a dual-zippered knife pocket located in the upper chest. The pants feature slash front pockets, 2 rear pockets with single button closure, small pocket above right slash (for lighter or compass), canvass leg tie straps, 5-button front and 6 buttons at waist for suspenders. During early airborne operations in North Africa and Italy, the M1942 uniform was found to be lacking in several areas, most notably strength; the fabric was relatively thin and it wore out easily. Prior to Normandy, divisional riggers were fixing these problems by reinforcing particularly weak areas on elbows and knees using heavy olive drab canvas. I like the way sculptor captured the baggy feel of the M42 uniform in scale and the only thing a modeler needs to add in order to improve the visual appearance of the uniform are US Army unit and flag patches. Several aftermarket companies offer WW2 US patch decals which could help out. The figure wears Paratrooper Gloves; made of horse hide, these gloves had a rough exterior which provided not only protection from the elements but were also durable and tough enough to provide protection against heated gun barrels and cuts.
The M1C Paratrooper Helmet was a standard helmet issued to paratroopers in mid-late WW2. M1C was a variant of the US Army popular M1 helmet and it featured a specific liner which used a set of “A yokes” or straps fixed to the side of the liner enabling the use of a leather chin cup to give support to the head and neck during jumps. Again, some unit insignia decals would improve the appearance of the M1C helmet. The most distinctive paratrooper equipment (besides the parachute itself, of course) was a pair of brown Corcoran jump boots. With high tops and reinforced toes and heels, tightly laced Corcoran boots provided ankle support for the jumper.

The US paratroopers in WW2 used three T-types of parachutes: the T-4, T-5 and T-7, each replacing its predecessor. The T-10 parachute was issued after the war and modified versions are still in use today. This figure is equipped with T-5, the standard parachute during American airborne landings in Normandy, 1944. The T-5 parachute consists of several components: the metal-framed canvas backpack and webbed canvas body harness; the webbed canvas static line, ripcord and deployment bag; the silken shrouds attached to canvas risers, which connect to the harness; the shroud lines; and the parachute canopy. The paratrooper’s primary chute is worn on the back. The parachute harness can be visualized as an ‘X’ and provides a canvas saddle for the paratrooper. The shoulder straps extend from the backpack over each shoulder and continue down the front, looping around the back of the hips. The saddle is formed by the two straps crossing the posterior. The straps come up between legs at the upper thigh, connecting to the backpack at just below waist height, which explains why harnesses of this type were nicknamed “nutcrackers”. Shoulder and thigh straps meet in a connector strap and lock-hook at sternum level across the chest. A bellyband, which is connected to the backpack, goes around the front of the paratrooper and buckles like a large belt on his left side. The reserve chute fastens onto the bellyband; with its “D-ring” handle to the right, the reserve chute is worn horizontally to the ground, thus enabling other gear to be carried beneath it. All harnesses have adjustable belts and fixed tension buckles. Risers attach to the harness and feed into the packed parachutes. Two risers on each side connect to the harness near the paratrooper’s shoulder. The top of the backpack is attached to the static line, becoming the deployment bag that rips off with the line when the paratrooper jumps. When the parachute is packed for use, only the body harness, the 15-foot long static line and ripcord, and the backpack are visible. The static line is made from canvas web material and has a metal safety hook fastener on the end. This fastener hooks over a steel cable running the length of the aircraft’s cargo bay; when a paratrooper jumps, the static line pays out its length of 15 feet and then jerks the ripcord, ripping the laces free to allow the chute deployment. The parachute canopy has a diameter of 28 feet; the chute was olive drab camouflaged nylon with dark green, light green and drab patches. Reserve chutes used by paratroopers were white.
A really complex T-5 system is amazingly replicated in 1/35 scale on this figure. I must admit I spent quite some time to understand the parachute arrangement and the way T-5 parts attach to each other… I was extremely pleased to find all the T-5 parachute system details present and realistically sculpted on this figure; the “nutcracker” harness with all the straps and buckles is accurately reproduced and wrapped around the figure, the primary chute backpack with the static line, reserve chute with its “D-ring” handle… the only thing missing is the far end of a static line with metal safety hook. I’m not completely sure how the hook was stowed before paratroopers actually used them, however most of the pictures I found show the hook fastened to the static line loops on the back of the T-5 backpack or the static line end draped over the shoulder with hook ready to be attached to the aircraft steel cable.

The figure wears B4 (“Mae West”) Life Preserver under the parachute harness, a typical piece of gear for over-water paratrooper operations, with flashlight tucked under the vest. Attached on the front of the M1936 pistol belt, barely visible under the life vest and T-5 harness, is a 3x30-round .45 magazine pouch and the compass pouch.

M1936 “Musette” Field Bag is worn on the front, fastened under the reserve chute. The heavy duty canvas constructed assault bag had a large main compartment and two side pockets. For D-Day it included the following personal equipment: 1 raincoat, 1 wool cap, 3 pair of wool socks, toilet articles (2 handkerchiefs, 1 bath towel and 50 sheets of toilet paper), 1 spoon, type K rations for 3 days and 1 type D ration, 1 can of rifle bore lubricating and cleaner oil. The Musette Bag was never officially issued as a backpack, however many soldiers used it in place of the unpopular M1928 Haversack. With the addition of a strap the Musette Bag could be also used as a shoulder bag. The M7 Gas Mask Bag was a rubberized waterproof canvas bag issued to all assault troops at D-Day. The Infantry carried it across their chests while the Paratroopers strapped it to their left thigh. It housed the M5 Gas Mask and gas detection brassard. M1910 T-handle Entrenching Tool in its cotton canvas cover is fastened to the belt on the back of the figure, under the primary T-5 parachute backpack. M1942 Canteen in M1910 Cover is carried on the pistol belt using the M1910 wire hanger and corresponding eyelets, usually on the rear. Two fasteners attach the flaps to the front of the cover, holding the canteen securely inside. In the summer, soldiers could keep the liner wet as the evaporation helped cool the canteen. In the winter cold the dry insulation helped keep the water from freezing. Carefully rolled, 33ft of parachutists rope coil is tied to the belt as well. 30-round .45 Magazine Bag with strap (carries up to 8 magazines) and Map Case are also included in the kit.

The figure is armed with M1A1 Thompson Submachine Gun. A blowback operated, selective fired (semi- or fully-automatic) weapon, the “Tommy Gun” was designed by General John T. Thompson for use in WWI, but prototype designs by Auto-Ordnance Corporation were completed just as the war ended. With the military fairly uninterested in the weapon, the Thompson was marketed at the general public and eventually became a well-known weapon for criminals in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1938, the Thompson submachine gun was adopted by the US military and it was given the M1928A1 designation. The M1928A1 had provisions for box magazines and drums. Updates to the weapon were made over time in order to simplify its production; in April 1942 the M1 model replaced the M1928A1 and by October 1942, the M1 was replaced by M1A1. The M1 and M1A1 had a barrel without cooling fins, a simplified rear sight, provisions only for box magazines, and the charging handle was on the side of the receiver. Because the option to use drums was not included in the M1 and M1A1, the 30-round box magazine was designed for use with this model. The Thompson was a reliable and well-respected weapon, with its major drawbacks being significant weight and limited range.
The figure also carries M1911 A1 .45 Cal Pistol in M1916 Leather Holster. Known as “The Equalizer” or simply “The forty-five”, this weapon was a recoil-operated, magazine-fed automatic developed in 1911 by Colt. The sidearm was carried by Paratroopers of all ranks. M3 Trench Knife in M6 Leather Scabbard was often strapped to the right boot, although it could also be clipped to the M1936 pistol belt.


Conclusion:

This is the first figure from Minisoldiers I have reviewed so far and I must say I’m very impressed. 2nd Lieutenant Parachute Inf. Regt. (Normandy, 1944) is sculpted to perfection and wonderfully cast. The amount of details on the uniform and the equipment is amazing, making the figure a real gem for anyone interested in D-Day Paratroopers.

Many thanks to Anar from Minisoldiers for this review sample.


References:

D-Day, From the Normandy Beaches to the Liberation of France (Tiger Books International)
D-Day Paratroppers, US Airborne Divisions in Normandy (Histoire and Collections)
US Paratrooper 1941-1945 (Osprey Publications)
US Airborne in Action (Squadron/Signal Publications)
Allied Soldiers of World War Two (Histoire and Collections)
http://www.parachutist.be/review-repro-T5-parachute.html
http://world.guns.ru/smg/smg29-e.htm
SUMMARY
Highs: This is a wonderful figure: sculpted to perfection and full of details. The casting is perfect and the fit excellent. The figure captures the “feel” of heavy laden D-Day US Paratrooper very nicely.
Lows: No instructions for placement of all the equipment pieces.
Verdict: Very highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MS-0003
  PUBLISHED: Aug 27, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 93.37%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 91.00%

Our Thanks to Minisoldiers!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mario Matijasic (Maki)
FROM: CROATIA HRVATSKA

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright ©2019 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.



Comments

Andrzej; yes, it is a bit long review, isn't it? This is the first time I was researching anything WW2 related, so I guess I got a bit carried away... Gary; I know SOGA Miniatures carries Minisoldiers line: link I'm not sure on the US / UK distributors though. Mario
AUG 27, 2010 - 06:57 PM
Great figure and great review, Mario. Thanks!
AUG 28, 2010 - 01:35 AM
No, it's absolutely not too long. I had great time reading it. As for being carried away - please check my Roman Soldier, Late Empire review... and the introduction had been cut by half befor posting Thanks again for the review mate! A.
AUG 28, 2010 - 10:09 AM
Now there's an introduction... It is just that I love reading stuff like this; putting the figure in historical context and explaining the clothing and equipment... it is never a boring read to me. Those who don't like it can skip to conclusions without having to check out the whole review. Mario
AUG 28, 2010 - 08:48 PM
Good review and good background info Mario. I enjoyed reading through it. Those "Histoire and Collection" books are brilliant reference books, and all the great images make identifying the gear so much easier. Talking about books ... Ive been a bit inspired by airborne troops at the moment. Ive just finished "The filthy thirteen - from the dustbowl to Hitler´s Eagles nest: The 101st Airborne´s most legendary squad of combat paratroopers" by Richard Killblane & Jake McNiece (Mowhawks and war paint inspiration) and Im currently half way through "A paratrooper at war in Europe - All the way to Berlin" by James Megellas (The 82nd airborne´s most decorated officer). There are so many references to their gear and what they carried with them, and the importance of everything they carried. You´d think that their main concern was the thought of getting killed or having to kill, but in actual fact it was about their next bite to eat or drink, and the lengths they went to carry this with them or scavange them. It really brings it home when you see this in model format. I´ll be looking for this figure when it becomes available.
AUG 29, 2010 - 01:13 AM
Quite true. People usually don't think soldiers have to carry extra socks or toilet paper in their equipment... on the other hand, this guy carries about 10 extra magazines for his weapon. Not exactly a possibility to be trigger-happy either. As for the figure, it is available trough Soga Miniatures. I've been in contact with Anar and he says Minisoldiers don't have US or EU distributors yet. Mario
AUG 29, 2010 - 04:13 AM
Good review, Mario. I like the way you've labelled some of the equipment in the photos (funnily enough I've started doing something similar on my latest review, which you should see this week). Interesting that the map case is a different colour resin to the rest of the parts. A different production run? A comment re. the photos: it's always difficult photographing white/light resin, so you may consider reducing the exposure to help bring out the details. I may also suggest keeping all the (cropped) photos the same size for uniformity. I probably should have just mailed you re. this advice Mail me if you want more Good review buddy - first adventure in WW2 in a while eh? Rudi
AUG 29, 2010 - 11:50 AM
Thanks Rudi. I used Engin's method of labeling equipment with reference pictures for the first time... I like it and although there is an extra work involved, I think it looks cool. As for different resin color on the map case... I've seen that on several figure kits before and yes, I too think it must be the different production run issue. Thanks for the tips on photographing light resin color parts. I was thinking of building the figure completely and putting a coat of gray primer so the details would show better. In the end, I wanted to run the review as quickly as possible, so I decided to go with the pics as they were... Mario
AUG 29, 2010 - 09:03 PM
Hello, Mario and fellow Figure Painters/Modellers! BEAUTIFUL FIGURE, AND GREAT PAINTWORK!!! The quality of this figure is reminiscent of the WARRIORS/CUSTOM DIORAMICS/LINCOLN COUNTY LINE Figures and Diorama Supplies that VLS used to market. SQUADRON HOBBY SHOP still carries some of those fine figures. Some of their WWII US Head Sets and figures can still be found here and there, (ebay) but they are becoming increasingly rarer as time goes by... What a shame! The WWII US Head Sets came in VERY HANDY on various GI figures. WARRIORS/CUSTOM DIORAMICS seemed to be the ONLY 1/35 figure manufacturer that got the shape and size of the US M1 Steel Helmets and the US WWII Tanker Helmets right! MOST, not all, manufacturers cast the M1 Helmet too small, too close-fitting, and they get the shape wrong- inconsistency is rife, even in WWII US figure SETS!!! @#$$**&%!!! No this contribution IS NOT TOO LONG!!! GREAT WORK!!! And here I was, worried about some of my comments, describing some of my techniques and some advice that I've written on this site being too long!!! It's GREAT to see that we modellers enjoy reading the in-depth reviews, various threads, new kit announcements, and progressive build articles, and questions & answers, plus some great kidding around, that is found on this site- ARMORAMA RULES!!!
MAR 08, 2015 - 02:28 PM
   

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