Among the US 101st Airborne Division, the volunteer pathfinders were a particularly hearty group. Parachuting into France just after midnight on June 6, 1944, the pathfinders were among the first allied troops to set foot on French soil as the D-Day invasion commenced. Tasked with marking the drop zones, the mission of the pathfinders was hampered by poor weather, heavy German defenses, flooded fields and faulty equipment. Despite the challenges hampering the pathfinders on the ground, the Allied air invasion of more than 13,000 men behind the beaches of Normandy proved key to the day’s success.
In continuing to round out my 28mm US Airborne collection, I went back to Artizan Designs for their pathfinder models as well as some additional characters. Two of the pathfinders feature the signature mohawk hairstyles and I added “war paint” markings on their faces as seen in some historic photographs. The other character models will serve as officers since their poses display confidence in command.
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 shoulder patches with Baneblade Brown.
- Paint metal gun 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.
- 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.
To finish my models I’ll be adding decals to shoulders and helmets from Company B, followed by a coat of Solvaset decal fixative from Walthers and a spray coat with matte finish. After that, these guys will relive the heroics of D-Day on a tabletop soon.
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