US Paratroopers, 1942–1945

ESCI 1:72 Scale Figure Review

US Paratroopers, 1942–1945, 1:72 Miniatures ESCI P-209

US Paratroopers only seconds into the painting process. Humbrol № 31 (slate gray) has been drybrushed lightly onto the dark green plastic figures. It is very fortunate that ESCI decided to cast these miniatures in a much darker shade of the uniform colour. No undercoating is required. The highlight colour can be brushed on directly, allowing the dark plastic to remain visible in the folds of the uniform, and around equipment items. The actual coat of drybrushed paint is very thin, it does not chip and flake off. This painting technique falls into the realm of speedpainting, it is simple and very effective.

The figures are wearing the rigger-modified cotton twill »M1942 Paratrooper Uniform« with reinforcing patches on knees and elbows. The olive drab #3 color of the »M1942 Paratrooper Jacket« and »M1942 Paratrooper Trousers« faded quickly, which is why the darker olive drab #7 patches stood out visibly. By September of 1944, the »M1942 Paratrooper Uniform« had been replaced by the »M1943 Uniform«. However, many veteran paratroopers continued to wear their older uniforms well into the Arnhem campaign, which is why these ESCI miniatures may be deployed alongside later US paratroopers available from other manufacturers.

The »Mohawk« haircut and the type of »leg ties« sculpted on these ESCI paratroopers are typical for units of the 101st US Airborne Division during the Normandy landings on the night of 5th June 1944.

Contents

  • 50 Figures in 13 Poses
  • 24 mm equal 173 cm Height
  • 2 Gunners (.30 cal MMG), 2 Loaders
  • 2 Paras boarding Plane
  • 2 Paras folding Chute
  • 3 Paras with BAR
  • 6 Paras advancing, bareheaded
  • 12 Paras advancing, 2 Poses
  • 3 Paras throwing Grenade
  • 3 Paras advancing with Grenade
  • 15 Paras firing, 3 Poses

Evaluation

Exceptionally well sculpted figures with crisp detail and striking faces.

The troops are shown in fighting order, without packs. Ammunition pouches, canteens, fighting knives and entrenching tools are carried correctly, and consistently. This alone makes the set unique.

The BAR is modelled correctly, without bipod or carrying handle. The automatic rifleman is a superb figure.

Personal weapons are modelled very accurately, and they may be used for conversion projects.

Cast in a dark green semi-gloss plastic, these figures lend themselves well to speedpainting, a simple technique which uses the colour of the plastic as the base coat.

There are no squad leaders or officers immediately in evidence, although some poses could be easily converted to fill that role.

The man advancing with a grenade in his right hand is posed strangely, he has both arms raised as if he wanted to surrender. The figure itself looks great, and the pose may be saved by attaching more suitable arms taken from another figure.

The Garand rifle of the prone para seems to be too long.

Mortars, bazookas and radios are not included in the set.

Historical Employment

  • US 17th, 82nd & 101st Airborne Division
    • Normandy, June 1944
    • Arnheim, September 1944
    • Ardennes, December 1944
    • Germany, March 1945

Possible Conversions

  • French Foreign Legion Paratroops, Dien Bien Phu, 1954

These US Paratroopers define the standard against which other figure sets must be judged. Crisp detail, realistic folds in clothing and accurate equipment make these miniatures a joy to paint and collect. This is a much better set of US Paratroopers than the one produced by Revell which was released years later.

Sample from ESCI/ERTL

US Paratroops, 1942–1945