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Captain Eyestrain
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bugler , 1st.Batt. King's Shropshire light Infantry , Pantelleria , 1943 .

This figure is a sort of happy accident : it started really as a vehicle for displaying a set of Khaki Drill unifom : the recent DML KD offering ( Norman White ) was sent for , but when it arrived it was of such poor , thin , almost transparent fabric that I got mad , and when I get mad , I make things .
Scrabbling about in my enormous drawers produced the BBI bush jacket , from the BBI " Douglas Caldwell " SAS figure ; but no trousers. More scrabbling in the fabric drawer produced a suitable piece of KD which was a close match , so I set to and made the trousers.

Having got that far , and having a complete set of equipment left over from my webbing tutorials , I had to decide on the details : who , when , where etc.
Half an hour spent with the relevant Osprey books produced the rather well known pic of the KSLI chaps on Pantelleria , and I suddenly remembered that I also had a beautiful Lifebelt which Richie Elbourne had made me years ago, exactly as worn in the pic.

It all fell into place , without any proper planning.

I also had a young Head to hand , with no destination in mind , so all these elements came together : I've imagined a Bugler , joined as a Boy Soldier in 1939 ( quite common for musicians in the Regulars : the Ist. KSLI were a pre-war regular battalion ) and now in 1943 old enough to serve overseas : even better , I had noticed that the Soldier Story Chinese bugle was available as a spare .

I should explain : I'm very picky about model musical instruments , having been a semi-professional player of many wind instruments .It's astonishing how many illustrators and modelmakers get them wrong , presumably through unfamiliarity with the real thing.
There's also a strong personal memory here : I was Solo Bugler for Somerset A.C.F. some time in the Dark Ages , and have known the adrenalin rush on a freezing fog-bound Armistice Sunday : will I start on the right note ? Will I remember that bit in the middle ?
Making the bugle, cords and badge brought it all back…….



I can't guarantee that a bugler would actually have carried his bugle on an operation like this , but it seems reasonable. He might be acting as a runner/signaller .
Musicians were generally attached to Batt. HQ , and often acted as Stretcher bearers in action ; but there might well have been occasions to use the bugle during the occupation:



I confess I'm not absolutely certain about his equipment ( my books are silent for once : the details of what specialists wore are vague ) . I've shown him both as a rifleman , and unarmed as a bugler ; though it'sjust possible he would have carried a pistol on occasions , since pipers often did .

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The Landing on Pantelleria was unopposed: it's a tiny volcanic island between Tunis and Sicily , used as a heavily fortified Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier by the Axis air forces.
After the fall of Tunis , the Allies decided it would be useful to capture it before moving on to the invasion of Sicily, but having the available air assets , bombed it first : and bombed it , and then bombed it some more.
It was used as an experiment to test the power of bombing , and it succeeded .
About 700 sorties , and 6000 tons of bombs .There was also a deal of shelling from the Royal Navy .This overkill was described by Radio Rome as " another example of plutocratic exhibitionism "….
By the time the landing craft arrived in June 1943 , the largely Italian garrison were just glad to get the bombing to stop , and surrendered sensibly to the British 1st Infantry Division , who merely landed and marched in .
How unlike their later involvement at Anzio ………

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The figure is pretty straightforward : DML body , slimmed and shortened , with plug-in Fimo arms .
BBI Douglas Caldwell bush jacket , with new upper pocket flaps , belt loops removed and side vents shortened .
KD trousers tailored from drill fabric from a skirt bought at a charity shop :



DML helmet with improved strap and liner , and the net sewn round the edge and trimmed.
BBI SMLE No.III* with proper sling.
Complete set of scratchbuilt webbing.



Badges painted on little scraps of polyester suede .Unusually , the KSLI are shown wearing a full set of badges on their KD jackets , which makes for a rather colourful effect.
DML boots ( I'm sorry , but I still think the Newline ones look a bit clumpy ) with new laces .
The lifebelt was made by Richie Elbourne : look at the stitching !



The bugle started as the " Soldier Story " Chinese one , which is pretty good , but really too slim for a British bugle . In trying to improve it I realised that I might as well do the job properly , so in the end only used the bell section as an armature for remodelling in Miliput , and made all the tubing from polystyrene rod and a piece of aluminium tube, with the mouthpiece turned in brass :



It seemed best to cast the whole thing into pewter , since I knew of a couple of people who might want one, and it could be polished then varnished to represent copper and brass:



Having looked up the KSLI on the web , I think it highly possible that they had chrome- or silver-plated bugles , so I've stretched the point and just given it a high polish , which saves the effort of " brassing " it .The bell has the KSLI capbadge soldered on , a common practice .
The cords are from embroidery silk , with tassels made round small Fimo beads:



Having made a set of cords and tassels in green ( Light Infantry colour ) I now have a bat's squeak of worry that , being the KING'S Shropshire Light Infantry , they might have used the yellow/red/blue Royal Livery cords….Oh Well !
Here he is in reduced equipment , unarmed :



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Really incredible work on this one and great choice of themes. I asked this question on another thread and got no response, so I will try again. Is there any tutorials out there on the filling in of joints? I had heard around that sculpey is the thing to use, so I bought some, now I just dont know how the heck to use it.
 

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Captain Eyestrain
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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks folks ;
Tattued , the joints are not filled : the arms are completely new , modelled in Fimo , which is like Sculpey . Both are polymer clays , which you turn into firm plastic with heat , either with an oven or by boiling them.
 

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wave man TDY staff
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41,776 Posts
An exceptional figure all around, so many fine details.

Scrabbling about in my enormous drawers produced the BBI bush jacket,....
For a moment I wondered if you were referring to a large pair of boxer shorts, and thought what an odd spot to store spares....
 

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The Tash
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2,177 Posts
Tony's a modest man....not one to blow his own horn [ groan]

Great figure Tony, sometimes the fast accidents work out the best
 
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