Work-in-progress Part 1 Fallschirmjager Crete: Headsculpt repaint/helmet straps/neck remodelled
For this project, I will attempt to give a step-by-step (well, almost) account of how I realise this figure; that being a German paratrooper – Fallschirmjager – during the 1941 campaign in Crete. The figure is Dragon’s Normandy Fallschirmjager, Pieter; who is going to take a trip back in time. He’s quite well outfitted – at the time of release – and is wearing a Type 2 jump smock with a Luftwaffe Splittermuster 41 camo pattern. This pattern was likely introduced in 1941 as it was not seen during the 1940 campaigns. The Type 2 jump smock, or Knochensack (bone-sack) Pieter is outfitted with is considered the earliest and perhaps rarest of the two Knochensack models produced in Luftwaffe Splittermuster 41. It was the step-through model sewn with short pants legs. The second model jump smock resembled the first type but was not sewn up at the crotch; opening all the way down the front like a normal jacket.
I hope you enjoy yourself here and welcome very much your comments and brickbats!
Left: Pieter in original paint finish with piercing blue eyes and overly defined feminine eyebrows. Right, headsculpt repainted using the same technique I created for my Vassily Zaitsev project. I left the hair area as is, as it will be covered by the helmet.
Scratchbuilding the helmet straps
These sequence of images show how I scratchbuilt the leather straps, cannibalising the DML M38 helmet's side-buckles and attachment studs. The original plastic straps serves as a measuring guide. The straps are brown 1/8 " leather laces from Rio Rondo.
The helmet strap contraption was painted Luftwaffe blue-grey when completed. Then began the tedious job of simulating the stitching on the straps with the blade of a paper cutter.
Completed straps with around 300 indentations simulating thread stitching attached to helmet.
Not 1/6 scale but 1/1 scale! This image gives a good impression of how the straps are configured.
There are quite a few versions of FJ hemets by the 1/6 manufacturers but personally I feel the Dragon FJ helmets - not the shrunken version - are quite fine. A lot depends on the size of headsculpt chosen, but as can be seen in the above images, the actual helmets were not entirely small unlike the wartime portraits of Fallschirmjagers by the artist Wolf Willrich. Those by Dragon could be the larger shell size 71 whereas Willrich's helmets appear to be the smaller size 68 shell.
The artist Wolf Willrich did many portrait-style propaganda postcard images. His signature is the large 'W' in the lower right with the date of the card. Contrast the helmet size here with those in the photographs above.
Headsculpt neck remodelled with Tamiya putty. This is the first time I worked with Tamiya putty and found it extremely tacky to sculpt! I really had some anxious moments when I saw the results; even after a couple rounds of filling and repainting I am not able to get what I wanted - I think I don't have the skills to use this particular medium!
Figure outfitted in original Dragon 'Pieter' jump smock - this has leather zip tabs added. The pants are also original Dragon. Fallschirmjager leather first model side-lace boots are by Newline Miniatures.
Continued in Work-in-progress Part 2 Fallschirmjager Crete