US Marine, Battle of Okinawa 1945, WW2

Project completed. This is a Marine as I envisioned mentally gearing himself up for the inland assault on the island of Okinawa. After 82 days, 12,281 Americans and 110,000 Japanese would be killed by June 21, 1945 in ferocious hand to hand fighting. The suicidal dedication of the Japanese defenders indicated an invasion of Japan itself would be costly, with estimates of at least 500,000 potential Allied casualties.

Ready to move inland, this Marine together with his Army comrades in the south of the island will have to endure a grueling, 82-day campaign that saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire second World War.

The brown camo helmet cover would be turned over for the green pattern when leaving the beach-head for the jungle inland.

A test-shot of Hot Toy's Truetype modified headsculpt. More dirtying effects on the headsculpt has been planned.

A veteran of the battle described it as the "crucible of hell." Hillsides were covered in the rotting bodies of the dead from both sides. Soldiers who had to crawl over the battlefields found their pockets filled with maggots by the end of the day. Pictured: A U.S. soldier sprawls in the mud to avoid sniper fire as he advances on Japanese positions. Image/text by Life.com

Fought on the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Island chain of Japan, the Battle of Okinawa was the largest sea-land-air battle in history, running for a period of about 82 days after April 1 to June 1945. Significantly for the US Marine Corps, it was the largest amphibious assault during the Pacific campaign of World War 2 and certainly the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War.

This was not planned to be the last major battle of the war, which it eventually was. The Americans were planning Operation Downfall, the invasion of the main Japanese islands, which never happened due to the controversial decision to use the atomic bomb.

Unlike Iwo Jima, the island of Okinawa had a large indigenous civilian population, and the civilian loss in this battle was at least 130,000. American losses were were over 72,000 casualties, of whom 12,000 were killed or missing, over twice Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal combined.

There were about 100,000 Japanese killed or captured; many preferred suicide to the disgrace of capture.

Marines moving inland.

Life magazine commented that ‘by the time the Allied troops actually landed on April 1, Japanese defenses were, it seemed, almost nonexistent, leading soldiers and Marines to jokingly dub it “Love Day.” As 60,000 American soldiers and Marines landed on Okinawa on April 1, Love Day gradually became “Honeymoon Week.” American generals wondered seriously whether the Japanese had simply laid down their arms and quit.

The unopposed landings had not been a Japanese blunder. Learning that they'd wasted men and materials trying to stop the American force at sea, the Japanese generals changed tactics and instead planned to lull the Americans into letting their guard down before luring them into a trap. Pictured: Marine Terry Moore leans against an embankment, a cigarette in his mouth and his Browning automatic rifle in his hands. Image/text by Life.com

After relatively easy initial sweeps, the troops began encountering severe resistance from entrenched Japanese soldiers. In some villages, American soldiers had to fend off women armed with spears. U.S. forces seriously underestimated the number of Japanese troops, pegging them at about 65,000. In reality, more than 100,000 Japanese soldiers awaited the Americans from hidden positions that covered the island. Once it became clear that they faced a stiff Japanese resistance that had dug in across the island, U.S. troops knew they were in for a hell of a fight. “It’s going to be really tough. … I see no way to get them out except by blasting them out yard by yard,” Gen. John R. Hodge said.

Marines trying to take central and southern Okinawa discovered that the Japanese had created a network of caves and tunnels teeming with soldiers and booby traps, part of the “Shuri line,” a series of defenses created, in large part, to defend the island’s 14th-century Shuri Castle.’

I opted for Hot Toy's Truetype Caucasian narrow shoulders version to portray a young Marine gyrene. The long locks were sheared away with some effort; I might consider building up the back of the head with Milliput or so; but at the moment, it's more important that the facial expression comes true to what I had in mind. The original headsculpt is on the left, and the one on the right, after I had a go with some acrylic washes to the jaw and eye areas. The stubble was built up with light washes as were the eyebags. Final details included the touch-ups to the lips, the edges of the eyes and the forehead. I must say the surface of the painted headsculpt was a delight to work on, it had a nice 'bite' and my acrylic washes moved smoothly.

A quick build-up at the back of the 'scalped' headsculpt with Tamiya sculpting epoxy. The process of using the epoxy is akin to Milliput.

A Soldier Story M1 helmet (I think!) with custom-modified straps. The fiber liner attached chin strap was painted a brown leather colour with a tan edging. The restraining clip was highlighted by a 2B pencil. The 'beach' camo cover was weathered with pastels and slightly torn at the front top. The exposed camo cover hem stitching at the bales were unstitched.

Dragon Haversack and Knapsack with webbing tips. The webbing tips are thick layerings of acrylic paint, which when dried were carefully given a coat of PVA white glue. Left to dry overnight, the tips were carefully cut to shape, then painted a dark greyish black. The bedroll straps have similar webbing tips. A Soldier Story poncho is attached to the packs. The next stage is weathering.

Dragon M1 Garand rifle. The woodgrain finish was created by the old 'emery board' technique. Gently run a small square of emery board over the 'wooden' areas of the rifle in a direction that simulates the wood grain. A light varnish finishes the job. A web sling will be attached at a later stage.

Close-up of the 'wooden' surface. Little dinks were goughed onto the surface for that well worn effect.

Completed Garand, all 'metal' parts were highlighted. The weathered strap is by Battle Gear Toys.

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