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Captain Eyestrain
1,207 Posts
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 .


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 ………


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 :


4,726 Posts
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.

Captain Eyestrain
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.

wave man TDY staff
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....

The Tash
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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