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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
"They have the faces of boys, but they fight like lions": Trooper, 1st Bn, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, 1979

The Commandos of the 1st Bn, The Rhodesian Light Infantry (1 RLI) were at the forefront of the fight against the Communist-backed insurgencies in Rhodesia during the 1960s and 1970s.
A mix of regulars, national servicemen, and foreign volunteers, the unit was particularly effective in fireforce, a vertical envelopment tactic in which airborne elements (using Alouette III helicopters and later Dakotas), prepositioned in forward airfields located at strategic points in the country, would be sent to intercept terrorist groups immediately after they had been sighted. Fireforces had a high rate of success. The Commandos were also deployed on external operations against ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrilla training bases in Mozambique and Zambia. The regiment was disbanded in October 1980, shortly after the country became Zimbabwe.

Our RLI trooper is typical of the last years of the Rhodesian Bush War; he is a young Rhodesian who has completed the Commando Course to join the battalion. He wears a cap and overalls in the distinctive locally-developed camouflage; Fireforces were short-term ops (normally no more than a few hours), and the Commandos went into combat lightly equipped, carrying mainly ammo and water. Popular equipment to supplement the traditional (and of dubious quality) webbing were private-purchase chest-webbings and combat vests - our trooper has chosen the light version of the latter. The main armament of the four-man stick (carrying capacity of an Alouette III) consisted in FN FALs (actually the South-African made R1 variant) and one FN MAG, camouflaged with two-tone paints.

My 1/6 projects are often tied to the availability of those parts that I don't have the ability to create, notably armament, and I've had to wait (a long time!) for some company to produce an accurate FN FAL, which - at last - ThreeZero did last year for one of their Walking Dead figures. I managed to procure one, and made the needed modifications to fit the model used by the Rhodesian Security Forces : sanding the Springfield Armory markings, filling the bipod grooves on the handguard, removal of the carrying handle and addition of the rifle-grenade sight above the handguard.
Beside the FAL by ThreeZero, the commercial parts used on this figure are the headsculpt (DML, repainted and "haired"), the body (kind of cheap HT knock-off from ebay), the waterbottles (DamToys) and a pair of hand grenades (DML).
Using photographs and measurements provided by collectors, I made the clothing and combat vest. For the "vellies" (veldskoen), I used my own pair of trusted Clark's desert boots as a template.

My main sources, beside the above-mentioned help from collectors, were : the regimental history, "The Saints" by Alexandre Binda (2007), "Africa's Commandos" by Mark Adams & Chris Cocks (RLIRA, 2013), the books and articles by, and the always enriching correspondence with, RLI veterans, to whom I dedicate this humble tribute.











 

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At first glance, this seems a simple figure. But as you look over the details and read your description and compare the photos, he is anything but simple As usual, you put a lot of fine detail into your trooper. Very impressive! Thanks for posting something we wouldn't normally see!
 

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Celer et Audax
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Of the scale great work..... I am not worthy, and wept as I saw the pics......top class
 

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Nice, I have been watching a series of videos by a man who served in the Rhodishian army and this is a nice tie in. The high quality of your work needs to be recognized as well.
 

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Kasparov's apprentice
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I've ever enjoyed all your post WWII-cold War era work and this is not the exception. Magnificent as usual!!

In spite of the apparently simplistic figure, the are so many great and accurate bits on it that perhaps only would be picked by African Bush Wars theme enthusiasts: that overall uniform (which I guess you were scared of weathering it lol), those impressive "Clarks" hand made desert boots, very spot on baby-poop paint on that "strelized" SADF Fal, and my favorite one, the Fereday&sons vest. Btw, I've always wondered why some of them would need to carry sleeping bags in the back (rain poncho in your fig) if the fire force ops were intended to be for few hours (or maybe while externals ops��... ?)

I've a couple questions/requests: since Rhodesians would used grenades from different sources, the one you put on the pouches, are customized? If so which type are they? Will you show them?

Would you also take a close up of the Fal's grenade laucher sight? Plz

One more thing: didn't the Rhodesians used to remove the sling swivels out their Fals too?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've ever enjoyed all your post WWII-cold War era work and this is not the exception. Magnificent as usual!!

In spite of the apparently simplistic figure, the are so many great and accurate bits on it that perhaps only would be picked by African Bush Wars theme enthusiasts: that overall uniform (which I guess you were scared of weathering it lol), those impressive "Clarks" hand made desert boots, very spot on baby-poop paint on that "strelized" SADF Fal, and my favorite one, the Fereday&sons vest. Btw, I've always wondered why some of them would need to carry sleeping bags in the back (rain poncho in your fig) if the fire force ops were intended to be for few hours (or maybe while externals ops��... ?)

I've a couple questions/requests: since Rhodesians would used grenades from different sources, the one you put on the pouches, are customized? If so which type are they? Will you show them?

Would you also take a close up of the Fal's grenade laucher sight? Plz

One more thing: didn't the Rhodesians used to remove the sling swivels out their Fals too?
Thank you for your kind comments. If there would be one person to be pleased by this figure, it has to be you.

If you look carefully, there is a light weathering all over; when you go through the reference pics, they are not that dirty.
As for the sleeping bags, sometime the troops on fireforce had to stay overnight on the field, to carry on the sweep if the gang had not been entirely eliminated. Chow (and ammo resupply) would be brought by chopper or by truck, but no personal gear.

The grenade pockets on the vest are definitely closed, but I put (yep, I am that sort !) a M26 hand grenade (the South African M962 is similar) and a modern one broadly the same size to stand for the Willie Pete.
I know of the practice "remove everything that moves on a rifle", but if you look at pictures of RLI troopers, you can see that the back swivel is often left on the FN (but I checked, ha ha). See pictures for the R1 grenade sight, original and 1/6 reduction.



 

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Kasparov's apprentice
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Thank you for your kind comments. If there would be one person to be pleased by this figure, it has to be you.

If you look carefully, there is a light weathering all over; when you go through the reference pics, they are not that dirty.
As for the sleeping bags, sometime the troops on fireforce had to stay overnight on the field, to carry on the sweep if the gang had not been entirely eliminated. Chow (and ammo resupply) would be brought by chopper or by truck, but no personal gear.

The grenade pockets on the vest are definitely closed, but I put (yep, I am that sort !) a M26 hand grenade (the South African M962 is similar) and a modern one broadly the same size to stand for the Willie Pete.
I know of the practice "remove everything that moves on a rifle", but if you look at pictures of RLI troopers, you can see that the back swivel is often left on the FN (but I checked, ha ha). See pictures for the R1 grenade sight, original and 1/6 reduction.



Thanks for your kind reply and for using your valuable time on taking the extra pics. I only hope you keep bringing up more terrific stuff, specially all related to the African Bush wars.
 
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