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I'll Never Buy A Fem Fig!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From 19-23 November, the 2/503rd spent five days of hell on Hill 875 in the region of Dak To, Vietnam. They were reinforced by the 4/503rd on the 21st of November, but not before several assaults on the hill and having their command post/aid station bombed by a Marine Corps fighter/bomber on the first night. All told, the combined battalion suffered about 60% casualties on the hill during the battle. They faced a reinforced NVA regiment that had well prepared bunkers linked by tunnels and field phones. They took Hill 875 on 22 November, which was Thanksgiving, 1967. They received little resistance on the last assault. The hill was promptly abandoned.

I met Buzz in 2002 when doing a paper on the battle. He is a hero of mine and since became a great friend. He was one of the lead men going up the hill. Amazingly, he came out of it unscathed but received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for his heroism.

I've been meaning to do this figure for some time, but only recently was able to do so. He's going to be packed and shipped to my friend as a gift.

He would only carry an M79 and he absolutely loved the "thumper". He preferred to patrol with his bush hat on and would hang the helmet from his ruck. The extra first aid pouches carried individual 40mm rounds. This is the first repainted headsculpt I've ever posted and I had to repaint it twice. I'm still working on my techinque with pastels...

It is the DML Oscar head, and it is really lacking in detail, but the facial features are close to my friend.
 

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In case of emergency....
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Nice work! I always like figure created to represent real people. Even more interesting is when the figure depicts an ordinary "Joe" and helps tell his story.
 

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This is a very nice figure, but it cannot represent a Sky Soldier in November, 1967.
At that time, the nylon mesh grenadier vest and this kind of 2-quarts canteen were not available to troops in Vietnam (issued in 1968 and 1969 respectively). And the bush hat was just starting to reach combat troops. I have quite a big file on the Dak To battle, and most pictures show men wearing the cap. I am not saying it was not present, but it would have been rather unusual.

That said, I like the way you loaded the ruck and the weathering is well made.
 

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I'll Never Buy A Fem Fig!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Saint, you are a fellow nitpicker...

It CAN represent a man from the 173rd in 1967 with certain liberties. The gear was based on my knowledge and my friend's description of his load, which relied on him remembering what he wore and how he wore it 40 years ago.

I know this figure would be completely accurate for '69-'70.

The vest is on there because it was the best 1/6 vest available. I know that the vest he most likely had was the cotton duck version with the velcro fasteners. I didn't have time to scratch build that and good references are hard to get. When I asked Buzz if his vest had buttons or velcro flaps, he recalled it having buttons. The M67 vests with plastic buttons were issued piecemeal with all '67 gear, so I can't definitively say that he did not wear one in late '67, but he likely wore the cotton duck one.

The 2-quart canteen on the figure was available in 1967. They came with rubberized canvas carriers. I have two of them and a '67 dated canteen.

Buzz referred to the 2-quart as a "titty bag". Pictures of his friends show them carrying this 2-quart in the rubber/canvas carriers on their rucks and their pistol belts. He said he carried two on his ruck (I don't have two of them to spare). This may have been a reference to the earlier, clear canteens with the opening in the middle. I own one of those too, and based on its dimensions, it would be a pain to fit two of them on a lightweight ruck based on the attachment points and the fact he carried an e-tool, machete and extra mortar rounds (again, not added).

The GI issue boonie hat surfaced in 1967. The men in the field had a hard time getting them as the REMF's usually took them first. He probably wore a locally made bush hat that was made from an old GI jungle jacket. That's why I took the foliage loops off of his hat, so that it was not a GI hat. Buzz said that many of the men in his company wore the helmet on combat assaults and in a firefight, but preferred to wear a bush hat while patrolling.

Thanks for the comments and interest!

Any help with using pastels for headsculpts would be much appreciated.
 

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wave man TDY staff
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Nice one, Apache26. Great bunch of details and personal stuff, this should make him a happy guy.
 

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I'll Never Buy A Fem Fig!
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the positive feedback!

Some guys use acetone to remove paint and others use terpentine. I used "Polly-S Easy Lift Off". An eight ounce bottle lasted me more than 10 years.

It's a good thing that my camera isn't super sharp. I painted the head three times - once with acrylics and twice with pastels. After all the painting and stripping, the final paint job had some blemishes that can't be seen in the photos.
 

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I'll Never Buy A Fem Fig!
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This 2-Quart came from Dragon. The top flap is actually the most accurate for Vietnam in the way it is cut. TS made 2-Quarts with covers as well in their early SEAL figures. SOTW made 2-Quart canteens but not cloth covers.

The DML 2-Quart comes with the M-1 chemical cap though...

Buzz received his mini-me on Friday and was overwhelmingly happy with it!
 
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