1⁄35Italian Alpini, Graian Alps, June 1940
A little known part of WWII was the Italian invasion of France in June, 1940 through the Graian Alps where the Italians fought against some of the Maginot line forts that were built in the mountains. The Franco-German armistice was signed before things got too hot and heavy along the Italian-French border, but still, the Italian Alpini got their WWII baptism of fire there.
The figure and vignette represent one of the Italian Alpini, or mountain troops, as those forces advanced from Italy through the southwestern end of the Alps towards the border with France. He's depicted wearing the Alpini's special felt hat with its distinctive black crow's feather. The red cockade signifies the 2rd battalion of his regiment, and in the bottom center of the hat's insignia, is a small sky blue disk which would have had his regimental number. The green collar "flames" and gold stars are the Alpini versions of these standard Italian infantryman's insignia.
The figure is also equipped with the Alpini rucksack and the shortened M1938TS Carcano carbine, a shortened version of the standard M1891 6.5mm Carcano rifle. The rest of his uniform and equipment are the standard versions used by other Italian infantrymen.
The Hornet Italian Alpini, WWII, stock number IH1, is a classic 1/35th scale white metal figure, but as with all Hornet figures, the sculpting is outstanding, and I particularly liked the pose and subject. Roger Saunders is one of those sculptors who makes figure painting a joy, and this one was no exception.
The figure is pretty much stock. I added the rifle sling made from lead foil and sling swivels made from fine copper wire. I had to add the battalion cockade at the base of the feather because I lost the one included with the figure. For this I used two-part epoxy putty. Other than these two small additions, the figure is stock.
As usual with my figure painting, the figgy was cleaned-up, primed with Tamiya flat white and undercoated with various Vallejo acrylics for the uniform and equipment colors. I used Citadel / Games Workshop Bronze Flesh as the undercoat color for the face and hands. On top of the acrylic undercoats, I used artist oils for the actual painting, blending these wet-on-wet. The basic flesh colors are made from titanium white, yellow ocher, and burnt sienna mixed at a ratio of about 3:2:1. Burnt umber was used for the shadows, and white was added for the highlights. A touch of burnt sienna was added for the "warm" flesh areas. The lower lip is the basic flesh color with a touch of alizarin crimson; the 5 o'clock shadows are done with a touch of Payne's gray blended in.
The peculiar stone-gray color of the uniform was per my references which were color photos of period uniform items held in contemporary militaria collections. The camouflaged roll on his rucksack is the standard Italian issue M1929 tent section / poncho.
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