This past summer I re-watched The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far and launched myself into an airborne-themed jag that has included transport planes, gliders, vehicles, figures and a new, larger airfield diorama. Between the school year starting up again and a lot of rain falling during an unusually wet October this year, I hadn’t had the chance until this Thanksgiving week to put some of these elements together into a couple of scenes.
My initial vision for the Skytrain set-up was to include some evocation of the famous photos of Eisenhower interacting with American paratroops on June 5, 1944. What I ended up with was not at all a precise recreation of the scene, but my re-imagined moment does show an Eisenhower figure surrounded by a gaggle of jump-ready U.S. troopers identified by their shoulder patches as Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne.
The c-47 and most of the figures are by Italeri, though the soldier whose arm is extended came from Heller’s Horsa Glider kit. (I transferred him to a U.S. scene because it seemed incongruous to me that there would be a soldier in American kit supposedly getting on a glider in British livery — but who knows, maybe that really happened.) The Eisenhower figure is borrowed from Revell Germany’s reissue of the 1/76 scale “Monty’s Caravan” kit from Matchbox. The vehicles are Hasegawa’s 1/72 GMC Truck and Ace Models’ Staff Car. I don’t remember where the jeep and trailer came from, but I do know that the jeep’s markings indicate 3rd Armored Division! I think (hope) it is too small to be too noticeable…
By sheer coincidence, another miniaturist whose work I admire recently also did a beautifully detailed and historically accurate C-47-with-paratroops diorama, which he has titled “The Filthy Thirteen of the 101st Airborne Division.” I recommend checking it out!
The last touch I want to point out are the shots of the aircraft ready for take-off with engines running. When I build a plane I try to get the propellers to spin as smoothly as possible, partly because my five-year-old (and I) like seeing them spin, but also in case I can work the action into a shot. I acquired a small leaf blower for the purpose!
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