My new 28mm World War II project is marching on, and I’ve recently added some US 101st Airborne models from Black Tree Design. The UK-based BTD offers a diverse line of metal miniatures from various historical eras, fantasy, science fiction and a nifty Doctor Who offering. The WWII US Airborne line offers a nice selection of poses and weapons, so I bought into my first BTD models averaging about $2 USD per figure during one of their frequent online sales.
Nice packaging from Black Tree Miniatures
The BTD miniatures were quickly delivered in the US bagged and packaged in a little tin with a hand-written ‘thank you’ note. Compared to my earlier Airborne from Artizan Designs, the BTD models are a tad smaller and thinner but scale well on the table. Detail is a bit more sparse with less equipment slung on the backs of the paratroopers and rifles which read a bit more like that on toy soldiers. Aside from rifles, the models also came armed with Browning BARs, Thompson submachine guns and one guy hurling a hand grenade. While most of the models are set in generic poses, a few of the models show a lot of individual character with one officer calmly smoking a cigarette and another charging forward without a helmet.
One minor bummer was the delicate nature of some of the BTD models cast with both feet held tightly together, and one snapped off the base when I attempted to straighten his pose more upright. With the rest of the models successfully glued to bases, I painted up my first group of BTD miniatures using the same quick and simple process from my previous 28mm paratroopers.
Painting 28mm US Airborne
- Clean flash from metal models with a sharp knife and glue to metal washer or plastic bases.
- Apply filler putty to bases. When dry, scrape off excess with a sharp knife.
- Base coat models and bases with flat black spray primer.
- Paint uniforms and bandages on helmets with Tallarn Sand.
- Paint helmets and knee and elbow patches with Waaagh! Flesh.
- Paint faces and hands with Tallarn Flesh.
- Paint webbing and packs with Baneblade Brown.
- Paint bases, boots, gun stocks and helmet straps with Dark Brown.
- Apply Agrax Earthshade wash to uniforms, helmet netting, webbing and packs.
- Mix 50/50 Baneblade Brown and Off White and lightly dry brush packs, webbing and socks.
- Lightly dry brush bases, gun stocks, helmet netting, holsters and elbow and knee patches with Baneblade Brown.
- Paint metal gun, bazooka and mortar parts with black and finish with a light dry brush of metallic silver.
- Paint eyes with small dots of Off White and Dark Brown. Clean up around eyes with Tallarn Flesh.
- Mix 50/50 Tallarn Flesh and Off White and brush highlights on cheekbones, chins, forehead, nose and hands.
- Apply Company B decals to shoulders and helmets, followed by a coat of Solvaset decal fixative from Walthers.
- Cover bases in white glue and cover in 50/50 mix of fine light green and dark green grass flock.
- Glue small pieces of clump foliage to base.
- Spray coat completed models with matte finish.
Finally, a few photos of my finished BTD US Airborne ready to hit the Normandy tabletop.