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Completed 1st Para advance into Arnhem (Henk's version)

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Henk, Jan 9, 2022.

  1. Henk A Fixture

    So as not to highjack Steve Ski's outstanding work on this set (here: https://www.planetfigure.com/threads/advance-to-arnhem-1-16-scale.281137/ ), I'll start my own now, even though I'm not quite ready to start on the set. There are however a number of things I like to expand on, so I'm getting in here early.

    To start, as Steve has already shown in his thread, this is a fantastic set, depicting a very well know photo of the first day of the Battle of Arnhem. So far three of the four soldiers in the photo have been identified, one positive (cpl Alfred Reynolds), one is indentified by his daughter, but not verified as far as I know (Pvt. Eric Witherford) , and the Bren gunner on the left, is identified by his Grand son as Private George James, and he is also identified as 'Private John George James of the Anti-Tank Group, 2nd South Staffordshire's ' on the Pegasus Archive website. The South Staffs did land on Sept. 17, and did attempt to get to Arnhem via the same route as 1 Para, so it would be possible that he was present. I intent to try and contact the grandson (I believe he lives reasonably local to me) to try and find out more.
    There is however a Lance Corporal Alfred C Young, who was actually in the 1st platoon, R company, 1st Battalion. He joined in 1942, and saw action in Africa, Sicily, and Italy, before returning to Britain for the preparation of operations in NW Europe. There is a resemblance, but its hard to tell. According to the ParaData website, Young jumped at Renkum, and was taken prisoner and demobbed in 1946.

    The set copies the photo very well, there are a few minor niggles, but none of those take away from the great quality of this kit. The figures have been sculpted very well, all the detail is fine and sharp, and the casting is equally good. A bit of clean up required, but for single molds like these, nothing you would not expect. I particularly like that all the hands are moulded to the rifles, and thse are very finely done. The fit of all the various arms and equipment is flawless, apart from the left arm of the Bren gunner, which will require some filler, to make everything fit and sit on the base nicely. I will discuss all the figures individualy in detail when I start to work on them.

    Now, having looked closely at the figures in the set, and comparing them to the photo, something that has been bugging me for the best part of 4 decades has jumped out at me again.

    If you look closely at the photo, I've always found Cpl Reynolds (as I now know he is) legs a bit of a conundrum. His legs don't seem to line up with his body. It could be the angle of the photograph, and him leaning back for balance, whilst trying to keep his shoulders low, but I always wondered if he's sitting on/leaning against a body. That 'right' leg looks, as if the knee is back to front. Now, I know that the folds of the trouser leg may make it look like that, it's just that it looks a bit odd. But the other thing that makes we wonder, is the pocket on 'his' leg. Para trousers don't have a large pocket on the right leg. I know that soldiers often altered their uniform, like sowing sock tops into the arm of the Mk2 Denison, but were these kind of pockets added? Can anybody point me in the direction of images of such? Also, he seems to be carrying something under his right arm, a larger pouch with a smaller (lighter) pouch on top of it. The smaller pouch looks like a compass pouch.

    KenBoyle, Nap, Redcap and 2 others like this.
  2. Ferris A Fixture

    Now that you mention it, the leg does look odd.
    My interpetation is it is Reynolds’ leg. The stance is off-balance because he could be leaning on some protrusion in the crater’s wall. His upper body is leaning forward because of a heavy load on his back. He is kind of half sitting, half standing.
    The pocket on his leg is heavily stacked as well, and perhaps because of that it is twisting the trouser leg sideways. I have seen such pockets on the front of the leg on another figure as well, forgot which one.

    I like this set a lot, although in my opinion the clothing and particularly the denison are too skinny. They should be very baggy. But still a very nice set, placed together like this.

    Good luck on this major paint job!

  3. Henk A Fixture


    I think the Denisons are alright, they could have perhaps been a little bit baggier, but they certainly don't look to skinny when in place on the base. My bugbear with sets like this is that as usual, al the figures are about the same size and build. that's not to take anything away from Steve's great work, but it would be nice if sculptors would add a bit of variety in the figures.
  4. JasonB A Fixture

    It does look weird, you can see a larger version here:
    It could just be one of the moments caught on camera where someone is adjusting to the weight they are carrying or leaning a certain way, that for a brief moment looks really odd. also I note that on his near leg, the fold is causing his leg to almost appear like the hip is out of socket, but if you look closely, you can see the lower part of his leg continuing at the normal angle. At least I think its his leg, and appears to be bare. Perhaps a ripped pants leg?

    Henk and Mike - The Kiwi like this.
  5. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    For what it's worth, I think that he is leaning against the trench wall, leaning away from us, supporting his weight on his left arm. His legs appear to be crossed, maybe at the ankles, which has made his right knee turn slightly outwards. It's clearly a brief moment of relaxation, having a smoke, his pack hanging by one strap. Perhaps the camera has caught him in the act of changing position slightly, hence the slightly awkward view.

    The small light coloured pack visible beneath his right elbow is, I think, a field dressing.

    Henk likes this.
  6. Henk A Fixture

    I think you may be right Richard, him leaning against the side makes sense. I think you can just make out the edge of his left hand, where he will be holding the barrel of his rifle.
  7. Henk A Fixture

    I've made a start on this, as it's such a big project, I'll work on it in stages, and do other projects in between.
    I've started on the base. The base is a beautiful sculpt, and a huge, single casting. Very impressive. It is also a dry brusher's wet dream... there is a variety of textures, depicting both the loose earth as it would have been created by the bomb blast, and spade markings, where the paras created a better sized fox hole. It's a pity that the sandy soil of the area limits the palette, but I'm nonetheless enjoying painting the base immensely.

    20220110_171354.jpg 20220110_172747.jpg 20220110_172758.jpg 20220110_172807.jpg 20220110_172813.jpg
    Martin64, 1969, Ferris and 1 other person like this.
  8. 1969 A Fixture

    Looking forward to seeing what you do with this Henk.

    I think Cpl Reynolds trousers were ripped from the knee down which gives the weird appearance of his right leg, as Jason has shown I believe that is a part of his bare leg showing.
    Reference the pack under his right arm I do believe he is carrying something, which could possibly be another gas mask pouch slung around his neck on a strap, also with compass or dressing pouch. It was very hard to determine so I omitted it from the sculpt, if you look at the attached photos I have marked what looks like a strap which holds the unknown pack under his right arm.
    I think the pocket shown on his right leg might be the pleated pocket from his right hip that has been modified to be attached lower down the leg, you can see the dagger slit on the trouser seem and this pocket should be much higher and above the dagger slit not so low and behind it.
    In all honesty I actually forgot to sculpt that pocket onto the figure it was meant to have been done but was overlooked, it was a large project to sculpt and sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees.
    I do believe he is leaning onto the trench wall but I altered his pose slightly in the sculpt to show him standing as I could not see his left side to determine how his left arm was posed from the photo.

    All the best
    Pic1stBattBomb_high.jpg very-rare-1942-dated-ww2-british-parachute-airborne-troopers-trousers_18336_pic2_size1.jpg
    Jimbo, Martin64, Nap and 2 others like this.
  9. Henk A Fixture

    Thanks Steve. I'm really looking forward to doing this one.
    As an aside, I have been looking at this photo for decades, and always wanted to make a diorama of it, but not having any serious sculpting skills, nothing came of that. I did start looking for potential figures to convert, but I'm so glad i found this. Ever since growing up near Arnhem, I've had a bit of a fascination with the Battle.

    I did spot the carry strap, I wondered if he was wearing an ammo bandolier, but that is impossible to determine. Your idea that it carries the bag is probably right.
    Nap and 1969 like this.
  10. Henk A Fixture

    Oh, with regards to the pocket, I wonder if it's one of the elasticated pockets from the jump smock. It looks very similar.
    1969 likes this.
  11. Steve Ski A Fixture

    Honestly, IMHO, it's time to get to painting, the sculpt will not change, unless you make alterations. Ruck On Henk, I say, Ruck On!

    Standing by to standy by.;)

    P.S. I'm here Bro, just hollar.
    Henk and Nap like this.
  12. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Henk

    Great start to the thread , looking forward to seeing this progress

    Really good response from others ref the picture and your comments

    Following with interest

    Henk likes this.
  13. Henk A Fixture

    Don't worry my impatient friend, paint is already being spilled :-D . Unfortunately my work takes me away for 4 days a week, so this is as much as I got this week...

    I've started to block the trousers and smock of our Corporal, Vallejo English Uniform for the trousers, and Vallejo German Camo Beige for the smock and webbing.
    I'm trying something slight different for Pvt. Wickford, going to play around a bit with some ideas. Game colour Mournfan Brown for the trousers, and Vallejo German Camo Light Green for the smock. I'm going to give the Pvt. a 1944 version of the smock, with the Olive Green base colour.
    I've put the first shadow wash on the flesh tones on the faces.

    20220110_171354.jpg 20220111_124954.jpg 20220111_125014.jpg 20220111_125043.jpg 20220111_125054.jpg 20220111_125111.jpg 20220111_125123.jpg
    KenBoyle, Nap and 1969 like this.
  14. Steve Ski A Fixture

    Looking good, Henk!
    Henk likes this.
  15. Nap A Fixture


    Agree there ......too many legs for me but following as always

    Impressive detailing on Steves sculpts

    Happy benchtime

  16. Henk A Fixture

    Been a while, work and life keeping me from the bench, but this weekend I can get some decent hours in. Did manage to get some putty work done, added the pocket to the corporal's leg, added the string to his canteen, and added the carry strap to his backpack. Needs a bit of tidying up, which I'll do later today. Time to get the brushes wet.. 20220124_120904.jpg 20220124_120911.jpg
    KenBoyle, Nap and 1969 like this.
  17. Henk A Fixture

    Whilst I finish the final details on the other figures, I'll start, and keep you entertaint with, my paint flinging attempts on Pvt. Eric Witherford. I will pretty much paint each figure "on its own", with slightly different paints and techniques, to achieve an individuality of the uniforms, as you would expect.

    I've started with the trousers, base coated in Vallejo English Uniform, lightened with Vallejo Dark Sand for first highlights.

    20220124_154035.jpg 20220124_154046.jpg
    KenBoyle, Martin64, Nap and 1 other person like this.
  18. Henk A Fixture

    Blended the highlight, and blocked the base colour for the smock (Vallejo German Camo Beige)

    KenBoyle, Nap and 1969 like this.
  19. Henk A Fixture

    Today's progress. I've started laying out the camo pattern, once I'm happy with the shapes, I'll tidy up the edges, and add any feathered edges. What you see now, will have very little resemblance to Pvt Witherford's well worn and lived in veterans smock..

    20220125_214819.jpg 20220125_214813.jpg 20220125_214803.jpg
    KenBoyle, Nap, Martin64 and 2 others like this.
  20. Steve Ski A Fixture

    I like how the camo pattern is coming out, Henk, Ruck On!
    Henk likes this.

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