GI's Down WWII
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Verlinden Productions

This is a good set of US casualties that has some curious uniform and painting choices for the figures in the box art.

The GI lying face-down wears the M1943 field jacket (you can tell by the jacket's length at the buttons on the cuffs), which should be painted OD, not khaki tan as in the box art. He also is wearing shoepacs, which would generally place him in an early 1945 winter setting, when more GIs started to get the badly needed cold weather gear. Or, you can swap the shoepacs with the other figure in the set, who is definitely dressed for cold weather.

If you are handy with an X-Acto knife and some putty, you can carve out a pleat at the bottom of the back of the jacket and add some cargo pockets to the pants to make this fellow a paratrooper. Add a second button to each of the sleeve cuffs, too. You'll need some extra Corcoran jump boots, or do a little knife-and-putty work on the shoepacs.

The soldier on his back wears the earlier pattern mackinaw; it's painted OD in the box art, but really should be a light khaki tan for the American-made version, or a more brownish-tan for the British manufactured type. He wears the combat shoes with canvas leggings. These would work on the other GI, if you wanted to use him in a non-winter setting.

Mind you, neither boot selection, as offered, is wrong, but the shoepac does create specific limitations for a figure that could be used in a wider variety of settings. You will, however, want to correct the colors of the jackets. (If you don't have a reference for the mackinaw, just imagine switching the colors of the jackets between the two figures).

Sculpting and molding is typical Verlinden quality. The main body torsos have molding plugs on the bottom sides that are easy to snip off with cutters and a bit of sandpaper. The heads are alright. The bareheaded soldier looks like he's still alive, grimacing in pain. The GI with the helmet has a hole at the corner of his mouth as if he should be sucking on a cigarette. Personally, I like Hornet's "Sleeping Heads." With eyes closed, necks arched, mouths agape, they do make convincing "dead heads."

The M1 Garand in my kit was "short shot" with an incomplete muzzle. The M1 Thompson submachine gun comes in two pieces and is similar in quality to those from Dragon or Tamiya. There's one M1944 field pack, which is included in just about every Verlinden GI product; it would be really nice to see VP include more M1928 haversacks, which were present throughout the war.

Overall this is a good set from Verlinden, and to their credit they have offered numerous casualty figures from most WWII combatant armies. We could use a little more variety in positions, howver, since they are all (with the exception of the GI tankers) lying upon a flat surface. Many soldiers died crumpled over in foxholes or gullies, or draped over debris; many were on their backs with backpacks or musettes strapped to them. That might be more challenging, but I'm sure there are some sculptors out there who can rise to the occasion.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter