Despite all the planes, ships, artillery and tanks, the the core of US fighting forces in during World War II was the squad of American men armed with M1 rifles. General George Patton called the weapon “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” and in the hands of a small groups of US Airborne troops the tide of the war tipped after the Normandy invasion in June 1944.
For my 28mm WWII Bolt Action gaming, I exclusively use metal miniatures and I don’t duplicate poses. What this means is that I’m working my way through all the models available from a few manufacturers. For my latest additions to my US 101st Airborne force, I picked up the US Paratrooper Squad box and the US Airborne HQ package, both from Warlord Games.
Warlord Games Bolt Action US paratrooper squad and HQ figures
You really can’t beat metal casting for detail and personality, and these models are no different. The HQ set has a nifty medic model on the run and an officer firing his pistol while cradling his Thompson submachine gun in the other arm. A third figure is dropping his binoculars to the side and shouting over his shoulder while another model holds a SMG and barks orders into his radio handset nestled under his chin. The paratrooper squad box gives a good mix of men armed with rifles, a NCO and two others carrying SMGs, and a two-man light machine gun team.
As always, my painting is straightforward — I want the models to look historical yet unique to my style, and I want to put them to use on the table quickly.
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.
- 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
First some finished pictures of the command models:
And some shots of the completed squad: